Amplifying Jim, Foolish Literalist’s, posts. This is an important speech. Read the whole thing, but here is a sample.
You see: New Orleans is truly a city of many nations, a melting pot, a bubbling cauldron of many cultures.
There is no other place quite like it in the world that so eloquently exemplifies the uniquely American motto: e pluribus unum — out of many we are one.
But there are also other truths about our city that we must confront. New Orleans was America’s largest slave market: a port where hundreds of thousands of souls were brought, sold and shipped up the Mississippi River to lives of forced labor of misery of rape, of torture.
America was the place where nearly 4,000 of our fellow citizens were lynched, 540 alone in Louisiana; where the courts enshrined ‘separate but equal’; where Freedom riders coming to New Orleans were beaten to a bloody pulp.
So when people say to me that the monuments in question are history, well what I just described is real history as well, and it is the searing truth.
And it immediately begs the questions: why there are no slave ship monuments, no prominent markers on public land to remember the lynchings or the slave blocks; nothing to remember this long chapter of our lives; the pain, the sacrifice, the shame … all of it happening on the soil of New Orleans.
There are good people in this country, politicians who understand they represent all the people. Remember that.
That was a good speech. On point.
Eloquent and powerful words. Thanks for posting, Cheryl.
I’m off to bed, so I’ma just repost my comments in the last open thread to Jim on the Landrieus and how I think this will effect Mitch’s political career….
Repost: I am a born and raised New Orleanian…the Landrieus have been a part of NOLA politics longer than I’ve been alive now.
They may be disliked statewide, but folks here like them. Mitch is def one of the most well liked of the Landrieu fam, but Mary is also…did she change once she won statewide, sure, maybe, but locally, she was def respected, at least by the biggest non-gentrified population of NOLA electorate. (Quiet as it’s kept…folks in the POC population here…like to claim rumours that the Landrieus are “one of us” or at least has some of our ancestry somewhere)
Politically, he’ll be fine…locally. I can almost guarantee ya that the folks leading the protest against removal, AIN’T from Orleans Parish, and likely from outside the parish and even outside the state.
Statewide he never really got past Lt Governor…so, I don’t suspect he’ll be taking that route again.
I can’t recall how long, but there is a term limit, and I think Landrieu has served as mayor for almost 8 years…I believe he’s at 1 1/2 of his 2 terms…and I think, but don’t quote me, that he limited to 2 terms.
I’m not too sure what his plans are after? Maybe statewide office again? Maybe Congress, I don’t see him going for Senate?
But again, locally, he’ll be fine…so he could challenge for Congressional districts and could do well…IMHO
Mike in NC
We visited New Orleans back in 1995, I seem to recall. Told the friends who lived near the French Quarter that we might consider coming back in 50 years.
Thanks. It is a very good speech. Hope it makes some people think.
I’m not sure what is the best way to handle some of these monuments. If local governments want to remove them, that is good. Or keep them and put up counter monuments to put the history in context. Someone said that was a solution used in Germany for some Nazi monuments. I think at least one of the monuments to be removed was not put up until the middle of the Jim Crow era and explicitly celebrated some locals saw as the restoration of white rule in New Orleans. Maybe keeping that one up and putting information on the real context of it up front and center would cause more fuss than taking it down.
If they removed some monuments on the Gold Rush or early settlers or Spanish American War, or put up context or counter monuments here in California that would be fine with me. We have very intentional genocide and de facto slavery of Indigenous Peoples in many parts of this state, Chinese Exclusion Act, Japanese Internment, etc. etc.
trumpanzee #maga’ing in chyna.
In my little corner of NoVA, there is a mini-controversy brewing right now about a possible name change for J.E.B. Stuart High School (home of the Raiders!). I just found out about it last week, and then I saw a TV news bit about it in the last few days.
Story from CBS affiliate WUSA here. (Apologies for the typically wretched TV-station website. I couldn’t find a better story with a quick Google search.)
It’s interesting that the push for a name change was started by some students. Also sort of striking to see, with the benefit of hindsight, how deep the residual, (perhaps) unintentional racism goes.
I saw another TV clip about the bus tours, and Hakenson appears to be one of those “Hey, history and tradition, why’s everybody so offended?” people. Definitely not woke.
I will note that I used to live very close to that high school, and it appeared to me to be very peaceably integrated. It’s only a few blocks from a mosque, so there are Muslim students as well as blacks, Asians and Latinos. Definitely time for a name change.
Fellow New Orleanian (12th Ward!) here. I don’t think certain people ever forgave Moon for desegregating city govt. That spite has transferred over to his kids fo’ sho’.
Am I excessively dramatic fearing for the mayor’s life? He’s gone against a century+ of “patriotic Southern tradition” here.
In any case, good for him and the city.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
@Gozer: I would’ve voted for him just to have a mayor named Moon. M-O-O-N!
I read about that earlier. Looking at how old that guy is, I wondered whether he was just some clueless old fuck who was in the wrong seat and didn’t realize his mistake. But he definitely deserved everything he got.
Also glad to read in earlier post that David Anderson thinks the Senate health bill might actually be somewhat good.
The Trump administration is going to a train wreck on so many fronts. Glad to hear that some roadblocks will be put up in front of the House GOP insanity..
Thru the Looking Glass...
Shit… I recently re-watched Ken Burns’ ‘The Civil War’ and I was AMAZED at how much of what was argued about in the years leading up to the war is STILL be argued today… it’s like, what, 150 years later and nothing’s changed and/or been resolved…
I was in Austin a couple of winters ago, for Christmas w/ friends, and my gob was smacked to see that big statue in front of the Texas state capitol building dedicated to the heroes of The War of Northern Aggression…
Next time Texas threatens to secede, I say we let ’em go…
Now we just have to take the truly evil ones out for a tumbrel ride….
@Gozer: oh for sure i’m betting it’s when & why they all moved to Jeffersion Parish and beyond!!
Rod Dreher is concerned that removing Lee’s statue doesn’t address the problem of black-on-black crime. And we shouldn’t erase history, should we? http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/new-orleans-robert-e-lee-old-dixie-down/
@Gretchen: Doesn’t address the problem of wave of Rx opioid addiction or the ‘white’ heroin epidemic either. And what about increase in traffic deaths due to distracted driving?
@lamh36: Glad to hear that. All politics is local, thank God.
It’s so odd to me that these people spend so much time posturing about “history” and “culture” over stuff that was done barely 50 years ago in direct reaction to the then-current Civil Rights Movement. I mean, do they actually think no one can look at those dates and put two and two together?
@jl: He thinks a Senate health care bill might be somewhat good. Specifically one offered by Collins and someone else that makes minor adjustments to the law. Not the main AHCA piece of shit that passed the House and they’re in committees now trying to alter into something that won’t get them killed in 2018.
@Jim, Foolish Literalist: Perfect for the Crescent City.
” Not the main AHCA piece of shit that passed the House and they’re in committees now trying to alter into something that won’t get them killed in 2018. ”
Adam posted a link that said Ryan hasn’t sent the House AHCA bill to the Senate. So time is running out before the House will have to re-pass it. And the kicker is that apparently Ryan didn’t see fit to tell his people he was going to sit on it so long.
So, if there is a bad bill percolating in the Senate, it must be a House AHCA-lite that some of the reactionary Senate GOpers are trying to cook up. I hope their ideas don’t get too far.
I read that earlier and loved it. Also, from the infamous hotbed of the resistance “Teen Vogue,” a cool tweet:
Click on it; it’s full of grace. I definitely think the youngs of our day are a lot more serious and tuned in. I was reading the Watergate transcripts at that age, but more for the lolz.
To be completely clear, I put in the bracketed bit about when the school opened. But, yeah, it seemed germane.
To be fair, Falls Church is also home to George C. Marshall High School (home of the Statesmen!), established in 1962.
(I haven’t done an exhaustive study of local high schools. Those are just the two I am most familiar with.)
I used to have arguments with friends about which was worse, Jefferson Parish, St. Bernard, or Plaquemines.
On the one hand David Duke, on the other Leander Perez (full disclosure: Perez is a distant relation).
Thru the Looking Glass...
Well, clearly they can’t…
In my experience, the truly stupid simply can’t imagine someone else is actually smarter than them…
It’s just been driving me nuts to see newspapers referring with a straight face to “Confederate monuments” without clarifying that they’re monuments to the Confederacy that were erected 50 or 75 years after the Civil War ended as part of a resurgence of white supremacy.
We’re not talking about a statue that Jefferson Davis erected to himself in 1863 or something. We’re talking about shit that was erected in the 1920s or 1950s or 1960s as an expression of pure white supremacism, and now we’re supposed to leave it there because of “culture”? Fuck that.
The monument that was taken down in New Orleans specifically said it was a monument to “white supremacy.” Those exact words were on the monument. And there’s a fucking argument over taking it down?
/rant over, and obviously not directed at you personally
@Steeplejack: and James Madison, from which I graduated 50 years ago.
No, I feel ya. But I have Crackro-American roots and have lived a fair amount in the South, so this stuff is perhaps less surprising to me. Feel free to rant on.
ETA: A lot of the monuments were erected in the 1880s and 1890s. That was another inflection point (maybe when Confederate veterans were starting to die?).
” The monument that was taken down in New Orleans specifically said it was a monument to “white supremacy.” Those exact words were on the monument. ”
Thanks, that was the one I was thinking about. And IIRC, the original sign that celebrated the original purpose was discretely removed some years ago. Is that right?
Anyway, that is why I said keeping some of those monuments up, but putting up something in front of them that places the true historical context front and center might cause more fuss than taking them down. I’m not sure what is best, frankly. Probably taking them down and grinding them up, or putting them in a museum is better. Counter monuments and additions for context would attract problems from a small group of racists.
@Jim, Foolish Literalist: I know, awesome, right?
The fightin’ Warhawks! Also opened in 1959.
@bemused senior: Really? James Madison grad, too. Class of ’76.
That was when Reconstruction was officially abandoned as a federal program and Jim Crow laws started being passed. Plessy v Ferguson (aka “separate but equal”) was decided in the 1890s (I think 1897?) The monuments were erected to celebrate legalized discrimination.
A quick Google shows me that PBS has a pretty good website to support their documentary “The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow.” It was in 1883 that the Supreme Court decided to void the Civil Rights Act of 1875 and say that discrimination on the basis of race was perfectly legal, and shit went downhill from there.
I met a guy yesterday from Alabama. He was bitching about California. Hates the politics, the brown people, etc, etc..
Me: “Why the hell did you move out here?”
Redneck: “Cuz jobs here pay decent money.”.
There should be a White Supremacy museum where all this stuff is collected and curated in exactly the same way the Germans built a museum about the Nazi era.
And, oof… great speech.
I saw the documentary. It’s good.
He got a job that pays decent money but can’t add 2 and 2 and get more than racism out of the equation.
Move the statues, to be put on display in a prison cell.
(Just spitballin’, but on further reflection might not be such a silly idea.))
Villago Delenda Est
@Gretchen: Rod Dreher’s head would look better on a pike than on his shoulders.
Rod Dreher was all set to start selling survival kits to support those who chose his Benedict Option – and then, why goodness gracious, he done got upstaged by an even bigger grifter and the Benedict Option To Support Rod’s Retirement, well, that done died and left him tugging on those old-time reasonable conservative bootstraps again.
Morning from Spain.
Sad news about the Ariana Grande concert victims. Gonna be young.
Thanks for the link to Landrieu’s speech. A good topic; already see one friend who’s a Southern Man sympathist whingeing on Facebook. Don’t know that I’d wade into the debate with him and his rebel yell pals, but it will be interesting to hear what they’re saying among themselves.
@Thru the Looking Glass…: Shit… I recently re-watched Ken Burns’ ‘The Civil War’ and I was AMAZED at how much of what was argued about in the years leading up to the war is STILL be argued today… it’s like, what, 150 years later and nothing’s changed and/or been resolved…
Actually, I think Burns brought to the public what historians had been saying. Not completely, historians argue, but in a broader context he brought out the newer thinking. The centennial of the Civil War was still all sentimentality. Fifty years later, the whole issue was being re-thought and examined.
No one expected the people of India to keep the statues of Victoria, though the statue of Nelson did remain in Dublin for a long time (but gone now). Statues of French, Portuguese, and others are no longer in the empires once ruled.
And, heck, the origins of the World War I are still being argued about …
Put a suitable frame around the Confederate statue of choice and fill it with concrete to create a plinth. On the plinth erect a statue of MLK. Change any necessary names and notices and declare victory.
Great speech by Mayor Landrieu. I can relate to what he said about growing up around these statues without giving them much thought: A couple of years ago, I posted a photo of a Confederate monument that I had passed a million times without really seeing it.
I never fail to notice it now. It’ll be interesting to see what becomes of our local CSA monument and thousands of others like it in town squares throughout the former Confederacy.
@Mnemosyne: Thanks for that PBS Jim Crow website. Bookmarked it.
The past is never past.
@Morzer: That hive of morons isn’t too far from where I live. I was reading about it yesterday in the local rag, and there were jaw-droppingly dumb brawls in the newspaper comment section from people who wanted to make it all about the “radical Islamic terrorist” and ignore the Nazis.
Horrifying, really, how far some people will go to deny reality. I mean, what part of fanatics obtaining materials to make atomic weapons do they not understand? I find it amazing that the same people who ranted about the exact nomenclature to be used when describing terrorists from the Middle East are capable of ignoring the existence in America of terrorist groups that would devastate entire communities of American citizens if they got their way. We should be pressuring Trump and his fellow right wing crazies to say “radical white power right wing terrorists” – because that’s what these people are. Instead, we watch as the lunatic David Clarke is proposed for a role in government after defending terrorist crackpots like Ammon Bundy and his anti-American associates and fellow-criminals!
@Morzer: Exactly right. The white power terrorists seem more stirred up than ever, even though they got their wish with Trump’s EC win. And precisely when the white power terrorists bear watching the most, Trump appoints a walking Confederate monument as AG.
Reading Mayor Landrieu’s speech (“But there are also other truths about our city that we must confront. New Orleans was America’s largest slave market: a port where hundreds of thousands of souls were brought, sold and shipped up the Mississippi River to lives of forced labor of misery of rape, of torture.”), I was reminded of a line from a poem by Langston Hughes.
Hughes wrote a poem titled “The Negro Speaks of Rivers.” It’s a short poem with one surprisingly detailed line: “I heard the singing of the Mississippi when Abe Lincoln went down to New Orleans, and I’ve seen its muddy bosom turn all golden in the sunset.”
As a young man, Lincoln saw what Landrieu is talking about. As hitchhiker says above (#37), great speech. I agree — we need some new museums. And maybe another statue of Lincoln.
Of all the monuments to the Confederacy, the one I’d most like to see removed is the bas relief on Stone Mountain in Georgia. It’s the racist South’s answer to Mt. Rushmore and it is a blight on the landscape and our public space. It should never have been created.* Whatever the personal attributes of Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and Jefferson Davis their primary contribution to history was in the cause of slavery. Stone Mountain should be erased. There is no moral justification for its existence. I did a quick search and there have been calls for its removal, but it will take an act of the Georgia state legislature (the state owns the monument), which seems unlikely.
*Honestly, I wish Mt. Rushmore had never been created. Carving up the natural world to make monuments to human beings — whether they are generally admirable or not — is something I don’t support. Once the precedent has been set there is no end to the kind of “heroes” who could be “honored.” Imagine how you’d feel if the RWNJs got it together to make a similar monument to conservative presidents. The three men depicted on Stone Mountain fought for slavery but Washington and Jefferson were both slave owners. If a serious movement began to erase Stone Mountain, I can imagine a parallel movement to remove the slave-holding presidents from Mt. Rushmore.
@CM: Great comment. And welcome!
The USA could use a few more white men like this guy… Maybe someday after every one of these monuments to white supremacist terrorism are removed, we’ll even get a real monument to the horror of the transatlantic slave trade, like this one in France: http://memorial.nantes.fr/
I guess there’s legislation stalled in Congress. Good luck getting that one past the House Republicans :(
@Jim, Foolish Literalist: I saw what you did there my laws.
*spits out drink*
A very brave and timely speech. I heard an interview on CBC with a leader of an activist group that pushed for these statues to be torn down long ago. While crediting the Mayor, he was very disappointed that the statues were removed in the middle of the night. He felt that it should have been done in broad daylight with an accompanying celebration. When the interviewer asked about a potential violent reaction from white supremacists the leader basically said that the NO police force is bigger and better armed. YIKES! No love lost there.
Mayor Landrieu’s speech was great, and greatly needed. I went looking for it at what passes for the local paper-the Times-Picayune. It’s not on the front page of the website, you’ve got to go to the politics section to find it. There is an article about a local principal being “removed from campus” after being photographed with the anti-removal protesters, and another about the Lt. Governor stating the mayor “isn’t going to budge” on removal plans on the front page. Mitch is taking a lot of heat about this, and every article is full of whinging from the heritage crowd. I’ve lived here for nearly 20 years now, first in Orleans, then Jefferson and now St. Tammany parish. As regressive as Jefferson parish is, St. Tammany is so much worse. I get a perverse joy watching these hard-core Trumpers react with shock that the far right politicians they elected to state and local offices are supporting things like fracking and destroying the scenic river system. Like many of their counterparts across the country, they assumed the only people that would get screwed were “others”
@lamh36: I was born and raised in Uptown New Orleans and graduated from Ursuline – went to school with Morale’s daughters and was in class with Bartholomy’s daughter. I think Mitch will be ok locally as long as he doesn’t need white Uptown/Boston Club New Orleans. They hate him. But that is to be expected because it was their ancestors who put those statues up and fought for the CONFEDERACY. My step mother didn’t object much to that revolting Liberty Place one coming down, but she and her friends thought talking the others down was erasing history. They likely would have been like “slavery was so long ago why can’t ‘they’ just let it be” if anyone brought some sort of monument to remember those sold in the city.
“History…” (of slavery and misery) “…and Traditiion!!” (of Jim Crow, harassment, and bias)
NOTHING these apologist spout is a mitigating reason to continue with these naked, obvious actions to intimidate and discriminate against POC, no matter how long these things have been this way.
If your high school is named Slavewhipper Whitepower High School, even if its had that name since it was built in in 1962 and there are lot of proud Slavewhipper alumni, CHANGE THE NAME OF YOUR DAMNED HIGH SCHOOL!!
It’s 2017. Stop pretending – no one is fooled anymore.
J R in WV
The War of Treason in Defense of Slavery, Rape and Torture was nothing to be proud of back then, and it certainly isn’t honorable today. People need to understand that decent folks will share their sick pride in their ancestor’s bravery in fighting for fascism against both African-American slaves and poor white folks in the south. Being brave while supporting Rape and torture is not honorable.
I wish I could compress this thought down to a bumper sticker… even though it would render you liable for being shot kin the back. Now that’s brave, to shoot someone in the back. Over modern political beliefs!
Well, I have things to do and places to go this day, so be back later on for more of the bad news, and the little bright shiny bits of good news.
Jado, good job with Slavewhipper Whitepower High School, that puts this situation squarely where it belongs in front of everyone!!
Powerful stuff. It’s ironic that supporters of these treasonous memorials keep bleating about how removing them is about destroying history, because the history could not be more clearly in favor of eliminating said memorials. This is about honoring the history, not destroying it.
Required reading, by the way, is James McPherson, Battle Cry of Freedom. Excellent one volume history of the Civil War and its context.
@NorthLeft12: With you there, but at the same time, there was a need to protect the workers — all of whom, apparently, took strong measures to disguise their identities. White supremacists often engage in violence, so I’m reluctant to criticize measures take to protect innocents from such.
@J R in WV:
‘Treason’s No Tradition Of Mine’.
‘It’s The Slavery, Stupid!’
‘Beau, Are We…The Bad Guys?’
‘Cleaning Up Our Heritage One Monument At A Time”
USA 1 – 0 CSA
We Won, Get Over It
Mom Says I'm Handsome
Ezra Klein (yes, Vox, don’t judge) had an excellent interview on his podcast, with a gentleman named Bryan Stephenson. It covered the corrosive effect these TIDOS* monuments has on African-Americans, as well as the broader idea that America has never properly atoned for its “original sin” of slavery, hence we keep ending up in the same fucking place. Powerful ideas, highly recommended.
*TIDOS: Treason In Defense Of Slavery, a phrase I picked up on Sadly, No! many moons ago…