After the dedication of the Statue of Liberty on Ellis Island in 1886 — an occasion originally deemed a symbol of freedom — the Black media began to debunk the feel-good notions of the edifice because racism and discrimination toward African-Americans did not end after the Civil War or with the dedication of the statue. In essence, the statue only meant freedom for whites. On top of that, the original Statue of Liberty was a Black woman, according to urbanintelligence.com. But some speculate she was changed because racism was at full scale for another century. So the intended symbol of Lady Liberty actually represented more pain and injustice for Black people.
The Edmund Pettus Bridge was the site of “Bloody Sunday” on March 7, 1965, when armed officers attacked peaceful civil rights demonstrators marching to Montgomery, the state capital. The National Historic Landmark (2013) is named after Pettus, a former Ku Klux Klan leader who fought for the Confederacy.
The 8-foot-6 bronze statue of actor Sylvester Stallone, as Philadelphia’s favorite fictional fighter Rocky Balboa in boxing shorts and gloves, at the Art Museum makes Sam Evans cringe. A longtime civic leader and champion of African-American causes, Evans would banish the statue if he had his way. “For what it represents, it has no place in America,” Evans said. “I think a statue should be erected to people who have achieved something. Like (one-time heavyweight boxing champions) Joe Louis or Jack Johnson.” Evans called the statue “racist” and said if it remains in the city, young people will look at it and “grow up thinking that the heavyweight champion was a white man.”
“Such things have a great impact on your mind when you’re young,” Evans said.
At 1315 Duke St. in Alexandria still stands this building that was one of the largest places where enslaved Africans were exported to the South. The general route for the enslaved going south would start at the Franklin and Armfield Pen. After which, the enslaved would be taken to Market Square, then to the river to board ships that would take them to New Orleans, where they were dispersed to other Southern areas.
A statue of former Congressman Samuel Sullivan Cox rests in the southwest corner of Tompkins Square Park. He’s called “the postman’s friend” for helping postal workers secure better wages and working conditions in the 1880s and credited with contributing to the establishment of the U.S. Coast Guard. However, on June 2, 1862, a year after the Civil War began and six months before the Emancipation Proclamation, he said this, according to Alan Singer, a historian and professor of secondary education at Hofstra University and author of “New York and Slavery: Time to Teach the Truth”: ”I have been taught in the history of this country that these Commonwealths and this Union were made for white men; that this Government is a Government of white men; that the men who made it never intended, by any thing they did, to place the black race on an equality with the white.”
Lancaster was the fourth-largest trade market of enslaved Africans in England. Students honored this hideous fact with this memorial that has been named a “permanent” fixture in Lancaster to commemorate the town’s role in an atrocity against human life. Between 1736 and 1807, it was reported by geocaching.com that 29,000 enslaved Africans passed through Lancaster, which made the town the fourth-largest slave port in England after Liverpool, London and Bristol. During this period, more than 100 voyages from St George’s Quay to Africa took place.
The late senior senator from West Virginia was a former “Imperial Kleagle” of the KKK. But there are dozens of buildings, bridges and streets named after him throughout the state. In the early 1940s, Byrd recruited 150 of his friends and associates to create a new chapter of the Ku Klux Klan in Sophia, West Virginia. In 1946, Byrd wrote to Mississippi Sen. Theodore G. Bilbo, a segregationist: “I shall never fight in the armed forces with a negro by my side … Rather I should die a thousand times, and see Old Glory trampled in the dirt never to rise again, than to see this beloved land of ours become degraded by race mongrels, a throwback to the blackest specimen from the wilds.”
Benjamin Tillman was a governor and senator from South Carolina who was a noted white supremacist who often expressed his ill will toward Blacks. He was the leader of the “Red Shirts,” a group of racists tied to the Democratic Party. They were blatant racists who executed Blacks and bragged about it, chronicles charlestoncitypaper.com. Tillman’s statue sits in front of the federal building in Columbia, South Carolina’s capital.
This amphitheater structure towering over the city of Pretoria is revered by many in South Africa, who gather yearly on Dec. 16 for the Day of the Covenant. On that day in 1838, the Voortrekker settlers, who were Dutch, took over the beautiful South African land in a bloody battle with the Zulus, who resided there. The Voortrekkers claimed God had empowered them to defeat the natives at the Battle of Blood River, known now as KwaZulu-Natal. This monument represents the death of thousands and the bloody takeover of South Africans’ land, an ugly reminder to Black South Africans of their loss of heritage, family and status.
Known as the “father of American music,” Stephen Foster was an American songwriter primarily known for his parlor, minstrel and plantation music. At the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh is a rendering of slave “Old Black Joe” playing the banjo at the feet of the white, well-dressed Foster. It has been the source of controversy for years.
Franco-Italian explorer Pierre de Brazza rests in a mausoleum in the Congo, one of the few white settlers who received an honor in Africa, albeit with controversy. The decision to honor de Brazza as a founding father of the Republic of the Congo sparked protests. Some Congolese questioned why a colonizer would be revered as a national hero instead of the Congolese who fought against the colonization de Brazza helped lead. Congolese historian professor Theophile Obenga said that in honoring de Brazza, the government disregarded relevant information, including an account of de Brazza’s rape of a Congolese woman.
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