More on "Slavery Mall"

Readers might remember that a couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the transformation of Philadelphia's Independence Mall into "Slavery Mall."

Well, today, Robert M. Morris ("a descendant of Robert Morris, who signed the Declaration of Independence and owned the structure known as "President's House") has a guest editorial in the Philadelphia Inquirer excoriating the decision to transform the footprint of his ancestor's mansion into a grotesque anti-slavery memorial. He writes with passion, and I don't blame him:

The National Park Service has chosen a design for the memorial on the spot now known as the "President's House." Before being known by that name, this site had been known for more than 200 years as the location of Robert Morris' mansion. Morris, often called the "Financier of the Revolution," helped form this nation's banking and defense systems. But he and his life's work of creating economic freedom for all Americans have been unceremoniously shoved aside.

The planned memorial will not tell us about Morris' role in the origins of American-style free-market capitalism or his critical leadership of the Continental Navy during most of the Revolutionary War. We will not learn about his struggles to keep America together during Confederation. Instead, we will be treated to the politically correct message "Freedom and Slavery in Making a New Nation," the subtitle of the memorial project.

Although Washington did keep slaves when he resided at the house, others who occupied the house did not. John Adams was virulently antislavery - but never mind such inconvenient details; after all, here was a perfect opportunity to make a negative statement about America, right in Independence Mall. To realize that part of the agenda, a decision was made to cherry-pick the record to create a memorial to slavery. And to ignore the fact that slavery was not unique to the site, or to America, for that matter, because it existed everywhere in the world while Washington was president.

Read the whole thing. Ironically (and tragically) the "slavery mall" exhibit will hardly benefit the descendants of the slaves it purports to honor. Quite the opposite:
America owes black people the same thing it owes everyone else: an honest shot at real opportunity. One of the stories not told at the President's House will be the genesis of those opportunities - ones all Americans rightfully take as their birthright. Visitors will not learn the source of America's success and the power of economic freedom, American-style. Instead they will learn how to be enslaved and how to blame others.

Now Slavery Mall is on the way. I hope you enjoy it when current and future generations learn about George Washington as "slaver in chief."

I write satire a lot, but this is really sad.

I think Robert Morris is right, and the National Park Service -- and Mayor Street -- are wrong.

DISCLOSURE: I should probably point out that I've been a friend of Robert Morris since 1958. (I don't think I need to remind regulars that friendship has nothing to do with whether I agree with friends.)

posted by Eric on 03.13.07 at 03:20 PM


I don't think I need to remind regulars that friendship has nothing to do with whether I agree with friends.

I can attest to that. Eric and I recently exchanged words about words.

We are still friends.

M. Simon   ·  March 13, 2007 5:18 PM

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