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(87,370 posts)
Thu Jun 13, 2024, 08:32 PM Jun 13

GOP votes to restore monument of a Black 'Mammy' holding white soldier's baby, & slave following his master into battle [View all]

Jamie Dupree @jamiedupree
192 Republicans just voted to restore a Confederate monument to Arlington National Cemetery, which features a Black 'Mammy' holding a white soldier's baby, and a slave following his master into battle. The effort from Rep. Andrew Clyde R-GA lost 230-192.

WaPo, October 7, 2022:

Arlington National Cemetery’s Confederate monument has a troubling history
An independent commission has recommended that the government should topple Arlington National Cemetery’s 32-foot tall Confederate monument. It is an egregious paean to the Lost Cause. And, predictably, when the monument was completed in 1914, many Southerners viewed it as a vindication of the ideals for which they had fought.

A romanticized (and fabricated) view of slavery is also reflected in these vignettes. In one, a faithful enslaved man wearing the uniform of the Confederate States of America follows his master to battle. In another scene, a “mammy,” with a toddler tugging at her skirt, cares for the child of an officer who leaves to go to war.

Riddled with racist iconography and textual elements of other Confederate monuments, “New South” also has several distinguishing features. Most notably, it was made specifically for a national cemetery and sanctioned by the federal government, including both Congress and three presidents (McKinley, Taft and Woodrow Wilson). These leaders wanted to remember Americans who died on American soil, however misguided their views had been. They also wanted to make a symbolic statement that the country was reunited. As Taft declared in a speech to members of the UDC in 1912 at the laying of the monument’s cornerstone: “I rejoice in the steps that I have been able to take to heal the wounds of sectionalism and to convey to the Southern people, as far as a I could, my earnest desire to make this country one.”

As a symbol of reconciliation for White Americans, it worked. Southerners were pacified and grateful to be afforded the same consideration as other American soldiers, while Northerners were content to fortify national solidarity.

But the monument also shows how White Southerners won the memory of the Civil War with an overriding narrative asserting that the rebels were fighting for states’ self-determination rather than the right to own human beings — a perspective that links to the current-day persistence of white supremacy.

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