Little Monuments, 1865 – 1945


Little Monuments in Grace Park, Grace Park Central ~ (Monument to Grace)

Military District No. 1 ends Table, carpetbag, newspaper headline “Occupation Ends!”
The death of Robert E. Lee.
Birth of “The Lost Cause.”
Alter with cap, sword, pistol, textbook with title “The Lost Cause”
KKK march on Grace Street Two figures marching in parade wearing hoods & robes
Maggie Walker Bank teller cage, kid stretching to reach …
Bill “Bojangles” Robinson Tap shoes hung across his shoulder.
Robert E. Lee Camp Confederate Soldiers’ Home closed. Pappy sitting on the porch with Harold
(explanation note to follow)

Little Monument 11 represents the end of the military occupation of Virginia by Federal troops. President Lincoln’s “with malice toward none and charity toward all” fell on deaf ears in the U.S. Congress. It is important to recognize how this treatment affected the Virginians of the day. For the generation that lived in “Military District No. 1,” those days became the lessons of history they taught to their children and grandchildren.

Little Monument 12 represents the same year, 1870, in which Robert E. Lee died. It may be argued that the two events created “The Lost Cause” — the reasoning of that generation, explaining themselves to history, and the effect on generations to come. 

Little Monuments 13 & 14 are an homage to the generation of African-American Virginians that created the “Harlem of the South” in Richmond’s Jackson Ward. Maggie Walker and Bill “Bojangles” Robinson are but two examples of incredible spirit and determination. (see also Wikipedia, “Jackson Ward”)

In the same years, between the world wars, the Klu Klux Klan marched down Grace Street (Little Monument 15) in full robe and hood regalia. Perhaps to this very spot. Perhaps to a rally at the Lee Monument. The older men in the crowd may well have fought under Lee’s command.

Little Monument 16 represents a day in 1941 when — upon the death of the last Confederate veteran in residence — the Robert E. Lee Camp, Confederate Soldiers Home closed.(3) A united America needed to fight another war.

(3) Can you imagine any place keeping its doors open to the last patient these days!? Obviously, there were motivations in their work well beyond profit. By the way, the “Old Soldiers’ Home” was located at Grove Avenue and the Boulevard, the current location of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

NEXT: Little Monuments, 1946 – 2019

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