Saturday, June 6, 2020

1890: What the Richmond Planet Said About the Lee Monument

"The Negro was in the Northern processions on Decoration Day and in the Southern ones, if only to carry buckets of ice-water. He put up the Lee Monument, and should the time come, will be there to take it down." - Richmond Planet, June 7, 1890
Lee Monument (LOC)
When the Robert E. Lee monument went up on the outskirts of Richmond in the spring of 1890, several editors from African-American newspapers made their views crystal clear. Here are a few more excerpts:
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Image result for john mitchell jr richmond planet
John Mitchell, Jr. Ed.- Richmond Planet
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Richmond Planet, May 10, 1890
"The boxes were decorated with bunting and Confederate flags. On every hand could be seen the “stars and bars.” Nowhere in this procession was there a United States flag. The rebel yell, reinforced by a glorification of the lost cause was everywhere manifest."
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The New York Age, New York, NY 
(quoted in Richmond Planet, June 7, 1890)
"Robert E. Lee was one of the greatest generals of modern times. We grant that. But he was a traitor, and gave his magnificent abilities to the infamous task of disrupting the union and to perpetuating the system of slavery. Where then is the wisdom or the propriety of wasting any sentiment on Robert E. Lee? Let the unconstructed Democracy of the South glorify him and his memory as they will, but let the patriots of the nation indulge in none of it." 
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The National Home Protector, Baltimore, Md.  
(quoted in Richmond Planet, June 14, 1890)
"The [dedication] of the Lee monument adds another chapter to the history of the American nation that the next generation both North and South will no doubt read with regret. Though the general was guilty of treason against the United States government he bound himself under oath to support and fought bravely to forever establish and extend the accursed institution of human slavery; yet he possessed virtues which are fair minded people appreciated. That he would have a monument erected to his memory by the people who followed him to defeat, seems to be in the natural order of things. But when the unveiling of the monument is used as an opportunity to justify the southern people and rebelling against the U. S. Government and to flaunt the Confederate flag in the faces of the loyal people of the nation occasion calls for serious reflection. When General Lee furled his flag and presented his sword to his conquerors, he said secession is dead, and now, any attempt to resurrect the corpse of rebellion is not only an insult to the loyal people of the nation, but also casting a stigma on Gen. Lee’s record as commander of the Confederate Army."
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 The State Capital, Springfield, Illinois 
(quoted in Richmond Planet, June 14, 1890)
"This is shameful disregard for the flag of the Union and of higher respect for the flag of treason, was disgracefully he demonstrated at the unveiling of the monument to the lead Gen. R. E. Lee at Richmond, Va., May 29. We appreciate the spirit which prompted his followers to rear a monument to his honor. He had many virtues which are worthy of emulation, but when they put up that ensign of treason – the stars and bars – and make it a god to display, and to worship. We, as an American citizen, offer or silent protest and demand in the name of our fathers, in the name of the constitution and in the name of every patriotic impulse that such thing shall not be tolerated."

Blackberry Raid Update: Crump's Crossroads, July 2, 1863

Map of New Kent County, Crump's Crossroads Detail (LOC) The Blackberry Raid project continues to move along. I recently finished wri...