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When hate is cast in stone
Author: TriSec    Date: 06/13/2020 12:17:30


This poor gentleman is Christopher Columbus. For reasons unclear to me, a few statues of the intrepid Genovese explorer have been vandalized, damaged, and even thrown into a river.

This one is right here in the Italian Neighborhood of Boston - in the appropriately named Christopher Columbus Park. It was erected in 1976, by the Italians in the neighborhood as the patron saint of the Christian organization, The Knights of Columbus.

The statue was randomly destroyed, on a night in Boston that there were no protests going on. Since it had been vandalized previously, the city decided to remove it for now, but I have no doubts that the influential Italians in this city will have it restored when things quiet down.

Perhaps the only place I can say it, Ironically or not..."Because insulting the Italians in the North End of Boston by destroying Chris Columbus makes the black people in Minneapolis feel better how?" But I digress.

Statues are many things to many people. Some honor heroism, events, history...or are simple decorative in a place that cried out for adornment. Others, however, honor the wrong things in the wrong place, or are relics of a defeated worldview. Those statues are worth re-examining to determine their fate.

In the South, there are many hundreds of statues to a defeated dream. You know who they are, mostly by name. But they all have one thing in common - most of them were erected during the Jim Crow era in the wake of the defeat of the Confederacy. It's probably not a coincidence that at the same time Southern legislatures were enacting racist laws to codify former confederate policy, they were erecting statues of the men that would have enforced those policies had they won. It's all very bizarre.

In the ensuing century, many have clung tightly to their southern "heritage" as a way of deflecting criticism of the signs and symbols of a defeated enemy of the United States, but the fact remains that they chose war, and they lost.

But lest you have any doubts, the most egregious of all the statues in the South remains this bizarre caricature of Nathan Bedford Forrest.


This can be found alongside a highway in Nashville, Tennessee. Ol' Nate was a true Southerner; owning a plantation, slaves, real estate, the whole thing. When the war started, he enlisted as a private, and actually worked his way up to becoming a General, and he was quite competent in his chosen field, being the cavalry. But his endgame was among the most brutal ever committed in the United States.

In April 1864, in what has been called "one of the bleakest, saddest events of American military history", troops under Forrest's command massacred Union troops who had surrendered, most of them black soldiers, along with some white Southern Tennesseans fighting for the Union, at the Battle of Fort Pillow. Forrest was blamed for the massacre in the Union press, and this news may have strengthened the North's resolve to win the war.

Forrest joined the Ku Klux Klan in 1867 (two years after its founding) and was elected its first Grand Wizard. The group was a loose collection of local factions throughout the former Confederacy that used violence and the threat of violence to maintain white control over the newly-enfranchised former slaves. The Klan, with Forrest at the lead, suppressed voting rights of blacks in the South through violence and intimidation during the elections of 1868.

If there was ever a confederate statue that needs to be destroyed, it's this one. Lest you have any doubts at all, read the first paragraph of the wikipedia entry:

The monument was designed by Jack Kershaw, a Vanderbilt University alumnus, co-founder of the League of the South, a white nationalist and white supremacist organization, and a former lawyer to James Earl Ray, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's killer. In the face of public criticism of the installation, Kershaw defended the statue by saying, "Somebody needs to say a good word for slavery."

"Somebody needs to say a good word for slavery."

The statue was not erected in 1865, mind you, but rather 1998. 1998!

This is why they all need to be removed.


5 comments (Latest Comment: 06/13/2020 21:53:50 by Will in Chicago)
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