New Orleans is removing its monuments to slavery; should Boston do the same?

No, we don't have any statues of Robert E. Lee - our memorials for slavery supporters are more subtle than that. Kevin Peterson wonders if it's time for some name changing on places such as Winthrop Square, named for slave-owning John Winthrop, and Faneuil Hall, named for slave-owning Peter Faneuil.




My personal opinion is that

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My personal opinion is that there's a long way between displaying Confederate War statues and someone who owned slaves. The irony that some 'freedom loving' people of the South cling to the loser of a war long ago is inconceivable even without ignoring what it says to minorities who live in these communities.

I don't think Boston (or any other city) should go out of their way to name things after slave-owners, but since Presidents like Washington, Jefferson & Madison all owned slaves, I don't think that precedent would ever be evenly enforced.

We'll have to rename Washington Street

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Since he owned slaves.

Oh, wait, we'll have to rename all five Washington Streets (the main one from downtown to West Roxbury and beyond, plus Brighton, Dorchester, Hyde Park and Charlestown).

No. Don't wait.

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Do it. A person who owned another person should not have anything named after them.

- A South Boston Community member


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not revisionist history. teach about Washington in books, in schools...just don't glorify him by naming stuff after him. pretty simply.

if you thought owning another human at any point in history was OK you don't get to be celebrated. pretty simple.

i'd like to point at that when Washington was around so was abolitionism and people that didn't own other humans. name stuff after them.

I'm of mixed race, mostly

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I'm of mixed race, mostly Caucasian and I was "OWNED" by a white family when I was their cook, cleaner and got paid 3.00/hour back in the 90's I think we should STOP destroying history because the civil war wasn't all about slavery.

Look at all the mishap due to rallies outside of the white supremacist morons. My friend got fired because he was late for work by 2 hours due to that group thinking blocking a highway was a good idea.

Malcolm X hated whites, so should we also remove any monument for people that hate whites? NO Should we remove famous generals that were in a war---MORE about not wanting to join the union, not about slaves (which I think slavery is disgusting).... but when does it stop?



Revising history or actually

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Revising history or actually telling the world that we hold people to a higher standard today and are no longer willing to look past human enslavement?

Winthrop, Faneuil

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Maybe keep the names, but everywhere you keep the name, you explain the slavery connection.

So if a student, resident, or tourist goes to Faneuil hall, and they're reading the historical markers and hearing the tour guides, slavery is going to be mentioned.

This could be a good thing, in which people actually learn from the history, rather than just being entertained while spending money on fast food and junk.

The history is that some good things happened, and some bad things, and for a long time, we chose to see only the good things.

If we're leaning from this, we should look around, and ask what parallels are happening now -- what great injustices are we accepting as normal, and how do we fix that?

This is exactly...

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...the kind of reaction I was thinking about when I made my comment below (My opinion). Whatever we do, the WORST possible response is to try and shut down the conversation before it's even started, particularly with a ridiculous mischaracterization like this. Listen to what others are saying, don't listen to three words and then bellow out your own interpretation of it just because it makes you uncomfortable. A little discomfort won't hurt you.


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Winthrop created the legal framework for slavery in the colonies a full century before Georgia recognized the legality of slavery according to his template.

Without that degrading framework, there would not have been plantations or Confederacy.


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There's a fair but of difference between a building named after a notable figure and a monument to someone who is notable because they rebelled against tge feseral government to preserve slavery.

There's too much of a tendency to judge these people outside their time period. History education has clearly failed when this kind of thinking seems so common.


I have no opinion on whether the monuments should or shouldn't be removed (since I don't know what's being commemorated), but there's a big difference between memorializing someone who owned slaves and memorializing someone for fighting a war to preserve the institution of slavery.

well said

I'm also ready to hear the arguments that say if and why we should rename places called Winthrop or Fanueil or redesign the flag of the Commonwealth or change the hair rules at Mystic Valley charter. Reasoned, inclusive, crowd sourced debate, yay!

Analogous to people who want to ban Huck Finn

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But haven't actually read it or lack the intelligence to understand it. All they know is that the heard there's a bad word in at and they are giddy at the chance to be a Social Justice Warrior.

"There's too much of a

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"There's too much of a tendency to judge these people outside their time period. History education has clearly failed when this kind of thinking seems so common."

This exactly. Hey, let's get rid of all memorials to FDR because he supported a segregated military. Let's get rid of monuments to every president who opposed gay rights. Etc.

" a monument to someone who

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" a monument to someone who is notable because they rebelled against tge feseral government to preserve slavery."

You misrepresent the motivations of Lee while ignoring your second paragraph.

To the historical context people identified with their states, not the federal government, this is why Lee felt compelled to serve the south, despite the fact that he opposed secession in the first place. Lee refused to fight against his native state, for he in effect would be going to war with his neighbors.

Clearly your own history education is lacking.

Don't let Lee off the Hook...

For many of us, it's not that we aren't aware of the "his state came first" argument--which is as old as the hills--it's that we don't buy it for one second. It's classic moonlight-and-magnolias material. Douglas Southall Freeman, Shelby Foote, etc. have all beaten that particular chestnut into the ground, as did a lot of other apologists for Southern behavior, but that doesn't make it correct. History isn't written in a vacuum. In the decades following their humiliating surrender, many Southern writers and politicians engaged in a feel-good exercise of deifying Confederate leaders--simply put, it helped them to regain their dignity and made them feel less like losers. People talk a lot about revisionist history, and this attempt to rehabilitate the Confederacy historically was a prime example. Check out Lee Considered by Alan Nolan if you'd like to see a Grade A take down of this malarkey. The best part of the book is that it largely lets Lee speak for himself through his own letters and other writings; the results are illuminating.

So that's why arguments are made to puff-up the reputation of Southern leaders (and Lee in particular because he's the easiest for Northerners to stomach). As to whether the arguments have merit, consider: Gen. George Thomas, Gen. Robert Anderson, Gen. Montgomery Meigs, Gen. Winfield Scott, and Adm. David Farragut. As I'm sure you realize, these were prominent Union officers who came from Confederate states. There are dozens more where they came from. Like Lee, they had a choice. Unlike Lee, they made the right one. Let's not fall for post-war Southern propaganda engineered solely to take Lee--and by extension the South as a whole--off the hook.

Could you go to war with your

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Could you go to war with your neighbors? With your family?

They had a choice? Lol, no.

Thomas was married to a northerner. Anderson was a slavery supporter.


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Could you go to war with your neighbors? With your family?

I grew up in Maryland. Certain parts of my family have shitty attitudes on all-things-gender-discrimination, all-things-Trump, all-things-healthcare, all-things-science, all-things-climate-change, and even many things to do with race. I don't talk with many of them because they refuse to accept the improvements necessary that are changing the world. They bury themselves in Fox News and anti-government propaganda. They are some of the worst aspects of our society.

I would never want to go to war with neighbors and family, but I could if they chose that as the only path forwards. And that fact really depresses me.

Sure, if I knew they were

Nice comment on Thomas--had no idea that real patriotism was sexually transmitted.

As to killing rebels, sure. I'd gladly fight my own family if I knew they were wrong. If I were alive in that era, I'd make sure those folks had a bayonet in the belly, just like my ancestors who marched with Sherman. Good Midwestern volunteers burned those bigots back into the stone age, son! I married a Texan, and I told her plainly that if the clock turned back 150 years, it's open season on her cousins as far as I'm concerned,

Nice to know the Confederacy could count on your support if need be! Imagine yourself--so honorable, fighting "big government"--pumping round after round into Massachusetts volunteers trying to take your position... Put one right in Robert Gould Shaw's gut, you tough guy. You'll show those liberals what's what, I'm sure. Sorry, didn't mean to make this a one-handed read for you! ;)

This brought out my mean streak, but honest-to-God, what's your interest in defending the indefensible? What's this whole argument doing for you? Are you a Southerner, or just licking Southern boots?

In fact....

... there were many instances of members of the same family fighting on opposite sides during the Civil War. Lee (and many of his fellow Confederate officers) were oath breakers -- because they had sworn an oath to protect and preserve the United States -- not their own individual home states.

History is a cruel mistress.

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History is a cruel mistress. But it's also important to remember that history shouldn't be depicted as good vs evil. It should be used as a device to depict the way human nature can err from time to time and how we can learn from that. Hell, I wish that most of my fellow inner-city youths could look into the likes of Crispus Attucks and how his martyrdom kickstarted our history

Opportunity to educate about human flaws

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This is a perfect opportunity to educate ourselves about our flaws. A lot of people pass thru that building every day, and some of them would stop to read this history if it's displayed prominently. (And which I did not know until today)

By changing the name, we would lose some of that opportunity.

I'm not particularly attached to the name, but it is what it is, and merely erasing it seems too easy.


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There are so many opportunities to do just this and it is the responsibility of the site to explore opportunities to raise less glamorized events of the past. The Royall House and Slave Quarters in Medford does a great job of this. They are a great follow on Twitter for linking current events to the past.

Any other historical sites you recommend?

Every person who was

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Every person who was successful enough to have something named after them has done some messed up stuff to get to that level. So if you don't want to offend anyone, you better start naming stuff like license plates.

and George Washington

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had slaves, lets take him off the dollar bill. Jefferson too, and all the rest of the founding fathers. I'm not some kind of pro-slavery bigot, but where do we draw the line here? No one is holding Klan rallies at Winthrop Square or putting the guys face on Neo-nazi banners. I am not a big Michael Moore fan but I did watch his "Where to invade Next" documentary about policies and laws in other countries that America could implement to better our society. There was a great segment about Germany and how they DON'T try to scrub the Nazi era from their past, they face it and use it as a learning tool. They teach it in schools and have reminders in their cities and towns, such as old anti-semetic signage and placards for the Jewish families in front of the houses they used to occupy before being sent to death camps.
I am no fan of the confederacy but I don't think demolishing Stone Mountain in Georgia is a viable answer to combating bigotry. Yes some will be "inspired" by that stuff, to others it is a sobering reminder, and something to point to when teaching their kids.

Now, let me get my internet flame-retardant suit on. OK GO!

Let me help

As a public service I will take any evil portraits of America's forefathers that people might have on them, such as in their wallets. I pledge to destroy these horrible symbols so that you can go about your day with a clean conscience.

Germany also doesn't have

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Germany also doesn't have Nazi statues and Swastikas on their state flags, which is the equivalent of what the south has done with the racist traitors they celebrate even though they got their ass kicked.

" all the rest of the

" all the rest of the founding fathers"

John Adams is rolling in his grave right now.

And while Franklin did own some household slaves earlier in his life, he became an ardent abolitionist and his final political act was co-sponsering an anti-slavery bill.

No. Just no.

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I have a problem with removing statues that have stood for 100+ years. If something now seems unsavory, let it be a teaching moment that at one time people thought that way.

Similarly, no one equates the name "Faneuil Hall" with the thought that, "Slavery is OK." Just leave it alone.

I see no problem removing statues

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to those who committed treason against this country and started a civil war where thousands upon thousands were killed in order to keep human beings in bondage.

Faneuil Hall was built, in part, from the money Mr. Faneuil garnered from the slave trade. That should be recognized in some shape or form. So keep the name and put up a plaque.


It's more important to publicly acknowledge changes in humanity then it is to whitewash and hide facts.

Peter Faneuil School

Does this movement include removing the Peter Faneuil School from the National Register of Historic Places?

The school was a hell of a lot better environment than Boston Latin because the headmaster interviewed every applicant. The move to Hyde Park High was almost as fatal to the school as appointing that dink Wells as headmaster in the late 80s. I wonder if any of the students knew Faneuil was a slave trader.


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Since Faneuil lived and died from 1700 to 1743, 30 years before England figured out that slavery was wrong.

The Greek, Romans,

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The Greek, Romans, Christopher Columbus, Washington, Jefferson, and Muhamed owned slaves. Are we going to demolish all the iconography, architecture, and monuments related to them?

I'm sure we could find many

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I'm sure we could find many people throughout history who are more deserving of lasting public recognition. It's ok to admit that we have moved into a new era and make room for people who did not commit heinous acts such as owning other humans while espousing that all men are created equal.

An Incendiary Topic I Know

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But doesn't there have to be a demarcation between people who participated in slavery vs. people who actively went to war to preserve the institution?

Apples and Oranges

I have read Mitch's speech. I also had the privilege of living in New Orleans for a number of years, though it was during the Nagin era.

I agree wholeheartedly with the decision to tear down the Confederate monuments in New Orleans. The Liberty Place monument, in particular, had no business existing in the modern era. Admittedly, it was a bit bittersweet watching General Lee come down from his perch on Lee Circle, but if that's the biggest price his legacy pays for COMMITTING TREASON, then so be it. I'm perpetually amazed at some of the Southern "patriots" I've run across who are somehow willing to whitewash taking up arms against the United States. I'm further disappointed that many Southerners forget just how many people within the Confederacy were actually Unionists--a minority, to be sure, but not an insignificant one. It makes me shudder that public education and the broader culture have normalized all of the classic Lost Cause bullshit.

Despite all of that, I feel like the Boston situation is fundamentally different. While prominent Bay Staters may have owned slaves, they didn't take up arms expressly to preserve the institution of slavery. That they did own slaves is an unfortunate fact that deserves recognition, to be sure. However, the difference between the prominent Bostonians who owned slaves and the Confederates honored by those statues in New Orleans is the difference between somebody who happens to own an SUV, and somebody who has devoted their professional career to lobbying on behalf of the auto industry to lower emissions standards. Nobody's hands are entirely clean, but we should at least admit that there are differing levels of dirty.

Ah, General Banks!

Every time I see that monument in Waltham, I always scratch my head. Even putting aside his politics, there's not much in his record as a commander to crow about. Talk about homerism...

While we're at it ...

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Yawkey Way, ahem. No need to have Tom Yawkey's name on a public street when he was a renowned racist who was the last owner to integrate in MLB. A blight that is often used by some as proof of Boston being "the most racist city." Despite the fact that if you're using an odd historical anecdote, you could just as easily use the fact the Braves were one of the first integrators, and the Bruins and Celtics broke the barrier in their respective sports.


also Yawkey Station on the Framingham commuter rail line, and most egregiously Yawkey Boys & Girls Club in Roxbury.

My opinion

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It's worth having the discussion, and listening to others' points of view. I think we (Bostonians, USAians, humans) have a tendency to shout down (and shut down) discussions that make us uncomfortable. Maybe we can focus instead on listening this time.


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is the discussion. Kevin Peterson made his point, and others are responding to it. The mere fact that several of the arguments are clearer and better thought-out than his doesn't mean he is being "shouted down".

That remains to be seen

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Kevin Peterson made his point, and others are responding to it.

Whether they are "responding to [his point]", or whether reading half the subject of the thread is causing their knees to jerk, remains to be seen. With a written forum like this, it's nearly impossible to tell how much thought went into it. I will point out, however, something that you seem to have missed, i.e., that I wasn't talking about this thread on Uhub - I was talking about the question more generally. My experience is that whenever certain topics are raised (for example, reparations for slavery), there's an almost instantaneous "don't blame me" reaction that absolutely indicates an absence of listening and thought.

There is a bright clear line here

There is a bright clear line between, on the one hand, owning slaves, and on the other, treasonously taking up arms against the country to defend the institution of slavery.

And again the education

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And again the education system has been shown to be abysmal.

I suggest reading a bit more on Lee. The man opposed secession. The man also according to some opposed slavery.

Lee refused to take up arms against his neighbors and family. He refused to fight his own state.

His motivations were not so clear cut and this historical revisionism is shameful.

Faneuil Hall is a tricky

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Faneuil Hall is a tricky situation. Not only was it financed by money brought in by either selling humans or many of the supplies needed to conduct that "business," it was also the site of many pro-slavery speeches including one by Jefferson Davis in 1858 (you can read it here:

On the other hand, it was also where Thomas Higginson and many others met before attempting to break Anthony Burns out of the jail, the site of at least 12 speeches by Frederick Douglass, and the place where the Boston Vigilance Committee would meet (and more).

There had been plans to place a marker outside of Faneuil Hall discussing the slave market (which no one knows the exact location, but would be somewhere in Dock Square) but I do not know if these discussions are still going on.

(which no one knows the exact

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(which no one knows the exact location, but would be somewhere in Dock Square)

Perhaps they could put it next to the girder stub from the elevated Central Artery, which many people consider an equally bad episode in Boston's history.

Pronounced fan-U-il

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Can we all at least agree to pronounce Faneuil's name incorrectly! We all say let's end this recent movement to drop the U sound because that's how he pronounced it?
We don't care that he and the French pronounced it fannel.

Every French person that I've

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Every French person that I've talked at the Hall has their own way of pronouncing it.

Also, in colonial times he was sometimes referred to as Mr. Funal.

Should we eliminate Malcolm X Boulevard next?

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The New York Times wrote that Malcolm X was "an extraordinary and twisted man" who "turned many true gifts to evil purpose" and that his life was "strangely and pitifully wasted". Time called him "an unashamed demagogue" whose "creed was violence."

If we're going to eliminate memorials to racists and anti-Semites, start with the guy who celebrated the assassination of JFK, preached black supremacy and opposed integration.

Standard Fish BS misrepresentation

Malcom X never celebrated the death of Kennedy. In an interview shortly after the assasination of JFK he was asked of his reaction. In short he said something to the effect that "the chickens were coming home to roost." In this same interview he was never asked to explain or elaborate on that comment.

Predictably the public reaction was harsh and condemning. Several days later, in a separated interview he did explain the context in which he made the comment. Again, to summarize, he said that the killing of JFK was the result of a society that historical used violence and murder to eliminate those they disagreed with or hated. He referenced how blacks in America were routinely murdered and the killing of JFK was an extension of how the institutionalization of violence against people in America and in the world had become the norm.

Fish you are a deceitful person on all issues big and small. Whether it be a blatant lie about having your passport stamped at Reagan airport, being a police officer or stirring up racial animous about Malcom X.

I have spent a good part of my life dealing with people like you. You are easy to discredit because your lying is so obviously transparent. Once again you are rendered irrelevant because of your lying. You know nothing about the full context of Malcom X's life, what his philosophy was and how it evolved over time nor his importance to enfranchising people of color in our society. You an outlier and with your comments have revealed yourself to be the racist, ignoramus that you are.

"No, we don't have any

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"No, we don't have any statues of Robert E. Lee - our memorials for slavery supporters are more subtle than that."

Adam, there is little evidence Lee supported slavery. There is plenty of evidence to indicate that Lee opposed secession and some evidence to indicate he infact opposed slavery. Lee entered the war because he refused to fight against his home state. In historical context this is to whom his loyalty was owed.

The level of historical revisionism surrounding the Civil War is mind blowing.

Little evidence..except for his slaves

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If Lee was abolitionist, he could have emptied Arlington House of his slaves. Instead, he saw them as a means to re-establish the family's fortunes.

He opposed secession because he believed in the Union and in the Constitutional argument that secession wasn't allowed. And the only heavily-trod evidence of his opposition to slavery is the letter to his wife where he says they should be free, but stay here because they don't know what's good for themselves. He never considered them to be equal. He just wasn't a gung-ho anti-abolitionist.

And anyone in the 1860s still holding onto slavery deserves no honor. The entire world had worked through this demon over and over for the past 60 years. America was one of the last to finish it off and Thomas Jefferson had attempted to end slavery in the States back in the 1780s. This wasn't new to anyone, so anyone still owning slaves or defending the South's right to hold slaves doesn't get to excuse themselves nearly 100 years later in 1860 due to the "society at the time" is full of shit.

What the 'whole world' thinks

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What the 'whole world' thinks of it is irrelevant when it takes days just to get from city to city within a region.

The world was much larger in those days.

Jefferson also published some

Jefferson also published some noxious opinions on race in his Notes on the State of Virginia. He would only consider emancipation if it meant all the former slaves would move far, far away from him.

Yes! We absolutely should!

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We should definitely take down all of our monuments to slavery!

Which ones are those?

The closest this article gets to a monument to slavery is Lyman who was anti-abolitionist and in the 1830s was elected based on that fact. I could see how we'd want to not honor someone who rose to such prominence in a period when other countries had already started the abolition movements within themselves and when abolitionists like William Lloyd Garrison carried their messages here, the city rose up in riots.

So, teach that lesson more and tear down any statues to Lyman. I'm fine with that. But nothing else in there was convincing. People owned people and society as a whole was incorrectly okay with it because of the knowledge and attitudes of the day regarding race and personhood. When those attitudes started changing, if you want to start there and say "who among our statues represents an attempt to maintain the status quo rather than realize the errors of our ways", then I say get the wrecking ball out.

Hopefully, in 200 years, our society can have the same debate about any monuments to people actively refuting and fighting against climate change. And they can debate whether others who just used cars are equally as guilty.

and all of the battlefield monuments?...

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and all of the battlefield monuments at places like Bull Run, and Gettysburg? What should become of the monuments to the Southern regiments and battalions who fought and field there? Each one has their own monument. Should we remove monuments from national parks as well?

And while we are at it - Universities should get ready for a name change - if not a total restructuring. Look at this report regarding Harvard and its history with slavery...

It reports that three Harvard presidents owned slaves; that slaves worked on campus as early as 1639; that among the first residents of Wadsworth House (built in 1726) were two slaves, Titus and Venus; that slave labor often underwrote the success of Harvard’s early private benefactors; and that the connection between College donations and slave-related industries persisted until the Civil War.

sad that this is where we are...

Maybe I have a different perspective on this

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I do not see these memorials to confederate soldiers as memorials at all. I.e. to remember the figures depicted in them. Many were not erected until well after the civil war and, rather, were erected well into the early 20th century in the full assault of Jim Crow. They were not so much memorials as they were reminders to blacks in the South that the Civil War had changed almost nothing as far as who was in charge. These statutes were erected in a time when black people were prevented by Jim Crow laws from voting, in areas with high concentrations of black people, none of whom had any say in whether or not to erect the monuments. I see there removal less as a repudiation of the figures depicted in the memorials, or what they might have done during their lives, and more of a repudiation of the vestiges of the system that erected them and the long witheld vote of black people on whether to put them up that they were deprived of in the first place. By contrast, I do not believe any of the memorials to Washington, Winthrop, etc. were erected for these types of purposes, but rather were erected as true memorials to the people depicted in them. For example, although Washington was a slave owner, we did not erect statues of him to remind people about slavery. This does not mean that we should not examine their flaws and acknowledge the role that slavery and bigotry played in Boston and elsewhere in the North. But I do not see the same motivation to consider removing memorials in Boston.

Fort Warren / Daughters of the Confederacy

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Others have sufficiently argued what I think as to our wrong forefathers; it was universally accepted and they were not supportive of an armed treasonous insurrection against the United States and a legally elected government; for the lost cause of dastardly human bondage.

That's said, why the hell do we have a monument from a hate group/white supremacist group at Fort Warren on Georges Island?

Let's start here and fix this one / rededicate it.

John C.Calhoun

Yale first decided to keep his name on one of its residential colleges and install explanatory historical information for "context". Then this past year they changed their mind. Several racially insensitive stained glass windows in the college will also be replaced. However Calhoun will still retain a place of honor on Harkness Tower (constructed 1917-1921). He is one of 8 Yale "Worthies" who have full length statues adorning the edifice. The statue was never part of the protest, perhaps because you can't really see it.

Yale renamed the college after Grace Hopper, who earned an MA & PhD in mathematics from the university in the early 30's. She went on to join the Navy in WWII and become one of the earliest computer programmers. She was later instrumental in the development of COBOL. Eventually, she rose to the rank of Rear Admiral. The old nickname for the college was "The 'Houn". It is unfortunate but inevitable that students are now calling it "The Hopper".

A perfect distraction issue to divert attention

While we are being screwed by a Congress and a President that has utter contempt for Americans, removing civil war statues provides a perfect condensation nuclei for Americans to divide themselves over once again. NOLA has some real issues they believe require addressing. It is not ipsofacto that Boston has the same specific problems.

We do need to reconcile many of the contradictions of our historical involvement in slavery. My opinion is this is more easily accomplished by establishing memorials and build greater understanding of how the darker side of our history still influences our thinking and behavior about race. A debate about which statues or locational names need to be removed or changed only leads to more division.

Instead of pitting each other against one another, our political leaders should establish a plan that educates society about the truth behind slavery. We should erect monuments to remind ourselves and future generations that our national evolution and history did not occur without serious problems. We can not change historical truths nor should we ignore factual realities of who we were and what happened. A good model of how to do this can be found in Europe's acceptance and ownership of the Holocaust.

Just my view.

Government indoctrination

-- our political leaders should establish a plan that educates society about the truth behind slavery --

Even though I am usually against the government telling me what to think, I could possibly be swayed toward this retarded plan if Trump is the one who establishes the plan to educate society about anything.

Trump's penchant for tweaking leftists would probably lead to slavery education that is highlighted by ugly slavery facts:

- the first legal slave owner in America was black
- the largest slave owner who himself was black in North Carolina had 63 slaves
- The American Indian Creeks, Choctaws, and Chickasaws owned around 3,500 slaves in 1800
- 1830 census says 3,775 free Negroes owned a total of 12,760 slaves

slavery and statues

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Read New England Bound by Wendy Warren to find more names of early Colonialists in the Massachusetts Bay Colony and other parts of New England who had off-shore plantations in Jamaica and who also practiced chattel slavey. You'd be surprised, and many of these people have statues, too, not to mention that Brown University was founded by slave owners, not too different from The University's (aka Jefferson's university) origins. I am so reminded of how the Taliban went after the Buddhist statues of Bamiyan and how ISIS has destroyed temples and artifacts in Palmyra, Syria, just because they can. We've seen this before, and the implication now is that leaving statues up is idolatrous because they attract the faithful vs. those who say, let history, for ill or good, stand as a teacher.

I'm a bit sad, for example, that the statue of Lenin in Seattle is coming down. We need one somewhere in the world to remind us that he really did exist since he has been all but excised from Russian history. If we don't remember, then we won't repeat mistakes, right?

Moreover, Jefferson was not a traitor (like Lee). Ask King George and Tory Americans. Their slant is slightly different. Yes, he and George Mason (Bill of Rights) produced glorious documents that give all of us the rights we share to go back and forth at each other in this forum or in person. Let us not be blind though. African and American-born slaves, Indians (and women) were not `equals in the minds of these founders. At, least though, amendments to the Declaration of Independence were allowed, possibly (and I say possibly because how can I really know), these "oversights" could be taken care of after the slave-master generation had passed on.

And yes, John Winthrop (and his son in off-shore plantation), John Cotton, and even Cotten Mather owned slaves and used them for profit making and life-style issues even before the building of the Cotton Gin. Survival of New England amongst "colonialist" adventurers depended on slave economies and chattel slavery. MANY prominent Americans descend and/or are related to these New England colonialists, just as the do from Jefferson, George Mason, and yes, Robert E. Lee ( General George Marshall, Patton, Adlai Stevenson, Muhummad Ali, Eleanor Roosevelt, Jimmy Carter, Brad Pitt, Teddy Roosevelt, Joanne Woodward, ? And the point. Perhaps the most sanctimonious among us re. the statues are alive because of the people we now decry. Irony of Ironies.

Lee's statue could have been taken down during the tenures of Obama or Carter or George Bush. All in the fullness of time, though, and LIKELY for political expediency. The timing IS interesting.