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Before George Floyd There Was The Uncommon Case Of Daniel Brown

BY JEANETTE LENOIR

“Social advance depends as much upon the process through which it is secured as upon the result itself.” – Jane Addams

It took a tragic incident during a festive gathering in 1875 to bring about change in American policing. And Daniel Brown, like George Floyd, was the catalyst that shifted the relationship between citizens and police in Baltimore; citizens concerned for their civil rights and the police for their authority to enter private homes.

Brown, a proud freeman and home owner, “provided the context in which [he] confronted Officer McDonald,” Shufelt writes, in an effort to find justification or make sense of the racial circumstances that led to him being clubbed and shot to death by the officer.  Brown, through the lens of the white immigrant cop from Ireland, forgot his place in America’s social order when he defended his humanity after the officer came knocking on his door for a noise complaint. And because of deep-rooted and long-standing racial conflicts in America Brown is portrayed in the media and the pages of history as a “too proud Black man” partly responsible for his death.

“But Daniel Brown’s individual response to a situation he perceived as an affront to his dignity as a freeman and the proprietor of his own home played a role in the tragedy,” writes Shufelt, and,  “The evidence shows that in his daily life Daniel Brown was in the habit of standing up for his rights with enough self-assurance to get the attention of his white acquaintances.”

This is the story of Daniel Brown. A proud American who knew his civil rights, stood up for himself and others, and was brutally beaten and shot to death for it by a police officer sworn to defend these rights. Nonetheless, the unjustified and brutal murder of Brown by Officer McDonald changed the course in American history when the white police officer was convicted of killing him.

Although the small gathering at this proud freeman’s home proved to be fatal for him, ending the life he’d diligently planned for himself and his wife, Keziah, Daniel Brown left behind a powerful legacy we see in civil rights movements like The Black Panther Party and Black Lives Matter.  And that’s a life well-lived, no matter how it ended.

A conversation with the author, Gordon H. Shufelt:

In The Uncommon Case of Daniel Brown, readers travel through praiseworthy hills and deplorable valleys of our American culture, landing squarely on a pivotal societal curve, when a white police officer gets convicted of killing a Black citizen.

The Uncommon Case of Daniel Brown can be purchased on Amazon or via the link below:

https://www.kentstateuniversitypress.com/2020/uncommon-case-of-daniel-brown/

Catch-A-Pig 5K Race For The Boys & Girls Club

BY JEANETTE LENOIR

On your mark, get set, chase the piglets!

Rod Bourn is rolling out the 9th annual Catch-A-Pig 5K Race to benefit The Boys & Girls Club of Harford and Cecil Counties. The highly anticipated event raises money to support local kids, as well as provide an opportunity for families to come together for some much needed fun and of course, bacon.

All you need to know can be found by clicking the links below:

Catch A Pig Details

Sun, Aug 29, 8 AM – 12 PM

Ma & Pa Heritage Trail, Bel Air, MD

ePa spoke with Rod Bourn, the event organizer, about the importance of the race that’s more of a chase.

The Lineage And Mechanism Of The U.S. Constitution

BY JEANETTE LENOIR

The Olympics have been a much-needed distraction from America’s political battle ground, ongoing culture wars and countless social struggles. However, in the midst of all this family drama, are we missing something crucial? Australian attorney and author, James D. R. Philips thinks we are. He points to the global power and impact of the U.S. Constitution and shares his historical, and outside perspective in his book: Two Revolutions And The American Constitution: How the English and American Revolutions Produced the American Constitution.

Philips says to fully understand how America works, you need to understand its system of government and laws, and for that you must understand the Constitution. In his book, Philips highlights the lineage and mechanics of this living document that continues to shape and guide America and the rest of the world.

To purchase Philips’ book, click here 👉 https://amzn.to/37dISQv

The 8th Deadly Sin

BY JEANETTE LENOIR

Humanity’s woe is the 8th deadly sin named, Media.

Simone Biles pulling out of the Olympics is exactly what media wants. And Hoda Kotb, Jenna Bush and the rest of these “talking experts” do their due diligence to speak with double-edged sword tongues, anxiously waiting for a shoe to drop so the real show can begin: riding their media inflicted trauma like the 100 foot wave.

They start with praise; continue with pressure and high expectations, heaping all the weight of the world’s woes and wants on these young athletes. Then when they falter, slip, or aren’t performing perfectly to appease the immense pressure put on them by these “talking experts” … the same “talking experts” benefit. This is what they work for. They benefit from the juicy gossip and lip smacking among the masses that flock to their social media sites to join in and raise their traffic. The ultimate goal of media is your attention. Regardless if the price is the head of their “darling” Simone Biles, a young athlete facing tremendous pressure and scrutiny from the media shredder whose soldiers look like proud dork queen, Hoda Kotb, high-level privileged employee Jenna Bush and the cut-throat, “news” at any price Savannah Guthrie. Desperate to be judged as perfect porcelain and unbothered by Black people’s reality in America, Lester Holt, is equally culpable of inflicting this kind of trauma on people.

Then they all get to post grossly disingenuous images like this IG post from Hoda Kotb feigning support and love for Simone Biles, when all her news crew wanted was this outcome for their own storytelling benefit  and ratings. Not all praise is good praise. Some come with gnashed teeth, salivating for the glory that will come with the downfall of an athletes career.

These media people ride your wave up and then celebrate that they get to tell the world that you didn’t live up to expectations. They get to praise and scrutinize these young athletes into mental disorders without impunity. Recent case in point: Naomi Osaka pulling out of the French Open due to the intense media pressure. What happened next–Naomi Osaka vilified in the press–is simply par for their course.

Media loves this traumatic cycle. It keeps NBC in business, Hoda and Jenna paid and Savannah popular among media bosses and shareholders. The media operates as an enemy of We The People, too. And Simone Biles is yet another example and victim of the media business that functions without responsibility as perpetrator, savior and victim. Media must be held accountable for this destructive practice. Man bites dog makes the news. Not because it’s true, but because it’s sensational. And that’s what sells, unfortunately. They work for ratings, not us. The solution? Turn your TV off and accept that each of us carry a responsibility when it comes to our collective humanity. If we want better, we must do better. It starts with acknowledging humanity’s 8th deadly sin is the media that fuels good and bad for profit.

Philips: U.S. Constitution Key Pivot To The Formation Of The Modern World

Editor’s Note: The views expressed are solely those of the author. James D.R. Philips is an Australian attorney and the author of the new book, “Two Revolutions and the Constitution: How the English and American Revolutions Produced the American Constitution.”
 
 

Australia probably isn’t the first place Americans think of on Independence Day, but it’s important to consider the many ways America’s example has reverberated around the world for centuries. Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence of July 4, 1776, had three great consequences for Australia. First, it prompted the founding of a British colony there. Second, it facilitated Australian independence. Third, it led to the structure of the Australian Constitution. American independence meant that the British could no longer send convicts to its former American colonies. Long-stay prisons in Britain were in short supply. The British needed a new colony to which they could transport convicts. They risked the moonshot of trying to establish a colony on the other side of the world, at Botany Bay (now in Sydney).

The success of the revolutionary war and Declaration of independence taught the British not to resist a settler colony whose people wanted independence. When Australians demanded independence, just over a century after the founding of the first Australian colony, the British did not stand in their way. The independence led to the Constitution. The Constitution (drafted while the First Fleet was hazarding its epic journey from Portsmouth in England to establish the new colony in Australia) had a profound influence on the structure and terms of the Australian Constitution, and therefore on Australia’s system of government.

Of course, a future Australia was not on his mind when Jefferson was drafting the declaration. He and other Founders were focused on protecting their legal and political rights from British predation. The Founders charged King George III with tyranny. They rebelled, left his kingdom and established a republic. Charles I suffered a similar fate, charged with tyranny by the Rump Parliament. He was tried and beheaded in 1649, and a British republic established. The American republic has endured.

The English republic was short-lived. But some 30 years after the end of the English republic, the English had a second revolution, called either the “English Revolution” or the “Glorious Revolution.” The English (with substantial Dutch help) forced James II to flee his kingdom, rather than putting him on trial and executing him. The English Revolution established finally that the monarch was subject to Parliament and to law. During the English Revolution, there were rebellions against English rule in Massachusetts, New York, and Maryland.

The English Revolution was a foundation of the development of pluralistic societies, which enjoyed freedom and representative government subject to law in England and America. The American Revolution further developed and cemented these principles and had a profound effect on the development of the modern world. The Founders believed that they were protecting their existing legal and political rights. Their conception of those rights developed in the British-American colonial period. There was plenty of scope for different perceptions in America and in England as to the extent of British control of aspects of colonial government, and to what extent American rights were subject to the King’s prerogative power or subject to Parliamentary legislation.

When, some 80 years after the English Revolution, George III and his Parliament began imposing taxes on Americans and seeking to increase British control over the colonies, Americans rebelled against Parliament as well as against the king. They believed that Parliament had abandoned its role as the protector of liberties against royal overreach. Most famously, colonial Americans believed that Parliament could not impose direct taxes on them because there could be no taxation without representation, and Americans were not represented in Parliament.

The American Bill of Rights was essential in the minds of many Americans because of the risk that Congress might betray the people, as Parliament had betrayed them. To Americans, the developing British concept of parliamentary supremacy had become a latent source of tyranny. Australia’s Constitution is largely a hybrid of the American and British models, using the American federal and national structure, but establishing Parliamentary supremacy (subject to that structure).

The most famous statement in the U.S. Declaration of Independence is universal in its aspiration: “That all [people] are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Making these rights real and operable for all Americans is a work in progress. Still, it is momentous that the declaration stated in such compelling language that these rights were inherent and that when the British impeded them, Americans had a right to rebel. The declaration is a foundation of America. And it has a profound significance for Australians: It is one of Australia’s founding documents, too.

PETITION: Remove J. Edgar Hoover’s Name From FBI Building

Editor’s Note: please sign  and share our first change.org petition for deliberate social change in America ➡ http://chng.it/CxBCVrLd

J. Edgar Hoover is responsible for terrorizing Black people and countless civil rights activists. His reign of terror across America must be remembered and taught as part of the Critical Race Theory movement. The truth of his evil acts toward Black people must be brought to light in every classroom in America. The truth about his personal life must also be brought to light. He was a closeted gay man who targeted and terrorized the LGBTQ community. The tactics he employed to smear the names of so many, including MLK and Malcolm X must never be forgotten. J. Edgar Hoover was an American made monster. And yet, his name remains a shameful stain and hurtful reminder of America’s relentless racism on the FBI building in Washington, DC. It’s time to rename the FBI Headquarters to reflect the future all Americans deserve.

American Racism Wears Prada

BY JEANETTE LENOIR

Truth said, I am the peace Malcolm X needs to rest. I am the justice Assata said was our duty to fight for. I am the dream Dr. King dreamed. I am the strength of our enslaved ancestors. I am the eagle that soars across this land of the spiritual Indians. I am the strange fruit Billie Holiday sang of. I am the, Still I Rise, Maya Angelou awoke in us with rhythm and rhymes. I am the arms, the legs, the heads and the torso of all those brutalized by European greed and inhumanity. I am the mighty riches of Africa. I am the wisdom of Imhotep. And by way of unwavering truth, I shall reign like the peace brought by Akhenoten. Tell the world about me. For I am the truth denied by Sen. Tim Scott and all those who cowardly spew the dangerous and boldface lie that America is not a racist country.

Derrick Chauvin Killed George Floyd in front of the world. With his knees on Floyd’s neck, this white cop deliberately squeezed the life out of a Black man’s body, just like his ancestors have done for centuries.

America is a racist country.

Eric Gardner was selling loose cigarettes on the street to help care for his family. NYDP officer Daniel Pantaleo choked him to death despite his gasps pleading “I can’t breathe” piercing the air he needed. The officer was rewarded for his contribution to our Black holocaust with a goody bag full of benefits, from tactical legal delays to avoid accountability to a promotion and a hefty pension.

America is a racist country.

Officer Kimberly Potter said she mistook her gun for her taser when she shot Daunte Wright at close range during a traffic stop. This highly-trained officer with more than 20 years on the force thought so little of this Black man’s life, that she opened deadly fire to strike him down, and with the audacity only afforded to white supremacists, turn around and dismiss the incident with an “oops” we did it again response.

America is a racist country.

Ahmaud Arbery went for a jog in his neighborhood. He was stalked like prey by his racist countrymen and shot like a bandit in the street. Apparently, these grossly unkempt looking white men took serious offense to this Black man running and killed him for sport. They killed him because he was Black. They killed him because they hate Black people. They killed Ahmaud because they could. They killed Ahmaud because they bought the lie drummed into their skulls by their forefathers that Black people are less than human-beings and unworthy of humanity. And for months while his family grieved his loss, elected officials desperately tried to hide evidence to protect these monsters “rights” to lynch and terrorize Black people as they have done since the birth of this nation.

America is a racist country.

Birth of a Nation should be recommended viewing for Sen. Tim Scott and all those who knowingly disrupt and disrespect the spirits and the sacrifices of our Black ancestors who bravely wore their masks to hide their suffering for the likes of Sen. Scott to find his way and his place in this country. His words cut deeper than a scandalous lie. They bring a soul-shaking shame that blankets all those who have suffered tremendously in the world for simply being born Black.

America is a racist country.

Trayvon Martin was killed for being Black, too. Compounding the injustice of this tragedy, the low life that killed the teenager was found not guilty. He celebrated adding another Black body into the pit of our on-going bloody Holocaust by auctioning off the weapon he used to kill Martin for $250,000.00.  He sold his weapon just like Europeans sold our stolen and enslaved people on the auction block.

America is a racist country.

Walter Scott, Freddie Gray, Tamir Rice, Phillando Castille, Breonna Taylor, Botham Jean … they were all unjustly murdered by overzealous and over militarized G.I. Joe show-offs playing cop. Their victims never asked to play the deadly role in the movie set of their disturbed minds that casts Black people as disposable objects.

America is a racist country.

After the heinous and bold killing of Ramarley Graham in Brooklyn, NYPD officers gave his executioner, Officer Richard Haste, The Blue Salute in front of Graham’s grieving family as he sauntered out of court after a judge dismissed manslaughter charges against him. Law enforcement circled their wagon, upholding the culture of our dehumanization in America. Graham was executed in his grandmother’s bathroom for smoking weed, running away and trying to flush it down the toilet. Haste busted down the door and shot him like a rabid animal. After the shooting he stood outside the young man’s building, smiling and laughing, as his family grasp the reality of yet another senseless killing. Fast-forward ten years later and guess who will benefit the most from the legalization of the weed this youngster was murdered for?

America is a racist country.

Slave labor built America and the White House but Black people still live as second class citizens in the most powerful country their ancestors built under the cracks of whips and the devastating brutality of slavery.

America is a racist country.

The Trail of Tears, Jim Crow, Red Lining, Black Farmers, Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment, Black soldiers coming home from war, The March on Washington.

America is a racist country.

Dylann Roof calmly killed nine Black people worshipping in church. He was peacefully arrested, fed and cared for like a newly hatched chick. Go read what this country did to Black liberation groups like MOVE and The Black Panther Party. Many of these freedom fighters were killed and some are still languishing in jail. For what? Standing up against American terrorism. They demonized and tortured them. So much so, one would never know the Black Panther Party started the school lunch program.

America is a racist country.

Kyle Rittenhouse walked right past police, still holding the AR-15 he used to murder two Black Lives Matter protesters. He was given a standing ovation by elected officials in his home state who hailed him a hero for killing two protesters marching for Black people’s human rights. Racist celebrities and politicians donated hundreds of thousands of dollars for his defense, took him to bars to celebrate his kill despite being underage, and they’re still protecting him like a battle fatigued warrior for white supremacy.

“God bless. Thank you for your courage. Keep your head up. You’ve done nothing wrong.” And, “Every rank and file police officer supports you. Don’t be discouraged by actions of the political class of law enforcement leadership.” These testimonials came with donations from elected officials and police.

America is a racist country.

Dr. King, JFK, Bobby Kennedy, Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, Emmitt Till, George Stinney, Jr. … there’s not enough room on the internet to list the names of every person who has paid the ultimate price for European greed, inhumanity, vicious capitalism and imperialism.

America is a racist country.

John Lewis begged his country for civil rights and took a severe beating from KKK members cloaked in police uniform on the Edmund Pettus Bridge.

America is a racist country.

Fannie Lou Hamer wanted voting rights. She was brutally beaten by police and the Black brothers they forced to join in beating her. Imagine that for a minute. Sit in it. It’s the god awful truth of the matter. They locked her up, stripped her of her humanity, forced her own people to beat her, and eventually took her life. Today, conservative leaning states like Georgia, Texas Iowa, Arkansas and Utah are still enacting laws to keep us from voting or even protesting. “Republican state legislators are sponsoring a blizzard of new voting restrictions, advancing 55 bills in 24 states,” reports  Intelligencer. 

America is a racist country.

America’s founding fathers compromised that Black people were only three-fifths of human-beings all while declaring, “All men are equal” in The Constitution conservatives love to uphold as justification for their white-washed view of America and the world. They didn’t believe Langston Hughes when he wrote, Let America Be Again.

Sure, call me any ugly name you choose—The steel of freedom does not stain. From those who live like leeches on the people’s lives, We must take back our land again, America! O, yes, I say it plain, America never was America to me, And yet I swear this oath—America will be!

Yes, America will be. But today, the ugly truth is America is a racist country.

America built labor camps for Black kids and ushered in Jim Crow. And if you ever listen to recordings of former enslaved people recount their traumatic childhoods, you will hear the harsh truths only a coward can deny. Black people continue to endure the worst in our society. Why?

America is a racist country.

Mexico, the only country enforcing another country’s immigration policy targeting African migrants, is forcing Black people to stay in deplorable tent cities in their Southern borders, by denying them transit visas that would normally allow them to cross the country and migrate to Canada and the U.S., respectively. However, during Donald Trump’s reign of racist terror, when he announced his disdain for “shithole countries” he also  threatened Mexico with tariffs if they didn’t bow to his will to keep Black migrants from coming to America. Mexico obliged and is still enforcing these inhumane asylum laws that specifically target Black people. When asked about her upcoming trip to Mexico and the Northern Triangle, Vice President Kamala Harris said she does not plan to visit the region where these people are being mistreated and kept as war prisoners. The refusal to even take notice of the problem plaquing Black migrants is symbolic, tactical and evil.

America is a racist country.

Tim Scott is the seventh Black Senator ever elected to the Senate. Listening to his speech, one would be shocked to learn he didn’t come directly from George Washington’s epididymis. The sad truth is his grandfather, who helped raise him, was a victim of the racism he denies exists in America. He was a Black Holocaust survivor forced to pick cotton so white people alone can prosper. He must of worn a great mask.

Sen. Scott’s embrace and defense of white supremacy is embarrassing buffoonery. “Race is not a political weapon,” he reprimands the victims of racism, going even further accusing Black people of, “fighting discrimination with a different kind of discrimination.” Making the moment more revolting, he conjured up some Nikki Haley logic, mumbling that although America is not a racist county, he’s been followed around in a store and pulled over for no reason. No reason at all.

“They don’t hang you because you’re a Baptist. They hang you because you’re Black.” – Malcolm X

The shackles may have come off but the outrageous performance Sen. Scott put on shows them chaining his mind. Sen. Scott made it clear; he only sees white people and their narrative of the world.

America is such a racist country, Billy Holiday sang of its Strange Fruit.

Southern trees bear a strange fruit
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root
Black bodies swingin’ in the Southern breeze
Strange fruit hangin’ from the poplar trees

These words tell the truth of our people’s bondage and torture in America.

“We suffer political oppression, economic exploitation and social degradation, all of them from the same enemy. The government has failed us. You can’t deny that,” Malcolm X said.

Apparently, the privileged senator can.

So, we must continue to deliberately create the America we all want to experience. And drunk on the cool-aid Tim is not going to lead the way. He would have to see us from his ivory tower, first.

ePa Sponsors April DEI Virtual Event

As part of the mission of ePluribus: America to help advance diversity, equity, inclusion, accessibility and belonging in every aspect of American culture, we are proud to announce this partnership to teach the core concepts of diversity. This DEI event is structured to help CEO’s, HR officials, Diversity Officers, thought leaders, policy makers and everyone with a stake in DEI initiatives recognize and overcome the barriers of organizational inclusion and belonging. In many cases, we have to unlearn in order to learn better ways of expressing our collective humanity for the sake of a better world for all. And ultimately, that is the purpose and focus of ePa’s DEI initiative and collaboration. And as a thank you, subscribers will get a $20 discount that reduces the ticket to $39.00. The discount code for ePa subscribers is EPLUR.  

Yours Truly,

Jeanette Lenoir

April DEI Virtual Event!

Join these business professionals virtually as they learn and discuss strategies for shaping the work culture with Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021
10:00 am – 12:00 pm EST

Registration and the full itinerary for the event can be found here: www.thestrategiesthatwork.com

“When we open communication up, down, and across our organization, we enhance our ability to recognize and value our differences and similarities. Communicating effectively requires observation and empathetic listening to ensure understanding. As we identify our own listening skills and cognitive biases, we will become better equipped to mindfully acknowledge our barriers and intentionally work to put them aside, cultivating a safe, diverse, and inclusive workplace. Lynda and Kashonna collaborate to provide engaging and informative sessions in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion with a focus on improving communication. After forty-five minutes of content and engagement with breakout activities, we will entertain questions and share ideas for the remainder of the hour.”

My interview with Larry Wilner, Organizer:

Navigating The Labyrinth Of Grief

BY JEANETTE LENOIR

One day, a woman went to see Buddha. Her infant child had died during the night and she pleaded with Buddha to help her revive her dead child. Buddha sympathized with the devastated woman and told her to go to every home in the village and ask the people living there for black mustard seeds. However, she can only accept the black mustard seeds from homes that have never experienced a loss of a family member or a servant. The distraught mother went to every home in the village to beg for the seeds. Many were willing to give the woman the black mustard seeds, but she could not accept them because each one had lost someone in their home. Exhausted from her search, the woman went back to the Buddha and described how she went door to door looking for the seeds without luck. Buddha then explained that he sent the women to look for the black mustard seeds knowing she would not find them because no one is immune from the conditions of life, and because death is part of life, one is never alone in their grief. And this shared experience eases the path through our sorrow. The woman, still grief-stricken over the loss of her infant child could not comprehend that every home in the village had lost someone they loved, too. Though still mourning the loss of her child, Buddha’s enlightenment helped her find comfort. She went home and buried her child.

You see, like birth, death is a solitary journey that each of us must walk. And how we grieve and cope with death divides people in many ways, including culturally. Some whale in agony and throw themselves on the ground. Others curse God or end their own life due to the inability to cope with the pain of losing someone they love. Different customs and religions tell diverse stories of how Man copes with death, grief and the ceremonies surrounding it. From New Orleans, where death is mourned with celebrations of a life lived, to Africa, India, Asia, South America, the Caribbean’s and West Indies where death comes with strict customs for those grieving the loss of a loved one. The spectrum of grief is vast. And yet, despite knowing it will happen to each of us, death remains taboo in the human mind.

Brooke James is changing that.

When James lost her father to cancer, she found herself drowning in grief. There was no escape from the reminder of her tremendous loss. Even well-meaning condolences wounded like broken glass on delicate skin. She decided to turn her grief into advocacy. Similar to the Buddha’s wisdom shared with the grieving woman, James found solace and community, grieving the loss of her dad. She created a Podcast, widening the avenue people see as taboo: talking about death, planning for life after death and all that comes with the process of grieving. Brooke James became, The Grief Coach.

Op-Ed: Whither Charlotte Scott’s Tribute To Emancipation

Editor’s Note: The views expressed are solely those of the writer, John Parker; Former MPP and Toronto City Councilor.

BY JOHN PARKER

Upon hearing that President Abraham Lincoln had been assassinated, a woman who had been freed by Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation proposed that a memorial statue be erected in his memory. She established a fund for the purpose and made the first contribution: five dollars.

The project was picked up by the quaintly named Western Sanitary Commission, a philanthropic agency that had been established in St. Louis during the Civil War. Its original purpose was to provide hospital services for sick and wounded soldiers, but over time it also came to provide shelter for the homeless and dispossessed and schools for their children. It largely served those who had been freed or who otherwise had escaped from slavery.

As the country’s centennial year approached a design was chosen and a statue was commissioned. It features Abraham Lincoln standing with the Emancipation Proclamation in his right hand. In front of Lincoln is the figure of a man in a crouched position, looking up, rising, and breaking free from chains of bondage. The model for the casting was Archer Alexander, a man who had escaped from slavery but who was on the verge of being returned to his previous condition when the Emancipation Proclamation secured his freedom in 1863.

The statue was dedicated at a ceremony on Capitol Hill in Washington in April 1867. President Ulysses S. Grant and members of the Supreme Court were present on the occasion. Frederick Douglass – himself a former slave – delivered the keynote address.

Douglass had been free since 1838. He is known to history as one of the foremost American abolitionists but in truth he was outspoken and courageous in support of a broad spectrum of social reforms, including the rights of women (in 1848 he wrote “In respect to political rights, we hold woman to be justly entitled to all we claim for man.” In 1866 he was one of the founders of the American Equal Rights Association in support of universal suffrage.) Most of all, he is known mostly for being one of the greatest pubic orators of all time.

Running short on patience with regard to his most cherished priority, Douglass had been one of Lincoln’s fiercest critics early in the Civil War. But he came to be one of Lincoln’s most sincere admirers by the end of the war and thereafter. His remarks at the dedication ceremony in 1867 traced the development of his own sentiments:

To protect, defend, and perpetuate slavery in the States where it existed Abraham Lincoln was not less ready than any other President to draw the sword of the nation…. 

In the fullness of time, we saw Abraham Lincoln … penning the immortal paper, which, though special in its language, was general in its principles and effect, making slavery forever impossible in the United States. 

Though we waited long, we saw all this and more.

A plaque on the monument gives it the name Freedom’s Memorial in grateful memory of Abraham Lincoln and reads:

This monument was erected by the Western Sanitary Commission of Saint Louis Mo: With funds contributed solely by emancipated citizens of the United States declared free by his proclamation January 1 A.D. 1863. The first contribution of five dollars was made by Charlotte Scott, a freedwoman of Virginia, being her first earnings in freedom and consecrated by her suggestion and request on the day she heard of President Lincoln’s death to build a monument to his memory. 

Eleanor Holmes Norton, currently DC’s nonvoting member of the US House of Representatives, has decided that the statue should come down. She intends to introduce legislation to that effect in the House. According to her, “the designers of the Emancipation Statue in Lincoln Park in DC didn’t take into account the views of African Americans. It shows. Blacks too fought to end enslavement. That’s why I’m introducing a bill to move this statue to a museum.”

The proposal to remove the statue has the enthusiastic support of a strong contingent of protesters who gathered at the site earlier this week and vowed to return later and get right to work to topple it.

It is demonstrably true that the designers of the statue didn’t take into account the views of African Americans such as Eleanor Holmes Norton as of June 2020 – or those that animate the group that gathered at the memorial this week –, but it also seems clear that her remarks in June 2020 don’t take into account the views of African Americans at the time that the statue was conceived, executed, and dedicated.

It may be difficult for Eleanor Holmes Norton and the protesters to accept, but it is just possible that Charlotte Scott, Archer Alexander, Frederick Douglass, and the emancipated citizens of the United States who paid for the monument had more insight into the views of African Americans alive in the immediate aftermath of the Civil War than they do. And a review of the record would confirm that, contrary to Homes Norton’s apparent understanding, Douglass made particular reference to the role of African American (he called them “dark and dusty”) soldiers in the Union Army in his remarks. It should come as no surprise that he would have done exactly that, the enlistment of African American soldiers in the Lincoln’s army having been one of the causes that he had vigorously recommended to the President at virtually every opportunity when they met and spoke during the war.

If the point of erecting memorials is to lock into place a record of a person or an event that is deserving of enduring memory, the message that Charlotte Scott hoped to deliver to posterity has been overshadowed in the minds of some by the context of more recent events and concerns.

It is a bad time to be a statue these days. If this one comes down, the event will itself be a symbol of the irony of our current day, in which the sentiment that is causing memorials to defenders of slavery to fall will have also also led – almost a century and a half after its dedication – to the destruction of a memorial to the single most important agent in the ending of that slavery, erected by those who, in his time, understood and appreciated his accomplishment and wanted future generations to know it.