Monday, May 27, 2019

In Memory of Lady Liberty

On this Memorial Day, May 27, 2019, I find myself reflecting on a recent article that I read in the Washington Post, published on May 23, 2019, about America's Lady Liberty. The article is titled, The Statue of Liberty was created to celebrate freed slaves, not immigrants, its new museum recounts.

Left to right: The bust of the Statue of Liberty on display in Paris in 1884 before it was shipped to the United States. The statue towers over Paris rooftops in 1884. The right arm of the statue on display in Philadelphia in 1876. (AP)

This was a shocking revelation to me, because from all we’ve been told to this point, the story of Lady Liberty had been all about immigrants. So evidently, the propaganda to sell this story has indeed been successful, and that story may indeed remain the version of the story that will be forever popular across the world, regardless of the facts behind its origins.

You may use this link to check out the full article if you wish, and I even encourage doing further research and reading some of the books mentioned. Some lines from the article read: 
Lady Liberty was originally designed to celebrate the end of slavery, not the arrival of immigrants.
One of the first meanings [of the statue] had to do with abolition, but it’s a meaning that didn’t stick,” Edward Berenson, a history professor at New York University and author of the book “The Statue of Liberty: A Transatlantic Story,” said in an interview with The Washington Post. 
The monument, which draws 4.5 million visitors a year, was first imagined by a man named Édouard de Laboulaye. In France, he was an expert on the U.S. Constitution and, at the close of the American Civil War, the president of a committee that raised and disbursed funds to newly freed slaves, according to Yasmin Sabina Khan, author of the book “Enlightening the World: The Creation of the Statue of Liberty.”
Laboulaye loved America — often giving speeches described by a New York Times correspondent in 1867 as “feasts of liberty which move the souls of men to their deepest depths” — and he loved it even more when slavery was abolished.
... An early model, circa 1870, shows Lady Liberty with her right arm in the position we are familiar with, raised and illuminating the world with a torch. But in her left hand she holds broken shackles, an homage to the end of slavery. 
(A terra cotta model still survives at the Museum of the City of New York.)
Makes you think, doesn’t it? With all of its opportunities and the best of intentions, America does have limits to the kind of progress she can stomach.

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