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Why are there chains on the Statue of Liberty's feet ? Does it have something to do with racism/slavery in America ?

Jeff King 2012/10/09 16:09:33
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Why are there chains on the Statue of Liberty s feet
The original statue of Liberty gifted by the French to America was not the stern-faced green Roman looking woman that you see today holding a tablet and a torch. The original and first Statue of Liberty was a Black woman holding the broken shackles of slavery. She was refused on the notion
that the black statue would be a constant reminder of the liberty that the slaves earned, from successfully fighting in the American Civil War. The true Black Statue of Liberty remains rejected, forgotten and lost in broken fragments of Black history.
The statue of Liberty that stands today, that so many American’s love and proudly boast, that appears on all sorts of merchandise, in movies, and is the most recognized woman worldwide, is a colossal lie. Every good magician will tell you that the best way to hide something is to have it in plain sight. Undoubtably, a vast amount of important Black history – such as this – has been hidden from us all both Black and White.
Why was the Statue of Liberty Really Created?

French historian Edouard de Laboulaye, chairman of the French Anti-Slavery Society, together with sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, proposed to the French government that the people of France should present the United States – through the American Abolitionist Society – the gift of a Statue of Liberty in recognition of the Black soldiers who won the Civil War in the United States, earning themselves their freedom. It was widely known then that it was Black soldiers who played the pivotal role in winning the war, and this gift was supposed to be a tribute to their prowess.
Why was the Black Statue of Liberty Rejected?

When the statue was presented to the U.S. Minister to France in 1884, it was rejected on the notion that the dominant view of the broken shackles would be offensive to a defeated U.S. South, who despised their former captives and would not want to be faced with a constant reminder of Blacks winning their freedom.
When Did This Hidden Piece of History
Publicly Resurface?

Dr. Jack Felder, a biochemist, educator, author and historian, asked this startling question in a New York newspaper, theDaily Challenge (July 16, 1990):
Did you know that the original Statue of Liberty was to have been a Black woman being liberated from slavery with broken chains in her hands and at her feet and that she also had a dark Negroid face?
In the newspaper article, Dr. Felder further writes that:
Eventually, Bartholdi built a model faithful to the wishes of de Laboulaye with broken chains at her feet and a broken chain in her left hand and a distinctly Negroid face. The broken chains were to show the broken chains of slavery.
This list is of the documents of proof, presented in the same newspaper article by Dr. Felder:

1.) You may go and see the original model of the Statue of Liberty, with the broken chains at her feet and in her left hand. Go to the Museum of the City of NY, Fifth Avenue and 103rd Street write to Peter Simmons and he can send you some documentation.
2.) Check with the N.Y. Times magazine, part II_May 18, 1986. Read the article by Laboulaye.
3.) The dark original face of the Statue of Liberty can be seen in the N.Y. Post, June 17, 1986, also the Post stated the reason for the broken chains at her feet.
4.) Finally, you may check with the French Mission or the French Embassy at the U.N. or in Washington, D.C. and ask for some original French material on the Statue of Liberty, including the Bartholdi original model.
The Journey of Edouard de Laboulaye and
Frederic Auguste Bartholdi
in Creating the Statue of Liberty

Edouard de Laboulaye, an internationally renowned lawyer and author of a three-volume history of the United States, first presented the idea of a symbol of the end of American slavery at a dinner party in 1865, at his country home near Versailles, France, among many abolitionists including Victor Hugo and Frederick Auguste Bartholdi.
After Abraham Lincoln was elected president of the United States in 1861, the French liberals and abolitionists including Hugo, Bartholdi, and Laboulaye urged Lincoln to free the slaves even if Civil war resulted.
When the war ended in 1865, French abolitionists again urging Lincoln to free all slaves, Laboulaye and Bartholdi requested permission to build and dedicate a colossal monument to symbolize the freeing of all slaves in America. The assassination of Lincoln saw a pivotal turning point for the intended Black Statue of Liberty.
Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, an outstanding French sculptor had a life changing experience the year of 1855 when he toured Egypt and saw the magnificent colossal monuments and statues created by the ancient Black Egyptians. It was this experience alongside his ties with Laboulaye that inspired Bartholdi’s creation of a giant Black ex-slave female with broken chains at her feet and left hand. One which was readily accepted in France, by 1881 some 100,000 people and 181 towns throughout France had contributed money.
In 1871, Frederic Bartholdi at the urging of Laboulaye travelled to America to promote his idea of a colossal statue symbolizing the end of chattel slavery in the United States. He took with him a large terra-cotta statue and many drawings to clearly illustrate the Black Statue of Liberty. Bartholdi found little American support for his African slave model. In 1878, as the African head of Miss Liberty first went on display at the Universal Exposition in Paris, France, rampant reaction raged throughout the American South.
Unfortunately, Bartholdi was forced to conform to specific white supremacist ideals that saw the statue evolve to the Statue of Liberty we see in New York today. The African face was re-sculptured into the face of his mother Madame Bartholdi and a tablet of law tucked into her folded arm that bears the date July 4, 1776, replaced the broken chains in the Black female slave’s left hand. Ironically, the chains were left at the feet but the meaning changed from broken American slavery to broken English tyranny.
Arguments against the Original Statue of Liberty
being a Black Woman

Many Eurocentric historians have been quick to negatively respond to the emerged truth about the original Black Statue of Liberty; labeling it as a rumour at best and attacking all evidence brought forward to support the fact; however none have made as active an effort to prove that the current statue was what was originally intended. Often repetitive statements such as “no evidence” or “no support” follow statements of clear fact, but they themselves build their arguments more on rationale than evidence.
Dr. Trachtenberg, who wrote the text for the Statue of Liberty exhibition on Liberty Island and is the author of ”The Statue of Liberty” (Viking, 1976), said: ”I don’t know of any evidence that it was supposed to be a black figure initially.”
Dr. Boime of U.C.L.A. said that ”I would have pursued that belief if it had any substance, but perhaps this is a reference to the model for Bartholdi’s Suez project, which was the statue of a Nubian woman,” which was never built. A statue of a Nubian woman that was never built – again evidence in plain sight.
Some have even discredited the Civil War efforts of Black soldiers as a basis for the statue not representing the efforts of Black soldiers who won over the Civil War. However, the fact remains that without the assistance of the Black soldiers the Civil War may not have resulted in the same way.
Facts that are not Denied by Historians

French historian Edouard de Laboulaye, who originally proposed the monument, was a leader of the anti-slavery movement in his country and Frederic Bartholdi himself had connections to the abolitionist movement, as well.
Bartholdi who had visited and was inspired by Egypt, used Egypt as his principal inspiration for the Statue of Liberty.
Bartholdi’s design models for the Statue of Liberty evolved from earlier sketches by the artist of a black Egyptian women.
The original African face of the Statue of Liberty was published in The New York Post dated June 17, 1986 as part of the centennial celebration.
The original design of the statue had gone through several changes and evolved from an earlier concept Bartholdi proposed for a colossal monument in Egypt, for which the artist used his drawings of Egyptian women as models.
Bartholdi changed a broken shackle and chain in the statue’s left hand to tablets inscribed “July IV, MDCCLXXVI” (July 4, 1776).
The original face of the statue of Liberty was dark, as copper was the chosen material of Bartholdi; copper which closely fits the skin completion of the African slaves. There are those who believe that Bartholdi knew and intended that the statue would later turn green from weathering, however it is more likely that he underestimated the drastically hard and fast damage to be caused by the weathering. There has been no attempt to restore the monumental Lady Liberty to her original copper colour.
ABC News highlighted that a 21-inch terra-cotta model by Bartholdi “designed after the likeness of a black woman” does indeed stand next to a model of the current statue in the Museum of the City of New York and around its left hand dangles a broken chain.
On review of the undisputed facts it is not so hard to believe that two Anti-Slavery Abolitionists, with a passion to see slaves in America freed and one who was greatly inspired by Egypt would create a Black Statue of Liberty to symbolize the end of slavery which Black soldiers fought hard for in the American Civil War. In fact all the evidence indicates that the original statue was modeled in the liking of a Black Egyptian woman representing freedom from slavery with her broken shackles. This historical moment in Black history was almost completely erased, by several adapted versions of the statue each closer to the acceptance of the US South and in dilution of the original intent of Bartholdi and Laboulaye. Finally the result was a statue that looks like a Roman, thus closer to Eurocentric ideals and less associated with the freedom of slaves but instead with democracy in general.
Traditional Perspective of the Statue of Liberty

The traditional view passed down the years through American educational institutions; tells that Lady Liberty was created to commemorate the friendship forged between the United States and France during the Revolutionary War. By 1903, when the statue was inscribed with Emma Lazarus’s poetic words, “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” it was supposed to symbolize America’s status as a safe haven for refugees and immigrants from every corner of the world. How many truly believe heartily these words?
The African-American Perspective
of the Current Statue of Liberty




Suzanne Nakasian, when director of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island Foundations’ National Ethnic Campaign said that the Black Americans’ direct connection to Lady Liberty is unknown to the majority of Americans, BLACK or WHITE.
African-Americans contributed to the main fund-raising drive for the statue’s pedestal, participated in public celebrations during its dedication in New York City, along with privately organised celebrations at that time. Yet for Black Americans the Statue of Liberty has also long symbolized America’s failure to protect their civil rights. In the early 1900s, many African-Americans were victims of white supremacists and nativists who used the statue to represent their exclusionary views. Since then, continuing ambiguity among African-Americans about whether to embrace Lady Liberty as hopefully or scorn her as a symbol of American hypocrisy has been expressed in numerous works of art, political debates, and, on at least one occasion live protest. There has also been long and fierce public debate about the Immigration Museum at the Statue of Liberty, in view of the audacity that African-Americans who were brought involuntarily to America as slaves are presented as “immigrants”.
Conclusion

Despite being called the Statue of Liberty there is nothing which gives a sense of liberty about a Roman looking woman holding a tablet and a torch. Who is she liberating? Who has she fought for? The hardened expression on her face offers no warmth and there is certainly no national connection of Roman women in American history. Hiding the real history of the statue of liberty only serves to make a mockery of American democracy and ideals of freedom and liberation.
In, From the Statue of Liberty (Liberation) to the Statue of Bigotry, Dr. Felder cites Bartholdi’s words:
Colossal statuary does not consist simply in making an enormous statue. It ought to produce an emotion in the breast of the spectator, not because of the volume, but because its size is in keeping with the idea it interprets…
Why is the truth about the Black Statue of Liberty still rejected today? For the same reason the statue was rejected back then, no recognition is to be given to Black Americans, greater than that for Whites, no history to build African-American pride and certainly no markers of their equal standing among all men, are to exist in a society where the ruling class still holds to white supremacists ideals.
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  • Tom 2012/10/09 17:06:38
    NO IT DOESN'T
    Tom
    +1
    IT does and it doesn't. That it probably wouldn't have been built if the designers weren't abolitionists is probably true. That it was originally intended to be a black breaking free of her chains is not.

    Like most conspiracy theories, this can be likened to one, it has shreds of truth. Also like most conspiracy theories those who believe pull at the facts until they're distorted and fit the mold they desire.

    The only part I care enough to comment on is: "Despite being called the Statue of Liberty there is nothing which gives a sense of liberty about a Roman looking woman holding a tablet and a torch. Who is she liberating? Who has she fought for? The hardened expression on her face offers no warmth and there is certainly no national connection of Roman women in American history. "

    The Roman goddess Libertas is the likeness, the goddess of liberty. There are plenty of Romanesque connections to the government. Also the Roman goddess Libertas is on the Great Seal of France, and also existed on American coins of the time.
  • Jeff King Tom 2012/10/10 16:34:29
  • Tom Jeff King 2012/10/10 17:45:04
    Tom
    My observations and opinions are mute because people who know more about it and spent more time studying the rumor have already said it's false.

    I couldn't care less if it's a statue of a freed black or a statue in the likeness of the goddess Libertas. I would say that it would not have the cultural significance now that it does if it had been a freed black woman holding her broken chains. Only because that would be a celebratory monument over one incident, and not the broader scope of liberty in general that the likeness of Libertas is.

    Either way, the argument is far from perfect that it was originally intended to be a black woman with broken chains given all the facts and information available. The facts and a look at the players leans more toward the original intent being what we see now than it does the freed black woman. That would be why any official inquiry into the question has always come back with it being a rumor, such as the NPS inquiry in 2000.

    That doesn't mean that is correct, it may merely mean that Laboulaye and Bartholdi did an extremely good job of covering their intentions to get paid.
  • Jeff King Tom 2012/10/10 17:50:28
  • Tom Jeff King 2012/10/10 18:04:11
    Tom
    If that was enough proof the NPS inquiry probably would have noted it in a better light than they did:

    "Bartholdi changed a broken shackle and chain in the statue's left hand to tablets inscribed "July IV, MDCCLXXVI” (July 4, 1776) at Laboulaye's request, to emphasize a broader vision of liberty for all mankind. There is no evidence that Bartholdi's “original” design was perceived by white American supporters or the United States government as representing a black woman, or was changed on those grounds."

    "Most versions of the Black Statue of Liberty rumor refer to a cast (c. 1870) of a no longer extant maquette owned by the Museum of the City of New York as proof that “the original model” for the Statue of Liberty was a black woman. The temporal proximity and aesthetic overlap between Bartholdi’s Egyptian proposal and the Statue of Liberty project, and the preliminary nature of the statue's study models, makes it impossible to rule out an 1870-71 Liberty model that has design origins in Bartholdi’s drawings of black Egyptian women in 1856. Based on the evidence, the connection is coincidental to the development of the Statue of Liberty under Laboulaye’ patronage. We found no corroborating evidence that Edouard Laboulaye or Auguste Bartholdi intended to depict Liberty as a black ...

    If that was enough proof the NPS inquiry probably would have noted it in a better light than they did:

    "Bartholdi changed a broken shackle and chain in the statue's left hand to tablets inscribed "July IV, MDCCLXXVI” (July 4, 1776) at Laboulaye's request, to emphasize a broader vision of liberty for all mankind. There is no evidence that Bartholdi's “original” design was perceived by white American supporters or the United States government as representing a black woman, or was changed on those grounds."

    "Most versions of the Black Statue of Liberty rumor refer to a cast (c. 1870) of a no longer extant maquette owned by the Museum of the City of New York as proof that “the original model” for the Statue of Liberty was a black woman. The temporal proximity and aesthetic overlap between Bartholdi’s Egyptian proposal and the Statue of Liberty project, and the preliminary nature of the statue's study models, makes it impossible to rule out an 1870-71 Liberty model that has design origins in Bartholdi’s drawings of black Egyptian women in 1856. Based on the evidence, the connection is coincidental to the development of the Statue of Liberty under Laboulaye’ patronage. We found no corroborating evidence that Edouard Laboulaye or Auguste Bartholdi intended to depict Liberty as a black woman. Laboulaye’s intent was to present a monument that would commemorate the fulfillment of America’s commitment to universal liberty established by the Declaration of Independence, and set an example for other nations. Liberty depicted as a freedwoman would have represented his strong anti-slavery convictions, but it would not have fulfilled this broader vision."

    As your posts suggest, though, I'm sure that Rebecca M. Joseph, Brooke Rosenblatt and Carolyn Kinebrew are racists that would prefer to not contemplate that the original Statue was intended to be a black woman.
    (more)
  • ManBearPig 2012/10/09 17:05:51
    NO IT DOESN'T
    ManBearPig
    +1
    just reading your first statements:
    "She was refused on the notion that the black statue would be a constant reminder of the liberty that the slaves earned, from successfully fighting in the American Civil War. The true Black Statue of Liberty remains rejected, forgotten and lost in broken fragments of Black history"

    I think you need a history lesson yourself... the Statue of Liberty was gifted to us as our centennial anniversary in 1861... Slavery was still in place during this time in the Civil War so gifting us a statue about a black women breaking the chains of slavery doesnt make any sense

    and to add there are no sources for these claims so as typical I will take this article as hogwash
  • Jeff King ManBearPig 2012/10/09 17:09:27
  • Tom ManBearPig 2012/10/09 17:10:54
    Tom
    That may have been it's intent, a late centennial present, but it didn't go into real design and manufacture until the 1870s.

    The first supposed inspirations were in 1865. So it's possible... but isn't plausible.
  • Jeff King ManBearPig 2012/10/10 00:39:39 (edited)
  • Jeff King 2012/10/09 16:14:18 (edited)
  • cutter'... Jeff King 2012/10/09 16:57:26
  • Jeff King cutter'... 2012/10/10 15:12:37
  • cutter'... Jeff King 2012/10/10 15:46:58

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