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Pvt Schnapps
08-16-2017, 03:34 PM
From June: https://savingplaces.org/press-center/media-resources/national-trust-statement-on-confederate-memorials#.WZSdRVGQyM8

In recent months, many communities have been vigorously debating anew the impact, meaning, and propriety of Confederate memorials and symbols in the public space. We have received questions from across the political spectrum about our stance on this.

At the National Trust, we believe that historic preservation requires taking our history seriously. We have an obligation to confront the complex and difficult chapters of our past, and to recognize the many ways that our understanding, and characterization, of our shared American story continues to shape our present and future.

That goes for the Civil War, our nation’s bloodiest and most divisive conflict, as well. There are currently hundreds of monuments to the Confederate cause in America. They exist in 31 states, including far-flung places such as Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Arizona, and Montana. Schools and streets all over America bear Confederate names.

While some of these monuments were erected shortly after the war by grieving Southern families to honor the valor of fallen leaders and loved ones, many more were put in place for a more troubling purpose. Decades after the war, advocates of the Lost Cause erected these monuments all over the country to vindicate the Confederacy at the bar of history, erase the central issues of slavery and emancipation from our understanding of the war, and reaffirm a system of state-sanctioned white supremacy.

Put simply, the erection of these Confederate memorials and enforcement of Jim Crow went hand-in-hand. They were intended as a celebration of white supremacy when they were constructed. As recent rallies in Charlottesville and elsewhere illustrate, they are still being used as symbols and rallying points for such hate today.

We should always remember the past, but we do not necessarily need to revere it.

These Confederate monuments are historically significant and essential to understanding a critical period of our nation’s history. Just as many of them do not reflect, and are in fact abhorrent to, our values as a diverse and inclusive nation. We cannot and should not erase our history. But we also want our public monuments, on public land and supported by public funding, to uphold our public values.

Ultimately, decisions about what to do with offending memorials will be made on a case by case basis at the community level. Some memorials can be moved, others altered, and others retained as seen fit. Whatever is decided, we hope that memorials that remain are appropriately and thoughtfully “re-contextualized” to provide information about the war and its causes, and that changes are done in a way that engage with, rather than silence, the past--no matter how difficult it may be.

We should always remember the past, but we do not necessarily need to revere it. As communities work to determine the appropriate balance, we hope they move forward in a transparent, deliberative, and inclusive way that embraces the complexity here, examines many possible alternatives, and allows for a thoughtful community dialogue that gives all sides a chance to be heard.

Rob Weaver
08-17-2017, 06:21 AM
Bravo, Schnapps. To flip the expression: "when history conflicts with mythology, print the history."

rbruno68
08-17-2017, 02:04 PM
I would like to ask a honest question and do not intend to start or engage in a keyboard war because I really have no interest in that. In this debate of taking down monuments and especially in the eyes of the people that want them removed, is it possible for a person to support keeping the monuments where they are and not be a racist or a white supremacist?
Rob

johnduffer
08-17-2017, 02:27 PM
In this debate of taking down monuments and especially in the eyes of the people that want them removed, is it possible for a person to support keeping the monuments where they are and not be a racist or a white supremacist?
Rob


I'm in favor of leaving the monuments alone and I'm not racist or Nazi. As far as in the eyes of those who want them removed I'm not so sure. I don't think history is all that closely scrutinized and the general feeling is the CSA invented slavery and all confederates, even conscripts, adventurers, 'I'm enlisting because all my neighbors are going and it'll be over by Christmas anyway', et al, must have been skinhead racists fighting to oppress others. Robert E. Lee is the same as the Grand Wizard of the KKK. Maybe in another fifty years or so Asian Americans will demand destruction of Korean and Vietnam War monuments since obviously all the soldiers must have been American Imperialist Lackeys. Shorter term I don't see how much longer George Washington can fly under the radar.

NMVolunteer
08-17-2017, 03:32 PM
I would like to ask a honest question and do not intend to start or engage in a keyboard war because I really have no interest in that. In this debate of taking down monuments and especially in the eyes of the people that want them removed, is it possible for a person to support keeping the monuments where they are and not be a racist or a white supremacist?
Rob

I think it is a matter of proper context for the monuments, which depends entirely on what they are, who they celebrate/memorialize, and where they are located. A blanket "keep them all" feels just as short-sighted as a blanket "get rid of them all".

johnduffer
08-17-2017, 04:16 PM
I think it is a matter of proper context for the monuments, which depends entirely on what they are, who they celebrate/memorialize, and where they are located. A blanket "keep them all" feels just as short-sighted as a blanket "get rid of them all".

I agree that should be the case but in fact it won't be. The statue of a confederate soldier in the square of Franklin, Tennessee was erected in 1899 by the Daughters of the Confederacy, one of their inscriptions:

"Would not it be a shame for us
If their memory part from our land and hearts,
And a wrong them to and a shame to us.
The glories they won shall not wane for us.
In legend and lay, our Heroes in Grey
Shall ever live over again for us."


Last night this monument as well as the Carter House and Carnton Plantation had to have police patrols because of threats of destruction due to some nazi loving idiot crashing his vehicle into a crowd in another state. Arthur MacArthur took multiple wounds in the Carter House yard but now it should be burned down to stop white supremacists. yeah, that seems reasoned and well thought out.

Pvt Schnapps
08-18-2017, 02:20 PM
Bravo, Schnapps. To flip the expression: "when history conflicts with mythology, print the history."

Just to clarify, the text in my post came from the National Trust, not me. I've said more than enough already... ;)

Tarheel57
08-20-2017, 02:32 PM
The sole Confederate monument in Massachusetts, on the site of Fort Warren, a Civil war prison on Georges Island, has been boarded over and the state seeks to remove it. The marker simply states:

"During the war between the states, 1861-1865
more than a thousand confederates
were imprisoned here of whom thirteen died

[List of names]

This marker placed in their memory by the
Boston chapter United Daughters of the Confederacy
1963"

The marker is located on the actual historical site, which is a National Historic landmark. The Governor of Mass. Governor Baker has justified it's removal by saying that "we should refrain from the display of symbols, especially in our public parks, that do not support liberty and equality for the people of Massachusetts." The monument has the Seal of the Confederate States of America on it. But why not remove the seal? Or replace the marker with one not bearing the seal? To me, simply removing the entire marker smacks of erasing history.

Jim Mayo
08-20-2017, 04:32 PM
The sole Confederate monument in Massachusetts, on the site of Fort Warren, a Civil war prison on Georges Island, has been boarded over and the state seeks to remove it. The marker simply states:

"During the war between the states, 1861-1865
more than a thousand confederates
were imprisoned here of whom thirteen died

[List of names]

This marker placed in their memory by the
Boston chapter United Daughters of the Confederacy
1963"

The marker is located on the actual historical site, which is a National Historic landmark. The Governor of Mass. Governor Baker has justified it's removal by saying that "we should refrain from the display of symbols, especially in our public parks, that do not support liberty and equality for the people of Massachusetts." The monument has the Seal of the Confederate States of America on it. But why not remove the seal? Or replace the marker with one not bearing the seal? To me, simply removing the entire marker smacks of erasing history.

You forget where it is located, Liberalville.

I think people have gone crazy.

NMVolunteer
08-20-2017, 05:51 PM
I've said it on other websites, but I suspect that people were so fed up over the Jim Crow statues, that they are now taking it out on all Confederate statues and memorials.

thomas aagaard
08-21-2017, 09:04 AM
The sole Confederate monument in Massachusetts, on the site of Fort Warren, a Civil war prison on Georges Island, has been boarded over and the state seeks to remove it. The marker simply states:

"During the war between the states, 1861-1865
more than a thousand confederates
were imprisoned here of whom thirteen died

[List of names]

This marker placed in their memory by the
Boston chapter United Daughters of the Confederacy
1963"

The marker is located on the actual historical site, which is a National Historic landmark. The Governor of Mass. Governor Baker has justified it's removal by saying that "we should refrain from the display of symbols, especially in our public parks, that do not support liberty and equality for the people of Massachusetts." The monument has the Seal of the Confederate States of America on it. But why not remove the seal? Or replace the marker with one not bearing the seal? To me, simply removing the entire marker smacks of erasing history.


Build in 1963 during the civil rights struggle... It was about politics... not about the civil war.

Also 13 out of 1000, had they not been captured, more of them would statistically have died... to sickness and combat.

Hawkeye
08-21-2017, 05:53 PM
1963 was also the 100th Anniversary of the War...

maillemaker
08-23-2017, 12:10 AM
I've said it on other websites, but I suspect that people were so fed up over the Jim Crow statues, that they are now taking it out on all Confederate statues and memorials.

I am 100% certain none of them even know the difference.

Steve

NMVolunteer
08-23-2017, 12:57 AM
Considering the dearth of statues and monuments of Longstreet, Thomas, and Mahone, and considering the timing for the statues, I wonder if there really is a difference. Outside of those statues and memorials on battlefields.

maillemaker
08-23-2017, 08:46 AM
To me, it doesn't really matter why they were erected.

Like any work of art, the meaning is in the eye of the beholder, and the meaning can change over time.

When the u-boat memorial in Laboe was first erected, it was dedicated to the u-boat men of WWI. Then it came to represent u-boat men of WWI and WWII. Now it represents all sailors lost in war.

Even if some of these monuments were raised in defiance of Reconstruction or in defiance of the Civil Rights Movement, it does not mean that I have to appreciate them for those reasons.

Besides, it is a fool's errand to try and figure out which monuments were put up for honorable reasons and which ones weren't. Unless they say, "Erected in defiance of Reconstruction!" or "Erected in defiance of Civil Rights!" or something similar like the Liberty Place monument, then you really can't say for most of these monuments if the sentiment matched the inscription or not.

For good or ill (and probably for good), the Civil War ended on a note of reconciliation, not punitive repression. There was no great purge and repression of Confederate symbols as there was with Nazi symbols after the defeat of Germany in WWII. Besides which this country has always valued freedom of speech, especially political speech, and by the time the big run-up of these monuments around 1910 everyone was well and truly a United States citizen and any attempts to repress monuments at that time may well have run into 1st Amendment issues in court.

The real issue here is does the "state" want to continue to curate the monuments that have fallen into their possession over the last century. If not, then they should be sold off or given away to people or organizations who want them.

Our Civil War Round Table takes up collections for battlefield preservation. I think the focus should shift to buying up monuments.

Steve

NMVolunteer
08-23-2017, 09:19 AM
Statues in museums and private homes are art. Statues in public places are state-sponsored propaganda, so context and meaning are essential and can never be honestly removed.

maillemaker
08-23-2017, 10:35 AM
Statues in museums and private homes are art. Statues in public places are state-sponsored propaganda

Artwork doesn't have to be in a museum or a private home to be art. There are many public murals that are clearly art. There are countless public artworks not in museums or private homes that were erected solely for artistic reasons. One man's art is another man's propaganda, and vice versa.

But this is beside the point. Even if you say that monuments are not art (they are), my point is that like art what you see when you look at a monument is different for different people. One person sees slavery. Another person sees defiance of Reconstruction. Another simply takes, "In memory of the boys who wore the gray" at face value.

Again, meaning often changes over time for different people.

Steve

NMVolunteer
08-23-2017, 01:05 PM
It usually takes time for public statues to become art, and that usually happens long after the person or event is forgotten by the intended target. The ancient Greek and Roman statues come to mind; they are now art, but they used to be "look at how wealthy and important I am" or "in death, I have become a god" message to the plebs. The intended targets of the Confederate statues are still alive, so I would argue that they have not become art yet.

johnduffer
08-23-2017, 04:44 PM
The intended targets of the Confederate statues are still alive, so I would argue that they have not become art yet.

And who are the "intended targets" of all the Confederate statues? Art or weapon, it's still in the eye of the beholder. The knee jerking I've seen is much more because of psycho idiots that brandish Confederate flags and swastikas before they kill than anything to do with why statues were erected at the time.

NMVolunteer
08-23-2017, 04:57 PM
For some of those statues (like the White League memorial and the statues in predominantly black neighborhoods), they were erected as reminders that the people in charge in the 1950s and 1920s are the same people in charge in the 1850s. For decades, people have asked that some of the statues be removed or replaced, but the cries of "heritage" meant that the people in charge want to keep all. So the people who asked for some to be removed have escalated to ask for all to be removed. The South shot itself in the foot when it set up statues to intimidate the freedmen, because modern people seem to be less inclined to care about the distinction between honoring and intimidating.

maillemaker
08-23-2017, 11:15 PM
It usually takes time for public statues to become art

They were art from day one.

I'm not one of these people who think that any slosh of paint on a canvas is art, either. My metric for art is, "If anyone can do it, it's not art."

But you look at any lifelike sculpture of a human being - that's art.

Now that monstrosity of Forrest on I-65...maybe that ain't art.

Steve

NMVolunteer
08-23-2017, 11:34 PM
"I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description, and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it..."

EDIT:
Which is why I work at a history museum, not an art museum.

dlindow13
09-13-2017, 04:04 PM
In my town, there has been a statue "Dedicated to our Confederate Heroes" on the courthouse lawn since the 1890's. It was erected with funds from the UDC, and the dedication was attended by some of the surviving Confederate veterans of the town. Being in Kentucky, it was a town that was split. Many fought for both sides. I wish there was also a monument/memorial for the Union soldiers as well, especially since there were many regiments raised here, including USCT regiments. Since August, there has been a petition to have it removed, with the opportunity to address the county fiscal court and county commissioners. People that wished to have it removed, respectfully voiced their opinion, as did those who wished to keep it. At the end of the meeting, the speakers from both sides shook hands and hugged. I think this whole topic would be much easier if everyone had this sort of attitude. Just respect the people talking without being crazy.

Rob Weaver
09-13-2017, 06:52 PM
I think your suggestion of adding to helps to tell the story much better than taking away would.