You Want a Confederate Monument? My Body Is a Confederate Monument

    A black woman points out an obvious but overlooked view of Confederate monuments 

    The black people I come from were owned and raped by the white people I come from. Who dares to tell me to celebrate them?


    NASHVILLE — I have rape-colored skin. My light-brown-blackness is a living testament to the rules, the practices, the causes of the Old South.

    If there are those who want to remember the legacy of the Confederacy, if they want monuments, well, then, my body is a monument. My skin is a monument.


    Kind of like Marianne Faithfull: "I'm like Berlin - many armies have been through me."

    Turns out that Frederick Douglass was not a fan of the Emancipaion Memorial

    On April 14, 1876, Frederick Douglass arrived at the unveiling ceremony for the Emancipation Memorial, the statue now under attack by some protesters in Washington’s Lincoln Park.

    A crowd of 25,000, many of them African American, had gathered to hear Douglass speak on the 11th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination.

    By all accounts, Douglass, the great orator and abolitionist, was not pleased with the monument, which depicted Lincoln holding a copy of the Emancipation Proclamation while towering over a kneeling black man who had broken his chains.

    Douglass, who commanded audiences across the world with his dignified poise and intellect, extended polite platitudes in the speech about the beauty of the monument, which had been designed and sculpted by Thomas Ball and had been financed mostly by donations from formerly enslaved people.

    Then Douglass, a tall man with a nearly white crown of hair, launched into a 32-minute rapid-fire discourse on the conflicted legacy of Lincoln, who issued the Emancipation Proclamation on Jan. 1, 1863, as the country moved into the third year of the Civil War. Lincoln’s proclamation had declared “that all persons held as slaves” within the rebellious states “are, and henceforward shall be free.”

    As great as the proclamation was, Douglass explained, Lincoln had issued the document of freedom reluctantly.

    Lincoln’s motivation was to save the union. According to the Library of Congress, in response to a challenge in the New York Tribune by the journalist Horace Greeley that he take a clear stance on abolition, Lincoln had provided a response stating, “If I could save the union without freeing any slave, I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves, I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone, I would also do that.”

    In his speech at the 1876 statue unveiling, Douglass exposed Lincoln’s legacy. “Truth compels me to admit, even here in the presence of the monument we have erected to his memory,” Douglass said, “Abraham Lincoln was not, in the fullest sense of the word, either our man or our model. In his interests, in his associations, in his habits of thought, and in his prejudices, he was a white man.”

    Only 620,000 men. Gotta break a few eggs to make an omelette. Or a pancake mix, a melting pot luck. At least they got the recipe right before they headed out West. All's well that ends well.

     David Hacker, whose work is considered credible by historians, says that the death toll was between 650,000 and 850,000. He says his "best guess" is 750,000, but he may have chosen that just because it's halfway between his lower figure and his higher figure. I hope it was less than 700,000.

    Jamelle Bouie:

    The deeds of Abraham Lincoln will not be forgotten if the statue is moved to a museum. The National Museum might find a home in the National Museum of African American History and Culture. There it would not be a standalone, but a featured image in an institution detailing black progress. The freed people who paid for the statue would be honored.

    The speech. of Frederick Douglass and the poem of Cordelia could be placed in proximity 

    So a statue in an ethnic museum will be equivalent to outside in a heavily frequented park on Mass Ave a dozen blocks East of the Supreme Court and Capitol Hill. Sure. 

    The museum is heavily visited, and puts images in context.

    Which context would that be? An 1865 context? A 1922 context? A 2020 context? A 2100 context? I'm waiting fór the crayon to go up on the Sistine Chapel ceiling giving it "context", art history by numbers. Carl Sandburg write like 4 or 5 volumes on Lincoln, but we can splain him in 2 paragraphs I'm sure.

    Have a nice day

    You have the worst case of last word-itis I've ever seen in a adult. Even when you have absolutely nothing to say or add you find a way to say something just so you can get in the last word. You're like a child shouting "No you" constantly in an argument with another child. You need to grow up and realize that getting in the last word doesn't mean you "won" the argument.

    You have a nice day as well

    Just FYI I wasn't expecting your opinion as a response to me posting that nor giving mine. Because you were getting into Frederick Douglass above and I saw Bouie recommending the piece by the Douglass scholar, I thought you and others would appreciate seeing their opinions. That is all.

    P.S. That said I would like to make one point: this is not a Confederate monument. The goal posts on the whole Confederate monument thing sure got moved real fast and wide. I think it behooves everyone to think about who is doing that and why. Myself, when that happens, I tend to think of it as a hijacking of a movement, others might think of it as growth.

    It is obvious that it is not a Confederate monument. I appreciate Blight's comments. I posted an article that points out the limits of Lincoln as noted by Douglass himself. Former Delegate Holmes Norton stated her objections to the monument. Included in the article is a statement from the Mayor of D.C.

    On Thursday, D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) announced that the city should debate the removal of the statue, and “not have a mob decide they want to pull it down.”

    I have no problem with her statement or the debate. The people of D.C. can decide.

    It's a beautifully written and powerful essay and I have already seen several teachers say they are going to use it in classes because of the complexity of the issues it raises.

    On the Emancipation Memorial

    The bronze memorial in Lincoln Park dates back to 1876 and was intended to commemorate the Emancipation Proclamation, the executive order signed by Lincoln that ended slavery in the Confederacy. Though the funds for the memorial were raised by freed slaves, they did not have a say in what it would depict. It has long drawn controversy for the position of the freed slave at the feet of Lincoln, whose left hand hovers above the slave’s shirtless back.

    The push to remove the statue comes amid a broader campaign unfolding across the country to remove or topple statues and monuments that are seen by some as honoring racist historical figures. Discussions around the Emancipation Memorial, however, have proved to be more thorny, with everyone from local residents to President Trump debating what the interaction between the two figures was intended to convey.

    “The meaning is degrading,” said Marcus Goodwin, a candidate for the District of Columbia Council. “To see my ancestors at the feet of Lincoln — it’s not imagery that inspires African-Americans to see themselves as equal in this society.”

    The debate will be interesting 

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