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Monday, January 8, 2007

Monument Law and Policy

Harpers_ferry_fire_house_john_brown Just back from the AALS.  Learned a lot, including a new word, which Peggy McGuinness of opinio-juris taught me: blogatical.  I'm thinking about extending the one I've been on.

But in the interim, I did want to mention about a monument that I saw over break: the Hayward Shepherd ("Faithful Negro") monument at Harpers Ferry.  Just so happens that I was describing what I do to one of my hosts on the West Virginia trip.  One person expresssed amazement that I'm working on the legal status of monuments or that there would be anything to say about them.  (I've learned over the years to just describe my work as teaching real estate law--anything else gets a strange reaction for the average person.  But this time I departed from my usual rule.)  Then, not two hours later, we happened to see the monument--and later to have a discussion about the controversy over monuments on the Antietam battlefield as well! 

It's a granite monument placed there in the 1930s by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, which commemorates a free African American man, Hayward Shepherd, who was the first victim of John Brown's raid at Harpers Ferry.  The monument has been the subject of controversy since before it was placed there and continues to be controversial to this day.  Ah, the law and politics of monuments.

Also, I've been meaning to mention a few not-so-recent articles on property and cemetery law issues.

Now here's a casenote!  Property: Intrusion into Graveyard, 23 Michigan Law Review, 423-424 (1925) (noting Frost v. Columbia Clay Co., 124 S.E. 767 (S.C. 1924)).  How could this have escaped my reading for so long?!

And now this.... from our friends at E-online, Spielberg Saving Private Property.  This is probably worth a separate post at some point.  It's got all the makin's of a great example for property class.

As well as Catherine Gunther Kodat's Saving Private Property: Steven Spielberg's American Dream Works 71 Representations 77-105 (Summer, 2000), on Spielberg's use of memorials in Saving Private Ryan.

The scene of Harpers Ferry is from our friends at wikipedia.  It's also available from the Harpers Ferry National Park website.

Alfred L. Brophy
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