Monument Avenue vandalism

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Doug Callahan

Doug Callahan is a grad student at VCU and the community news intern here at RVANews. When he’s not working toward his degree, Doug enjoys playing music, watching cartoons, and carousing with friends. His talents include the ability to move his scalp and play the “William Tell Overture” on his teeth. He loves each and every one of you, in very different ways.

94 comments on Monument Avenue vandalism

  1. Chris on said:

    They speak the truth!

  2. Nathan on said:

    At least both of these men stood up for their beliefs and risked their lives for their principles instead of sneaking around at night and hiding behind their anonymity.

  3. Amy on said:

    I know this is vandalism. But, it’s not like their…message…is something I object to. Those men depicted on the statues aren’t heros in my opinion. And neither are those who “protect the monuments” and dress up in Confederate flags (I’m not sure what that phenomenon is all about, I’ve witnessed it this past year though).

  4. Taylor on said:

    Racism can go both ways. Not pretty when it’s done to either side.

  5. Regardless of how you feel about the men themselves, defacing a historic monument in this way is just immature and unnacceptable.

  6. Mark on said:

    Davis I can understand, but Lee? If you’re only going to tag two statues, there are better ones to deface in the city.

  7. Jeff E. on said:

    There far better ways to stand up for one’s beliefs than defacing property. Because they chose to vent this way, this person is lumped in with the rest of the self-absorbed taggers in the City. Sorry… the message is lost.

  8. Stating an opinion would be marching with signs, or even planting a sign on a stake.

    Spray painting an historic monument, regardless of what you think about what it says, is vandalism. All they managed to do was to cost the City money to clean it up.

  9. anonymous on said:

    Besides being kicked out of school/college, the vandal (s) should have to do community service for a year or two and be forced to watch the entirety of Ken Burn’s PBS Civil War series.

  10. Fan District 9 on said:

    I can’t tolerate the sloppy penmanship. S/he should have used a stencil (ala Banksy) rather than just scribble something …

  11. Lee didn’t support slavery; he supported Virginia.

    We call our foundation conflicts the Revolutionary War and the Civil War but they weren’t really either – they were both rebellions. A civil war involves a contest between two or more armed factions for control of a government or country. In our case the governments of the southern states decided to leave the Union; the state governments continued to exist under largely the same leadership and the Confederate Constitution was extremely similar to the Union’s Constitution. The leadership of the Union, first Buchanan and then Lincoln, objected to the secession and eventually invaded the southern states to force them to rejoin.

    The South was invaded by the North; that’s the truth and it makes the actual situation much less morally crisp than what’s depicted in history books. People had to make difficult, morally ambiguous decisions and stick with them. Virginia was placed in an untenable position: participate in the invasion or be invaded. It stalled but eventually seceded. Lee – whose family, property and obligations were centered in the Washington, DC suburbs – was faced with a set of bad choices, but he chose the option he thought was least odious and stuck with it all the way down. He demonstrated honor and character far beyond the capabilities of most people.

    Sooner or later, everybody makes hard choices with bad options, and has to live with the consequences. People who don’t grasp the significance of Lee are ignorant, immature or simply lack the capacity for empathy.

  12. Luke on said:

    It’s simply vandalism. Lee and Davis both stood up for what they believed in. They fought for the rights of the states and defended it in a war. Robert E Lee actually opposed slavery. His wife and daughter helped liberate slaves and Lee himself wanted to allow blacks to join the Confederate army. They stood up for their homeland and were very significant figures in Virginia and American History. Trying to lump them into some racist slogan is simply ignorant and obviously done by someone with no real knowledge of history.

  13. Agree with Holly and Runcible all the way. If you live in Richmond, enjoy this great gift of being so close to history — both the good and the bad. Live it, learn it. You must live in a world where you disagree with lots of things and people, but that doesn’t give you the right to deface anything you disagree with. Make your own, new monuments and enjoy them, if you like.

  14. ComeOn on said:

    First of all, it’s just paint on stone, folks. No one got hurt and your beloved confederate history is in no danger here in Richmond.

    Second, they should honor the monuments just because they’re historical? Seriously? Do you think Jews living near Auschwitz should honor the camp’s buildings just because they’re historical? Fuck that. I’d start a fund to buy their spray paint.

    And before you flip out, I’m not even saying that Lee was necessarily a really bad guy. I understand that he even grew to oppose slavery. BUT he still fought on the side that was in support of it (I know, I know, states rights, blah blah). And imagine being a young African American living in a city that so openly reveres the people who fought to keep your great grandparents as slaves. It’s no wonder there are still so many race issues in Richmond. Also, I know that there is no evidence that these were African Americans that did this; I was just making a point about the implications of the monuments and why they would instill some anger.

    Third, “Make your own monument” is a pretty ridiculous argument. I’ll get right on that. And there are efforts to do that for Gabriel Prosser, but instead, he rests under a VCU parking lot. To quote Tim Barry: “I live in a city that’s 54% black and it’s embarrassing and I feel the priorities are going in the wrong direction. I’m not saying that tax based money needs to go into perpetuating the reminder that whites enslaved blacks but there should be significant monuments that equal out the ridiculousness of Confederate monuments that are all over the fucking city. To me it would mean a lot. Almost like a public apology.”

    Last, regardless of what you believe about their ideals, these men are not heroes. They failed. Monument is littered with second-place trophies.

  15. To ComeOn: You seem so intelligent in your writing, only to use vandalism as a way to spread anti-Richmond, anti-history hatred. You also sound like a “come-here” with statements like “Monument is littered with second-place trophies.” Move out of Richmond, the war is over and you’re the one still taking sides.

    To Everyone: Spraypainting “No Hero” isn’t enough evidence to make this a racial argument. Don’t give support to the vandal by using their action as a springboard to disrespecting Monument Avenue and Virginia’s place in Confederate history. Slavery was just one part of that war, and remembering and honoring Virginians that fought is important, just as honoring any historic figure would be.

    BTW, I live near Bryan Park, I know the story of Gabriel Prosser and respect what he stood for and honor his memory. I’ve written about him, war heroes, politicians, environmentalists, et al.

  16. Dean on said:

    In any argument, the way to instantly lose is to resort to vandalism. Vandals are always the fools.

  17. I, too, am against the tagging, but, hello, Lee owned slaves — the several he already owned, then many more through his marriage. He even had some of them whipped when they escaped and were returned. And he famously wrote, regarding slavery: “The painful discipline they are undergoing is necessary for their instruction as a race.” He thought the abolitionists were evil and that we should just wait for “Merciful Providence” to eventually end the institution. Other than that, though, a fine Virginia gentleman.

  18. @Come On – Say what you will about South Carolina or Georgia, but the reason Virginia seceded was to avoid war. On April 15, 1861 Lincoln informed Virginia that it would need to supply troops to suppress the rebellion in the states of the deep south and Texas. Previous to that date Virginia had been pro-Union but the sentiment reversed once it was clear Lincoln intended to deploy arms to bring the rebel states back into the fold. On April 20th, Lee resigned from the U.S. Army, after an interview with Winfield Scott where he barely spoke, until finally declaring that he could not go against Virginia because it would mean destroying his own family.

    As for @Tess’s idea to “make your own monument”, you’re wrong to dismiss it. Arthur Ashe’s monument is there and the Avenue is certainly not out of space. Raise money for additional monuments and, if they’re for worthy subjects, placement on Monument Avenue would be virtually guaranteed.

  19. Defacing monuments is wrong.

    That said — Lee tortured slave girls – and sold their babies. Regularly.

    Lee was not against slavery — in fact, while he said it was evil and painful, he said it was SUPPOSED to be painful. Got that? His letter said slavery was SUPPOSED to be painful — God intended it to be painful.

    Not only that, Lee personally had young women tortured, while he screamed at them.

    In Lee’s own handwritten account books, Lee has the prices he offered for bounty hunters to catch certian young slave girls — girls 13-14 years old. These were escaped mulatto girls — hafl white.

    One girl Lee paid SIX TIMES his normal bounty to capture — she was a very light skinned girl, and she had a white looking baby. Lee was obsessed with getting her back.

    When after months of searching, his bounty hunters caught the girl, Lee had her tortured, while he screamed at her.

    He then sold her child. That’s right, he rented her off to some other slave owner, known for cruelty — and he sold her child.

    That is why Lee’s slaves hated him so much. He was selling their children. Regularly selling the babies born to these young women.

    Go learn what Robert E Lee was really about. Things you will n ever learn in school.

    http://leepapers.blogspot.com/

  20. Lee tortured girls. He sold babies. He had young women tied up and tortured, while he screamed at them.

    Learn the truth about this “hero”

    Google Lee’s papers.

  21. ComeOn on said:

    @Phil, to be clear, I had nothing to do with the tagging. That said, you bring up some good points. The people who did this were obviously immature and could have found a much better way to send their message (if they even know what it is). My real problem is just how people act like this is some kind of tragedy. It’s paint. And I personally do not think that all historic figures should be honored.

    You are also right to say that there is no proof that this is a racial statement. But if it was, it’s disappointing to me that people are more eager to jump to the defense of a dead man than to work toward understanding and alleviating the anger and resentment in Richmond that would influence someone to do this. And just because anger is misplaced and improperly expressed, that doesn’t make it invalid.

    It also bothers me when people try to dismiss slavery as a small part of the war. That may be, but its presence, no matter how small, in the agenda of a group of people is enough to outweigh any positive parts of said agenda. It was one of the worst crimes against humanity in history.

    And I won’t be leaving Richmond. I love Richmond and I love Virginia, even if its residents make mistakes, such as tagging statues or supporting slavery.

  22. @ComeOn – One of the worst crimes against people in history? I think you’re under the misapprehension that Americans invented slavery. Slavery, like poverty, has been a common condition of humanity for as long as we’ve been writing stuff down. We’re ALL descended from slaves and slave-owners alike.

    I’m glad it’s illegal in this country today, but it’s certainly not a unique stain on America or the southern part of it. And it’s odd to me that people are always pointing it out as some kind of uniquely American flaw when we outlawed it earlier than most, and outlawed the Atlantic slave trade before any other country that participated in it.

  23. ComeOn on said:

    I know that America certainly didn’t invent slavery. I’m not an idiot. But in any country where slavery (which is always a horrible crime on humanity) was a divisive institution, I would take issue with the people in that country who were fighting to preserve it.

    And I was basing my statement on what I read in “A People’s History of the United States,” where Howard Zinn asserts that American slavery was “the most cruel form of slavery in history. I’m no historian, so you might be able to tell me some places where I can read otherwise.

  24. Howard Zinn was a crank. U.S. slavery wasn’t even the worst in the hemisphere in the 19th century. The stuff that went on in Cuba, for one, was atrocious. Some of the tropical agricultural slave nations worked so many slaves to death that they couldn’t even maintain the population without importing more.

    I don’t want to apologize for slavery in the U.S. It was an awful institution. But it was not unique to us and people who don’t like us try to undermine our historical confidence by making it seem as if it was.

    Here’s one factoid for you. The 1860 Census – the last before slavery was abolished – reported the deaths of 466 centenarians in the previous decade. 137 of them were white. 39 were “free colored”. 290 were slaves. More slaves were living past 100 than whites; if poor treatment was widespread that would not be possible. It wouldn’t be remotely possible.

    The source is Potter’s American Monthly, a late 19th century magazine. You can read it yourself thanks to the miracle of Google Books: http://books.google.com/books?id=EQaZu_LbOtUC&pg=RA1-PA228&hl=en&ei=um-fTee9Mabh0gHx5t37BA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4&ved=0CDoQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q&f=false

  25. ComeOn on said:

    You can’t trust Zinn, but you can trust a census from 1860?

  26. Primary and near-primary documents are about the only things you can trust.

  27. The main problem with the Census numbers from back then would be that a lot of people wouldn’t have proof of birth and might misreport their age, out of error or exaggeration.

    I’d guess the 1860 Census numbers were probably more accurate than today, because the Census-takers actually tried to personally interview the head of every household.

    And I got something wrong – the 466 centenarian deaths are from 1860, not the prior decade. The magazine writer estimated the number of people reaching 100 years of age each year in the U.S. at the time to be about 500. And about 500 centenarians per year were dying, too.

  28. Publius on said:

    @Runcible

    I’ve heard the argument that you mentioned earlier before, the one in which slavery is pseudo-defended. You pointed out that “t’s certainly not a unique stain on America or the southern part of it. And it’s odd to me that people are always pointing it out as some kind of uniquely American flaw.” The fact that you’re missing is that, even though slavery was indeed not invented by the U.S., it was the only nation that enslaved people that also created founding documents which espoused the essential freedom of every person, “all men are created equal,” and so forth. Why do people treat slavery in America as if it were a “unique stain?” Because it was. No nation had ever espoused the inherent, God-given freedom of every individual while simultaneously enslaving thousands. The people that you question are simply holding America to a higher standard. Why don’t you?

  29. Wolf on said:

    I think the monuments chosen were foolish. Clearly, Matthew Fontaine Maury, should have been targeted. “Pathfinder of the Seas?” “Father of Modern Oceanography and Naval Meteorology?” “Not a Hero.”

  30. Wolf on said:

    Pardon me. “No Hero.”

  31. The tags have stirred up debates that will die out in a few days, but the Confederate monuments themselves stir up the feelings Richmonders every day of every year. For many Richmonders, it’s not fun to feel like you’re living in the shadow of the Confederate legacy, that your city celebrates the lost cause of slavery. The statues inspire misery, maybe not in you, but plenty of Richmonders detest them and with good cause. Seeing them defaced from time to time (yes, this has been done before) shouldn’t come as a surprise. We can renounce the tactics of the vandals, but they were renouncing the statues themselves. It just goes in circles like the predictable debate that results. At some point, Richmond has to decide to turn the page and chart a new future. With or without the unfortunate tributes on Monument Ave.

  32. anonymous on said:

    Frankly, I am always surprised that political vandals choose to attack these old symbols, when there are so many fresh targets. I mean I don’t approve of any vandalism, but why not go after symbols of the current foreign wars and occupations, Reagan/Bush/Clinton/Bush tributes, or maybe some Allen/Gilmore/Kaine things?

    Spray painting a 100 year old monument is very cowardly- just demonize old causes and its not like Lee or Davis are alive to defend themselves. The Federal Reserve and Virginia War Memorial are very prominent and timely- why not make a statement there? Way to settle for easy targets, lame-ass graffiti ‘artists’.

  33. Michael C. Lucas on said:

    Anyone who agrees with vandalism is as guilty as those who did the deed! The blatant ignorance of the latter posts clearly establishes a lack of education and hate mongers who know little of history. Let alone concern for civility and fair democracy which both Confederate Heroes were fighting for.

  34. bopst on said:

    I always wanted someone to change Stonewall Jackson to Michael Jackson. At least then, it would be a monument to someone who did something meaningful with their life.

  35. RichmondDoc on said:

    A few quick thoughts:

    –Many claim the Civil War was a war for states’ rights. It must be noted that the major right that the South was afraid of losing was that of enslaving other humans. Anyone who supported the south supported the practice of slavery, at some level or another. For the inevitable comment that most Southern soldiers didn’t own slaves: true enough, but they fought to support a society based on slavery.

    –@Runcible: interesting that you cite the importance of primary documents and such, yet base your comments about the 1860 census on an article in an 1890 magazine. How can we be sure the article didn’t misrepresent the numbers? And should we believe the numbers at all, even if accurately reproduced from another source, considering some of the listed ages include people in their 130s-140s? Especially when the article notes that “The slave had plain, simple, and wholesome fare, was worked moderately, yet regularly, and was free from the excitements, disappointments, and trials that attend the white race in their struggle for riches and fame.” That doesn’t sound very impartial, and I deeply doubt that your source is in any way reliable.

    –Lee may have supported his state as opposed to supporting slavery. But he chose to defend a slave-holding government. Rather than suggesting Virgina could choose to support the invasion or secede, it would be fair to assert that Virginia could have stood with the Union (and the nation) or secede. The fact that they chose to abandon the nation–and the fact that Richmond became the Confederate capital–means that Virginia’s government put the state, its cities, and its people in harm’s way.

    –The Confederate monuments may not be monuments to second place, but they are part of the Cult of the Lost Cause:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lost_Cause_of_the_Confederacy

    This movement in the late 19th and early 20th centuries attempted to highlight the presumed chivalry and honor of the South’s defeated leaders while minimizing the role slavery played in the war and distorting the historic record. Sadly, it appears that the Lost Cause lives on.

    –Vandalism is no way to make a point, and we’re pretty much stuck with these monuments to the lost cause. I think working to make the city’s monuments and public spaces more representative of the *truth* of the city’s history would be the best approach. We should encourage the city’s government and public art organizations to find new and exciting ways to honor Richmonders who sought equality, who fought injustice, and those who succeeded despite great odds. Unfortunately, there seems to be little interest in that.

    –For now, as we drive down Monument, let us remember that these statues are honoring the *LOST* Cause, and that the result of the Civil War was to give everyone some fighting chance–even though the South’s Jim Crow laws, promulgated by those same groups that claim the “honor” and “chivalry” of the old South, ensured another century of violence and injustice.

  36. @Jason G. @Bopst – You both have been in Richmond long enough to know better than type such meaningless inflamitory statements. You’re both better than cheap shots.

    “Unfortunate tributes on Monument Ave.?” “Michael Jackson?” I guess my to drop to your level I should make fun of Richmond counter-cuisine and blood-spewing heavy metal overlords?

  37. At what point in time will Richmond reconsider the usefulness of the Confederate statues? Never? If that’s the case, then deal with the spraypaint, the inflammatory statements, and these tiresome circular discussions.

    To twist comment #32’s words: Anyone who glorifies the pro-slavery legacy is as guilty as those who did the deed.

    That might sound like a stretch, but I’m not surprised that many many people are repulsed by the statues and the fanfare they inspire in Richmond.

  38. Wow Phil… I thought @Bopst comment was hilarious (levity to a serious conversation perhaps?) and @Jason G.’s opinion was well stated. And valid. There are plenty of Richmonders who would agree that they are unfortunate tributes.

    More for @Jason G.’s comment – how is this a cheap shot? Simply because you do not agree?

  39. bopst on said:

    lighten up. people are stupid. always have been, always will be. it’s graffiti. big deal.

  40. RichmondDoc on said:

    There are many on this debate, and throughout Richmond (and much of the South) who would like to put the Civil War behind us, and to stop arguing over it. However, as long as we glorify the war’s leaders and have no fitting monument to the victims of slavery and racial violence, then that wish will likely not come to pass.

    Monument Ave, and its LOST Cause romanticism, are prime RIchmond real estate and a major focus for the city’s visitors and tourists. And its residents, as Monument is a major artery through from the west end into town. We must all see and deal with these monuments regularly.

    Where are the monuments to the people Richmonders enslaved, owned, and sold? Where are the monuments to those killed during Jim Crow years? Were are the monuments to African-American leaders, who fought against such great odds? There are a few, no doubt–the Arthur Ashe statue at the far end of the “downtown” Monument being the most visible. But where are the others? The Reconciliation monument near Main St Station is a wonderful statue, but not one that the city focuses much on. We have the Civil Rights monument on Capitol Square; the monument is remarkable, but is located farthest away from the 10th St/Franklin St entrance to the capital.

    It is all to easy to discuss the “honor” and “chivalry” of the South’s leaders if we ignore the human costs they claimed. We must not forget or ignore that cost. At the same time, maybe if we stop glorifying this make-believe history of “decency” and “gallantry”, maybe we *can* put this behind us.

    We aren’t going to tear down any of these monuments. Maybe we should just ignore them, treat them as expensive traffic circles, and look to the future. Or, put some real effort to set the record straight.

  41. @bopst @Jason G. I respect everyone’s right to honor history, even if I don’t personally like it. However, you both seem to be ignoring that vandalism is wrong, and certainly the cowardly and wrong way to make one’s opinion heard. It takes time and money to remove the deed, that should be a big deal.

    Jason G., I think that where you lack in your point against Monument Avenue is when you loosely write “many many people are repulsed by the statues and the fanfare they inspire in Richmond.”

    I know this isn’t your article, you didn’t write it, but the topic of the article isn’t “Do you like Monument Avenue.” You need to quantify broad statements like that with some proof. I could make a broad statement like “many many people don’t like it when groups like Food Not Bombs feed people in Monroe Park.” It too has statues honoring Confederate and post-Confederate Richmond, BTW. Would you forgive vandalism to those statues as well?

    If you want the statues to be removed, get your many many people together, sign petitions, run for office, do something. Otherwise, please stop enabling cowardly graffiti artists.

  42. A different Dean on said:

    I love watching people defend a rebellion by getting panties in a twist over a rebellious act.

    Funny how sanctimonious and concerned with law and convention these guys are now to protect those who they feel were heroes speaking truth to power. You guys see yourselves as Han Solo, but those are Emperor’s robes, dumbass.

  43. bopst on said:

    at least somebody will get paid to clean the graffiti off. think of it as job creation.

  44. @Publius – Because someone sets higher standards does not make them a bigger hypocrite if they fail to live up to them. The purpose of principles is to give us something to aim for – if failing to live up to them all the time makes someone a hypocrite, then we are all hypocrites.

    Ex.: Athens in antiquity is regarded as the cradle of democracy and liberty, but between 40% and 80% of its residents were slaves, and only a handful of the remainder were allowed to vote. And yet the buildings on our National Mall ape the style of those Greeks. Have we focused on their failings or on what they strove for? Everyone has failings, but striving for something better is rare.

    In the 1700s and 1800s people were well aware of the moral problems with slavery. Some rationalized it or put it down to God’s will, others contested it and tried to marginalize the institution. It was illegal in half the states by the time of the Civil War; there is a complexity here that you are ignoring.

    “The perfect is the enemy of the good.”

    @RichmondDoc – I am sure the documents are not entirely accurate, but I would suspect that there is some truth in them. 500 new centenarians per year in a country with a little over 30,000,000 sounds feasible. However, I did find an official Census document called ‘The eighth census of the United States’ (http://bit.ly/ikvXR3). The book states on page 286 that the recording of 11 to 12 times as many black centenarians as whites is probably the result of slaves lacking records and being poorly educated, and the Census takers simply recording exaggerated numbers as they were given to them. It notes a severe drop-off in the 60-80 cohort among blacks, and believes that most of the reported black centenarians actually belong in that category.

    Nonetheless, the demographic data in that book shows similar mortality curves between blacks and whites in the 19th century before the abolition of slavery. So the idea that slavery in the United States was unusually brutal strikes me as false, or else the mortality curve would drop suddenly in the 30s and early 40s, at latest.

  45. Jason G. on said:

    I hear that Germany has no tribute statues for Hitler or the Nazis. Not because there aren’t any sympathizers, but because it is generally understood that glorifying that heritage would prevent reconciliation.

  46. @Jason G. – You forgot to mention the part about the German National Socialist Party starting a war that killed 60 million people, including deliberate genocide of several ethnic and demographic groups.

  47. Jeff E. on said:

    People fail to realize these monuments were built in the late 1800’s and are part of Richmond’s HISTORY. You all are acting as if this was some recent occurrence and that these monuments were erected solely to make you angry. The monuments will never be torn down and tagging remains asinine and illegal. There is no defense for this stupid act, no matter how you feel about Richmond’s past.

  48. Word Jeff E. Joseph Stalin and even the Taliban have been known to desecrate and/or tear down the monuments to previous generations and attempt to erase their history.

    I’m not saying I support Confederacy or slavery when I say don’t express yourself through vandalism.

  49. Fan District 9 on said:

    I would wholeheartedly support a monument of Han Solo.

  50. Alfonso on said:

    First of all the graffiti has nothing to do with racial tension. I guarantee you it is a white VCU student from north of the Mason Dixon, Banksy Wannabe.

    Second of all. The Civil War wasn’t about preservation of slavery. It was about expansion of slavery. Lincoln and the rest, save for a few quaker abolitionist really didn’t give a crap about black folk. They wanted to make sure white folk didn’t have to compete with slave labor in the western territories. Lincoln only freed the slaves when it became the only way that the war could be won.

  51. Mike on said:

    Regardless of how you want to frame the “rightness” of the Southern cause during the Civil War, perception is reality (especially when it comes to history). And for black Americans, that perception was — and will continue to be — that Confederate soldiers fought to ensure the continued enslavement of their race. Does it really matter if it’s framed as an issue of state’s rights or economic survival or “…b-b-but Lincoln wasn’t a saint!” rejoinders?

    Why celebrate that? We (and I speak as a member of the white male club) seem to expect black Americans to forget the fact that the ancestors of white Americans enslaved them. After all, it’s been 150 years, right? They should be able to get past it, right? But if we expect that, why should we continue to celebrate and honor these symbols of a particularly vile portion of our history so publicly? Why can’t we get past it?

    Understanding history is important. But monuments aren’t built for understanding.

    Also, the Germans don’t have any monuments to the Third Reich because the public display of Nazi imagery (specifically, the swastika) outside of an educational atmosphere is strictly prohibited.

  52. RichmondDoc on said:

    @Runcible–

    If I’m reading the chart you linked to correctly, the death rate for African-Americans in each decade of life through the 60-70s is higher in nearly every decade. After turning 70, the African-American mortality rates do fall…but that may be simply that if one was strong enough to make it to that age, you had good survival chances and less likely to be killed by the “peculiar institution”.

    These facts clearly contradict your claims that death rates in African-Americans were no different than in whites.

    This also ignores the fact that some (many?) of those slaves listed as being the oldest in this census would have survived the Atlantic crossing. Again–if one is strong enough to survive that…

    When taken in conjunction with the acknowledged fact that much of the data is probably sketchy at best, I don’t think there is any valid point to be made here, unless it is to show the skepticism with which one must evaluate historical data.

    And let us note that death is not the same as suffering. How many slaves suffered evil at the hands of their “Christian” masters? After all, slaves were expensive property, and would not be killed off willy-nilly. But beatings, whippings, etc were par for the course. Brutality does not always mean killing, but rather torture, dehumanizing treatment, separation of families, etc. If taken in its true context (not via unreliable statistics), American slavery was a brutal institution. Period.

    The perfect may be the enemy of the good, but having a 1/2-free country is not even good. It is just slightly less evil. To claim otherwise is revisionism.

  53. Jeff E. on said:

    Mike, your misconception is founded in the belief that because the monuments still stand, white Richmond must be celebrating slavery. It takes many a flawed leap in logic to reach that false conclusion. Again, this is HISTORY. I wish I could use bigger letters to get it through to you people. Would you support spray painting the Coliseum in Rome because of all the atrocities that took place in there? Should we tear down the statues of all the people that we disagreed with politically or that didn’t in reality live up to their historical image? You’d find we’d be short on statues pretty quickly. Stop blaming the monuments for modern social ills… it’s ridiculous.

  54. @RichmondDoc – Seems you’re putting words in my mouth. I never said they were “no different” – I said they were similar. More importantly, they southern and northern breakouts for blacks are even more similar, and the northern blacks were free.

    The basis for this discussion is ComeOn citing Howard Zinn’s assertion that U.S. slavery was the cruelest in history, and whether it has any basis in fact. The mortality tables I linked clearly show it doesn’t. It is cruel and inhuman to enslave another person, but anyone who wants to put a unique stain on the United States for slavery would need to explain why mortality rates were not dramatically higher than they were.

    And of course the country was more than “half free” – even in the south only half the black population was enslaved. So it probably works out to 95% free, or better.

  55. RichmondDoc on said:

    @Runcible–I’m pointing out the fact that you seem to be trying to present a picture of slavery that minimizes the harm it did by focusing on a couple of statistics that even you have admitted are flawed. I’m pointing out that there is little value in this.

    If I were to stipulate that, according to the flawed numbers, mortality rates are similar, I would still argue that slavery in the US was a brutal institution. Brutalizing others w/o killing them does not make it less so.

    I believe Zinn and others tend to suggest that slavery in other cultures was different than in the US. In other nations/cultures, enslaved individuals could earn freedom and reach a point of equality (or near equality) to their home culture. That was never the case in the US, except for the very few who might eventually buy their freedom or escape their enslavement. Also, in other cultures, slaves might be captives from wars or conquered rivals–one was not enslaved or inherently inferior simply because of skin color or the fact that they had 1 drop of blood of a certain ethnicity. These are some of the arguments made that American slavery was the cruelest in history.

    And I guess the argument that the nation was 1/2 free or 95% free is a difference of perspective. You argue that total population numbers add up to around 5% enslaved. I argue that in 1/2 of the nation, a person of color had no options to live a free and equal life.

  56. Mike on said:

    @Jeff E.

    The Coliseum is an architectural artifact that was used for all manner of things. It is history.

    The Civil War is history. Its Battlefields are history. Belle Isle is history.

    The Gauforum in Weimar, Germany is history. Buchenwald concentration camp is history.

    Some structures become monuments through the events that happened within and around them. Other monuments are built after the events they commemorate, and have little actual historical significance other than their appearance, and eventually their age. Every monument on Monument Ave was built with the express intent of honoring and commemorating these men and their actions.

    So what are the actions that we’re commemorating?

    As for tearing down statues, it happens. Saddam Hussein in Iraq in 2003. Stalin in Budapest in 1956. The image of toppling a statue of an oppressor is a powerful one.

    I never actually took the leap to say we should tear down the statues. I’m just noting that if you’re going to hold sacred these statues of men who are likely perceived as former oppressors by more than 50% of the population, you should be prepared for signs of dissent. And you shouldn’t dismiss them so casually.

  57. @RichmondDoc – I’m just trying to quantify things. There is certainly no shortage of emotion on this issue and looking at statistics often reveals a kernel of truth.

    One of the things Lee wrote in his papers was that as bad as slavery was, the slaves were better off than they would have been in Africa. Charles Dickens made a similar assertion in a public debate with John Stuart Mill: that agricultural slaves in America were better off than factory workers in England, because they had fresh food, air and water as part of a healthier agrarian existence that most had lost in Britain.

    The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse were Pestilence, War, Famine and Death – disease, homicide, hunger and death. And people in primitive societies deal(t) with those four things much more often than did 19th century Americans. Freedom is an intangible; it’s a terrible thing to be denied it, but starvation, sickness and being murdered are all worse.

    Finally, I believe you are mistaken when you assert that being born into slavery was uniquely American – ethnic groups commonly enslave members of other ethnic groups. It still goes on, to do this day in parts of Africa, Asia and some would argue on the Arabian peninsula. I also contest that American slaves couldn’t buy their way out of it. My understanding is that it was fairly common for slaves in the U.S. to be able to earn money on the side, through an arrangement with their owners. And there were state laws governing emancipation, what was required and how it could happen. Obviously it was completely at the slaveholders discretion, but it could and did happen.

  58. Liz on said:

    @ Runcible: the idea that slaves were better off in America/Britain as slaves than they would’ve been in Africa is awfully paternalistic. Do you really think that anyone would want to be forcibly removed from their families and the lives they knew only to be shipped in horrible conditions to a country where they were forced to work with no hope for freedom? It’s not as though they were reaping the tangible benefits of their labor in the industrialized countries. You mention that in their homeland, the Africans faced starvation, sickness and murder. Though slaves were surely fed in order to stay strong enough to be valuable, I’m not sure whether the “sickness and murder” they supposedly escaped in their home countries didn’t follow them to their new ones. Like RichmondDoc mentioned, the statistics that supposedly show the viability of slaves once in the U.S. are too narrow and too unreliable to prove otherwise.

    Is there any possibility that the freedom the Africans experienced in Africa before they were selected for enslavement, no matter how technologically or industrially lagging it was compared to Great Britain or the U.S. at that time, was their preference? It’s all relative what’s “better” and where they were “better off,” and I don’t think that Lee or Dickens or anyone who wasn’t enslaved, let alone us today looking back on that history, are in any position to make such statements about where those people who ended up as slaves would be “better.”

  59. @Liz – Then why were elderly slaves kept around? I’ve actually read 18th and 19th century estate documents of slaveholders, and one of the most interesting things is the disposition of elderly slaves. The owners were obliged by law to care for them and often had specific agreements with individual slaves about the terms of their “retirement”.

    As for “paternalistic”, I’ll crawl right out on that limb and say that primitive societies generally suck. The average lifespan is short, disease and hunger are rampant, and the incidence of violence is astonishingly high. Here’s an extract from a 1988 study on the Yanomamö Indians of the Amazon River Basin:

    Studies … during the past 23 years show that 44 percent of males estimated to be 25 or older have participated in the killing of someone, that approximately 30 percent of adult male dealths are due to violence, and that nearly 70 percent of all adults over an estimated 40 years of age have lost a close genetic relative due to violence. Demographic data indicate that men who have killed have more wives and offspring than men who have not killed. (http://www.sciencemag.org/content/239/4843/985.abstract)

    That 30% male homicide rate is pretty standard. It shows up in primitive human groups and also in our closest cousin the chimpanzee. It’s only civilization that raises us up from that.

  60. Liberty on said:

    it was a very civil war

  61. RichmondDoc on said:

    @Runcible,

    If you’d like to quantify things, as you indicate is your intent, please let me know how to quantify family separation, loss of one’s culture, loss of one’s freedom, loss of dignity, whippings, forced work under terrible conditions, etc. Until those thing can be quantified, then I’m afraid your task is pointless.

    For those apologists for slavery that stated that slaves were better off in England or the US than in Africa, recall that they are speaking from a western culture/Christianity-centered perspective. The seem one that was used to justify the extermination of the Native American cultures in the US. I doubt the enslaved Africans thought they were better off here. As much as we feel other cultures are flawed, that doesn’t mean that ours is the only one that should be supported. Other cultures are not failed attempts at replicating our own.

    Re: your Christian-centered 4 horsemen: Western diseases killed many African slaves. So: if you claim that slaves were spared war and famine, you would have to accept that we gave them pestilence. I don’t think that’s any sort of trade to be proud of. And though I don’t have time right now to seek the numbers, I wonder how many African people died of Western disease when enslaved than were killed by wars and famine in the Africa during that time?

    Re: other cultures enslaving others based on race; I’d be interested in seeing if that’s true. I don’t think so. I think there might have been historic animosity between tribes, for example, but not a strictly race-based system as we had here. And although some slaves bought their freedom, I think it was less likely than you would like to believe and those that bought their freedom still had major limits on what they could do and were under constant legal threats.

    I’m not saying that other cultures (your “uncivilized” cultures) are better than ours. I’d prefer to live here. But I’m not an African warrior or an Amazonian native. They probably see value and importance in what they believe.

    Paternalism has caused much harm in our world, and we are still paying the price for the British and European presumption that they could dictate world affairs at their whim because they were “civilized”. Too bad too many still cling to that belief.

  62. Jeff E. on said:

    @ Mike

    I can dismiss this act so casually because it was such a cheap and easy thing to do. This person is making no bold statement by being anti-slavery or anti-Confederacy. Who would defend that institution today? And the people who chose to honor the Confederacy don’t do it on the grounds that it was pro-slavery. They do it because it is their heritage and who wants to be ashamed of that? The fact that you use the present tense “commemorating” for the most part describes our difference in opinion. As I’ve mentioned in another post it seems you think that Richmond is somehow still honoring the Confederacy when I see these statues as relics or artifacts of another time.

  63. @RichmondDoc – Actually, I think it’s up to you to quantify those things. How many people were separated from their families? Do you know or are you just relying on anecdote? I would love to see some numbers from you – I’ve brought 19th century primary sources to my argument, but you just throw around generalizations.

    You say the native cultures in North America were “eradicated”? That’s a mighty forceful word to use with the passive voice. By whom? When? Which tribes? Can you point to a government policy of eradication by the United States or any other state? And if the Native Americans were “eradicated”, how is it I’m here, and who are all those people in Oklahoma?

    You’re not aware at all, apparently, of the East African slave trade which, far earlier than the Atlantic trade, put blacks in Arabia and south Asian countries as slaves. The British – those pesky paternal imperialist white people – put a big dent in it in the 19th century but it still crept along. Saudi Arabia finally outlawed slavery in 1962 (NINETEEN SIXTY-TWO). But they still do it – with blacks and with Filipinos, too.

    North Africans enslaved Europeans and Christians for over a thousand years. Does that count or is race a one-way street?

    I think you need to do more reading. I’ve been patient with you but your history knowledge is about as deep as a Disney film.

  64. RichmondDoc on said:

    @Runcible–

    Thanks for being patient with little ol’ ignorant me. I am humbled to be the recipient of your generosity.

    Glad to know that when you can’t make a point, you resort to insults.

    I think if you ask most Native American tribes, “eradicated” is not such a strong word. Maybe not 100% killed, but the cultures were destroyed. Are the Cherokee in OK living the culture they valued in the Southeast.

    If you need me to provide you with history of a government policy aimed to eradicate Native Americans, it’s clear you are 100% ignorant of American history. From the Trail of Tears all the way through the latter part of the 19th Century the US government pursued a policy of dispossessing, “Christianizing” and relocating the native tribes. Any legitimate history book would tell you that.

    The British outlawed the slave trade before we did, by a long shot. They also gave us most of the mess in the Middle East (Palestine, etc), India/Pakistan/Bangladesh, etc. The other European colonizers arbitrarily marked out borders in Africa and Asia that have engendered dozens of wars and conflicts.

    I have neither the time nor the interest to refer to the dozens upon dozens of slave narratives and historic surveys that outline the horrors I’m describing. Especially since you’ll simply ignore them and provide me with more faulty statistics and baseless assertions.

    Finally: Christian is a culture, not a race. Europeans are defined by a culture, not a race. And pointing out how Filipino and South Asian workers are mistreated in Saudi Arabia doesn’t make our history any less shameful.

    If I thought you respected and cared about the truth, there are questions I would ask. I would ask you if the East Africa slave trade was as extensive or enslaved as many people as the Atlantic slave did. I would ask you if relocating Native American tribes and destroying their cultures counts as “eradication”. I would ask you many other questions.

    But you don’t care.

    I’ll go read my history. I’ll let you go back to your guns.

  65. So let’s go through some of that.

    1) Christianizing a people constitutes “eradication”? Christian missions have been a feature of the world since a few days after Christ went up on the cross, but you think the whole thing was just a ploy by the U.S. government to “eradicate” them injuns? Look, the reason the various tribes withered away is that individual members of those tribes chose to assimilate, by converting to Christianity, taking up a trade, or learning to READ. Some people did all that and chose to keep their tribal affiliation – most intermarried with whites and blacks, and over time that was that.

    2) Europeans aren’t a race? There’s no Caucasian race? For a thousand years North African slavers bought and sold Europeans, but that’s nothing like what happened in the U.S. because the victims don’t conform to some post-modernist view of an ethnic grievance unit?

    3) You don’t have to refer to DOZENS of such narratives – just one or two will suffice.

    4) I read Charles Glass back in the 80s, too, and believed for awhile that the colonial territory divisions were the root of the problem in the Middle East. But at this point it’s pretty obvious that the problems in the Middle East are the making of the people in the Middle East.

    I know you think it’s fashionable and intellectual to blame all the world’s problems on Europeans and Americans, but the fact is most people sleep in the bed they made themselves.

  66. RichmondDoc on said:

    @Runcible

    Thanks for providing an answer without an insult.

    I would argue that if your culture is not Christian, and you Christianize them by force, then you have eradicated them. I presume that some, maybe many, native Africans and Americans chose to become Christian. I also know that many refused and were forced to do so. The Indian Schools that forcibly took children away from their Native American families are top examples, as are the Spanish colonies’ policy of forcing the natives to work for the mission/church and to attend worship. Any impartial read of American history will confirm that our goverment’s policy of lying, cheating, and stripping native tribes of their land and culture was well-etablished throughout the latter 19th century. And much of the language is couched in the language of spreading the faith. All too often, Christianity has not been very Christian.

    European is a culture, not a race. Yes, most Europeans are white. But not all. But if you’re black, you’re black. And in the US, 1 drop of blood was enough to define you by the racial laws.

    In between patient care and education, I might find some slave narratives. Please let me know how many you’ll need to believe, and under what circumstances, in order for me not to waste my time. I’m pretty sure that anything I offer, you’ll contradict.

    Might be worth noting that Europeans have a long history of meddling in the Middle East. England’s deliniation of Palestine and the establishment of the state of Israel (in land that had been inhabited by others) set the stage for the events still unfolding.

    I’m not blaming all the world’s problem on Europeans and the US, but it’s worth remembering that Europe went where they weren’t invited and imposed their culture on others. I feel more comfortable with that position than yours–trying to assert that our slavery wasn’t as bad as many make it out to be. I think mine is more historically defensible.

  67. RichmondDoc on said:
  68. Oh, spare me the hurt feelings. Your replies were dripping with condescension and you needed some comeuppance.

    In 1683 the Muslims Ottoman Empire laid siege to Vienna. That was the high water mark of more than 800 years of harassment and enslavement of Europeans by Muslims. So you think Europe went too far in trying to establish order and new states when the Ottoman Empire collapsed, a little over 200 years later? They “went where they weren’t invited?” Who invited the Ottomans, and their satraps in Iraq, Jordan, etc, into Europe a few hundred years earlier? To hell with that. The whole of Christian North Africa was swallowed up in a wave of Islamic conquest, more than 1000 years ago. Europeans and Christians are veritable lambs next to Muslims.

    Christians believe that Christianity makes people better. As someone who doesn’t believe, I still think they’re usually correct. Christian missions and schools have given education and hope to millions of people who otherwise would be bound to illiteracy, ignorance and primitivism. Christianity has been one of the great lights of the world for two millennia, and only a fool would cast that aside.

    I’m not saying that nothing bad was done to the indigenous population of the Americas – the Spanish were fairly awful to them – but most people when confronted by a superior and more interesting culture will delve into it. The reason indigenous peoples flock to more advanced cultures is that they’re more interesting. We don’t live in tribes, so why should they? Your position assumes that they are inferior to us and can’t make the same decisions we do. When a member of a stone age tribe is presented with law, religion, industry and agriculture, why would they cling to the stone age? Most don’t.

    Pitts is partly right. The South mostly seceded over slavery. But the North did not invade the South over slavery – it invaded to preserve its territory.

    I maintain the Civil War was idiocy. We sacrificed 600,000 men over an argument about something that was nearing its end, regardless.

    And it was Lincoln who started that war. Thanks much, I’ll take Lee and Davis – they may have owned slaves but they didn’t start a war that killed off a sizable chunk of the U.S. population.

  69. RichmondDoc on said:

    @Runcible

    Funny that you thought my replies were “dripping with condescension” and that I needed “some comeuppance”. Don’t take kindly to those who disagree with you, I suppose. I opposed your positions, but didn’t accuse you of stupidity.

    Did I say that it would be good if the Ottoman’s invaded Europe? I did not. I did, however, claim that uninvited Europeans wreaked havoc across Africa and the New World. If you wanted to contradict me or oppose my point, all you needed to do was to prove that Native Americans and Africans caused significant harm when they invaded Europe. Easy, right? Obviously, I’m being facetious: my point is that *any* invading culture changes the culture it invades. In the case of the Native Americans (North, Central, and South), Europe destroyed their long-established cultures. The fact that the Ottoman Empire did the same doesn’t make the Europeans’ actions any better–it simply makes my point. Probably, a number of people could feel about Europeans as you feel about the Ottomans.

    Regarding the cultural influence of Christianity: there are precepts of the faith that I strongly believe in–charity, hope, generosity, etc. Too bad that the history of the faith includes burnings at the stake, the inquisition, antisemitism, and millions of dead. It’s too easy to say Christianity is all good, just as it is too easy to say it’s all bad. The truth is in the gray areas between the extremes. I guess that makes me a fool, in your assessment, but I will continue to argue that one cannot take the education and hope without also taking the injustice, injury, and death.

    If you actually believe that Europeans and Christians are lambs compared to the Muslims, you need to brush up on *your* history. I’ve already noted the harm European invaders caused. Should we mention Muslim art, science, algebra, astronomy, etc that have influenced our global development? Both Europeans and Ottomans share the same features: combining benefits and harms in their global expansions. Why do you give one side a pass while criticizing the other?

    Natives in the Americans were not given all that much of a chance to assimilate. The vast majority were killed off by disease (which I don’t blame the Europeans for, except for the cases re: the “gifts” of smallpox-infected blankets), and those that survived that disaster rarely had any opportunities to deal fairly with the invaders. You say the Spaniards were pretty bad, but we have plenty to be ashamed of here.

    I don’t think indigenous cultures are unable to make their own decisions: you’re putting words in my mouth. In fact, the fact that you presume that our culture is inherently better than any other shows your paternalism: you seem unable to see the value in other cultures that do not mirror our own. What we see as noble goals–education, etc–we see as noble *because* we are from *THIS* culture. If we had been born elsewhere, we would have different priorities. Why are my skills as a physician valued? Because I live in a culture that values my skills. If I had to farm for a living, I’d be up a creek. Some/many/all cultures that are exposed to our Western values may eventually adopt many of them…but they should be given CHOICE to do so. The colonizing European powers never gave their colonized subjects any chance or choice.

    Lincoln may have invaded the South, but he did so when the South seceded and threatened the Union. He took the action he felt was necessary to preserve the Union. But the dead died because the South seceded.

    You can keep Davis, Lee, and the Lost Cause with its re-written history and whitewashed view of the antebellum South. It’s false and inaccurate. The statues represent either ignorance of the truth or complicity in covering it up. Over 640,000 Africans were enslaved in the United States, and with an estimated 10% mortality rate on the Middle Passage another 60,000+ died in transit. And that doesn’t account for the generations enslaved after their arrival here, the families separated when their owners sold them, and the lack of freedom, lack of opportunity, and injustice faced by those enslaved to create the “genteel” and “civilized” South.

    Davis, Lee and the Lost Cause cannot be memorialized without acknowledging the terrible suffering and harm inflicted by the society they chose to defend. If you side with them, you side with injustice slavery. Period.

  70. RichmondDoc on said:

    (Note — second to last line should read “you side with injustice and slavery.” Sorry!)

  71. All cultures affect every other culture they contact. The cultures in the Western Hemisphere were sheltered by geography for many millennia, but as soon as ship-building reached a certain level of complexity, that ended. It was going to end as soon as ship-building reached that point by any other culture. Nobody set out to render them obsolete – that’s just what happened when it turned out they were obsolete.

    And yes, living in a culture with books and metal tools is better than living in one without those things. Not to put too fine a point on it but anybody who asserts otherwise is a liar or an idiot.

    It’s not really about cultures, though, it’s about individuals. I don’t give a damn that some stone-age bunch of rock throwers lost their “culture” – it’s the personal adversity each of them faced that makes a story, and a tragedy.

    A lot of people, including you, it seems are not aware of the massive body count racked up by Islam. Jihad has claimed hundreds of millions of lives in the last 900 years in India, alone. There is no tallying the Islamic jihad death toll in Persia, North Africa and Europe. And the difference is that the Quran gives license to murder, if it’s done in Allah’s name, and no other major religion grants any remotely similar permission.

    As for Lee and Davis, they defended their homelands against an invader. It’s really as simple as that.

  72. RichmondDoc on said:

    @Runcible–

    You again fail to address Christianity’s body count. Squeamish?

    Lee and Davis defended their slave-holding homelands after those homelands broke away from the Union over issues of slavery. It’s really as simple as that.

    I’m not arguing Lee and Davis defended their states. What I’m arguing–and have been since the beginning–is that the homeland they were defending was one built on the chattel slavery of an entire race. You seem willing to whitewash that and gloss over the harms slavery caused.

    If tragedy is defined by individuals and not cultures, then American treatment of our indigenous tribes and the South’s treatment of slaves gives us enough tragedy to carry with us. Of course, that means one has to actually acknowledge those individual tragedies.

  73. RichmondDoc on said:

    @Runcible–

    Also–tribes and cultures could choose to incorporate those elements they valued from other cultures: metal tools, written language, etc. I agree with you that those are valuable things. Unfortunately, they were forced to lose everything else in order to incorporate those advantages.

    Your comment that you ‘don’t give a damn that some stone-age bunch of rock throwers lost their “culture”’ is a perfect example of the Western bias that damaged or destroyed indigenous cultures across the globe. Not that you care…it appears your sort of proud of that.

  74. RichmondDoc on said:

    @Runcilbe–

    Forgot one more comment: if you truly believe that “no other major religion grants any remotely similar permission” for believers to kill in their God’s name, then you have no concept of religious history. The Crusades and the European wars during the reformation were supposedly carried out on behalf of Christianity. The Bible says “Thou shalt not kill”, but over the millennia the church has found plenty of loopholes.

  75. Jose on said:

    No one can defend slavery or for that matter vandalism. Richmond is about history and therefore a major tourist draw with all the economic benefits. History is what it is, hopefully a society learns from it, both the good and the bad. Reading this discourse brings to mind the saying, ” get over it folks”. Without your unique place in history what would Richmond be? The statues are a tribute to Civil War leaders of the South and their support of a lost cause and to people like myself (Western Outsider) men who suffered defeat. If one wants to point out that they are not heroes then don an American flag and stand on the avenue with a sign, don’t deface public property in the dark of night.

  76. @RichmondDoc – You’re repeating yourself. Your view of history is limited and slanted.

    I am in fact very proud that Western Civilization has banished the long, dark night of tribalism and its constant violence and subsistence existence from across almost the entirety of the world. I think it’s the best by-product of the freedom and reason that’s slowly taken hold over the last 3000 years. Hobbes was right.

    Again, the Crusades are a blip in the face of 1300 years of Muslim jihad atrocities across most of the world. And Christianity has the advantage of having been fairly well-behaved, atrocity-wise, for about 800 years, whereas people are still slaughtering infidels and heretics in the name of Allah in appalling numbers even today.

    Slavery is a moot point as far as Lee is concerned. He didn’t favor it, nor did he fight the Union invasion of Virginia to defend slavery.

  77. RichmondDoc on said:

    @Runcilbe:

    You’re repeating yourself. You’ve already established your bias towards Western civilaztion and Christainity, and your paternalistic view of cultures that do not correspond to your own.

    The Crusades themselves were a small period, but you neglect to address the other 1500 years in which Christianity killed and harmed so many…including other Christians who happened to have the wrong faith.

    Slavery is a moot point as far as lee is concerned. He fought to defend a slave state.

  78. RichmondDoc on said:

    @Runcible:

    Ironic that you consider my view “limited and slanted” when I’m the one arguing that non-Western cultures may have their own values, and that neither Islam nor Christiniaty are as all good/bad as you claim.

    Sounds to me as though your POV is limited and slanted.

  79. anonymous on said:

    On Cumberland, you can see where someone tagged the 5th Street Baptist Church, the wall, street signs, a van, etc.

    I have asked the Mayor and Council firsthand to ask VCU to kick in money for graffiti prosecution and removal.

    Another question for the Mayor and Council is how many students who have been convicted of graffiti have actually been kicked out of school. If VCU is not kicking the guilty students out, then you have to wonder how serious they are taking community concerns in general.

    Other cities and universities don’t put up with this type of behavior. I support creativity and free speech but this is vandalism and there is a certain part of the student population that do not want to recognize it as such.

  80. anonymous on said:

    Richmond Code §38-191; §38-192
    Graffiti
    You cannot write, paint, draw, etch, scratch
    or mark an inscription, word, figure or design
    of any type on any public or private building
    without permission of the owner. Violation
    is a Class 1 misdemeanor. Contact both the
    Department of Public Works at 311, and the
    Police. Graffiti Hotline at 646-1406.

    Richmond Code §38-193
    Parents Responsible
    for Damages from Graffiti
    When graffiti is applied to public properly
    by a minor, parents are responsible for the
    damages.

  81. @RichmondDoc – You’re not educated; you’re indoctrinated. I hope for your patients’ sakes you put more critical thinking into medical topics than history. Upside: it’s probably impossible for you to do less.

  82. @RichmondDoc on said:

    Thanks again for the vote of confidence.

    Perhaps learning to debate w/o insults should be on your to-do list.

  83. We are now in the 150th anniversary of the war. Because of this, the Sons of Confederate Veterans and United Daughters of the Confederacy will be raising new monuments and holding more memorials. Also, because of the increased activity by these groups, groups that oppose them will also begin to stir. Here in Texas a local SCV camp was given permission to raise a 1st National Confederate flag over a court house in honor of CSA History Month, three days later, they were forced to remove it. same goes for the SCV licence plate that was tried to pass in TX, it was turned down. And the historical Confederate monument in Texas that was pulled down.

    It really is sad that so many southerners hate their OWN heritage. I am a proud member of the SCV. I am not racist, or white supremacist, I am simply southern. Same goes for Lee and Davis, not racist, just SOUTHERN. that was all that mattered to them. They WERE heros! they stood up and defended their homes from a foriegn invasion.

    Like i said, it is sad how so many people hate their own heritage, and think that defacing a statue will change history… or ANYTHING for that matter.

  84. matt on said:

    growing up in the great commonwealth of Pennsylvania where we only have statues of the founding fathers and the presidents i have to say that it always stumped me why there are statues of convicted war criminals on a public street in the middle of the state capitol… Also I had never seen a Confederate flag outside of a museum until I moved here… it’s so strange

  85. DHood on said:

    @Bopst

    Potential job creation, that was my first thought! Maybe 2 fan parking tickets = tag clean-up?? Makes me feel slightly less stupid about this parking ticket I’m about to pay.

    That being said, it’s pretty lame.

  86. RAVCM on said:

    Maybe it is a good thing to keep the monuments as a reminder of the good and bad. It does keep the conversation open so we don’t forget, and so we can continue to heal. I agree with placing more monuments on the Ave. and the monument honoring Arthur Ashe is a great beginning.

  87. Really? on said:

    really? we are still focusing on race and slavery after how long? Not condoning slavery but at the same time i think we all need to recognize it for what it was and move on or we will never grow as a community. where theses men heroes? to some, and who are any of you or i to say differently? So what if these men had slaves…it was one of the many dark time in Americas history, complaining about it now will not change the past. we all need to come together and learn from the mistakes of the ones who came before us to help prevent it from making the same mistakes. and to the faceless vandals, thanks a lot, that my and your tax dollars that will be used to clean the statues so in away you just paid for the statues you deem not worthy to get washed!

  88. Do people not realize that slavery was not just condensed to the United States but pretty much all over since civilizations began. And if I’m not mistaken the “white man” stole the idea of slavery from the “black man” and it was really only part of our culture for no more than 200 years as compared to other places in the world where it still goes on or others from the past where people were treated way worse. Honestly, vandalism is just cowardly. If you have a problem with a past confederate solider, why not research for about him and write something about it, make a documentary., anything. Make art, don’t destroy it.

  89. Nathan: “At least both of these men stood up for their beliefs and risked their lives for their principles instead of sneaking around at night and hiding behind their anonymity.”

    I would argue that is it not very honorable to stand up for one’s beliefs and principles if those beliefs and principles are pretty lousy (to put it mildly). Hard work in fighting for a cause does not automatically merit praise.

  90. Know Who on said:

    You guys can all quit your fussing…you won’t find the ones who did it. If you do, you won’t find all of them :) Some are smarter than others. It’s mainly a rush you won’t get any way except by doing something illegal. Any of you ever teens? Ya know what I’m talkin’ about then. Some lives aren’t very sheltered…that’s a normal way to have fun.

  91. Know Who on said:

    Oh, and “they know it was vandalism…that was kinda the point. :P

  92. anonymous on said:

    And this is why whenever “they” do get caught, and they will eventually, they should receive no mercy in sentencing. If nothing else, it will be a strong message to the other “ones”.

  93. RenatiusBarton on said:

    Only ignorant morons go about defacing public monuments. If this kind of “protest” is acceptable, why not spray paint the Arthur Ashe monument with “No Hero” (just a tennis player)?

  94. bopst on said:

    Not to condone vandalism, but it is true: Jefferson Davis isn’t a hero.

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