Controversial Stephen Foster Statue To Move From Pittsburgh To Museum Exhibit In Los Angeles – CBS Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Because the destiny of the Christopher Columbus statue in Pittsburgh stays in limbo, one other controversial statue is headed out of city.

The statue of Pittsburgh-born songwriter Stephen Foster will probably be a part of a museum exhibit in Los Angeles — alongside decommissioned statues from the Confederacy.

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Earlier than it was faraway from Oakland, the statue was a lightning rod of controversy. And for the previous three years, town has been unable to seek out anybody to take it — till now.

Foster was probably the most well-known American songwriter of the nineteenth century — born and raised in Lawrenceville — penning songs like “Oh, Susanna,” “My Previous Kentucky House” and “Arduous Occasions.” However a statue of the Pittsburgh-born legend precipitated onerous emotions, which led to its removing three years in the past.

“The Foster statue had been branded, at one level, probably the most racist statue in America. And it was time for it to come back down,” stated Kathryn Haines from The Middle for American Music.

The statue depicted a black slave, Uncle Ned, with a banjo on his knee, wanting proud of Foster perched above him. And for many years, folks within the African-American neighborhood discovered it offensive.

Now in mothballs, Mayor Invoice Peduto bought a letter this summer season from the museum director of the LAXART requesting to show it alongside these eliminated statues of Accomplice generals and others.

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“Stephen Foster could be a superb addition to this exhibition. Although he isn’t a Accomplice determine, Foster performed a pivotal function in developing a romantic imaginative and prescient of the Previous South and perpetuated the “pleased slave” narrative that could be a central tenet of the Misplaced Trigger,” the letter stated.

The mayor’s workplace supported the mortgage, final month the Artwork Fee authorised it, and even the pinnacle of the Middle for American Music on the Stephen Foster Memorial thinks it’s a good suggestion.

“The perfect place for the statue actually is in a museum,” Haines stated.

Foster was not a part of the Confederacy, was on the aspect of the Union within the Civil Warfare, and people protecting of his legacy stated he supported the emancipation of slaves. However Haines stated his legacy is combined and will probably be explored by up to date artists who will create works to be seen alongside the statues within the exhibit.

“They aren’t out to demonize Foster, nor am I,” Haines stated. “Foster wrote some lovely songs, a few of which have been used for Abolitionist functions, however he additionally wrote some very hurtful songs and I feel we should acknowledge there might be each nostalgia and trauma.”

Retired music professor and Foster scholar Deane Root agrees, saying Foster is a combined bag, and this sort of dialogue about his instances and his music is a wholesome factor.

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The statue remains to be right here in storage however will probably be making the journey to Los Angeles subsequent 12 months. After that, it nonetheless has no everlasting house. | Controversial Stephen Foster Statue To Transfer From Pittsburgh To Museum Exhibit In Los Angeles – CBS Pittsburgh

Aila Slisco

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