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In the news AND BEYOND


The statue of Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville, Virginia that was taken down in July of 2021 has been melted down by the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center. Associated Press reports that on Oct. 27, 2023 that, as indicated in their proposal to the Charlottesville city council in 2021, the African American Heritage Center has melted down the statue with the intent in their words to repurpose it “ into public art that expresses the city’s values of inclusivity and racial justice.”


It is noteworthy that the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center (formerly an elementary school) opened in 2013 as an information and education center that also hosts rotating exhibitions. Their mission is to “honor and preserve the rich heritage and legacy of the African American community of Charlottesville/Albemarle, Virginia and to promote greater appreciation for and understanding of the contributions of African Americans”. They further offer an equity statement that “strives to build a culture where diversity of all kinds, including diversity in race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, nationality, religion, veteran status, physical and mental abilities, political philosophy, socio-economic status and intellectual focus, is viewed as a strategic imperative…”. If you are interested in reading their full “word-salad” statement, feel free to visit their website. As with most equity and diversity today, it falls under the incoherence of promoting “everyone” while leaving out the majority population of the United States. Their method of promoting a greater appreciation for African American contributions is to proudly erase any history that includes people of European descent so as not to offend or compete with their “honorable” history. The Heritage Center only studies from post-emancipation to the present conveniently excluding Civil War or pre-war history and begs the question of why they even care about the Lee statue to begin with. Apparently a statue that stands alone as a work of art cannot be tolerated, nor can it be used as a moral to the story of the American Civil War.


The Lee statue that was melted down was originally commissioned by philanthropist Paul Goodloe McIntire in 1917 to honor General Lee. He approached the famous sculptor Henry Merwin Shrady to create the sculpture. Shrady was awarded in 1903, the very prestigious Grant statue that stands in front of the western facade of the U. S. Capitol. Writing of Shrady,  Donald Martin Reynolds observes in his “ Masters of American Sculpture” that his “Washington at Valley Forge of 1906 “ at the foot of the Williamsburg bridge in Brooklyn, N.Y. is “one of the most moving equestrian monuments to General Washington.” His equestrian  Lee  captures much of the same drama and spirit. 


The foundryman who melted down Shrady’s Lee was quoted by  the Washington Post as saying  “that it was an honor, especially to destroy hate.” To this foundryman and all others that are involved in this act of senseless and callous destruction, be assured that alleviating hate is absolutely the last thing that you have accomplished. How does destroying art persuade anyone? More likely it will be construed as revisionist history creating even more hate that you claim to want to reduce. In the words of John,Viscount Morley, On Compromise 1874 “You have not converted a man because you have silenced him.”   


The so-called “destruction of hate” is not the sole responsibility of Jefferson School.  The City of Charlottesville allowed things to move forward and therefore bears the blame as well. While  the school and city claim to be promoting inclusivity and justice; it is neither inclusive nor just to destroy both a masterful sculpture and monument to the past. By repurposing it into public art they reveal their true intention which is to both replace heritage they dislike with a version of their own using costly material that was neither paid for nor created by them.  It is the very definition of pride, prejudice and theft.

Most at meeting oppose name change but Camp Beauregard will get new name in 2023

Melinda Martinez

Alexandria Town Talk

This meeting was held to gather more names from the public in addition to the ones gathered in an online survey held in May.

"The South lost the war. We should have never named these bases after Southern generals or officers," said Cornelius White Jr., a former military police officer who was stationed here. He thinks they should have been named after white or Black troops who served in the Union Army.

Some oppose making the move at all.

"I think it needs to stay the same. Why change it?," said Carol Ann Thompson of Alexandria.

"All it's going to do is cost money."

"It's all I've known all my days," said Len Wiggins of Dry Prong, a retired Louisiana National Guard supply sergeant who was with the 199th Support Battalion. He also expressed concerns about the expense of a name change and said history shouldn't be taken away.

Some thought that if the name had to be changed, it should be to a name with ties to Central Louisiana.


A 15-year-old decided his town needed a veterans memorial. He raised $77,000 and built one



17-year-old Dominique Claseman was 15 when he started raising money to build Olivia, Minnesota a veterans memorial

Author: Boyd Huppert; July 4, 2022

OLIVIA, Minn. — When a 15-year-old boy came to the Olivia City Council with plans to build his hometown a veterans memorial, Mayor Jon Hawkinson wondered if the lad had bitten off more than he could chew.

Yet, there was something about Dominique Claseman.

“He had architect drawings, he had the space picked out,” the mayor recalls.

And perhaps most importantly, “He knew there would be people in our community who would want to donate to something like this,” the mayor recalls.

Today, no skeptics remain.

On Memorial Day, several hundred people gathered for the dedication of Olivia’s new veterans memorial, completed by Dominique as his Eagle Scout project a few weeks before his 17th birthday.  

Ron Kopacek, who headed up the dedication’s honor guard, was amazed as anyone that Dominique pulled it off. “Fifteen years old, a sophomore in high school, he's going to raise $12,000 to $15,000 we're thinking, ‘What? Really?’”

Turns out Dominque didn't just raise his starting goal of $12,000 to $15,000.

He collected more than $77,000.

“I question myself on how I even did it sometimes,” Dominque says with a smile.

Dominique hung flyers in businesses, did interviews with the local newspaper and radio station, and set up a table to pitch his project during events at the Olivia American Legion.

As purchases of engraved pavers and other donations exceeded Dominique’s expectations, he expanded his vision of what the memorial could be.

“I wanted to show more appreciation in a bigger way,” says Dominique, who comes from a long line of men who served their country. Among them: Dominique’s father, who wore his Iraq combat boots, at Dominique’s request, to leave 21 footprints in the memorial’s wet cement.

Mark Jurgensen, who serves as a Boy Scout scoutmaster, isn’t surprised his son saw the project through to its grand conclusion. 

“He’s one of them kind of kids that likes to make sure that he doesn’t disappoint anybody, and he strives really hard for that,” Mark says. 

On dedication day, a stream of people walked through the memorial, reading the 280 pavers engraved with the names of men and women with Olivia ties who served in the military, some who gave their lives for their country.


Economic impact

Initial research focused on nine states where most Civil War tourism is concentrated: Georgia, Maryland, Missouri, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.  

In five states—Missouri, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia—15 National Park Service-affiliated Civil War battlefields and historic sites attracted 

 15.8 million visitors

That spending supported: 
$151 million in income for local workers and business owners; 
5,150 local jobs; and  
$248 million in value added to the local economy  

Who spent nearly $442 million in communities close to those parks. 

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Monumental Task Committee

The MTC is a predominantly volunteer-run monument preservation organization that was founded in New Orleans in 1989. Our mission is to restore, repair and forever maintain all of the monuments located in the city. Members of our Board of Directors come from diverse professional and educational backgrounds, contributing decades of experience to our preservation efforts. As we move into our third decade of service we are excited about the possibilities that we can achieve with the help of our collaborators and supporters.

Save NOLA Heritage

Help us amend Section 9 of the New Orleans City Charter to prevent Mayors & City Council Members from removing Priceless Art without a Published Plan..... Removed art should be returned to the original organizations that donated them.... Per the charter, art should be used to educate. For example in 1856, Robert E. Lee wrote: "Slavery is a Moral and Political Evil." In 2017 Congress approved $500 Million to address Modern Day Slavery.

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