Prophets of Cultural Extinction: Opponents of Lincoln Statue had it Right

beardenThe February / March  2003 issue of The Civil War News.Com carried news of a proposed statue to be placed at the Richmond National Battlefield Park Civil War Visitors Center, which is located at the historic Tredegar Iron Works, a facility that produced iron for the fledgling Confederate States of America.

Civil War News.Com  published the following account:

RICHMOND, Va. – A bronze statue of Abraham Lincoln and his youngest child, Tad, commemorating their only visit to the city in April 1865, hours after the Confederacy abandoned Richmond, will be dedicated on April 5, the anniversary of their visit.

The United States Historical Society of Richmond commissioned sculptor David Frech of Newburgh, N.Y., to create the life-size bronze of Lincoln and Tad. They are seated on a bench against a plain granite wall. The words “To Bind Up The Nation’s Wounds” will be cut
into a granite capstone.

Beside the President is a copy of the Richmond Whig, dated April 5, 1865. The sculptor has provided space at both ends of the bench for visitors to be photographed aside the two bronze figures.

The society is donating the statue to the Richmond National Battlefield Park Civil War Visitor Center at the former Tredegar Iron Works. It will be placed outdoors on a hillside in sight of the James River and the Richmond skyline.

The project is not without controversy. Among those expressing displeasure to newspaper reporters was Brag Bowling, commander of the Virginia Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans, who called the work “a slap in the face of a lot of brave men and women who went through four years of unbelievable hell fighting an invasion of Virginia led by President Lincoln.”

The April 6, 2003 issue of the Richmond Times-Dispatch covered the unveiling of the statue writing:

Richmond welcomed Abraham Lincoln back with patriotic music, enthusiastic applause and boos yesterday, 138 years after he entered the smoldering capital of the Confederacy.

Smiling children and dignitaries slowly lifted a forest green cloth, unveiling a life-size bronze statue of Lincoln and his son, Tad, at a spot near the James River.

The crowd immediately erupted in cheers – and howls – for the 16th president, who is both hailed as a hero and condemned as a tyrant in Richmond.

“We in Virginia are glad to claim him as one of our own. Abraham Lincoln is one of us,” Lt. Gov. Timothy M. Kaine told the crowd at the Richmond National Battlefield Park Civil War Visitor Center.

A small plane pulling a red “Sic Semper Tyrannis” (Thus Always to Tyrants) banner flew over the stage as Kaine spoke. Earlier, lusty rebel yells and whistles echoed outside the park gates as other speakers praised Lincoln.

As speakers recited Lincoln’s words during the ceremony, 8-year-old Alexandra Mitchell stood in the audience and quietly mouthed the parts she had memorized, according to her father, Ron.

The National Park Service estimated 850 people turned out for the event, a few wearing Union Army uniforms. With morning showers giving way to a brilliant afternoon sun, parasols took the place of umbrellas.

The U.S. Historical Society donated the statue to the National Park Service as a symbol of reconciliation and unity. It sits at the former Tredegar Iron Works, once a major supplier of munitions to the Confederate army.

The statue depicts Lincoln with his arm draped around the shoulders of his son, who celebrated his 12th birthday during the Richmond visit. A copy of the April 5, 1865, issue of the Richmond Whig sits on the bench with them. The Lincolns arrived in Richmond on April 4, and the president returned to the city by barge a day later to meet former Confederate leaders.

Several people at yesterday’s event made connections between the unveiling of the statue and the war in Iraq.

“The same things that we are struggling for in Iraq today are not so different from the things he was struggling for 138 years ago,” said Bill Laslett, a Richmond architect and self-described “big fan of Lincoln.”

“This opportunity is precisely what came out of the Civil War, the opportunity to express your thoughts and feelings. I think Lincoln firmly believed that would be the outcome,” Laslett said.

Some protesters unfurled a huge Confederate Navy Jack from the back of their pickup truck on a hilltop overlooking the proceedings. Several people grumbled that officials barred them from bringing their Union and Confederate flags to the ceremony.

Earlier yesterday, the Sons of Confederate Veterans held a rally at Jefferson Davis’ gravesite in Hollywood Cemetery to protest the arrival of the Lincoln statue.

Among the participants was H.K. Edgerton, former chairman of the NAACP in Asheville, N.C.

“I’m a Southern man,” said Edgerton. “When somebody does something as ignorant as put Abe Lin- coln in the capital of the Confederacy, how can I not come to protest it? You don’t put a criminal up and call it reconciliation, and Lincoln was a war criminal on top of it.”

Mr. Edgerton was on to something in 2003. You don’t put a criminal up and call it reconciliation. Of course, that’s not REALLY what the statue was about was it?

The public schools have had a monopoly on the education of Southern children, the only thing to counter the “blue ink” history that they have been force fed over the years are the historic monuments and markers that are still found throughout the South.

It’s not a stretch of the imagination to come to the conclusion that a system of government that has a monopoly on the history of our short lived nation {the Confederacy} would also want a monopoly on the monuments, markers and museums that tell the story of our heritage out of the classroom.

In 2011 the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts made the decision to remove the Confederate flag from the Confederate Memorial Chapel located on its property. According to the November 16, 2011 post on RVANews.com:

In 1993, an agreement was made between the Commonwealth, the VMFA, and the Sons of Confederate Veterans organization to allow them to lease the chapel. According to the VMFA, the Confederate battle flag began flying at the chapel after the Sons of Confederate Veterans became the lessee. When the lease was renewed in June of 2010, the board of trustees at the VMFA made the decision to ask that the flag be removed from the chapel…

As a Civil War buff, I struggle with this issue of the Confederate flag. When I’ve heard about Confederate flags flying over city hall buildings or government buildings in the past, it always seemed like a no-brainer to me that the flag shouldn’t be there. But for an actual Confederate historical landmark, it seems a little heavy-handed to remove the flag since it’s a place that was built to commemorate those who died fighting for the Confederacy. They may have been the losing side, but the flag represents the honor of those who fought and died, and it seems appropriate to me that it should be there.

Of course, it’s not that simple. Any person living in the South knows the context of the Confederate flag has changed over the past 150 years. The flag has been perverted over the years and sadly, is recognized more today as a symbol of backwards thinking, racism, and hate. Are there people who fly the flag out of respect for their Southern heritage and eschew its other meanings? Absolutely. In our society, however, it’s a difficult thing to wave a flag and expect people to parse your specific meaning.

Because of this, I totally understand why the VMFA would want to distance themselves from the flag. Here we have the newly-renovated museum, a shining example of a city moving forward and upward, truly establishing us as a place of culture and art and bringing us out of the shadow of our bigger city neighbors. So when a tourist in Richmond for the first time sees this amazing museum and then rounds the corner to see a Confederate flag waving, the juxtaposition is harsh, and I can see why the museum wouldn’t be wild about that mixed perception.

In 2003 the motive for distorting / erasing Confederate history was simple, re-education.  With the removal of the flag from the Confederate Memorial Chapel in 2011 a new motive emerges, money. Money in the form of tourist dollars. Of course the powers that be disguise this motive with words like “context” “racism” and “feelings”.

2011  was also the year that saw the City of Lexington ban the display of Confederate flags , which were traditionally displayed on Virginia’s Lee-Jackson holiday. According to Wikipedia.Com:

In 2011, the city erupted in controversy after the City Council passed an ordinance to ban the flying of flags other than the United States flag, the Virginia Flag, and an as-yet-undesigned city flag on city light poles. Various flags of the Confederacy had previously been flown on city light poles to commemorate the Virginia holiday, Lee-Jackson Day, which is observed on the Friday before Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.[12] About 300 Confederate flag supporters, including members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, rallied before the City Council meeting,[13] and after the vote the Sons of Confederate Veterans vowed to challenge the new local ordinance in court.[14] Previously, flags such as the Washington and Lee University and Virginia Military Institute flags had also been flown on city light poles but the practice is now discontinued due to the city’s ordinance. Through July 2013, the courts have been unwilling to overturn the ordinance.

The removal of the Confederate flag from the chapel  and the City of Lexington’s barring the display of Confederate flags in 2011 brought something unexpected for the progressives trying to erase Confederate history in the Richmond, Va area, backlash.  To many in Virginia, this was the last straw and soon that same year an organization which calls itself The Virginia Flaggers was born. The dedicated group of traditional Southerners started protesting the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts weekly and two years later they still hold their vigil , holding a vast array of Confederate flags. According to the Virginia Flaggers:

The Virginia Flaggers were organized in September of 2011, in direct response to the forced removal of Confederate flags from the Confederate Memorial Chapel in Richmond, the decision of Lexington City Council to ban ALL flags from city flag stand rather than allow the flags of Lee and Jackson to fly for one week leading up to the State Lee-Jackson Holiday, and the Commonwealth of Virginia’s refusal to recognize the honor, valor, and sacrifice of the men she called to defend her in its Sesquicentennial “Commemorations”.

As the “Flaggers” movement began to take root in Virginia, the group dedicated in its protests and determined find alternative methods to counter-act the progressive movement to rewrite Virginia’s history and remove its Confederate symbols, raised a 15′ X 15′ Confederate Battle Flag on a 50′ pole near Chesterfield, Virgina outside of Richmond, Virgina.  According to the September 29, 2013 Times-Dispatch:

A large and contentious Confederate battle flag raised Saturday next to Interstate 95 near Chester is largely obscured by trees bordering the highway.

The Virginia Flaggers, a Confederate heritage group, hoisted the 15-foot-square banner on a 50-foot pole adjacent to I-95 in Chesterfield County.

“Richmond needed a reminder of her Confederate heritage,” the group’s Susan Hathaway said.

More than 200 people — more than 30 carrying Confederate flags themselves — gathered for the flag-raising ceremony on the roughly cleared site just south of Old Bermuda Hundred Road.

The placement of this flag outside of Richmond , Va made not only national headlines, but was reported around the world as well but as the “Flaggers” fired their first symbolic shot across the bow of the progressive movement a clear patterned began to emerge.

Those that have opposed Confederate history in Virginia have done so with the blessing of the government, those that are defending Confederate history have stood together as individuals.

As the Confederate Battle Flag outside of Richmond was going up, the progressives were plotting their next move and this time they were not playing for mere “tourist” dollars, they were going to cash in big.

According to an article posted on The Southern Flaggers Blog , dated November 17, 2013:

The Va Flaggers are deeply disturbed to report that plans to liquidate the Museum of the Confederacy have, indeed, moved forward.

We learned last week that Waite Rawls’ plan (as outlined in the internal memo which can be found here: www.vaflaggers.com/moc2.pdf ) was approved by the Board of Trustees.  We suspect he has been perfecting the spin he will put on the situation, and that an announcement will soon be forthcoming, most likely today.

In the memo, Rawls speaks of the “50 year transformation of MOC from shrine to modern, educational institution”.  No surprise here, as Mr. Rawls has repeatedly made attempts to remove the name “Confederacy” from the Museum,  as reported here in 2007..

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2007/feb/20/20070220-103634-6891r/

He purports that the liquidation is necessary as it “solves ongoing financial problems.”  and  “Pays off debt to White House Endowment, Farmers’ Bank, First Union Bank”.  It seems that the legacy of our Confederate Ancestors has been hocked…and the memory and honor of our Confederate ancestors will be traded for 30 pieces of silver.

He admits that “Appomattox, while a “mission” success, has not been enough of a financial success to bail out Richmond”.  One can only wonder how his obstinate, pc-driven refusal to fly a Confederate flag on the grounds, and the serious fall out as a result, factors into this part of the equation.

What the Va Flaggers DO NOT find in this document, is any mention of the MEN…the Confederate Soldiers whose honor and memory the women of the Ladies’ Hollywood Memorial Association obtained the White House of the Confederacy and opened a museum there to forever memorialize our Confederate dead…

From their website:  “The Mission of the Museum and White House of the Confederacy is to serve as the preeminent world center for the display, study, interpretation, commemoration, and preservation of the history and artifacts of the Confederate States of America.”

For those of you who may not be aware, the entities listed in the memo (attached) are The American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar,  The Virginia Historical Society, and the National Park Service.

The American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar describes itself as “the nation’s first museum to interpret the Civil War from Union, Confederate, and African American perspectives.”  While we have no issue with any organization interpreting the WBTS however they wish, for their purposes, ALL SOUTHERNERS should have a SERIOUS problem putting the artifacts and treasures that were donated by our Confederate ancestors and their descendants into their hands.  OUR history needs to be interpreted by those who honor and respect our veterans, and our treasures protected by those who hold them dear.
These are the same folks who installed the Lincoln statue in Richmond, and refused to accept a Jefferson Davis statue for the grounds.

So the story comes full circle. Linked directly back to the same group of people who forced the statue of Lincoln at Tredegar Iron Works in 2003, but there is a little more to what might have motivated them. According to the Times-Dispatch:

More than $20 million has already been committed to the $30 million project, Coleman said. A new building at Tredegar will have more than 30,000 square feet of space for exhibitions and an experiential theater portraying the fire that destroyed much of the city at the end of the war.

Baskervill, the local architectural firm that’s also developed proposals for a slavery museum in Shockoe Bottom, will present concepts for the Tredegar site in mid-December, Coleman said — “what it looks like and where it fits best on the property without interrupting our views or space for programs.” The goal is to open in fall 2015.

Just what do the people of Virginia get for $3o,000,000? Again, quoting the Times-Dispatch:

The Museum of the Confederacy has focused on the Southern states that seceded during the Civil War. The American Civil War Center has looked at the issues from three perspectives: Northern, Southern and African-American.

The progressives own the schools and therefore the history that is taught in them, now they are making power plays for the markers, memorials and museums and it all started with the Lincoln statue at Tredegar Iron Works.

One blogger described those who protested the placement of the Lincoln statue at Tredegar in 2003  by describing them as “Neo-Confederates” and predicted that they would, “harm the statue” and that based on his reading at Neo-Confederate forums, ” attacks using acid or explosives are likely”

Clearly one can see that after a decade has passed the above quoted blogger was no prophet. On the contrary, the protesters he mocked and insulted accurately predicted what was to come and then some.  The progressives are hell bent on destroying the culture and history of the South with the full backing of the local, the state and federal governments. The individuals fighting them are the only thing that stand in the way.- Editor

About aldermanlacy

I am just an average blue collar American who works hard and tries to be a good dad. I have a passion for history, music and freedom.

2 Responses to “Prophets of Cultural Extinction: Opponents of Lincoln Statue had it Right”

  1. The sic semper tyrannis banner was an awesome idea!

    Something should be done to the statue, but not acid or explosives. Just one bullet hole in the back of the head. As it is, the statue will sit there and eventually something will be added and something else taken away, etc and before you know it will be the lincoln memorial park.

    • “We in Virginia are glad to claim him as one of our own. Abraham Lincoln is one of us,” Lt. Gov. Timothy M. Kaine told the crowd at the Richmond National Battlefield Park Civil War Visitor Center.

      Kaine is from Minnesota if anybody is wondering.

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