Last week, the city of Charlottesville, Virginia decided to have a magnificent piece of artwork destroyed. A statue of Robert E. Lee was melted down after being cut into pieces. The statue had presided over downtown Charlottesville for nearly a century. It was destroyed at an unidentified foundry “somewhere in the U.S. south,” per the Washington Post, which reported organizers are withholding the exact location for safety reasons. A community initiative dubbed “Swords Into Plowshares” plans to use the bronze ingots to create a new work of public art it intends to gift to the city.
“Now we embark upon an opportunity to create something beautiful and positive,” Jalane Schmidt, one of the project’s lead organizers, said in a statement.
I can only imagine what that will be.
One of my friends, Miss Teresa Roane, who was a curator at the Museum of the Confederacy before it was shut down, phrased it eloquently:
Friends contacted me today (Saturday) because they were upset about the melting down of the Lee memorial in Charlottesville. I thought I would share the end of my presentation “Robert E. Lee from Engineer to President.” I hope that this will give you some comfort and strength.
In conclusion, we are now living in difficult times. There are organizations that want to eradicate Confederate history and heritage. However, no matter how they may try, one cannot eliminate the memory of Robert E. Lee.
His presence is everywhere especially if one visits Fort Monroe in Virginia, Fort Pulaski in Georgia or views the mighty Mississippi River. His brilliant military leadership is still part of the curriculum in schools around the world. Washington College now known as Washington and Lee University was saved by Lee’s leadership. Most of all, he lives on in the hearts of the Southern people. I want to conclude with a prayer of Lee’s: “Help me to be, to think, to act what is right because it is right; make me truthful, honest and honorable in all things; make me intellectually honest for the sake of right and honor and without thought of reward to me.”
I would like to share an excerpt that was printed in the June 1906 edition of the Confederate Veteran. I found it to be an interesting take on Confederate monuments, and I hope you will too. Thank you, Teresa Roane, for this excerpt.
From General Stephen D. Lee’s speech April 1906
There are three things peculiarly left for our concern. One of these is the erection of public monuments to our Confederate dead; not only to our leaders, but, above all, to those private soldiers who made our leaders immortal. We must not overtask posterity by expecting those who come after us to build monuments to heroes whom their own generation were unwilling to commemorate. The South has reached a position of material prosperity which justifies both State and private beneficence to honor the faithful dead.
In all human lot there has nothing better been found for man than to die for his country. If there be any virtue, if there be any praise, this fate is to be preferred above all others. We feel it is well with those who have thus fulfilled the highest of all trusts, the duty of a citizen to his native land; and whatever may have been their private faults, their public service on the field of battle has rightly given them a place with the immortals. Theirs was the martyr’s devotion without the martyr’s hope. Their generation and their country imposed upon them this high service. They fulfilled it without flinching. They felt that the issue of the battle was with God; the issue of their duty was with themselves….
I urge monuments to the Confederate soldier first for the sake of the dead, but most for the sake of the living, that in this busy industrial age these stones to the Confederate soldier may stand like great interrogation marks to the soul of each beholder.
Zoe Strozewski – 1/6/2022 The same company that took down the Robert E. Lee statue in Richmond, Virginia, was hired to dismantle the city’s last major Confederate statue and the pedestals where other Civil War-linked monuments used to stand.
The monument of Confederate General A.P. Hill and his remains, which are buried beneath the statue, will be removed, according to procurement documents.
The city announced on Wednesday that Newport News-based Team Henry Enterprises bid $1.5 million on the project and was awarded the contract, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported. The upcoming removal of the final major Confederate statue stemmed from efforts that began in the summer of 2020, when the U.S. erupted in mass protests calling for racial justice after the killing of George Floyd. Virginia Governor Ralph Northam and Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney ordered their removal that summer and set the process in motion.
Last week, Northam and Stoney announced a tentative plan to transfer ownership of the dismantled monuments to the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia. Under the proposal, the Black History Museum would then be able to work with The Valentine museum and local community members to decide the fate of the monuments.
Another company, Stratified Inc., said it could complete the work for $1 million. But as Richmond was preparing to award it the contract, the city found that the Washington-based company didn’t have a necessary state contractor’s license. A city official familiar with the process told the Times-Dispatch that Team Henry protested plans to award the contract to the other company. Stratified Inc. CEO Clive Diaz said Wednesday that he intended to get the license immediately, but lawyers he consulted told him that the city had the right to reject the bid without it.
In 2020, Richmond awarded a $1.8 million contract to a shell company associated with Team Henry to remove the city’s Confederate statues. Henry later said he formed the shell company for safety reasons, as contractors taking down Confederate monuments in other places had been threatened or subject to violence.
The Virginia State Police investigated the deal after former Councilwoman Kim Gray raised concerns that company owner Devon Henry had previously donated to the mayor’s election campaign and political action committee. A prosecutor didn’t find evidence of public corruption and ended the investigation last summer.
Richmond’s chief administrative officer, Lincoln Saunders, told the Times-Dispatch on Wednesday that state officials had suggested Henry for this last job after already engaging him to remove the Lee statue.
(Article courtesy of The Southern Comfort, Private Samuel A. Hughey Camp 1452, Sons of Confederate Veterans and President Jefferson Davis Chapter, Military Order of the Stars and Bars, Volume 46, Issue No. 2, February 2022)
“Any society which suppresses the heritage of its conquered minorities, prevents their history or denies them their symbols, has sown the seeds of their own destruction.”
Sir William Wallace, 1281 A.D.
There has been an assault going on for quite some time on Confederate monuments and markers. The most alarming is what’s taking place in Virginia. Governor Ralph Northam and Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney have taken it upon themselves to aggressively go after and do away with any reminder of the Confederacy, even though Richmond was the capital of the Confederate States of America for nearly all of the Civil War. I find this alarming because, even though the political climate has changed over the past century and a half, history should never be erased. It stands as a reminder to what happened in the past, and whether interpreted as good or bad, it is still a valuable part of American history. Germany intentionally has left what remains of old stalags as reminders of the terrible history it experienced under Nazism. I think America should do the same.
This brings to mind the recent desecration of Monument Avenue in Richmond. What used to be a beautiful area in the heart of the city, with its magnificent monuments, has utterly been destroyed. I visited Richmond when I attended the UDC Convention back in (I believe) 2011, and I thought the avenue was absolutely stunning. Unfortunately, last year, Black Lives Matter was given free rein to desecrate the monuments, as well as buildings around them, by any and all means possible. They covered the monument bases with graffiti and were even allowed to chisel away at some of them. As far as I know, no arrests were ever made. What an atrocity, and shameful for the city of Richmond. I, for one, will never visit Richmond again.
It’s my understanding that Monument Avenue was on the National Historic Sites Register, and because of that, it should have been protected. But apparently not, since all of the magnificent statues have been taken down. The last one to be removed was that of General Robert E. Lee. The statue was even cut in half. They are considering giving the Robert E. Lee monument to the Black History Museum, which has said that they will melt the statue down and make it into something else. I can only imagine what that might be.
The Richmond City Council recently allocated $1.3 million to build a national slavery museum.
“The response can’t be to build back up Monument Avenue,” Hones said. “It must be to build back the antithesis of what was torn down. And the best thing to do is to become serious as a council and administration to tell the true story … of what’s in place in Virginia.”
The city of Richmond has received numerous offers for the monuments, which are being stored in a sewage facility. The matter will be decided on January 18, 2022.
The following is a list of groups who wish to obtain the monuments: 1. Liberty Hall Fife & Drums 2. Ratcliffe Foundation/Ellenbrook 3. Shenandoah Valley Battlefield Foundation 4. VA Division – Sons of Confederate Veterans 5. Valentine Museum 6. United States of America Naval History & Heritage Command 7. Fontaine/Maury Society 8. JEB Stuart Birthplace Preservation Trust 9. CSA II: The New Confederate States of America Inc. – Monument Establishment & Preservation Fund 10. Belmead on the James 11. Shannon Pritchard/Hickory Hill/Wickham Family 12. Sumter County SC Sons of Confederate Veterans 13. LAXArt Museum 14. Spotsylvania Historical Association 15. DARNstudio 16 Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation 17. Preserve America’s Battlefields 18. Private individual 1 – David Hinton 19. Private individual 2 – Michael Boccicchio 20. Private individual 3 – Olivia Tautkus 21. Private individual 4 – James Cochrane, Jr. 22. Private individual 5 – Austin Wylam 23. Liberty Hall Plantation
There is no submission from the Black History Museum, but it seems that they will receive legal ownership of most of the monuments and their bases. It also seems that the Valentine Museum will “partner” with the Black History Museum in gaining ownership of the monuments. However, the Valentine Museum has only submitted a request for the Valentine sculptured statue of Jefferson Davis.
I subscribe to Civil War Talk, and wanted to share some entries.
From Viper 21:
“City and state officials have reached an agreement to transfer ownership of the statue and pedestal of Gen. Robert E. Lee to the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia, which has also agreed to take possession of all the other Confederate memorials removed from Richmond since last year.
“Under this arrangement, Richmond’s Black History Museum would work in partnership with the Valentine museum — which has chronicled the city’s history for more than a century — and local community members to determine the fates of the stone and bronze symbols of the Confederacy.
“The deal requires approval by Richmond’s City Council. Mayor Levar Stoney — who hammered out some of the details with Gov. Ralph Northam (D) — said in a written statement that the arrangement enables the community to take a deliberate approach in reckoning with such divisive symbols.
“‘Entrusting the future of these monuments and pedestals to two of our most respected institutions is the right thing to do,’ Stoney said in the statement, obtained by The Washington Post … ‘They will take the time that is necessary to properly engage the public and ensure the thoughtful disposition of these artifacts.’”
Sgt. Cycom from L.A. summed it up: “The people that are loudest in calling for ‘unity’ and ‘inclusion’ are almost always projecting their own intolerance and inability to compromise. I hope these monuments remain so that I can take my family to see them in a few years. I pray history is preserved and not destroyed. Giving these monuments to people who will continue to desecrate them is disgusting, infuriating and despicable.”
As a side note, the majority of Richmond residents voted for the monuments to remain intact on Monument Avenue.
It seems that nothing is sacred. Statues that were once renowned as cherished artifacts from the past aren’t even safe in cemeteries anymore. It makes me sick that people have no respect for the dead, or for others’ ancestors. Here’s one example.
Atlanta Council members passed a resolution a week ago Monday night declaring that the city should remove the Lion of the Confederacy statue, which has been vandalized, and place it in temporary storage.
The 127-year-old Lion of the Confederacy statue, built by T.M. Brady and dedicated on Confederate Memorial Day in 1894, was erected to honor the 3,000 unknown Confederate soldiers buried at the cemetery. The lion overlooks the graves. Oakland Cemetery is the final resting place of more than 70,000 residents, including famous Atlantans, mayors and governors, and is also home to a 65-foot Confederate obelisk, built in 1870.
Georgia law includes a statute that can make it difficult for local governments to remove a Confederate monument, because it is considered unlawful to damage, relocate or remove a monument dedicated to the United States or the Confederacy. However, the Georgia General Assembly adopted updates to the law last year that allows for “appropriate measures for the preservation, protection and interpretation of such [a] monument or memorial.”
Local governments throughout metro Atlanta have also simply started ignoring the law over the last two years. Council approved a $33,000 contract with Superior Rigging and Erecting Co. to remove the lion statue. The City has not said where it will be located long-term, and did not say when the statue removal would take place.
(Article courtesy of the Dixie Heritage Newsletter, August 26, 2021 ed.)
It looks like the city of Richmond is in a sticky situation, and Mayor Stoney’s plans have been foiled…at least for the time being. I guess Stoney never got the memo stating that if you take down your monuments, you erase your history, and then history is bound to repeat itself.
JUST TWO LITTLE THINGS
The City of Richmond apparently never has owned one of the Confederate monuments it is trying to get rid of. That’s the statue of Gen. A.P. Hill that has stood since 1892 at what is now the intersection of Laburnum Avenue and Hermitage Road.
Seeking to match Monument Avenue with its statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, cigarette magnate Lewis Ginter arranged with the Hill family for Gen. Hill’s body to be moved from Hollywood Cemetery and reinterred at the current site, and then commissioned the statue as an oversized grave marker.
Apparently, the City never required Mr. Ginter to give the property or the statue to the city. The City Attorney’s Office conducted an extensive search of property records after receiving a query from city resident Michael Sarahan and, according to Mr. Sarahan, “found no record of a deed or other document conveying property rights to the City.” Mr. Sarahan said that James Nolan, press secretary to Mayor Levar M. Stoney, confirmed that the city has found nothing in the way of a record of a legal transfer.
Mr. Sarahan, a former assistant city attorney, said that finding indicates the statue is not an improper encroachment. For the city, the fact it has no evident ownership means it will need to do one of the following: undertake condemnation proceedings to acquire the property, force the sale for delinquent property taxes and buy it at auction, or find the heirs of the last known owner and have them agree to relinquish their rights.
The Stoney administration had indicated that there is a deal with the family, which has agreed to relocate the statue, pedestal and grave (issue #2). Whether the family will voluntarily proceed with removal now that the City does not own the property (issue #1) is unknown.
(Article courtesy of the Dixie Heritage Newsletter, July 23, 2021 ed.)
It goes beyond words how despicable this is. I really wish the destruction of our history would end, but unfortunately, I don’t see any end in sight.
Ghoulish Virginia Democrats Planning to Dig Up Confederate General’s Grave Without Relocation Plan
By Cassandra Fairbanks
In one of the most disturbing tales to come from Richmond, Virginia’s moves to erase history, they are now planning to dig up the grave of Confederate General Ambrose Powell Hill, according to a new report.
To make the matter even more ghoulish, the city has not actually come up with a plan yet on what to do with his remains that have been in the location since 1892.
General Hill had requested he be buried under the memorial in his will, ABC 8 reports.
“He had left in his will that he wanted to be buried in Richmond. I’m not sure why Richmond because he wasn’t from Richmond and didn’t have any particularly strong Richmond roots that I’m aware of,” Bob Balster, president of the Hermitage Road Historic District Association told 8News.
To ensure his wishes were carried out, Confederate veterans who served under Hill raised money for the monument and the land was donated by Lewis Ginter.
The National File reports that an effort “led by Mayor Levar Stoney and backed by Governor Ralph Northam, anti-history Democrats in Richmond, Virginia are finalizing plans to dig up the remains of Confederate General Ambrose Powell Hill, who lies beneath a towering statue dedicated in his honor and now marked for removal amidst efforts to erase all traces of the Confederacy from its former capital.”
Though the city removed nearly all of their Confederate statues during the terroristic Black Lives Matter riots last year, the general’s statue and grave had remained.
To circumvent laws against desecrating graves, the Democrats are reportedly designating the grave a threat to traffic safety, giving them the power to remove it.
According to the National File, under the removal plans, “workers will remove the bronze statue of the General before destroying its stone pedestal and removing the sarcophagus containing his remains. Details of what the city plans to do with Hill’s remains are unclear, and the project is estimated to carry a taxpayer-funded price tag of over $33,000.”
(Article courtesy of the Southern Comfort, Private Samuel A. Hughey Camp 1452 Sons of Confederate Veterans, Military Order of the Stars and Bars, President Jefferson Davis Chapter, Volume 45, Issue No. 6, June 2021 ed.)
I’m really not sure what to make of this. Please share your views. Do you think this is okay, or is it an infringement on existing artwork? It is understandable how the artist is making a statement against a longstanding monument in Richmond, but is it really appropriate?
ONLY IN NEW YORK
Perpetually crowded Times Square has a new statue for pedestrians to navigate – but it’s unlike any other.
Artist Kehinde Wiley unveiled his biggest work ever … a massive bronze statue of a young African American man in urban streetwear sitting astride a galloping horse.
Called “Rumors of War,” it flips the script on traditional statutes commemorating white generals. Wiley described his bold work as a call to arms for inclusivity.
He told The Associated Press afterward that he hoped young people would see it and “see a sense of radical possibility – this, too, is America.”
The project was born when Wiley saw Confederate Gen. J.E.B. Stuart’s monument in Richmond, Virginia.
The unveiling was bookended by performances from the marching band from Malcolm X Shabazz High School in Newark, New Jersey and an unveiling speech by Confederate monument opponent and Richmond, Virginia Mayor Levar Stoney.
(Article courtesy of Dixie Heritage Newsletter, Oct. 4, 2019 ed.)
Last night, angry protesters pulled another Confederate statue from its pedestal. This time, is was Silent Sam, which had stood on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill since 1913. This comes one year after the destruction of a Confederate monument in Durham, North Carolina.
Silent Sam was paid for by University Alumni and the UDC. It was erected as a memorial to the Confederate alumni who died in the War Between the States, and to all the students who joined the CSA.
The statue has been the topic of controversy for nearly a year. Recently, UNC decided to leave the statue alone for now. But irate protesters took matters into their own hands and confronted police, who were told to stand down after smoke canisters were hurled at them by the mob.
UNC issued a statement today, saying that “mob rule” will not be tolerated. UNC’s Board of Governors said they conferred with UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Carol Folt, and promised that a full investigation would be conducted. Chancellor Folt, however, has expressed her disdain for the monument in the past.
“Campus leadership is in collaboration with campus police, who are pulling together a timeline of the events, reviewing video evidence, and conducting interviews that will inform a full criminal investigation,” the Board of Governors said.
Don’t expect much to come of it. Charges against the perpetrators of last year’s event in Durham were eventually dropped.
The Durham City-County Committe on Confederate Monuments and Memorials is hosting public meetings until October to decide if that monument will be replaced, or if something else will be put in its place. The committee will hold a meeting this Thursday at the City Council chambers at 7 p.m., so if you can, show your support in returning the original statue.
Something bizaare is going on in North Carolina, that much is certain. College kids are not learning their history, or they wouldn’t spew things like the Silent Sam statue “has hurt so many people.” Nor would this incident have occurred. A student of UNC, Maya Little, faces expulsion and criminal charges after dousing a Confederate statue on campus with red paint and her own blood. Seriously? That’s out of control.
Let me know what you think on the subject. Do these students have the right to take down public monuments? Do you think this is an act of socialism or Marxism? And do you think the students involved should be expelled, and their parents fined?
The Capitol houses nine statues commemorating Confederate figures, including Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, and John C. Calhoun. The Congressional Black Caucus also proposed removing the statues from the Capitol building, with chairman and Rep. Cedric Richmond saying: “We will never solve America’s race problem if we continue to honor traitors who fought against the United States in order to keep African Americans in chains. By the way, thank god, they lost.”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi also called for the statues’ removal on Thursday, asking House Speaker Paul Ryan and other Republicans to support the effort. “The Confederate statues in the halls of Congress have always been reprehensible,” Pelosi said in a statement posted on Twitter. “If Republicans are serious about rejecting white supremacy, I call upon Speaker Ryan to join Democrats to remove the Confederate statues from the Capitol immediately.”
THE IRONY OF THE ABOVE ARTICLE
NANCY PELOSI’S FATHER HELPED DEDICATE CONFEDERATE MONUMENT
By Brooke Singman, Published August 24, 2017
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has ramped up calls to remove “reprehensible” Confederate statues from the halls of Congress — but left unsaid in her public denunciations is that her father helped dedicate such a statue decade ago while mayor of Baltimore.
It was May 2, 1948, when, according to a Baltimore Sun article from that day, “3,000” looked on as then- Governor William Preston Lane Jr. and Pelosi’s father, the late Thomas D’Alesandro Jr., spoke at the dedication of a monument to honor Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson.
The article said Lane delivered a speech, and Mayor D’Alesandro “accepted” the memorial.
“Today, with our nation beset by subversive groups and propaganda which seeks to destroy our national unity, we can look for inspiration to the lives of Lee and Jackson to remind us to be resolute and determined in preserving our sacred institutions,” D’Alesandro said in his dedication. “We must remain steadfast in our determination to preserve freedom, not only for ourselves, but for the other liberty-loving nations who are striving to preserve their national unity as free nations.”
He added: “In these days of uncertainty and turmoil, Americans must emulate Jackson’s example and stand like a stone wall against aggression in any form that would seek to destroy the liberty of the world.”
With President Trump cautioning that the drive to purge Confederate statues could represent a slippery slope, the White House has flagged Pelosi’s family history as she fuels the statue opposition.
Counselor Kellyanne Conway tweeted an earlier article from RedAlertPolitics noting Pelosi’s father’s role.