Erasable marker?

It seems too easy to remove state historic plaques

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Often we’ve written laments about the labyrinth of red tape that an average citizen has to navigate when it comes to accomplishing anything within a government – local, state or federal.

Or keeping someone from accomplishing anything.

Now we find ourselves writing about a governmental procedure that seems much, much too easy.

Across from The Augusta Chronicle, on the 700 block of Broad Street, used to sit a plaque, erected by the state in 1954 to commemorate an 1856 Augusta visit by British novelist William Makepeace Thackeray.

We say “used to” because the historical marker has been removed. At first, we didn’t know by whom, but later learned that the Historic Preservation Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources took it away during the summer.

Why? Because one person complained about some of the language on the plaque.

The marker excerpted Thackeray’s written reflections about Augusta, which included this direct quote: “Slavery no where repulsive, the black faces invariably happy and plump, the white ones eager and hard.”

Actually the plaque was first singled out in a review of all state historic markers back in 2001, but the state lacked funds at the time to do anything about it. But a single February letter from an Augusta resident seemed to have jogged the state’s memory.

So a DNR crew that happened to be in the area recently merely swung by, picked up the marker and put it in storage at Mistletoe State Park up at Thurmond Lake.

A DNR spokeswoman said a new marker will be erected, minus the language the complainant found offensive.

End of story? Not quite. There is the matter of the complaint process that spurred all of this. Since when can a 59-year-old state historic marker be uprooted based almost solely on a single months-old complaint? What if someone else has a problem with one of the other 70-plus state historic plaques in Richmond County? What then?

The DNR said it’s looking at possibly instituting a new complaint policy. It certainly should. Removing official historic plaques shouldn’t be so simple.

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Bizkit
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Bizkit 10/25/13 - 10:04 am
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Oh I thought you were

Oh I thought you were encouraging people to explore the history of Thackeray to determine he was a racist, so I thought it would be good to expose Johnson as a racist too. I misunderstood your intent. The struggle for civil rights isn't historical? We had race riots here so we put a plaque about that and than add Johnson. See it all fits.

karradur
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karradur 10/25/13 - 10:17 am
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@harley_52

"It is foolish (and unreasonable) to hold someone of a long past generation accountable to contemporary standards of behavior or thought."

Yeah, like the Founding Fathers. Surely anything they have to say is historically and culturally irrelevant by now.

seenitB4
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seenitB4 10/25/13 - 10:24 am
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Founding Fathers

They got more right than they got wrong....amazing that we are still here & prospering...or, why else would SO DAMN many want to come here.

karradur
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karradur 10/25/13 - 10:26 am
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@seenitB4

You're absolutely right, which confuses me as to why harley_52 wants to pick and choose the relevance and intelligence of those who came before.

harley_52
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harley_52 10/25/13 - 10:27 am
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Mothers Used To...

...put cow dung on their childrens' open wounds to help them heal.

They also used to flush their babies' eyes with urine to help keep them "clean."

Were these mothers "bad" people? Were they "child abusers?"

Riverman1
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Riverman1 10/25/13 - 10:31 am
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The view of the Greeks

Karradur, the view of the Greeks in regards to government is largely the basis of western democracy in various forms today. It's valid. That doesn't mean their views of religion and social mores are valid today. For their time it fit.

harley_52
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harley_52 10/25/13 - 10:32 am
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"They got more right than they got wrong...."

Don't be confused by Karradur's attempts to cloud the issue. He called someone a "racist" who is a "racist" by Karradur's standards, not mine.

His attempts to draw the Founding Fathers' words in the Constitution to his claim of "racism" are intentionally misleading and not germane to the discussion.

Bizkit
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Bizkit 10/25/13 - 11:05 am
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I tell you want is ignorant

I tell you want is ignorant is that people tend to associate racism as synonymous with only whites against blacks. You really get that feeling don't you. If you note you don't here Dems complaining about blacks against whites, or racism towards asians or hispanics. The reason why is because it ain't about racism but politics, and it isn't politically expedient to point those out.

karradur
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karradur 10/25/13 - 11:15 am
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@Harley_52

"Don't be confused by Karradur's attempts to cloud the issue. He called someone a "racist" who is a "racist" by Karradur's standards, not mine."

Again, Thackeray's words:

"They are not my men and brethren, these strange people with theire retreating foreheads, and with great obtruding lips and jaws . . . Sambo is not my man and my brother."

In what world is this not a racist statement?

Have you READ Vanity Fair?

dahreese
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dahreese 10/25/13 - 11:18 am
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The questions are, what did
Unpublished

The questions are, what did Thackeray actually see?

If Thackeray had seen abuse and had that abuse been described upon the maker, would there have been a request to remove the marker?

And where can this "racist" quote be authenticated?

As to "Dixie", the song itself might not be offensive had it not been used for racial purposes.

Therefore it needed to go as the "touchdown" tune for UGA.

It's unfortunate that many of the posters above have not read the book, "Lamb in His Bosom" by Caroline Miller (some actual Georgia history).

But that's probably asking too much.

David Parker
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David Parker 10/25/13 - 11:19 am
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i see what you did there.

i see what you did there. clever indeed

dahreese
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dahreese 10/25/13 - 11:20 am
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It’s obvious, too, that the
Unpublished

It’s obvious, too, that the AC isn’t “color free.”

dahreese
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dahreese 10/25/13 - 11:20 am
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It’s obvious, too, that the
Unpublished

It’s obvious, too, that the AC isn’t “color free.”

David Parker
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David Parker 10/25/13 - 11:24 am
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In the end, all the

In the end, all the plaque-removal accomplishes is manipulating the masses by division and instigating counter-productive debate on whether a, b, and c are racial in premise. Congrats to everyone who brought it and my condolences to those manipulated by it.

Bizkit
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Bizkit 10/25/13 - 11:27 am
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Wow Dahreese are you implying

Wow Dahreese are you implying the AC is racist? That sure is a bigoted statement. Ironic ain't it.

karradur
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karradur 10/25/13 - 11:29 am
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@dahreese

We have two accounts by two men, Thackeray and Crowe, who took the same journey. Crowe's account is incredibly detailed both in text and in illustration (as in the 1861 painting Slaves Waiting for Sale), has a corroborating eyewitness in the letter written to the New York Daily Tribune on March 10, 1853 (in which Crowe's actions are detailed by someone who never met him nor knew of his identity), and falls in line with the incredibly bountiful historical evidence that exists about the conditions of slaves in the American South. Thackeray, in contrast, writes about how much fun the slaves appear to be having, and his account makes very little sense. He is either not being truthful, or somehow visited the one plantation in the entire antebellum South where slavery was a happy experience and the slaves got free goodie bags after they were freed.

karradur
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karradur 10/25/13 - 11:30 am
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The most wonderful thing about history...

...is that it cannot be destroyed. It happened, and nothing you ever do or say will undo it.

Bizkit
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Bizkit 10/25/13 - 11:38 am
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Karradur-you forgot "and it

Karradur-you forgot "and it often repeats itself". Hee,hee.

karradur
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karradur 10/25/13 - 11:42 am
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@Bizkit

Only if it is forgotten.

teaparty
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teaparty 10/25/13 - 11:47 am
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dahreese said, It's
Unpublished

dahreese said, "It's unfortunate that many of the posters above have not read the book, "Lamb in His Bosom" by Caroline Miller (some actual Georgia history)."
"Lamb in His Bosom" is not a history book it is a novel. Now I understand.

Jake
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Jake 10/25/13 - 11:47 am
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@karradur 11:30am

And that includes denial and excuses.
Thanks for the Crowe link, it was very informative and I enjoyed reading the dialogue.

karradur
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karradur 10/25/13 - 11:58 am
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@Jake

It's extremely interesting stuff, considering that Crowe's style of highly detailed, objective observation was just coming into its own, along with Harper's Bazaar and the invention of the photograph.

dichotomy
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dichotomy 10/25/13 - 12:11 pm
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"A RACIST plaque was

"A RACIST plaque was removed!!!"

The plaque was NOT racist. It was the historical remarks of a man who stated his perceived truth at the time.

Although technically owned in "slavery" does anyone doubt that there were slaves who were treated humanely and fed well and were not all that uncomfortable with their situation AT THE TIME. A time when slavery was an accepted practice worldwide....especially in their native African and the Middle East. Why would anyone doubt that there were smiling well fed faces among the slave population just as there are smiling well fed faces among our modern day welfare slaves?

GACopprhed
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GACopprhed 10/25/13 - 12:16 pm
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Hey ymnbde, you forgot NOT
Unpublished

Hey ymnbde, you forgot NOT ENOUGH DOCTORS!

ymnbde
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ymnbde 10/25/13 - 12:56 pm
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copperhead! you've come around

nice of you to acknowledge that O'care
causes an increase in the ratio
of doctors to patients!
and what do we know about an increase in the
ratio of doctors to patients?
it does harm
what are doctors NOT supposed to do?
harm!

justthefacts
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justthefacts 10/25/13 - 01:06 pm
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Nice while it lasted

Those of you who were having a spirited discussion on topic will have to wait while the instigator, and the victim of it, have at it for a while.

Bizkit
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Bizkit 10/25/13 - 01:26 pm
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Karradus, "Only if it

Karradur, "Only if it forgotten". We agree the very point I was making in an earlier posit. How can you teach history when you leave part of it out-like trying to teach biology without evolution. I drive though Eatonton, GA and note the Uncle Remus museum. I wonder how long it will last for political correctness even though it celebrates African folklore and wonderful children tales. Then there is Little Black Sambo which is a story about a South Indian boy and was later illustrated as a black which created a controversy. And in fact the story released again in Japan and another version "The Story of little Babaji" released with no controversy. The story itself has no racism.

karradur
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karradur 10/25/13 - 01:41 pm
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@dichotomy

And maybe Elie Wiesel just went to the one really bad concentration camp, and the rest were actually nice and friendly.

dahreese
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dahreese 10/25/13 - 02:13 pm
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@teaparty; “Now I
Unpublished

@teaparty; “Now I understand.”

No, you don’t.

You have not read the book and only Googled the title to come up with your remark – just having to say “something.”

While it is a novel, it is also based on historical facts, in particular the areas of Baxley and Darian.

dahreese
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dahreese 10/25/13 - 02:19 pm
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@Karradur; I think I alluded
Unpublished

@Karradur; I think I alluded above to Thackeray’s narrow experience with slavery.

My question is would the marker have been removed had it mentioned the horrors of slavery?

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