Under the new policy just announced in Charlottesville, Virginia, the city will be taking down all but the non-racist war monuments and memorials in all of its public spaces.
Three monuments to the Confederate war, fought to maintain slavery — those of Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and a generic Confederate soldier — will all be removed under the new guidelines.
In addition a heroic equestrian monument to George Rogers Clark is coming down, as Native American genocide has been ruled racist.
A statue of Lewis and Clark almost made the cut as not being a traditional war monument, but the figure of Sacagawea kneeling at their feet like a dog has apparently been sufficient to bump also this statue, which stands in a major Charlottesville intersection, onto the list of those to be moved to a museum.
Further, a memorial to the war that killed 3.8 million Vietnamese — although “Vietnamese” is a more polite and less commonly used term for the people killed than several others employed at the time by U.S. war makers — is going to be removed as well.
The University of Virginia has also agreed to take down its World War I monument after reviewing a display of propaganda posters from that era depicting “the Hun” as a subhuman monster, as well as four-minute-men presentations advocating for a race war against an evil race.
Remaining standing in Charlottesville as examples of monuments to non-racist wars will be . . . nothing whatsoever. But a commission has been established by the City Council to investigate whether it would be possible to wage a non-racist war which might soon thereafter be memorialized.
Three figures depicting war-makers who also enslaved people will remain on the facade of Charlottesville City Hall on the grounds that they are not war monuments at all and depict people, who like all people, did good and ill. Those depicted are Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe.
Statues of Jefferson and of George Washington and of the Greek poet Homer will remain at UVA.
Otherwise, the entire city of Charlottesville will now be devoid of major monuments of any kind until someone decides to put up one to peace or civil rights or women’s rights or the natural environment or the tragedies of genocide and slavery or the accomplishments of activists, authors, workers, artists, educators, scholars, farmers, musicians, athletes, entertainers, and other people of all sorts who can be celebrated for something other than leading racist wars.
The above paragraphs employ a literary device known as satire which was once found useful in stimulating thought, and are intended to communicate that Charlottesville, like many places, is full of nothing but racist war monuments — about which, of course, nothing systematic is actually being contemplated by anyone.
6 thoughts on “BREAKING: Charlottesville to Keep Only Non-Racist War Monuments”
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You do better than most in avoiding promotion of the “good war” dogma that is so important for American exceptionalism.
But the emancipation myth is just as critical and it actually requires more naivete.
I know there are some clever sounding talking points etc about “freeing the slaves” but one should always at least know both sides of the story:
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Please! No more “people” statues of any kind on government property. They have a poor “shelf life” and never tell a complete story. For that we have libraries, the internet, and a free press, which constantly update facts about our favorite heroes. Statues teach us ….. absolutely nothing. As for your reference to Jefferson and Washington, know this. After winning their revolution in 1783, they went on the hunt for “stolen property” taken behind the British lines. This included tens of thousands of slaves who freed themselves by answering the British offer of freedom and safe transit to other British territories. The American diplomats continued demanding return of their “Negroes” well into the 19th century while Britain moved ahead with total abolition by 1833. The story of this history was published in 1920 by Arnett G. Lindsay: “Diplomatic Relations Between the United States and Great Britain Bearing on the Return of Negro Slaves, 1783-1828”; Journal of Negro History Volume 5
Washington in his own words asks to have his “negroes” back before they are sent away from New York Harbor:
“The breach of that [article] which stipulated a restoration of negroes, will be
made the subject of a pointed remonstrance from our minister in Europe to the British Court, with a demand of reparation; and in the meantime Genl: Washington is to insist on a more faithful observance of that stipulation at New York.”—Virginia Delegates in Congress to the Governor of Virginia, 27 May, 1783.
“Some of my own slaves, and those of Mr. Lund Washington who lives at my house, may probably be in New York, but I am unable to give you their description—their names being so easily changed, will be fruitless to give you. If by chance you should come at the knowledge of any of them, I will be much obliged by your securing them, so that I may obtain them again.”—Washington to Daniel Parker, 28 April, 1783.