This is basically a summary of an old post from Sociological Images, but I could not stop laughing when I read it, so I thought I would include it.
There is a statue in Lexington of Civil War general John H. Morgan on his trusty steed, Bess. However, the artist gave Bess (a mare), testicles. According to Wikipedia the artist, Pompeo Coppini, stated that ”No hero should bestride a mare!” What an entertaining intersection of gender, art, stereotypes, memory and heroism. If a male hero cannot ride a mare, what about a female hero? Should she be astride a mare or a stallion? What about poor Bess? Is she comfortable assuming a gender queer identity?
Here is a picture of the statue from an angle that allows one to see the anatomical addition.
If you have a chance listen to this Tell Me More interview with Samuel Gaines the president of a longstanding black funeral home in Fort Pierce, Florida. What he said about black life in the Jim Crow South and the role of the funeral home and director in the community struck me. In particular I noted how in the past there were no obituaries in this town for blacks and very limited death records, so the funeral director’s records provided the history. However, the sections of the interview that stayed with the most were as follows.
Gaines in talking about his generations general weariness regarding whether kind treatment by whites was genuine commented, “I guess it’s our upbringing but it’s just something in us that we are weary when we meet people. It worries me because I have grandchildren that feel as if they have been totally accepted into society.” He implied that really his grandchildren have not been accepted and are just being deceived. In a way this quotation could summarize the difference between “racial” and “post-racial” America.
In terms of economics, Gaines noticed that whereas in the past white funeral homes would not bury blacks, now they will because that is where the money is. He analyzes the situation saying, “The black family still holds funerals to something high on their list, that’s where the money is. Whites now are going for cremation, so therefore, the white funeral homes now are not getting the dollars, so therefore, if a black family walks in to them they’re going to accept that family because they want them to spend the money. So therefore, because of economics, whites now are burying anybody that comes in to them. They are our main competition.” That dynamic is great proof that the desire for profit can overcome bias. It also leads one to wonder if it is indeed true that black families are more likely to go with a full on funeral where cremation is white thing.
As I said earlier, if you get a chance to listen to the whole thing, I suggest you do so, or read the transcript.
Below is a list of all the Cleveland Cultural Gardens along MLK boulevard, a really amazing part of the city.
One thing that strikes me when I look at the list is how specific some garden titles are referring to specific nations, while others are much more general lumping together countries from which immigrants came into continents or broader designations. For example there is an Estonian garden and a Lithuanian garden rather than a Baltic garden. There are separate India and Chinese gardens rather than an Asian-American garden. On the other hand there is one African-American garden rather than separate Angola, Ghana, Congo, and Benin gardens. There is one American Indian garden instead of Ottawa, Wyandott, and Mingo gardens. I am sure there are many reasons for these differences involving the development of the associations that sponsored the gardens, and other historical facts. However, it is interesting to imagine a series of gardens representing African countries and Native American nations with one European American garden speaking to that entire continent.
I am in the midst of listening to Back Story Radio from the American History Guys. They did a great piece on the Heyward Shepherd Memorial at Harper’s Ferry also known as the Faithful Slave memorial. This monument was erected in 1931 by Daughters of the Confederacy and the Sons of Confederate Veterans. It commorates Shepherd a free black man who died in John Brown’s raid at Harper’s Ferry. However, it does more, it is intended to celebrate the slaves who remained loyal to their masters during the Civil War. Read the inscription below and one might imagine why this memorial has remained controversial. It still can be seen at Harper’s Ferry but with an explanatory wayside next to it giving the history of the monument and an ode to John Brown by W.E.B. DuBois.