Sunday, June 25, 2006

Lincoln and Lee

Today I went to the Tredegar Iron Works and the Canal Walk --two sites of controversy in Richmond over the two most iconic figures of the Civil War: Abraham Lincoln and Robert E. Lee. A black City Councilman said he was offended at the mural of Lee that was painted on the floodwall. A few weeks after the mural went up, an arsonist burned the General's visage (and took down some other lumanaries that were on the wall as well.) So I expected to find a huge mural the size of a multi-story building. Reality was an anti-climax. The floodwall was hidden behind a parking lot, buried in a rusty construction zone. The murals themselves were wimpy and faded.

Originally mural of Lee was supposed to have been the general in full military garb. The picture you see here, Lee looking dejected in front of his home in Richmond after the war's end, was a compromise arrived upon to assuage fears that the militaristic image of the General was just another form of Southern glorification. Anyway, after seeing the thing, I could not believe that had caused such a furor.

I also visited the Tredegar Iron Works and had an interview with a park service ranger who had been around for all the flap over the Lincoln statue. I liked the Lincoln statue. With Abe sitting with his son, giving his trademark forelorn look, the statue was a hardly a gloating embodiment of Northern victory. Nevertheless, the statue enraged a lot of Southerners. And I will have the unmitigated pleasure of interviewing one tomorrow.

To check out more pictures from Tredegar and the Canal Walk, visit my snapfish site.
Password: confed


At 1:22 AM, Anonymous mwho said...

you're a good businesswoman. you could be a better speller though.
obnoxiously yours,
p.s. can you tell at work and bored out of mind? i'm reaching the 380 mark on this excel spreadsheet. woohoo. i'll hit 400 by the end of the day!

At 2:11 AM, Anonymous mwho said...

...and i could be better at english.

At 4:45 PM, Anonymous Valerie Protopapas said...

I'm not surprised about the fuss over the Lincoln statue. In a Spring symposium put on by the Museum of the Confederacy on 'Controversial Confederates', one of the authors recounted a story about the late Shelby Foote and a comment he made that garnered a rather unusual response. It seems that Foote was speaking on the phone to a great granddaughter of 'Controversial Confederate' General Nathan Bedford Forrest. In the course of this charming conversation, Foote mentioned that he believed only two 'true geniuses' came out of the Civil War, one was the lady's ancestor, Forrest, and the other, Abraham Lincoln. Suddenly the line went absolutely quiet. It was SO quiet that Foote thought he had been cut off. However, before he could do anything, a very cold, very distant voice addressed him thusly: Mistah Foote! We do NOT mention 'that man's' name in this house!'

So much for letting bygones be bygones, I would suppose.


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