Statues and symbols

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Statues and symbols

Postby Steve James on Mon Jun 15, 2020 6:45 am

There was a massacre in Boston in 1770 that inspired the Revolutionaries much more than the Tea Party (which was an organized event). Ya'll can look up "The Boston Massacre," in fact you should. But, the "hero" of the day was a "mulatto" man named Crispus Attucks. Commemorations of him and four others on that night continued for 13 years as the way the former colonies celebrated independence. (Celebrations of July Fourth only began after the war). Commemorations of the Boston Massacre continue in Boston to this day. Iow, we've celebrated March 5th longer than July 4th.

Obviously, one celebration is a bit more well known to Americans. But, even way back in the day, it was thought that Crispus Attucks deserved a statue. And, he sure got one. It's still there, too. Right on Boston Commons, not too far from the imaginary Cheers.

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https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-7780V_Kv0N4/ ... 010619.JPG

I think there should be statues to Crispus Attucks all over. Sam Adams thought so to. Attucks was described as the "first to die for liberty."

Oh, fwiw, the British soldiers who shot him were acquitted for the most part. Two, iirc, were punished with brands. However, John Adams (yeah, that JA) was their lawyer, and in their defense he asked the jury something like "What would you do if a big mulatto carrying a stick was coming toward you?" Again, there are books on the trial. Long story short, it was the first example of verdicts we've come to expect for the same reason.

http://www.crispusattucksmuseum.org/bos ... -monument/
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Re: Statues and symbols

Postby LaoDan on Mon Jun 15, 2020 7:59 am

I like how the parties involved in the trial tried to be fair rather than hyper-partisan.

As a participant in the Boston Massacre, British Captain Thomas Preston (who was put on trial for the incident and found innocent due to “reasonable doubt”) stated: “None of them was a hero. The victims were troublemakers who got more than they deserved. The soldiers were professionals…who shouldn’t have panicked. The whole thing shouldn’t have happened.”
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Re: Statues and symbols

Postby Steve James on Mon Jun 15, 2020 8:20 am

Sam Adams later wrote, "That night the blood of Americans, red, black, and white ran through the streets of Boston." Je specifically used Attucks and the other men as heroes. After all, the men were protesting the police presence of British soldiers on their streets. There had actually been incidents before that night when "troublemakers" had been killed. One was a little boy.

The situation was really similar to today. It was about oppression and excessive force. Of course, the people who wanted to remain loyal to Britain, did not want to adopt the "rioters" as representatives. Sam Adams's Sons of Liberty were also rioters, and no one respectable wanted to be associated with them. However, the Tea Partiers painted their faces red and black so they wouldn't be recognized. The Sons of Liberty --the ones with the Don't Tread on Me flags commemorated Attucks and the others. Otoh, in his closing speech, John Adams --later President-- said this:

The plain English is gentlemen, most probably a motley rabble of saucy boys, negroes and molattoes, Irish teagues 226 and out landish jack tarrs.-And why we should scruple to call such a set of people a mob, I can't conceive, unless the name is too respectable for them: The sun is not about to stand still or go out, nor the rivers to dry up because there was a mob in Boston on the 5th of March that attacked a party of soldiers.-Such things are not new in the world, nor in the British dominions, though they are comparatively, rareties and novelties in this town. Carr a native of Ireland had often been concerned in such attacks, and indeed, from the nature of things, soldiers quartered in a populous town, will always occasion two mobs, where they prevent one.-They are wretched conservators of the peace!


Yeah, the mob was diverse. That was the problem. Even the Irish participated, and the jury knew they were worth less than Africans --literally. And, none of the people killed were slaves.

Btw, Sam Adams said "red" when he talked about Americans because "mulatto" at that time meant any mixture of "races." It was thought that Attucks was a (Natick) Indian and African mix. This was true of many sailors.
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Re: Statues and symbols

Postby LaoDan on Mon Jun 15, 2020 11:23 am

Steve James wrote:The situation was really similar to today. It was about oppression and excessive force.

I see a lot of similarities as well, though probably not as many as you do since I was never a historian by profession. But it does not surprise me that people act in similar ways in 2020 as people acted in 1770 because we are dealing with natural human behavior/tendencies. These are only changed very slowly by societal pressures. Although laws can change rapidly that are intended to guide (or force) our behaviors, the underlying thoughts usually remain, even if suppressed or no longer expressed overtly.
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Re: Statues and symbols

Postby Steve James on Mon Jun 15, 2020 11:46 am

For me, the first connection was the BM itself, and that the very diverse "mob" represented Americans. However, a Black man became the symbol of the event. It wasn't out of a particular concern for Attucks, and even less so for the Irish. There was slavery, but race was not used to divide who were considered "the people" --in the North, that is. The point was that all the people were affected by British oppression. These were all "free" men, no matter what others in the upper classes thought of them. At the trial, for ex., there were a couple of Black witnesses who were brought in to testify on behalf of the soldiers.

At any rate, the Continental Army was integrated. Well, Southerners and Northerners could send slaves to serve in their stead. There were actually Black "heroes" (like Peter Salem). Think about the audience for that hero worship, though. I mean, who were the politicians, poets, and "patriots" trying to convince or enlighten? Salem was called a hero of Bunker Hill. Here's the image;
Image
https://nmaahc.si.edu/sites/default/fil ... l-1200.jpg

Well, the trial itself was interesting. English Common Law of the time would have determined that the soldiers used excessive force. However, Adam's argument was to ask the jurors what they'd have done if the 6'2 Attucks had waved a stick at them. Their decision was a precedent that continued in the US.

Oops, my bad. Salem is the Black guy in the painting at the Smithsonian :) Part of the article reads:

On June 17, 1775, one of the most important battles of the American Revolution, The Battle of Bunker Hill, took place. Among the Continental Army was Peter Salem from Framingham, Massachusetts. Salem was born enslaved but at the outbreak of war was temporarily released by his owners so that he could serve in the army. Salem has been identified by a number of participants as the soldier that fired the shot that killed British Maj. John Pitcairn at Bunker Hill.
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Re: Statues and symbols

Postby Trick on Tue Jun 16, 2020 12:58 am

Ok, this thread despite its simple headline may be for American history and symbolism only?
But I thake my freedom to interfere ere with with a statue with symbolism recently erected and vandalized to the point it fell down then being repaired, and now “finally” to be erected again capsuled in bullet and fire proof glass.

It’s the staue of the famed footballer(soccer player) Zlatan Ibrahimovic....So why is a statue of an football player so controversial ?
He hail from Malmö and so originally played for that city’s top team which is one of the top teams in Sweden, but still at young age he went on to play for some of the top teams in Europe with great success, he also played some season in the USA following in Beckham’s footsteps.
However now he’s back in Sweden, but he’s a traitor to Malmö now especially to the hardcore supporters of the Malmö football club since Zlatan decided to reside in Stockholm and chosen to train and maybe eventually play for a team there......the anger is great down in Malmö......
The Zlatan staue is said to not just be a statue of a good football player but also an symbol standing for all the immigrants inhabiting Malmö...

However, anger has been around in Malmö for a long long time over another statue, the mighty statue of ‘King Karl(Charles)the 10’th Gustav’ who during his reign let the scanians suffer many hardships cause scania(skåne) had previous been Danish land.
As late as two months ago the question about removal of the statue was again up for consideration in the city hall, but was put down with a majority of voters with the argument that today’s politicans are not into history revision ....

There are indeed levels of reasons....but it all probably boils down to our primitive tribal mind..as Laodan pointed out in the other thread
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Re: Statues and symbols

Postby Steve James on Tue Jun 16, 2020 6:33 am

I loved Zlatan, but the treatment of his statue is nothing to the treatment a Colombian goalie got one time.
Anyway, do you think there'll be a civil war because his parents aren't Swedish? Were they immigrants?
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Re: Statues and symbols

Postby Steve James on Tue Jun 16, 2020 7:03 am

Many of these controversial statues are of "founders," specifically to commemorate the first European governors of a place. The controversy comes when it comes down to the specifics of what that person actually did. Columbus is a hero to Italians, but not because he began a series of genocides. To the indigenous peoples, Columbus is a villain. Yep, the Indians lost and that's what happens. The winner decides who the heroes were. Fair enough, but that doesn't erase what the heroes did or that people who know don't like it.

New Mexico has a few statues of controversial figures. Yesterday, the statue of Juan de Oñate was being attacked. He was the first governor of "New" "Mexico" (;)), but he's considered a villain specifically because of this:

Today Oñate is known for the 1599 Acoma Massacre. Following a dispute that led to the death of thirteen Spaniards at the hands of the Ácoma, including Oñate's nephew, Juan de Zaldívar, Oñate ordered a brutal retaliation against Acoma Pueblo. The Pueblo was destroyed.[2] Around 800–1000 Ácoma were killed.[3]

Of the 500 or so survivors, at a trial at Ohkay Owingeh, Oñate sentenced most to twenty years of forced "personal servitude" and additionally mandated that all men over the age of twenty-five have a foot cut off.[3] He was eventually banished from New Mexico and exiled from Mexico City for five years, convicted by the Spanish government of using "excessive force" against the Acoma people.[2]

Today, Oñate remains a controversial figure in New Mexican history: in 1998 the right foot was cut off a statue of the conquistador that stands in Alcalde, New Mexico in protest of the massacre, and significant controversy arose when a large equestrian statue of Oñate was erected in El Paso, Texas in 2006.

On June 15 2020, the statue of Oñate in Alcalde, New Mexico was officially removed by Rio Arriba County workers at the direction of officials.[6]


That's from the wiki, fwiw. Some may notice similarities in the overall narrative of why the statue is contested. At any rate, I'd guess that these statues will be torn down and some will be put back up. However, the unexpected result will be that people will be forced to learn history that they didn't learn in school.

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Re: Statues and symbols

Postby Trick on Tue Jun 16, 2020 7:24 am

Steve James wrote:I loved Zlatan, but the treatment of his statue is nothing to the treatment a Colombian goalie got one time.
Anyway, do you think there'll be a civil war because his parents aren't Swedish? Were they immigrants?

civil war in sweden, wouldnt think so....Zlatans parents are from former jugoslavia, which region im not sure of...But then come to think about it. many refugees came to sweden during the balkan war, many jugoslavs had already some decades before settled in swede mainly from serbia and croatia regions, i know of serbians that lived/lives in sweden went down to participate in the balkan wars. today there are tensions between groups from former jugoslavia living in sweden, wil it lead to a swedish civil war, perhaps not......However the zlatan statue problems are most certainly an football hooligans thing, and such cant escalete into civil wars, or can it ?......Anyway, back to statue hating. i just read that groups in sweden asks for statues of the botanist Carl Von Linne to be taken down, no he wasnt a slave trader or a killer, but his scientific works may have paved the way for the eugenics movment that later came on strong in europe
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Re: Statues and symbols

Postby Steve James on Tue Jun 16, 2020 8:32 am

Carl Von Linne to be taken down, no he wasnt a slave trader or a killer, but his scientific works may have paved the way for the eugenics movment that later came on strong in europe


Linnaeus is renowned for creating the practice of binomial classification: i.e., species identification. Humans are, for example, all "homo sapiens," etc. However, he also classified humans into sub-categories --that led to the idea of races. He certainly believed that Europeans were superior. But, he also believed that some Europeans were superior to others.

Here's the funny example. If you go to any museum of natural history, there'll be examples of the various species. In fact, there will be exhibits of the perfect examples of the species. Right? Iow, at the butterfly exhibit, we'll find examples of the best butterflies. So, good old Linnaeus had a problem when he wanted to exhibit homo sapiens. He had to choose the ideal specimen. Well, he decided in his book to use himself, in his best red coat to be the best specimen.

Image
https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/imag ... K&usqp=CAU

Do I think his statue should be taken down because people used his work to justify racism? Not at all. Everybody famous from the 18th century Enlightenment tried to rationalize the superiority of their own people to those of others. Afa eugenics, he thought his genes were superior. The English and French thought they were superior to the Germans, and so on.
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Re: Statues and symbols

Postby Trick on Wed Jun 17, 2020 1:10 am

Yes it makes one wonder how far(back) should it all be taken, is there a point back in recorded history where humans didn’t practice the superiority model ?
Perhaps we should erase all of it and start all over?......

Some 40 years ago, when Sweden was an “humanitarian superpower” who would have though of Carl von Linné in murky ways
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Re: Statues and symbols

Postby Steve James on Wed Jun 17, 2020 5:16 am

Erase? That's the problem. History can be hidden, but not erased. The reason people are outraged at certain statues is because they know the history that most don't.

Teach the history. Fuck the statues. Ya know, when the American Revolution started in NYC, people tore down and statue of King George, melted it down, and made cannon balls. My son was in Baghdad watching people tear down Saddam's statue. It's not about a statue.

Oh what about other slave holders like Washington and Jefferson? Well, Washington fought on our side, and Jefferson wrote the principles we admire like the Declaration de Independence. Those are things we ought to remember.
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Re: Statues and symbols

Postby Trick on Wed Jun 17, 2020 11:53 pm

. in Baghdad watching people tear down Saddam's statue. It's not about a statue.
I remember seeing that on TV, footage up close, one got the impression af a huge mass of people stood around to show their hatred toward the Saddam statue....then footage from a distance came out showing the statue area sealed off by US military, and as a selected group of tear down the statue where at work.....seemed staged..
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Re: Statues and symbols

Postby Steve James on Thu Jun 18, 2020 12:29 am

Yeah, the US Army was in charge of Baghdad when it happened. So, you think the US staged it ... to make the world feel that Iraqi's didn't like him. Well, I know that it is usually considered the end of the battle for Baghdad.

Um, I think you're right about US manipulation of events there. I don't think the Iraqis will erect statues of the Bushes. Btw, there are some beautiful statues there that weren't torn down. People keep their heroes. The statues they knock down are less important than the ones the people erect.

Statues must always be accompanied by their stories. No?
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Re: Statues and symbols

Postby Trick on Thu Jun 18, 2020 4:33 am

Steve James wrote:
Statues must always be accompanied by their stories. No?

Yes that’s usually so when they’re meant as a monument
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