Block Statue of Ankhrenepnefer - History
The stone had been acquired as early as 1464 when there had been a scheme to decorate the tribune buttresses of the cathederal with giant statues of Old Testament prophets. The idea for this decorative plan dated back to 1410 when Donatello had started work on carving a giant prophet, described as a white giant in 1412. Nothing further was done for the next fifty years. Donatello was once again in Florence when a statue of a giant- possibly Hercules - was completed in terracotta in 1564 by Agostino di Duccio. When Donatello died in 1466, Rossellino was entrusted with continuing the work on the giant, but nothing further was accomplished and the block remained in the workyard of Santa Maria del Fiore untill just before Soderini's election as Gonfaloniere (head of the republic). Soderini, according to Vassari offered it to various artists including Leonardo da Vinci and when he refused to Andrea Sansovino.
The problem with the block which stood 18 feet high, was that earlier attempts at carving a giant figure had limited the possiblities it offered. Varsari mentions a futher sculptor, Simone da Fiesole who had carved a large hole between what were to have been the legs of his figure and left the rest of the block mishapen. The block looked as if it was destined to stay indefinetly unused in the care of the wardens of Santa Maria del Fiore, the nominal owners, but Michelangelo had the block remeasured and decided he might still be able to carve a satisfactory figure from it by adjusting his composition to the shape of the partly carved marble.
Michelangelo, who was 26, was indeed given the commission in August of 1501 by the new Republican goverment (of Florence headed by Soderini), by which time the figure was already being refered to as a David. "A man called David scarely sketched erupting from. " a refernce also to the neo-platonic idea that the figure was already secreted in the stone indeed this is why it is not always necessary to finish them, because they were already there. Vasari, does add that when Michelangelo was given commission it was thought that the block was pratcially worthless, and if anything could come out of it, that would be worthwhile.
Michelangelo, first made a wax model of David carring a sling, symbolizing just as David had protected his people and governed them justly, so would whoever was entrusted with ruling Florence. Michelangelo, carved the David in situ, in the Office of Santa Maria del Fiore, without letting anyone see the work in progress. The task was expected to take two years, and he agreed to accept six gold florins a month. The statue was actually finished after 2 1/2 years in early 1503.
Michelangelo technique in sculpting the David was interesting described by Benvenuti Cellini who wrote: 'The best ever method was used by the great Michelangelo after having drawn the principal view on the block, one begins to remove the marble from this side as if one were working a relief in this way, step by step, one brings to light the whole figure.'
It had become clear to the wardens of Santa Maria del Fiore that the result was exceptional and a meeting was duly called to decide where the David should be placed. A committee comprised of wardens and painters, sculptors and other craftsmen deliberated the merits of four sites: 1)Plazza della Signoria, 2)Cathedral, 3)facade of the cathedral and the loggia nearrby. The final decision, after evidently a lively debate was to place the David at the entrance door to the Palazzo della Signoria. Luca Lsnfuvvi, a diarist, recorded that the wall of the Opera del Duomo had to be brroken down so that it could be extracted and put on the street.
The statue, 17 feet high, was carefully transported in a frame rolling along logs down Via Calzaiuoli to a public square outside the Palazzo della Signoria, the seat of civic government in Florence, where it was unveiled on 8 September 1504. It would remain here till 1873. In 1873 it was moved indoors where it remains today. A replica was made and placed in it's old location. It took four days to reach the piazza, being slowly moved along by more than 40 men."
Source:Michelangelo Sculptor,Rupert Hudson,Summerfield Press, Florence, Italy, 1999 pp. 35-42 (This is a excellant book for any Michelangelo lover)
Block Statue of Ankhrenepnefer - History
In the spring of 2007, a student, Robert Rotundo, approached the Purdue Reamer Club with the idea of placing a memorial on campus. The idea, presented at first only to a couple of student organizations as well as the President's Round Table, caught fire from the beginning. The student who proposed the idea needed an organization to help make the concept a reality. An unfinished "Block P" was envisioned to represent those students whose time at Purdue was cut short for one reason or another. The student, who had seen many tragedies happen during his tenure at Purdue University, wanted those who had passed away during the time they were enrolled as students to have a permanent memorial on campus. It was also this student's goal to have the "Golden Taps Ceremony" conducted at this memorial. There is currently no such memorial on Purdue's campus. With input from many students and members of the Purdue University faculty and staff, the current rendering of the "Unfinished Block P" was formed.
The meaning of the "Unfinished Block P" has also grown. At first, the memorial was going to be in honor only of those students who had passed away while at Purdue. However, the basic concept has evolved to symbolize that all students, alumni, community members, and friends of Purdue University are a work in progress and will never be completely finished growing and learning. Since the original proposal, a group of student leaders on campus took the initiative to create an "Unfinished Block P" statue made of bronze. A vision statement was developed to convey the meaning and will be placed on the statue in the form of a scroll. Throughout the duration of the project, the ideas of the original proposal have been kept in the forefront of conversation and design.
Obviously, not just anything can be placed on campus property without some process for approval. The "Unfinished Block P" project was no exception. First, and foremost, the group knew that the use of the "P" itself would need to be cleared therefore, the Purdue Marketing and Communications Office was contacted. The group requested and received copyright approval for the artists to work on the project.
To make sure all the appropriate channels were followed, one of the faculty advisors suggested consultation with the University Architect's Office. A representative of that office advised of the existence of a recommended process for placing art on campus and that there are a couple of faculty subcommittees that provide input into artistic and landscape activities on campus. Having served as chair of the Faculty Senate at Purdue one of the honorary Iron Key advising faculty members knew something about the two committees and communicated with faculty engaged in those committees. A series of meetings evolved which resulted in some suggested revisions to the original model of the "Unfinished Block P," and they also suggested rethinking the location of the project. Based on these recommendations, the group worked with Rita and Rick Hadley, the two artists, and changes were made to the project that met with eventual approval of the two faculty committees.
Meanwhile, the Office of the University Architect designed a landscape plan that incorporated a new location. This design was also presented to the two faculty sub-committees and gave them a more comprehensive understanding of how the vision would fall into place and how it would look once in location.
Needless to say, the group learned a lot about communication, compromise, persistence, and negotiation through the process. While some compromises were made, members of the faculty and University Administration also gained respect for the message desired through the project. They listened to the students' concerns relative to making too many changes that would have diminished the message and the passion felt for the overall project.
Getting Off the Ground
Looking back, what helped with getting this project off the ground was a gift from the June and Charles Bertsch Foundation from Warsaw, IN. Through their generous gift, funding was made available for the artists to create a clay model of the Block P. This model has been used extensively to help all those mentioned above to visualize the project in its planned form. The clay model also will be used for creating small bronze replicas of the final project, some of which can be given to families of students who died during the time they were enrolled at Purdue. The desired business plan is to market replicas so that a fund is established to help maintain the landscape, continue maintenance of the Block P, and continue creating replicas to present to families at Purdue Golden Taps ceremonies (http://www.purdue.edu/advocacy/parents/goldenTaps.html ).
From Concept to Reality
While the gift from the Bertsch Foudation helped get the project off the ground, it was the generosity of two major donors and multiple gifts from recognized Purdue student organizations, alumni, and friends that have made the project a reality. One of the major donors wishes to remain anonymous, and we greatly respect the donor and his/her/their wish! The other key donor was life-long member of the Purdue family, Mr. Rex Sebastian of Dallas, Texas. Rex was a 1951 Purdue University graduate. As a student he was on the football team, and very involved with his fraternity and several student organizations, one of which was Iron Key. Unfortunately, this past August (2008) Mr. Sebastian passed away. Gratefully a core group of the original student leaders had the opportunity to meet with him over the summer to thank him personally for his generosity and get to know this caring, loyal alum.
Mr. Sebastian, the anonymous donor, and all other contributors have served as exemplary examples of what it means to give back to the community in ways that exalt others. There is no doubt in the minds of the student leaders behind this project that the successful realization of reaching their goal of leaving a lasting icon on campus will motivate them to other successes throughout their lives and, like the donors, they, too, will become more and more productive and successful in their chosen careers. This is what the Purdue experience does for our students.
Alien Caught - Climb the wall on the south side of the apartment complex to find this alien's space box.
ATM - Look for this ATM on the side of a building to the east.
Boulder Destroyed - Destroy a pile of boulders near some stairs at the docks to find this special boulder.
Cat Rescued - Climb to the top of the toy store by activating the rockets on its face (color the two targets green) and riding one of them up to the roof. Once on top, head to the top and look for this stranded kitten on a billboard.
Character Token 1 - Paint the two knights at the Museum of Natural History's entrance yellow to find this token for Bucky Butler.
Character Token 2 - Climb to the top of the Museum of Natural History via the Art Museum roof's chicken glide, then head to the eastern tower and shimmy along the thin ledge to find the Mike Northeast token.
Character Token 3 - Start by heading back east into the LEGO City Airport area and climbing to the top of Fin's Restaurant where you'll find a chicken glide point. This will float you over to a billboard that you can climb, accessing a tightrope that will lead you to the ledge with the token for the Roman Soldier.
Character Token 4 - This token for Kevin Jacobs is inside the arcade.
Character Token 5 - Paint the statue of a pharaoh in front of the Museum of Natural History gold in order to reveal this token for the Pharaoh himself.
Character Token 6 - Follow the four yellow numbers on the map above to find some bricks that you can build into some gum ball machines. This will unlock the Janitor token.
Character Token 7' - Follow the red numbers on the map above to build three fishing poles near the docks to reveal the Gladiator token.
Character Token 8' - The token for Officer park will be yours after you grapple up onto the awning of the building here.
Coffee Break - The coffee break is in front of the building where you found the eighth Character Token.
Disguise Booth - This disguise booth box is located at the crossroads near the dock.
District Conquered - Climb to the roof of the Art Museum, then use the jetpack to reach a climbable flagpole and slide down the tightrope there. This will drop you directly in front of the flag-planting point.
Drill Thrill - Glide over to the top of the Museum of Natural History from the Art Museum and head toward the western tower where you'll find the fuse box for this event.
Free Run - Climb up to the top of the buildings in the center of town to find a billboard with the Free Run token floating above.
Gang Arrested - Directly next to the Free Run token on top of the buildings in the center of town, you'll find this scan point, allowing you to bust the criminals below.
Pig Returned - Glide to the top of the Museum of Natural History and walk across the tightrope to the top of the green dome, where you'll find this pig. Jump down and ride him to the docks, where the cannon resides.
Red Brick - Ride to the top of the toy store and head left to find a teleporter. Use it to reach the Super Color Gun Red Brick -- possibly the most important Red Brick in the game.
Silver Statue - Use the jetpack to reach this statue in front of the Museum of Natural History.
Superbuild 1 - This Vehicle Call-in point Superbuild is in front of the Art Museum.
Superbuild 2 - Another Vehicle Call-in point is on the south side of town, near the road.
Vehicle Token - Look for the garage on the north side of the buildings in the middle of town. Break in to begin the event.
Vehicle Theft - Climb to the top of the buildings in the center of town and use the catapult to launch yourself over to another rooftop. Once there, use the jetpack to reach a blue and white climbable wall. Climb up to this roof to find the scan point used to bust these criminals.
Portland ‘disappearing’ architecture: The fascinating history of the iconic elk statue, Block 216 food carts, Ladd’s mansion and the abandoned Centennial Mills
Portland's 121-year-old elk statue, which was removed last summer to protect it during the downtown Portland protests, is being stored in a secret location.
The second season of the informative In Search of Portland podcast puts the spotlight on familiar, if not beloved, landmarks such as the 121-year-old elk statue, which was removed last summer to protect it during the downtown Portland protests.
Other episodes in the podcast series have looked at the food carts that used to occupy the Block 216 parking lot, which is now a construction site for an office, hotel and condo tower the only remaining piece of the gilded William Sargent Ladd mansion, an 1883 carriage house that’s now Raven & Rose restaurant on Southwest Broadway and the long-abandoned riverfront Centennial Mills in the Pearl District.
Host Brian Libby, a Portland journalist and critic who has reported on architecture, design, visual art and film here for two decades, does more than tell the fascinating history of each landmark.
He interviews experts in a calmly enthusiastic manner, delves into the story of who created or commissioned the landmark, and offers his feelings about each one. The city’s iconic statue of an elk, installed in 1900 at Southwest Main Street between 3rd and 4th Avenues, is “my favorite work of public art in the city,” he confesses.
More than anything else, Libby, who writes the respected Portland Architecture blog, gets listeners to care about the city’s “disappearing” architecture and advocate for its preservation.
“This is a personal journey, exploring the Rose City’s architectural and cultural landmarks, forgotten gems and the dreamers who populate them,” he says at the start of each In Search of Portland episode.
The podcasts are produced by nonprofit radio station X-RAY FM.
"Elk statue: Portland illustrator Nicolai Kruger created artwork of the landmark. Nicolai Kruger
Portland illustrator Nicolai Kruger created artwork of each landmark. Kruger, an architect who worked on the Knight Cancer Research Building while with SRG Partnership, says illustrations help her communicate what’s important better than a photograph.
Kruger accurately depicts the elk statute’s long neck, a feature that upset members of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks (BPOE) when the statue was unveiled, even though the fraternal order was not involved in the commission.
In 1899, American sculptor Roland Hinton Perry was hired by former Portland mayor David P. Thompson, an influential businessman and head of the city’s humane society, to design a water fountain for horses and to recognize the herds of Roosevelt elk that once roamed the banks of the Willamette River.
The artist took a realistic approach in representing the animal, which was not popular at the time or what he was classically trained to do in Paris, according to the podcast.
Libby discusses the statue with Fred F. Poyner IV, an art historian who wrote “Portland Public Sculptors: Monuments, Memorials and Statuary, 1900-2003,” which includes Perry.
The statue, named simply “Elk,” had spent more than a century on the busy traffic median between Chapman and Lownsdale squares, which are across from the Justice Center, the focal point of last year’s protests against systemic racism, police brutality and the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Fires were lit by protestors in the statue’s granite base, the David P. Thompson Fountain, but the bronze elk was not damaged. As a precaution, in July, 2020, the statue was taken down by the Regional Arts and Culture Council and stored in a secret location, a large warehouse on the northern edge of the city.
Libby explains that during his August visit to see “Elk,” safely strapped to a pallet, he could look closely at the patina that has formed over time on the bronze statue.
When “Elk” returns to public view, Libby and Poyner hope it is reintroduced with a Native American perspective like the statue of Chief Seattle in Seattle’s Tillicum Place, and “not limited to having just one interpretation,” says Poyner.
The success of the sculpture is that people can feel ownership and affection for it, for different reasons, says Libby, who became aware of “Elk” when it appeared in Gus Van Sant’s 1991 movie “My Own Private Idaho, before Libby moved back to Oregon.
The base of the "Elk" statue on SW Main on July 6, 2020, after the statue had been removed. (The Oregonian) Dave Killen
In the first season of the engaging In Search of Portland podcast, Libby highlights well-known visionaries, from architect Pietro Belluschi to artist Mark Rothko, as well as lesser-known but important contributors who enhanced the city’s environment.
“In an episode about Lincoln Hall at Portland State University, which originally was Lincoln High School, we talk about voice artist Mel Blanc coming up with the voice of Woody Woodpecker in its hallways,” Libby says.
Centennials Mills: Portland illustrator Nicolai Kruger created artwork of the landmark. Nicolai Kruger
>Centennial Mills (xraypod.com) Listen to Brian Libby interview historian Chet Orloff and Prosper Portland development director Lisa Abuaf, who is leading the city’s effort to transform Centennial Mills, the long-deserted flour mill complex along the Willamette River.
Ladd Carriage House: Portland illustrator Nicolai Kruger created artwork of the landmark Nicolai Kruger
>Ladd Carriage House (xraypod.com) Listen to architect Paul Falsetto and interior designer Tracy Simpson talk about the nearly demolished 19th-century carriage house, once part of founding father William Ladd’s mansion, that’s now the Raven & Rose restaurant on Southwest Broadway.
SW 10th and Alder: Portland illustrator Nicolai Kruger created artwork of the landmark. Nicolai Kruger
Block statue of the scribe Amunwahsu
Block statues showing seated figures with their knees drawn up under a cloak could be placed in temples by those who were granted permission. There they could share in offerings for the gods and became spectators at religious festivals. The broad surfaces provided space for prayers to be inscribed and the compact shape made the sculpture resistant to damage. In this example, Amunwahsu, Scribe of the Offering Table of the Lord of the Two Lands, solicits passersby to recite an offering formula on his behalf, thereby bringing him perpetual sustenance. Tangible gifts of food may also have been placed on the flat area at the top of the statue.
On the left shoulder is inscribed: “The Keeper of the Door of Ta-Inet, Wahsu, the vindicated” and on the right: “Osiris, Lord of Eternity.”
The inscriptions on the body of the block statue reads:
The Scribe of the Offering Table of the Lord of the Two Lands, the Conductor of the Festival of Osiris…, Amunwahsu, the vindicated. He says: “O living ones who are on Earth, ordinary priests, lector priests, God’s fathers, noblemen, magistrates of the temple of Osiris, the entire priesthood of the temple, [anyone who passes by this] statue: The God Ptah, South of His Wall, will commend you and you will bequeath your offices to your children after a long old age, if you recite: ‘an offering which the King gives to Osiris, foremost of the westerners, and [to] Geb, Hereditary Noble of the gods, [consisting of] bread, beer, oxen, fowl, linen, incense and unguent, for the spirit of the Scribe of the Offering Table of the Lord of the Two Lands, Wah[s]u, the vindicated.’ I am trustworthy, free of wrongdoing, established, one who does not associate with wrongdoers, I know what the God abhors.
“I am trustworthy, free of wrongdoing, established, one who does not associate with wrongdoers.”
Amunwahsu, a scribe from Egypt’s New Kingdom (ca. 1550-1070 BCE), appeals to passers-by to recite the sustenance script encasing his statue. The offering text assures divine reward to whoever recites it. Ancient Egyptians believed that each person possessed a complex soul that survived the body’s death but needed all the provisions of life on earth, protection provided by spells, and a physical representation to survive in the underworld. With approval from the Pharaoh, private individuals of status commissioned block statues like this one to reside in temples, signifying their continued participation in sacred rites and ensuring a channel for nourishment after death.
Reflecting Ancient Egyptians’ concern with eternity, this sculpture provides not only for the immortality of the individual it represents, but also in its very solidity and substantiality, ensures its own enduring presence. By providing a historical record of ancient Egyptian culture for subsequent civilizations, Amunwahsu truly fulfills his role as a scribe.
-Victoria Schmidt-Scheuber (Class of 2012), Mount Holyoke College
Global Perspectives: Exploring the Art of Devotion (February 9 - May 30, 2010)
Block statues showing seated figures with their knees drawn up under a cloak could be placed in temples by those who were granted permission. There they could share in offerings for the gods and became spectators at religious festivals. The broad surfaces provided space for prayers to be inscribed, and the compact shape made the sculpture resistant to damage. In this example, Amunwahsu, Scribe of the Offering Table of the Lord of the Two Lands, solicits passersby to recite an offering formula on his behalf, thereby bringing him perpetual sustenance. Tangible gifts of food may also have been placed on the flat area at the top of the statue.
Tools of Displacement
Fenit Nirappil/Washington Post via Getty Images
Last week, Corey Stewart came within a hair’s breadth of claiming the Republican nomination for governor of Virginia after having run on a revanchist campaign focused on battling local efforts to rename and remake Confederate monuments and spaces. Even as Stewart’s campaign ended, the fight over these monuments in Charlottesville, Virginia, continued. They might soon reach a new fever pitch, and as they do it’s worth considering an overlooked piece of history around these statues: Their role in displacements of former black residents.
First as an update, here’s where that fight currently stands: Earlier this month, a resolution to rename Charlottesville’s two Confederate parks was passed by the Charlottesville City Council unanimously. Lee Park, the home of a controversial Robert E. Lee statue that the council previously voted to remove, will become Emancipation Park, and Jackson Park, the home of a statue of Stonewall Jackson, will become Justice Park. Meanwhile, locals are working on ways to counteract a Ku Klux Klan rally, proposed for July 8, and an alt-right March on Charlottesville headed by Richard Spencer, proposed for Aug. 12, at the site of the Lee statue’s eventual removal.
On May 13, University of Virginia alum and alt-right activist Spencer led a nighttime rally in Lee Park in protest of the council’s plan to remove the statue. This protest brought national attention to the battle between local activists and the outside alt-right and white nationalist forces whose actions drew comparisons to the Klan.
What has been missing from this fight, though, is the specific history of Charlottesville’s Confederate statues. Intimately tied to Charlottesville’s city planning projects and its persistent displacement of black residents, that context is emblematic of the relationship in the South between urban renewal and gentrification, Confederate memorialization and Lost Cause white supremacy, and the town-and-gown dichotomy inherent in university communities.
The statues of Jackson and Lee not only symbolize the violence of the ongoing displacements of gentrification they also initiated and facilitated these changes when they were first put up. Strategically erecting these symbols of the Confederacy at the edges of or atop black and nonwhite immigrant communities provided Charlottesville’s white elite with a means of physically buttressing their ever-fragile hold of white supremacy. To understand this is to understand Charlottesville’s demographic population shifts throughout the 20 th and 21 st centuries and how the statues physically bisect those gentrifying spaces.
Lee’s statue was unveiled before thousands of attendees on May 21, 1924, during a two-day gathering of the Sons of the Confederacy at which the city also saw KKK agitation. With the University of Virginia President Edwin Alderman giving the statue’s dedication before several Confederate memorial groups, the ceremony represented a partnership between the state university and national organizations of the Confederacy in the monumentalization of the Lost Cause.
The ideology of the Lost Cause posits that noble and chivalrous Confederate soldiers and leaders fought the Civil War as a conflict over states’ rights rather than slavery. According to this mythology, post-emancipation black people misused their freedom and were, thus, inept American citizens. For Lost Cause supporters, this failure of black citizenship proved that white people were of an innately superior race and, following that logic, that slavery was beneficial to all.
While mob violence occurred relatively infrequently in the Shenandoah Valley, lynchings elsewhere in Virginia and the rest of the country were often a reaction to black economic success that counteracted these white supremacist theories. Charlottesville’s thriving black neighborhood, Vinegar Hill, was a prime example of one of these successful communities. The Lee statue, which was erected just a few blocks from Vinegar Hill, sent an obvious message to residents: Public space, public institutions, and public success are not for you.
The Jackson statue, meanwhile, was dedicated in Charlottesville’s Court Square in 1921 during the year’s reunion of the Confederate Veterans and the Daughters of the Confederacy. Depicting Jackson riding his horse into battle, the monument was unveiled from underneath a massive Confederate flag with 5,000 Confederate-nostalgic revelers looking on.
This monument to Jackson lies atop what was once a majority-black area known as McKee Row. In 1914, the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors confiscated the land from its black residents and granted it to the city. The city justified its action by noting its concern about the “rowdy” activity from McKee Row interfering with the Levy Opera showgoers. It also cited concern regarding the presence of young, presumably white, men “slumming” through the McKee Row neighborhood.
Jeffersonian disciple and journalist James Alexander rendered the connection between “rowdiness” and race explicit in his writings about McKee Row, remembering it as the site of “buildings of importance” that had tragically “declined into forlorn rookery,” emblemized through the presence of “ ‘Colonel Crack,’ a demented but harmless Negro.” To emphasize its punitive role vis-à-vis the black community, the statue itself was built over the former location of the Charlottesville jail. Panoptic and stern, the statue’s function was made clear in its position proximal to the former location of a whipping post.
Jackson Park was Charlottesville’s first gentrification project. The installation of Confederate monuments was a critical component of Charlottesville’s precrash 1920s period of rapid redevelopment. While there was a surge of Confederate memorialization directly succeeding the end of the Civil War, all of the Confederate monuments in Charlottesville, and many in other Southern cities, were installed in the 1920s as a way to materialize and reinforce Jim Crow within the expanding townscape.
At the turn of the century, Court Square was the subject of these city planning efforts, consisting of significant redevelopment that directly impacted the residents of McKee Row. Directly beside the Jackson monument sits the Albemarle County Courthouse, and yards away stands another statue of an anonymous Confederate soldier that was constructed in 1909. Flanking the Albemarle Courthouse, these statues worked together to mark the ostensibly public and civic space of the courthouse as the ideological property of the Confederacy. Both statues sport a Confederate flag and face south, which long suggested that the courthouse was committed to upholding the values represented by the flag.
Throughout the 20 th century, the city of Charlottesville has precipitated multiple waves of urban renewal or gentrification. As James Baldwin put it, these sorts of efforts were actually more like “Negro removal.” The planning projects displaced black residents not only from their homes and communities, but from their businesses, their sources of wealth, and their proximity to institutions of socio-political power.
Installing Confederate monuments helped to facilitate and buttress these displacements both physically—by razing and demarcating the borders of black neighborhoods—and ideologically—by marking areas of political and financial power as part of the ideology of the Lost Cause. In the decades after the erection of the Lee statue, the best-known casualty in Charlottesville was Vinegar Hill.
A vibrant black neighborhood and business district effectively connecting the downtown mall to the University of Virginia, it was marked as “blighted” and completely razed in an urban renewal project in the mid-1960s. Its sole civic memorial is a small plaque at knee-height, obscured by potted vegetation, at the west end of the downtown mall shopping district. Its message, “Today Vinegar Hill is just a memory,” is a mere salve, while the Lee and Jackson statues are perpetual wounds.
In February, Showing Up for Racial Justice Charlottesville co-sponsored—along with the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center, Legal Aid Justice Center, NAACP, and the Charlottesville Public Housing Association of Residents—a workshop on gentrification, zoning, and form-based code to equip people with tools to help them fight for fair and just housing. These issues are live ones for Charlottesville, which is facing a modern gentrification fight over Friendship Court, one of Charlottesville’s public and subsidized housing developments at the edge of the downtown shopping center that is currently slated to be torn down and replaced with mixed-income and mixed-use development.
The ongoing whitelash against removal of the Confederate statues doesn’t necessarily reflect the strength of white supremacy today. It is rather a sign of its enormous fragility. It is a sign that those who seek justice can win. Perhaps not all at once and almost certainly not once and for all. Recognizing not just the historic symbolism of these statues, but also their practical effects is a good first step.
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Who was Edward Colston and why was his Bristol statue toppled?
The statue of slave trader Edward Colston that was toppled from its plinth and pushed into the docks by protesters has long caused anger and divided opinion in Bristol.
The 5.5-metre (18ft) bronze statue had stood on Colston Avenue since 1895 as a memorial to his philanthropic works, an avenue he developed after divesting himself of links to a company involved in the selling of tens of thousands of slaves. His works in the city included money to sustain schools, almshouses and churches.
Although Colston was born in the city in 1636, he never lived there as an adult. All his slave-trading was conducted out of the City of London.
Colston grew up in a wealthy merchant family in Bristol and after going to school in London he established himself as a successful trader in textiles and wool.
In 1680 he joined the Royal African Company (RAC) company that had a monopoly on the west African slave trade. It was formally headed by the brother of King Charles II who later took the throne as James II. The company branded the slaves – including women and children – with its RAC initials on their chests.
It is believed to have sold about 100,000 west African people in the Caribbean and the Americas between 1672 and 1689 and it was through this company that Colston made the bulk of his fortune, using profits to move into money lending.
Cheers as Bristol protesters pull down statue of 17th century slave trader – video
He sold his shares in the company to William, Prince of Orange, in 1689 after the latter had orchestrated the Glorious Revolution and seized power from James the year before.
Colston then began to develop a reputation as a philanthropist who donated to charitable causes such as schools and hospitals in Bristol and London. He briefly served as a Tory MP for Bristol before dying in Mortlake, Surrey, in 1721. He is buried in All Saints Church in Bristol.
His philanthropy has meant the Colston name permeates Bristol. Besides the statue, there is Colston’s, an independent school, named after him, along with a concert hall, Colston Hall, a high-rise office office block, Colston Tower, Colston Street and Colston Avenue.
Campaigners have argued for years that his connections with slavery mean his contribution to the city should be reassessed. It was decided in 2018 to change the statue’s plaque to include mention to his slave-trading activities but a final wording was never agreed.
“Whilst history shouldn’t be forgotten, these people who benefited from the enslavement of individuals do not deserve the honour of a statue. This should be reserved for those who bring about positive change and who fight for peace, equality and social unity,” the petition reads.
“We hereby encourage Bristol city council to remove the Edward Colston statue. He does not represent our diverse and multicultural city.”
Bristol Museums has sought to explain the reason for Colston’s statue remaining the city and says on its website that “Colston never, as far as we know, traded in enslaved Africans on his own account”.
But it added: “What we do know is that he was an active member of the governing body of the RAC, which traded in enslaved Africans, for 11 years.”
In 1916, German Terrorists Launched an Attack on American Soil
Two years after the start of World War I, the greater New York region was a major hub of the American munitions industry, with percent of all ammunition and armaments shipped from the United States to Europe went out within a radius of five miles of City Hall in Lower Manhattan,” according to “Sabotage at Black Tom” by Jules Witcover. It was Black Tom, once a small island, that was “the single most important assembly and shipping center in America for munitions and gunpowder being sent to the Allies,” Witcover notes, and “probably housed the most extensive arsenal anywhere outside the war zone itself.”
Black Tom explosion. (Credit: Bettmann / Getty Images)
While the United States had not yet entered World War I and was officially neutral, American munitions dealers could legally sell to any of the warring nations. Most of the arms, however, were going to the Allies𠅋ritain, France and Russiause the British navy had blockaded Germany.
The first of the Black Tom explosions was felt at 2:08 a.m. followed half an hour later by a second blast. At least five people were killed, including a baby in Jersey City who was thrown from his crib, and there was an estimated $20 million—the equivalent of some $500 million today—in property damage.
Store windows broken in Black Tom Explosion. (Credit: Bettmann / Getty Images)
The blasts also wreaked havoc at the site. As described by Witcover: “The Black Tom promontory was a charred ruin 13 huge warehouses were leveled and six piers destroyed, and fires continued to eat their way through the remains and consume hundreds of railroads cars and barges tied to the docks. At one point, a huge cavern was hewed out of the earth by the explosions of some 87 dynamite-laden railroad cars. The blast excavated a hole so deep that it extended below sea level water seeped in until a vast pond was created, strewn with the wreckage.”
Wrecked warehouses and scattered debris attest to power of an explosion. (Credit: US Army Signal Corps / Getty Images)
In the aftermath of the explosions, law-enforcement agents quickly arrested officials from the railroad, storage company and barge business who operated from the Black Tom site. However, investigators were unable to determine whether the disaster was the result of safety violations by any of these officials. One thing the authorities initially seemed to agree on was that the explosions weren’t the work of foreign saboteurs. It would take years for a persistent team of American lawyers to find sufficient evidence that showed that in fact the disaster had been plotted by the Germans. The lawyers sued Germany in the Mixed Claims Commission at The Hague, and in 1939 won the case. Germany, under the rule of Hitler, failed to pay up and the settlement was renegotiated in the early 1950s. The last payment was made to Black Tom claimants in 1979.
Fire raging at National Storage House, one of plants blown up by the explosion and spreading of fire. (Credit: Bettmann /Getty Images)
Today, the Black Tom site is part of New Jersey’s Liberty State Park. Nearby at the Statue of Liberty, a legacy of the disaster remains: Due to the damage the statue sustained on July 30, 1916, its torch has been closed to the public for the last century.
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