While, yes, I agree that all monuments representing the oppression of blacks in the slavery era, Civil War, the Gilded Age prior to Jim Crow, should be dismantled, I also agree that people who aided in the destruction of racial hierarchy in those eras should also be recognized. For the Jim Crow era, a good representative monument is an author satirizing the period’s discrimination of blacks like the author of “Invisible Man.” For the Civil War and Reconstruction period, PBS Pinchback makes a great monument. I think Solomon Northup fits above all as a replacement Lee Circle statue.
Solomon Northup was chattel-driven here in 1841, almost 175 years ago. Northup describes Louisiana at a time when Louisiana was the second-richest state. We are now the poorest state. Northup describes the rights of slaves, the diets of slaves, the customs and laws of Louisiana. Northup even describes sugar-making and cotton-picking. Northup describes the brutal beatings that slaves got.
Northup is a very good candidate for Lee’s replacement statue, as he was a black resident. However, no image exists of him besides his autobiography’s drawings, and a statue would be very challenging to create.
Benjamin Schexnayder college history student