RedefiningHERstory: The Original Statue of Liberty is a Sistah and Muslim?
It's amazing how much history has been kept from Black and gender studies. WHO would have guessed that the original Statue of Liberty was Black and Muslim! Who would have thunk it? See, the creation of the statue was to commemorate the roles that Black male soldiers, men and women played by ending chattel slavery during the Civil War in the United States. The French government proposed that the people of France should present a present to the people of the United States to recognize the fact that Black soldiers won the Civil War for the United States; thus, the gifting of the original Statue of Liberty. Naturally, she would be modeled after a Black woman... right?!?
However, in American history, we were taught that on October 28, 1886 the Statue of Liberty was dedicated to the United States as "a gift of friendship from the people of France to the United States and is recognized as a universal symbol of freedom and democracy, according to the U.S. National Park Service." We were shown pictures of an oversized copper-green lady who is representative of 'freedom from oppression.'
However, she is not known for the freedom of oppression of Blacks who suffered through chattel slavery here in the United States, but for historically being a symbol of freedom for immigrants sailing into her New York harbor. See, the history I learned in school (and I am pretty sure you did too) was that the importance of the Statue of Liberty was she represented an alliance between the United States and France and something to do with the Revolutionary War and the U.S. being a 100 year old nation.
Libertas was Her NameSmithsonian.com writer, Erin Blakemore, stated that "there is a little-known fact about Lady Liberty that adds and intriguing twits to today's debate about refugees from the Muslim world: the statue itself was orginally intended to represent a female Egyptian peasant."
Therefore, it seems that the Statue of Liberty not only has roots in France, but has roots in the Islamic/Arab world as well. I wonder how President Trump would feel about this one?!? I wonder if he is still up and pulling an all nighter at his chief job at Twitter... oops... I mean... the White House.
The French designer, Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi, was inspired by the enormous colossus statues that guarded the tombs in Egypt in 1855. For the Statue of Liberty, Bartholdi envisioned a enormous colossal statue of a veiled peasant woman called Libertas. Blakemore stated that the early models of the statue were called “Egypt Carrying the Light to Asia."
Investigation into the Rumors
Now to be fair to the United States governing body, in 1998, due to rumors about the Black Statue of Liberty, the Statue of Liberty National Monument's superintendent claimed that he launched a sketchy... oops, I mean an exhaustive investigation into the rumors and found them to be unfounded or did they.
See, in one of the superintendent's findings it was stated that: "No evidence was found to support the claim that the Statue of Liberty was intended to memorialize black combatants in the Civil War."
However, the next finding stated that:
the conventional interpretation of the statue as a monument to American immigrants is a twentieth-century phenomenon. In its early years (1871-1886), that view was only rarely and vaguely expressed, while references to the Civil War and abolition of slavery occur repeatedly from its first introduction to the United States in 1871 up to and including the dedication celebrations in 1886. No evidence was found to support the claim that the Statue of Liberty was intended to memorialize black combatants in the Civil War."
Finally, the superintendent concluded that:
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.
So you tell me... what am I to believe?!!? It seems to me that the Statue of Liberty National Monument's superintendent has contradictory statements here and I am confused? Not really, but was trying to give the superintendent the benefit of the doubt.
Anyways... what are your thoughts?
Documents of Proof from Urban Intellectuals