I live about 90 mi. from New Orleans, all I can say is WOW! Great speech. Thanks Mayor and thanks Common Dreams for posting this article.
I'd say they choose a very good time in history to take down those statues. However, I wish they had chosen a better time of day- like in the middle of the day in broad daylight instead of at night!
Please don't think I'm criticizing his speech. But if he's right, we have a LOT MORE (than) statues to take down.
Who will give the speech saying the Union is on the wrong side of history? A lot harder to do from within its borders and under its power.
"After the Civil War, these statues were a part of that terrorism as much as a burning cross on someone's lawn; they were erected purposefully to send a strong message to all who walked in their shadows about who was still in charge in this city."
And they still are, throughout the country.
Since we are dealing with public land supported by taxes it is only right that these statues come down. If the neo confeds like them so much they should collect money and put them on private land.
As a yankee transplant (Indiana) but long time resident of the south, I have a few concerns with trying to take down all the statues of the confederacy. My area of the north Georgia mountains was kind of a union stronghold, but had volunteers for the confederacy, and conscripsion for the confederacy (enforced by the home guards). They were simple farmers, not slave owners. Most of them were killed. They are honored by a statue on the square with there names carved in the base. I think such monument s to the common soldier should remain, to remember them and that terrible war.
I'm not sure many would argue against that. It also may be the case that several war memorials for ordinary soldiers might require a re-design (for the ones that use the dead as a vehicle to worship elite slavers).
The important point is to be able to discuss it soberly, not through the misty lens of neo-confederate revisionism and romanticism.
Great speech from Mayor Landrieu. His summation of over 300 years of white supremacist flesh peddling, of corrupt and genocidal land brokering called nation building by whitewashed history books, and of the Mason-Dixon disasters legalized by our Federal Government, is long overdue.
New Orleans may have been the gateway for a spiritual cancer, its statues a physical reminder of a moral blight and blind hate, but the city is hardly the epicenter of all this nation's ills. They reside elsewhere, in great part due to the failures of our economic and political systems. And, that are still continuing and growing in scope.
Which the acknowledgement of, presently, still escapes the needed critique of powerful people like Mayor Landrieu and other statesmen. And, that's equally shameful, as well.
A great moment for New Orleans and for our nation. Personally I wish these confederate battle flags could be outlawed as well. They seem to be used to offend and flout arrogance. I would recommend that some statues be put up in memory of Newton Knight and the Free State of Jones - a symbol of what we could be. African-American heritage is a big part of American heritage - our common heritage. We need to bring down the things that honor an evil cause and embrace our unity as a people of this nation. At the end of the civil war, we essentially had a new nation that had the promise of new and better things for all of our people. That has not happened like it should have but we put in place the elements of that possibility. The removal of these statues moves us forward to our potential as a nation that recognizes rights and dignity for all of us.
Yes, the elite of the confederacy - the plantation owners - used the poorer whites as cannon fodder. We need to understand that history more clearly. The southern elite were basically remnants of the feudal system and unfortunately they seem to still be around us with people like Jeffrey Sessions and others - the oligarchy. I think more important that the monument - would be to have the history of these abusive southern gentry more clearly told in our history books.
We should keep the statues not to honor but to remember
I'm a native of New Orleans and was active in the Civil Rights Movement in North Carolina. My ancestors had photos of Robert E. Lee which my sister and I inherited. I chose to live in the North as it's more liberal. I always looked at the statue of Robert E. Lee facing the North and thought of the futility of war and how only the winners are honored. They also show how much has changed in the city and the world. We should have statues now showing how things have changed by honoring Frederick Douglas, the Ursuline Sisters and others who we now admire. I think it's like rewriting history to tear down the Confederate monuments. And where will this all stop?
Katherine van Wormer
co-author of The Maid Narratives
It is their city, and they have the right to decide what to honor, and it seems a majority of the city's population wants this.
(Contrast with Denver, where a small loud and disruptive minority has shut down Columbus Day celebrations...)
Years ago the New Orleans LA School District set a policy that no schools would be named for slave-holders. Including George Washington and Thomas Jefferson -> rename those schools!
-- At the time I thought that the George Washington ones could/should be renamed for George Washington Carver and George Washington Cable (a Louisiana author).
Mayor Landrieu's speech includes several of the new mythologies, describing it as always oppressive. Slavery was an economic system, with somewhat less murder rape and exploitation than described. The European elite of the time couldn't see much difference between the South's chattel slavery and the North's wage slavery; the first owned their slaves, the second rented them. (Several of them were landowners who couldn't see how they treated their own tenants.)
-- Many slaves escaped white slavery for Florida. Many of them did not get their freedom, but ended up as slaves to the Seminole. The Seminole had a reputation for treating their slaves better than whites did.
I want to observe here a dissonance, that reader321 on this occasion speaks of "our unity as a people of this nation", as do many others. ...
And many here on other occasions embrace our multicultural diversity, and reject ever melting in the melting pot.
And a side-note observation, that many here reject "this nation" as it currently exists, and want very much to take the location of this and erect a whole new nation dedicated to a new set of principles. ...
One hell of A fine speech- New Orleans should be very proud of their Mayors humanity and statesmanship....
But, moving on, New Orleans has bigger fish to fry and by saying this, I believe that this city should be in the forefront of the global warming debate- When the Oceans begin to rise, the onslaught will make all other issues pale in comparison....