Monday, July 23, 2007
As I am working on my paper on Thomas Ruffin's moral philosophy, "Dealing with the Sins of the Forefathers" from the Washington Post on arrived in my in box. (Thanks to Peter Storandt.) The story arises from a controversy in Maryland right now, where some want to remove a bronze image of Chief Justice Roger Taney from the State House in Annapolis and other from the Federick City Hall. The story quotes descendants of both Scott and Taney--Dred Scott Madison II and J. Charles Taney:
"If we want to get into the business of taking down statues of founding fathers who were flawed, we're going to have to get to a lot of people," Taney, 60, said in an interview from his home in Connecticut. "All of the men of the South -- Jefferson, Washington -- all were flawed in this regard."
From his home in Texas, Madison, 48, agreed. "Someone's statue? If you move it, where do you end? Do you go down South and start removing all of the statues of Confederate officers? It's part of American history. You can't hide it."...
Mighty interesting story, which touches on central issues of monument law. Harvard Law School has already dealt with some of this:
"It was a profoundly disturbing decision that literally ripped a nation in half," said Harvard law professor Charles J. Ogletree, who noted that his school removed a painting of Taney from its library in 1992. "It's no surprise that some of the current thinking is that it is not only inappropriate to celebrate him but that any recognition of Taney as anything other than a blight on the federal judiciary is unacceptable."
I have a few thoughts on Dred Scott as a site of reparations talk in this paper.
Alfred L. Brophy
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