Friday, August 18, 2017

Straight Swap: Lynching Memorial for Confederate Memorial in Danville

In Danville, Kentucky, where I live, there is a Confederate monument in the park between my church and my college.  It is supposedly of a local resident, but is looks like a generic Robert E. Lee-type officer.  It was erected in 1910 -- not in the aftermath of the Civil War, but at the height of Jim Crow.  My favorite part is the caption on the back - What They Were, The Whole World Knows.

Heh, heh.  I'll buy that.

Which is why the monument should come down.

I learned this week that a black man was lynched in Danville in 1866.  He was killed by a mob of Danvillians right in this same park.

The Equal Justice Initiative is making a memorial pillar for each lynching victim, to be erected near Montgomery Alabama.  One excellent feature of their plan is that an identical pillar be erected in the place where the lynching took place.

I propose a straight swap.  Take down the Confederate memorial in Danville, and erect a lynching memorial in the same spot.


Barry said...

I have mixed feelings on the removal of Confederate Memorials and Statues. 1. The discussion, the protests, and the removal will create and increase the backlash and anger of many which will create more division. 2.Many of the memorials were erected many years after the civil war, and were intended to memorialize the rationale of racism instead of heritage as some say. 3.The Confederates can be looked on as terrorists who killed US troops. 4. A good case for removable can be made for many of them including the one in the Danville park. Considering all of this, I think the best approach is to consider each memorial on its own situation, and slowing move them to another spot.

Around The Scuttlebutt said...

Go to Wilderness, Chickamauga, Cold Harbor, Vicksburg, Manassass, Chancellorsville and Salem Church, and Sharpsburg: most of them were raised between 1900 and 1910--the period between the 40th and 50th anniversaries of the war. You may recall that Presidents Reagan and Clinton went to Normandy on the 40th and 50th Anniversaries of "D-Day"--because they wanted to be there with the men who fought there before they went on to their final objective. You, Professor, should know that the South took nearly 40 years to recover from the Civil War and the oppression of the Radical Republicans after the war (in contravention of President Lincoln's desire for reconciliation) and it was only then that the South could begin to think and spend money on memorials.

I am appalled by the "white supremacists" and neo-Nazis whose every breath is a waste of God's good air, but surely you, as an intellectual and an educator, must see the attempt to eradicate and re-write our history as a dangerous precedent. I can assure you that most of the men who fought each other wearing blue and butternut had a very mutual respect for each other just as I would rather shake hands with a North Vietnamese soldier ("Mr. Charles") than Bill Clinton.

Finally, we have a signpost within 5 miles of my current home in Southeastern, Pennsylvania memorializing the lynching of a black man. Considering your idea of trading and balancing, does that mean we can raise a statue to the famous Pennsylvanian, LtGen John C. Pemberton, CSA?

Anonymous said...

Rencounter Between a Vicious Negro and a Constable -- The Officer Wounded -- The Negro Hung by the Populace.

[Special Correspondence Louisville Journal.]

Christmas eve has come and gone, but not without making an item of history for Danville. Yesterday evening about five o'clock the quiet of the town was abruptly broken by the discharge of a pistol at the corner of Second and Main streets, which attracted to that point an immense crowd of excited persons, of both colors and both sexes, to ascertain the cause of the irregularity.

It appears that a negro man, Al. McRobards, had made a huge effort take the life of W. A. Harne, an officer of the law. He shot at Harne twice, both of which took effect, though not afflicting a serious injury. The officer finally succeeded in getting the best of the negro, with the aid of a large club, and with the assistance of some other constable, lodged him in jail. This, I supposed, would be the last of the matter until legal investigation could be had, judging from the quiet that prevailed in a few moments after the prisoner was secured, and seeing that all were again enjoying the usual Christmas hilarities.

But in this conjecture I, at least, was disappointed; for scarcely had the "god of dreams" encircled me before the full tones of the Court-house bell aroused me from my dreamy rest, at twelve o'clock precisely--which was a premonition that "Judge Lynch" had business on hand. I did not go to see, but concluded to bide my time, and so I did until this morning. The judge, with his officers, went to the jail and took the negro "aforementioned" and hanged him by the neck until dead on a large elm tree in the old Presbyterian church-yard, at the west end of Main street, Danville, Ky. This boy was a desperate fellow, having made several attempts before this to kill several persons, and did slay a negro at South Danville a few days since, for which crime had not been punished. Everything is now quiet in "Little Britain."