Tad and Abe.

Richmond celebrates Black History Month: Condemns proposed Lincoln statue

Richmond, VA has always been a town with a split personality regarding race-related monuments. Its downtown can be accessed by either the Robert E Lee Bridge or the Martin Luther King Bridge, and both The Black History Museum and The Museum Of The Confederacy are located on Clay Street.

Now, the two sides are at it again, with Confederate heritage groups seeking to block the National Park Service from erecting an Abe Lincoln statue at the Tredear Iron Works.

The secessionists believe old wounds will be opened by the statue's placement (no statue of Lincoln exists currently in Richmond, but the Richmond Federal Reserve bank keeps plenty of five dollar bills with Lincoln's picture on them). According to the AP, one op-ed piece in the Richmond Times-Dispatch complained that placing such a statue in the city is as provocative as installing a statue of Osama bin Laden in downtown New York. Though we guess that if Islamic extremists eventually conquered New York, that's just what they'd do.

The fact that Lincoln was never at the five-acre site, which produced most of the cannons used by the Confederate forces, also steams the state's-righters.

But Park Service Representatives and the abolitionist group paying for the statue have dug in their heels.

"We're going ahead. There's no going back," said Robert Kline, president of the carpet-bagging United States Historical Society, which is selling 750 replicas of the statue at $875 each.

"This was not done intentionally to incite any group," said David Ruth, assistant superintendent of Richmond battlefield parks for the National Park Service.

Johnny Reb sees the National Park Service itself as reconstructionist, bent on rewriting history by demonizing the pro-slavers and deifying Lincoln. Ruth said the Park Service has changed its presentations only to present a "more holistic story" of what happened.

The editor of the Web site Dixie Daily News said he would not object to a statue of Union and Confederate soldiers shaking hands, but putting Lincoln in Richmond "is throwing oil on the fire." He admitted the statue is likely to be installed. "After all, the North won the Civil War, and they can write the history the way they want it."

The statue's dedication is scheduled for April 5th, 2003.

June 2015: Photo added.

[02/23/2003]

American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar Ironworks

Address:
500 Tredegar St., Richmond, VA
Directions:
Outdoors, on the northwest side of the American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar Ironworks, which is on the north side of Tredegar Street just east of the US Hwy 301 bridge across the river.
Hours:
Daily 9-5. Grounds gated after hours. (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
Phone:
804-780-1865
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