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There are 16 comments on POV: A Monument to White Supremacy Stands in Our Own Backyard

  1. Thanks for sharing your viewpoint on the Lincoln statue.
    I’m from upstate NY where Washington ordered the 1779 Sullivan expedition that effectively wiped out the Iroquois to win the war and allow for post-war settlements. Do we take down the Washington monuments?

    1. Hi Anne. I’ll have to do some research on that expedition, but speaking broadly, I do think it’s right and proper to reconsider all those (almost all white men) who have been put on a pedestal, literally and figuratively, by our predecessors. For instance, when we talk about reconsidering the contributions of slaveholders like George Washington, we have to consider that all or part of what they contributed directly benefitted from enslaving people, which, for them, was equal to both more money and time. Time to raise a family, to build a business, to start a Revolution. All on the backs of lives stolen from others. We need to incorporate the stories of those who were enslaved by them in our analysis, as well as their actions that have been left out of the broader narrative we’ve been taught.

  2. To me President Lincoln is showing compassion and sympathy with his facial expression and hand gesture. A very great and wise white man who freed a people from 3 centuries of bondage. Also it must be remembered that over 500,000 thousand white people paid with their lives on the battle field to end the scourge of slavery in this country. THIS STATUE MUST STAY!!!!!!

  3. Why do we assume every statue automatically deserves an indefinite lease on public land? These works are a reflection of the people in power at the time they are commissioned. The monuments we display in public should honor our past in a way that inspires those of us living on earth in the present. This monument clearly does NOT.

  4. There is nothing more cynical than privileged utopian academics advocating erasure of our history. These monuments are testaments of their time and no current political views should threaten their existence. You have not built it – why are you calling for its removal and destruction? Let the people go through a democratic process and decide what should stay and what should go for referendum and present your case.

    As a side note, not since national socialists took power in pre-war Germany have academics and people of arts called for burning or censoring books, destroying monuments, renaming streets, or altering theatre plays.

    We are headed in a scary direction where quasi-academics who are unable to survive in the real world are leading the youth we entrusted them with.

    1. There is a difference between erasing history and removing statues that idolizes men that perpetuated systemic racism and misogyny. For example, we learn about WWII and Hitler, but do we see statues of him? No. Statues serve a community by idolizing and putting those figures on literal and figurative platforms. Statues remind a community of the values they hold and the leaders they want to be. This may have been the case at the time the statue was first erected, but it has outlived its purpose.

      Statues like this one should be removed from public spaces and placed in museums where we can analyze them in a historical context, allowing us to accurately remember our history while simultaneously removing them from our cultural value standards.

      1. Surely you’re not putting President Abraham Lincoln and Adolf Hitler in the same category, are you?

        It is true that American history is full of shameful events. Yet, erasing our past and pretending it never happened does everyone a disservice. Americans already have a poor knowledge of history, and good knowledge of our nation’s history is essential to preserving its democracy. The purpose of history is to teach us about our past, not to make us feel good.

        Erasing our past will make future generations ignorant. We need to know and remember our nation’s history to ensure past mistakes are not repeated.

        I am against taking down statues and monuments, but I am all for adding more statues and monuments to reflect the diversity of our great nation.

  5. I don’t like taking down statues
    They are part of our history
    However, I never liked this statue of Lincoln and slave. It seems patronizing It is not uplifting.
    Like all art I realize others may interpret it differently .
    It is not in a very good location anyway so many people have never seen it up close

    1. Not all statues are truly part of history.

      Although this one might be symbolic of an actual historic event, many other monuments (eg Most Confederate monuments, most Columbus monuments) are built to launch myths and perpetuate the myths as historical facts.

      The park where this one stands was once a traffic rotary with hundreds of cars and and pedestrians circling around all day… Then they built two buildings right next to it and rerouted the traffic.

      This statue was from the same mold as the original in Washington DC, which was commissioned and paid for by former slaves.

  6. Pertinent different POV:
    1. The statue does not show a white man standing over a black man. The statue is all one color and Lincoln and the slave are the SAME COLOR. Both members of the HUMAN race.
    2. Lincoln’s hand is pointing as if saying,”go! You are free!” Because being a slave is being down on hands and knees as if a dog, but see? He is just beginning to rise up! His chains are broken! (That is powerful imagery) arm forward, one leg up and on his foot the other poised as if on starting blocks. Ready to run his race, just waiting for the emancipator to say, “Go!”
    Take off your “I’m offended” filter and see.

    1. One color? One race? That’s a short-sighted, naive, and insensitive statement.
      I’m not saying I am personally offended, but I consider the views of those who are.

      Abraham Lincoln was the most powerful man in the US, and the slave who modeled for the work was archer Alexander. You don’t see an imbalance of agency there?

      I agree there is some a powerful message and symbolism shown in the work.
      This was cast from the same mold as the original in Washington DC, which was commissioned and paid for by former slaves.

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