Memorials Up, Down, and Going Down

Over at the Steel Magnificat (a fine and recommended blog) is an intriguing suggestion that balances the desire to remember history, but also to remember the full truth about famous people of the Americas from Christopher Columbus to the last lynchers of a person of color.

The notion is that for every slave owner, confederate general, university benefactor, that a memorial also be included reminding us of the history of the famous person who murdered, abused, discriminated against, and likewise against persons not so famous. Even at the Lincoln Memorial.

Imagine if people could keep their 1860s southern general, just brought down off the pedestal and accompanied by how many slaves they owned, how many soldiers were killed on both sides of their battle, and how many black people were lynched the year the original statue went up.

The blogger concedes she’s on the side of retiring certain statues and memorials. But she recognizes the need not to forget history. I feel similarly. Her conclusion:

If these ideas offend you… well, maybe the thing you want to remember isn’t really history.

To use a technical term, bazinga.

A confession: I’ve been a Knight of Columbus for over twenty years. I think maybe every council needs one of these amendments to any display involving our namesake. Above image, American stamps from the quadricentennial. Would they need a special cancellation stamp is used today?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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