Government

More News | | | Editor

Single complaint prompted Augusta history plaque removal

Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013 11:37 AM
Last updated Thursday, Oct. 24, 2013 2:15 AM
  • Follow Latest News

ATLANTA — A part of the mystery of the missing historic plaque on Broad Street in Augusta has been solved by a spokeswoman of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, who acknowledged Wednesday that the agency removed it in summer after a single complaint.

History marker since removed  FILE/STAFF
FILE/STAFF
History marker since removed

Senior agency officials learned of the removal Tuesday when questioned by a reporter. Their investigation determined that members of the Historic Preservation Division staff who got the complaint decided among themselves to remove it to Mistletoe State Park, where it is stored.

A review of all historic markers in 2001 had singled out the Augusta tablet as having wording that could be especially offensive to modern readers, but there was no funding at the time to address it. The plaque contains a quote from a letter by British author William Makepeace Thackeray recounting a visit to Augusta in 1856 for a lecture.

In the quote, he wrote, “… slavery nowhere repulsive, the black faces invariably happy and plump …”

The Georgia Historical Commission, which is now DNR’s Historic Preservation Division, erected the plaque in 1954 in the 700 block of Broad Street, where Thackeray, the author of Vanity Fair, had spoken.

Lauren Curry, DNR’s communications director, said that in the 12 hours since the reporter’s questions brought the issue to light, the agency’s senior officials had decided to find funding to replace the marker, without the excerpt about slavery, so that Thackeray’s visit will still be featured. DNR had already drafted that wording after its 2001 review.

“The department is looking at what is the policy and possibly putting in a new policy where there is a more robust review when there is a complaint,” Curry said.

That policy might require a minimum number of staffers to consider complaints. She also said no one in the agency recalls the removal of other markers because of complaints.

The complaint about Thackeray’s quote came from Marin Rose Correa in May. She had just moved to Augusta several months earlier with her husband who is on duty at Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center.

“Just because I’m not from Augusta, I’m still an American citizen, and I have an opinion,” Correa said. “The community should be happy it’s gone.”

Correa said she was told by someone at DNR that she was not the first to complain about that tablet. She has no objection to replacing it to commemorate Thackeray’s visit without the reference to slaves, she said.

“Typically it takes three to four months to manufacture a marker, depending on how busy the foundry is,” said David Crass, the director of the Historical Preservation Division. “I don’t have a precise cost yet, but would estimate it to be in the $3,000 to $3,500 range.”

Word of the tablet’s removal came to light shortly after news that the state is moving the statue of a segregationist politician and editor, Tom Watson. It sits squarely in the middle of the walkway to the main doors of the Capitol in Atlanta.

Comments (41) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
TrulyWorried
16067
Points
TrulyWorried 10/23/13 - 10:46 am
26
4
Forget about a "Policy"

Leave history alone - it cannot be wiped away - or we just live from day to day. Unreal!!!

Little Lamb
47986
Points
Little Lamb 10/23/13 - 11:08 am
24
5
Offensive?

One single complaint, and history must be re-written. Political correctness has gone too far.

CricketSeranade
593
Points
CricketSeranade 10/23/13 - 11:09 am
10
17
Not appropriate

Out of everything Thackeray said during his visit, that couldn't have been the best quote to use. It does however, reflect on the mindset of the Georgia Historical Commission back during a time when the abolishment of slavery was obviously still a sore subject. I would like to think that today's society would see the inappropriateness of the quote and replace it with a statement that doesn't imply that we here in Augusta know how to keep our slaves fat and happy. If that was the most historically significant statement that Mr. Thackeray made then I don't believe his visit was worthy of a plaque at all. No one disputes that slavery existed, but it is definitely a stain on our history. Let's not celebrate it with a sign.

Riverman1
90653
Points
Riverman1 10/23/13 - 11:22 am
12
16
GA DNR Was Right

Personally, I believe something such as a quote that can be divisive has no business being paid for by the taxpayers in a bronze plaque. It's disrespectful for black folks and doesn't represent a historical fact. It was a person's viewpoint that was more or less faulty. On the other hand, if you have a historical fact such as the Confederate flag replicated on a monument, that's another thing.

GnipGnop
12692
Points
GnipGnop 10/23/13 - 11:26 am
22
5
So we can pass a healthcare law without reading it

but we must forbid true things in history???

TrulyWorried
16067
Points
TrulyWorried 10/23/13 - 11:34 am
21
4
Modern statement

would surely erase "history" no matter what was said 200 years ago.
Leave the past alone - it cannot be changed and should be looked at as it WAS!

nocnoc
47281
Points
nocnoc 10/23/13 - 02:11 pm
18
4
If all it takes is 1 complaint

Here is my 1 complaint

The Marble Place is offensive and many racial comments have been made on that location.

What next ?
The Confederate War Dead Monument in front of the AC
moved in the middle of the night....

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 10/23/13 - 02:52 pm
13
1
Outta Sight - Outta Mind

and what's that saying about those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it?

eerily linked no?

fishman960
1502
Points
fishman960 10/23/13 - 03:13 pm
13
0
Ridiculous

My thought is that there are more important things to worry about happening today rather than what happened so many years ago. The past is ugly in some aspects. We need not forget that.

Pops
12473
Points
Pops 10/23/13 - 05:29 pm
10
1
The past problems

are so much easier to fix than the problems that face people today........

deestafford
30433
Points
deestafford 10/23/13 - 05:35 pm
16
2
See, the political correct thing to think now is that all slaves

were beaten and unhappy. Most were living better than they were in
Africa and some were happy contrary to today's victimization and excuse for today's poor performance.

I'm not saying in any way that slavery was good. I will say that Doctors Walter Williams and Thomas Sowell have said they are glad their ancestors got on the boat. Otherwise they would probably have died in some tribal warfare.

While we are censoring things, why don't we cut out parts of the Bible since it mentions slavery.

One of the first things tyrants do upon taking power is to erase history they don't like. That has been happening as far back as ancient Egypt and seems to be continuing today.

eschamb
154
Points
eschamb 10/23/13 - 06:44 pm
0
16
America Reverse Discrimination Period

Get use to it white man. With a big smile, take it on the cheek and turn to the other cheek and smile on.

Swatbad
448
Points
Swatbad 10/23/13 - 09:22 pm
1
13
Some of you want society to forget

Some of you want society to forget parts of history and exalt other parts...... Sad. Ill accept the plaque if those of you who are so upset will accept that the south got their butts kicked ( an rightly so) in the war of northern aggression (lol) All the energy put into preserving that flag is futile. Really, who cares about second place....no one cares for losers......Thats like throwing a parade for the losing team everyday for 148 years. Seriously, no we can't change history, but we can't keep throwing history's failures in people's faces and expect them sit quietly and accept it.

JRC2024
9997
Points
JRC2024 10/23/13 - 10:07 pm
9
0
My gosh, I many more

My gosh, I many more important things to worry about than a bronze marker. Like making a living and doing a good job at what I do. Who cares if the slaves were fat and happy. They are all dead now and that horrible system is gone forever in this country.

dichotomy
36283
Points
dichotomy 10/23/13 - 10:46 pm
7
0
Simply ridiculous.

Simply ridiculous.

Riverman1
90653
Points
Riverman1 10/24/13 - 03:32 am
5
4
Reminds Me of Flag Removal

The conflict reminds me of Bob Young having the Confederate flag removed from Riverwalk. See, THAT I would have left there because it IS history. This plaque was just quoting somebody and it is an offensive quote. That's the difference to me. I call um like I see um without instant replay.

CobaltGeorge
170476
Points
CobaltGeorge 10/24/13 - 05:01 am
5
1
IF

only eschamb would post more, things would really get interesting!

jrbfromga
445
Points
jrbfromga 10/24/13 - 06:25 am
0
0
Words from a contemporary opinion
Unpublished

are worth so much more than the words of the politically correct, revisionist people who want to re-write history. It is what it is, for better or worst, and the best assessments are left to the contemporaries rather than those who wish to espouse a particular view.

nocnoc
47281
Points
nocnoc 10/24/13 - 07:33 am
5
0
A person that fails to remember history, is doom to repeat it.

If we hide the ugly parts of history,
are we not setting ourselves up for a repeat of history?

proudgunowner
148
Points
proudgunowner 10/24/13 - 07:25 am
0
0
I find all liberals to be
Unpublished

I find all liberals to be offensive.....So WHY aren't THEY being removed when I complain? People need to put on their "big girl" panties and get on with their lives. I'm sick and tired of whiners, especially those who want to remove the TRUE history of our country. Slavery was wrong, but it was changed (thanks to Republicans). Liberals today are putting us BACK into slavery, and actions like this only speed up the process.

seenitB4
93730
Points
seenitB4 10/24/13 - 08:22 am
3
0
Yeh cgee

But Sean would be a busy boy too! haha

seenitB4
93730
Points
seenitB4 10/24/13 - 08:27 am
5
1
Our history

It is what it is....

Not always pretty & sometimes down right ugly but it happened....when I read about slavery going on right now ....I wonder, can we be blamed for that too.........many millions are in slavery & most are in the African countries....can you change that?
Do some want to remove plaques & monuments in "other" places .....can we wipe the slate & pretend we didn't confiscate the Indian lands? As long as some stir the pot we will never move forward.

prov227
3349
Points
prov227 10/24/13 - 09:19 am
5
0
Very bad public policy ...

to remove a historical marker based on an objection of one person who doesn't even pay taxes in Georgia (other than sales tax). I would think that the paid staff of the Georgia DNR's Historic "Preservation" (huh?) Division would be a bit more thoughtful and methodical before removing a plaque based on one person's opinion. Put it back as it is with the full Thackeray quote. We are preserving history and the world as one person saw it in the 19th century.

dahreese
4869
Points
dahreese 10/24/13 - 09:28 am
6
0
@eschamb: 10/23/13 - 07:44 pm
Unpublished

@eschamb: 10/23/13 - 07:44 pm 012America Reverse Discrimination Period

"Get use to it white man."

I normally don't get mixed up in racial talk.

In fact, on here, I'm considered a "far left liberal" (by the far right conservatives) always wanting to take the money of hard working people and distribute it to folks too lazy to work (which most of the time by the complainers on here, means black people).

I happen to know, and am friends with, many hard working black people who also receive government financial assistance via public housing, food stamps and a few other government programs.

It is simply ignorant to suppose that all of the black people in this country are on the government dole.

And it is equally ignorant on your part to assume that all slaves were beaten daily, starved and slept in shacks.

You have your opportunity to achieve just like anybody else and little room for complaint.

Slavery is gone and race as a barrier to achievement is no longer a major factor.

"Get used to it."
---------------------------------------------

I might add that Thackeray was entitled to his observations, and, you were not there.

daphne3520
950
Points
daphne3520 10/24/13 - 09:25 am
0
0
Go for it!!!!!
Unpublished

ALL you racist trolls!!!!!!!

dashiel
176
Points
dashiel 10/24/13 - 09:34 am
3
0
Sanitize History?

Allow literature to be sanitized and we risk censorship. Allow history to be sanitized and we lose our collective memory.

Incidentally, Thackeray (1811-63) was born in Calcutta of Anglo-Indian parents. His vision of a society dominated by the power of money and class gives his work the authority of great art. His vision was skeptical and ironic but compassionate. There's a message here for tiny scrubbing bubbles everywhere.

Dixieman
16595
Points
Dixieman 10/24/13 - 10:07 am
4
0
An interesting parallel law

Georgia law expressly prohibits the following (OCGA 50-3-1(b)(2)):

"No publicly owned monument or memorial erected, constructed, created, or maintained on the public property of this state or its agencies, departments, authorities, or instrumentalities in honor of the military service of any past or present military personnel of this state, the United States of America or the several states thereof, or the Confederate States of America or the several states thereof shall be relocated, removed, concealed, obscured, or altered in any fashion; provided, however, that appropriate measures for the preservation, protection, and interpretation of such monuments or memorials shall not be prohibited."

Okay, so the Thackeray plaque predates the Civil War and is not directly covered by the statute covered above, but I think this statute clearly reflects the public policy of Georgia about preserving its history of the period when slavery was an issue.

I agree with those who object to this stupid censorship!!

bdouglas
5588
Points
bdouglas 10/24/13 - 10:24 am
5
1
Mrs. Correa sez: "“Just

Mrs. Correa sez: "“Just because I’m not from Augusta, I’m still an American citizen, and I have an opinion,” Correa said. “The community should be happy it’s gone.”"

Yes, I'm sure the community is so thankful for the service you did them. Since not a single person had a complaint about it in the nearly 60 years it's been erected in that spot...

Echoes86
911
Points
Echoes86 10/24/13 - 10:33 am
1
2
Don't Care

We all have access to see the quote and what went down during that era if we want to. I think this is divisive because one group sees it as a historical marker that is important for us to remember how people used to be, which is fine, whereas another group sees it as a representation of Georgia. It depends how you look at it. I love history and historical markers but at the same time, I wouldn't want people thinking that represents the mindset of Georgia now.

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 10/24/13 - 10:46 am
0
0
I would like folks who study

I would like folks who study on Georgia to know where and who we came from nothing more or less. I think that will provide the most accurate understanding of our State.

Back to Top

Top headlines

Georgia Regents' hospital plan chosen

Georgia Regents Medical Center won a lengthy and hardfought battle over two other Augusta hospitals to build the first hospital in Columbia County, the Georgia Department of Community Health ...
Search Augusta jobs