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Breckinridge and Morgan

[ 84 ] August 12, 2017 |

The events in Charlottesville have convinced Mayor Jim Gray to accelerate announcement of the removal of two Confederate statues in downtown Lexington:


The statues are of John C. Breckinridge (1860 southern Democratic Presidential nominee and Confederate military commander) and John Hunt Morgan (Confederate general). A redesign of the square a few years ago resulted in the Breckinridge statue being placed prominently on Main Street. The decision here is long overdue, but Gray deserves credit for finally pushing it through.

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  • SomeTreasonBrewing

    Could set precedent for an nice and effective heuristic. For every rally/protest/public gathering by a racist neo-nazi white nationalist group, two or more Confederate monuments/statues (including traitorous names of public buildings) are taken down in the State in which the bigoted thing occurred.

    • D. C. Sessions

      Oh, that would be sweet.

      Reminds me of when John Scalzi set up an incentive for Ted Beale: every time Beale mentioned Scalzi by name, Scalzi would donate money to a collection of causes that Beale hates with a passion. IIRC the annual sum came to several thousand dollars — and that was before quite a number of us pledged to match Scalzi’s contribution. I have to admit that I rarely enjoy writing checks so much as that year.

      • SomeTreasonBrewing

        One could get increasingly creative with it as well. Most of these objects are made of things like granite/marble/iron/steel and presumably have some sort of scrap value for somebody. Said proceeds from the repurposing of the Confederabilia could be used to defray the costs of policing the neo-nazi rallies. With signs:

        “Parts of the funds required to provide public law enforcement for your rally today were provided by the melting down last year of an iron statue of J.E.B. Stuart”

        • D. C. Sessions

          Bronze is actually quite expensive.

          • JamesWimberley

            This is why so few bronze statues have survived from.antiquity, mostly via shipwrecks. The metal was just too valuable.

        • Uncle_Ebeneezer

          Said proceeds from the repurposing of the Confederabilia could be used to defray the costs of policing the neo-nazi rallies donated to BlackLivesMatter/NAACP/SPLC or even (gasp) Reparations.

        • D. C. Sessions

          “Give me your bronze, your stone,
          Your whited marbles yearning to be cleansed,
          The racist refuse of your city parks.”

          Recycle them into something all Americans can agree on: statues of Lady Liberty.

          • Origami Isopod

            John Carney clears his throat loudly.

    • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

      I’m going to start pushing for my pet version of this: renaming Taney Street in Philadelphia. We don’t have any Confederate monuments here, but that’s bad enough.

      • Hogan

        Kenyatta Johnson, the councilmember where that street runs, might be up for something like that.

      • Incontinentia Buttocks

        Here in Oklahoma we have a Tillman County, named after Pitchfork Ben Tillman, who has no connection whotsoever with Oklahoma, let alone Tillman County, but who is in the running for worst American of his generation, which is saying a lot. I’d love to see it renamed, but I’m reasonably certain that a good percentage of the 8,000 residents of Tillman County would insist that the name is Heritage Not Hate®.

        • Joe Paulson

          Curious about the name and found this:

          “The fact is that the county seats, county lines, and county names were things to be conjured with in the constitutional convention. The support of some delegates was secured by making their home towns county seats; that of others was secured by making certain concessions on county boundaries; others, for similar reasons, were privileged to name counties or to have counties named for them. So, without consulting the wishes of any of the people of the counties concerned, several were named for political idols who had about as much to do with Oklahoma as the man in the moon. Tillman County was one of those who owe their names to such fortuitous circumstances. The fact that there were plenty of names associated with the history and development of southwestern Oklahoma which would have been much more appropriate and pleasing was not given any consideration whatsoever.”

          http://tillmanokhistory.org/countyhistory.htm

        • MikeG

          Keep the name, just change the footnotes so it now commemorates Pat Tillman, the NFL player turned Army Ranger killed in Afghanistan.

          • Wapiti

            That’s imminently reasonable. King County Washington (Seattle and environs) was named in 1853 for William R. King, Pierce’s VP. In 1986, the county unofficially changed that to Martin Luther King, Jr. In 2005 the state passed a law making the new namesake official (counties are chartered by the state).

      • MarekKulak

        There are some Confederate gravestones in cemeteries in Philly, with flags and all.

        • DocAmazing

          Maybe they could have a cultural exchange with that famed cemetery in Bitburg, Germany…

      • mattmcirvin

        The subdivision where I grew up was on Lee-Jackson Highway, and the main street leading in was Lees Corner Road. The place used to be pretty white but is an ethnic rainbow now. Wonder if they might like to get it changed.

        • wjts

          Was Lees Corner Road named after Robert or one of the other notable Virginia Lees, though?

          • mattmcirvin

            Almost certainly Robert. The town was the site of a Civil War battle involving Lee.

          • mattmcirvin

            …also, pretty sure the Jackson was Stonewall, not Andrew.

            • wjts

              Yeah, I didn’t think Lee-Jackson was Harry and Andrew.

        • Hondo

          Hwy 29 right?

          • mattmcirvin

            50. 29 met it a little way up the road.

      • I believe there’s a statue of him in DC. That needs to get the Saddam 2003 statue treatment.

        • Origami Isopod

          Can we invite a bunch of Iraqi-Americans to beat on it with their shoes once it comes down? That’d be awesome.

          • As long as we can join in. I got a pair of penny loafers that aren’t good for much else.

      • JamesWimberley

        I came across a Calle Queipo de Llano in the Castilian town of Palencia.

    • Yixing’s Fluffer

      There are a ton of the damn things, though. Richmond alone has a bajillion of them.

      • cpinva

        Monument Ave. is an entire street full of them. lots of granite/marble/bronze/iron there for re-purposing.

      • Origami Isopod

        “I’ve never seen so many second-place trophies!”

        • Hornet_Queen

          Oh that would be just brilliant. Go through at night and stick white flags in all their hands, and Participation ribbons on all their chests.

    • twbb

      And replaced with a statue of Sherman with his neck on a crying confederate soldier. Or maybe a sculptural representation of the 22nd U.S. Colored Regiment’s flag.

  • Origami Isopod
    • N__B

      Assumes literacy that is negatively in evidence.

      • had this argument with someone I respect. Certainly one shouldn’t forget history, but a a statue on a pedestal, as an ode to a someone bad (nevermind what it represents to others) is not the way to teach the future. Note that the kind of statue does matter. Plenty of odes to stupidity out there. in Spokane, where I lived, there was some pushback to the Bearing Project Statue which wanted to show that war also left burdens on women, instead of the usual glorification of.. whatever. It went through as many seemed to like the idea.

        http://thebearingproject.com/

  • eh

    These officials are going to have to either accelerate rehoming the statues or put 24hr guards on them.

    • Jean-Michel

      Fun fact: In 1969 the Weather Underground blew up the police statue in Haymarket Square. The statue was rebuilt, then blown up again a year to the day after the first bombing. It was then put under a 24-hour guard (at a cost of $68k per year) until the city moved it to police HQ in 1972. (Wikipedia claims this happened after a third bombing, but it provides no citation and none of the contemporary accounts I’ve found of the 1972 move mention this.)

      • osceola

        The Weather Underground NEVER “blew up” the cop statue that it had to be rebuilt. The Weather Underground fucked it up just like they fucked up everything else they ever tried. The statue was never “rebuilt,” but the CPD did post a 24-hour guard around it until public ridicule made them put the statue in the lobby of police HQ.

        • Jean-Michel

          Maybe not “blown up,” but per contemporary accounts both bombings knocked out large chunks of the statue’s legs (in the second instance, one entire leg was found 200 feet away) and knocked it off the pedestal.

  • CD

    A great response.

    I just kicked $100 to the Southern Poverty Law Center, figuring I could drink cheaper gin for a few weeks.

    • HugeEuge

      Great idea, thanks for the suggestion. I just did the same, in memory of my parents

  • Hogan

    Tl, dr: Come and have a go if you think you’re hard enough.

  • Kubricks_Rube

    A modest proposal: let’s replace all the Confederate statues with miniature Statues of Liberty. Surely that’s a symbol we can all agree on.

    • D. C. Sessions

      XD

    • JDM

      As long as you use the original inscription: “Get the F___ our of here, you dirty foreigners!”

      At least, that’s what I’m being told it was by our rightwingers.

    • Yixing’s Fluffer

      Or the 54th Massachusetts Infantry.

      • King Goat

        In Virginia I’d say find a noted Virginian who fought for the Union-say George Thomas or better yet William Carney-and put up a statue of them in place of the Confederate figure. Do the same in every state (rename everything Calhoun in SC Grimke). That way when you get the inevitably stupid ‘you can’t erase history, this is about heritage’ bs you can say ‘hey, we’re monumentalizing history/heritage here, just the right side.’

        • DocAmazing

          Dial that up as appropriate. For example, any statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest would be replaced with one of Nat Turner.

    • ExpatJK

      There are many potential replacements. I vote for a statue of Fannie Lou Hamer.

    • Philip

      The US needs far more Frederick Douglass statues than it has. Just saying.

      • mattmcirvin

        People are discovering that more and more.

  • Fighting Words

    Replace the Breckinridge statue with the (albeit premature) New York Times obituary.

    http://www.nytimes.com/1863/12/07/news/john-c-breckinridge.html

    • Joe Paulson

      “Of all the accursed traitors of the land there has been none more heinously false than he — none whose memory will live in darker ignominy. God grant the country a speedy deliverance of all such parricides.”

      Then, there’s Wikipedia on Morgan’s actual death: “On September 4, 1864, he was surprised by a Union attack and was shot in the back and killed by Union cavalrymen while attempting to escape during a raid on Greeneville, Tennessee.”

      • farin

        Man, remember when the NYT was actually good?

        • Joe Paulson

          Has its moments — the non-political stuff particularly.

        • stepped pyramids

          I wouldn’t go that far. They were still super-duper racist back then, despite being pro-Union.

      • Wapiti

        Of course he was shot in the back. It’s hard to flee running backwards.

  • Excellent news!

  • tomstickler

    Failure to mention John Hunt Morgan’s mare; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Hunt_Morgan_Memorial

    • Origami Isopod

      Oh, dear lord.

      • rea

        Morgan famously was prevented from escaping to North Carolina in ’64, because his horse was not allowed to poop in that state

    • CD

      Do you think we could hoist Morgan off but keep the testicled mare? That’s surely something the future can learn from.

  • WaltWhitmanSampler

    And Kentucky was part of the Union.

    • wherewhich the werewitch

      You would be amazed, or at least disheartened, by how many Kentuckians either lament that fact or refuse to acknowledge it.

      …I’m so glad I moved.

      • Jean-Michel

        Missouri is in the same boat. I suspect a map of Union and Confederate supporters during the war would look a lot like a map of D and R voters today.

        • Paul Thomas

          I don’t actually think it would, particularly. The locus of Confederate support was in the Missouri Valley. Kansas City wasn’t very large. And the Ozarks area was actually a bastion of unionism (extending well down into Arkansas).

          Today, the state, like most of the country, is essentially two large Democratic metro areas besieged by a sea of rural red.

    • mattmcirvin

      The Daughters of the Confederacy worked hard to erase or overwhelm any signs of Union loyalty in the border states during the Gilded Age.

      • wjts

        There’s a building on the Texas Tech campus that’s decorated with carvings of various Great Americans. The fact that Lincoln was included was apparently a cause for some controversy at the time (20s or 30s).

    • Joe Paulson

      Also, was considered part of Confederacy by the other side.

  • Paul Thomas

    It should also be noted that Breckinridge was the Vice President and, after being appointed to the Senate by the state legislature in early 1861, was expelled later that year.

    Actual text of the resolution enacted unanimously by the United States Senate:

    “Whereas John C. Breckinridge, a member of this body from the State of
    Kentucky, has joined the enemies of his country, and is now in arms
    against the government he had sworn to support: Therefore—Resolved, That
    said John C. Breckinridge, the traitor, be, and he hereby is, expelled
    from the Senate.”

    I rather enjoy the do-not-give-a-f**k bluntness of this assessment, though I would guess it does not make a prominent appearance on his monument.

    • D. C. Sessions

      Quite a hero, him. Fled the Confederacy when it fell, taking what hard currency they had left. Ended up paying quite a bit of it for ransom, then took up piracy, and eventually fled to Canada to escape the law.

      Yup, a true Southern patriot.

    • wjts

      Breckenridge, CO was originally named for him. The residents voted to change the spelling when he joined the CSA.

    • rea

      John C. Breckinridge, that Bourbon-swilling surrender monkey!

  • MariedeGournay

    I would be happy to see those statues replaced with an American version of Liberty Breaking her Chains. Preferably depicting a black woman. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e636d6cb320743920adea82b65a25c8cba0700fcb3956043e6055f322dfea433.jpg

    • N__B

      As with the picture of Jennifer Lawrence in front of the Statue of Liberty, I fear we may be giving the goobers funny pants feelings.

      • MariedeGournay

        Nazis hate Lady Liberty.

    • rm

      My first thought was Wonder Woman. (William Marston’s original conception involved her losing her strength when chained, to represent the patriarchy’s oppressive limitations placed on women; Joe Shuster drew her chained in a way that indulged his S&M fetish, but I digress. The current Wonder Woman is all about breaking chains).

      Googling that image, I incidentally learned that the Statue of Liberty treads on broken chains which peek out from the hem of her robe. I am pleased to learn that.

  • cpinva

    unfortunately, because the capital of the confederacy was located in VA (Richmond), the damn place is just dotted all over with tangible paean’s to it. this includes at least two US Army bases, Ft. Lee near Petersburg, and Ft. A.P. Hill, near me. I even emailed the Sect’y of Defense, requesting the names be changed, I got no response.

  • Technocrat

    This is great to hear.

  • Spot Letton

    Corey Stewart, the confederate-monument loving Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Virginia, remembering the people who he hopes will get him there: “Stewart…posted a video on Facebook on Saturday evening accusing the media and Democrats of ignoring violence from the left and urged vigilance against attempts to stifle conservative speech in the aftermath of the Charlottesville violence. He did not criticize the white nationalists who rallied, except to say that “we must hunt down and find the criminals who perpetrated these horrible crimes.”

    • Technocrat

      For a coalition that includes Fox News, Sinclair Broadcasting and all of talk radio, they are awfully worried about their speech being stifled. It’s almost like they just want to avoid the consequences of their speech.

  • good man

  • brianm0122

    We should insist on renaming all the military bases named for traitors.