Art Shapes History

Topics: American Civil War, Virginia, African American Pages: 12 (3800 words) Published: January 9, 2013
Art Shapes History|
Leila Hinton
HIS 122-02 PR
Dr. Howlett

I. Introduction
* Thesis
* Location of monuments was important
* Art and architecture from foreign nations to the United States * African Americans were treated as second class citizens * Hostility from white Americans
II. Statue of Liberty
* Gifted by the French
* Multiple layers of inspiration
* Rejection of reinstating French monarchy
* Congratulations for the Union for winning the Civil War * Display freedom of African American slaves
* Chains were removed due to potential rejection from the sensitive South III. The Belgian Pavilion
* Located at Virginia Union University
* Gifted by Belgium
* Movement of the building
* NYC World’s Fair in 1939
* Transported to VUU in 1941
* Cost was too high to send it to Belgium
* War was destroying their country
* VUU could afford to move it
IV. Arthur Ashe statue
* Located on Monument Avenue
* Only African American represented
* Much controversy over placement of the statue
* Monument Ave. traditionally represented the Confederacy * The issue was with race relations
* The statue was unveiled in 1996
V. Connections
* The Arthur Ashe statue and the Belgian Pavilion
* Different attitudes on location
* Both located in Richmond
* The Belgian Pavilion and Statue of Liberty
* Both countries contributed something
VI. Conclusion
* Recap comparisons
* Closing statement about how all this has shaped American history After the Civil War, some foreign nations, such as France and Belgium, were inspired by the events of the war and the circumstances of newly freed African Americans and therefore wanted to create monuments inspired by these events. Placement of these historical sites had been controversial at times and has formed a part of United States history. If it were not for certain foreign nations, it would have been more difficult to develop African American history in a country where there was much opposition towards African Americans. The endeavors by these nations and opportunities for African Americans helped create art and architecture that would reflect a history of America that included a more complete African American background. From New York to Virginia, one can find vivid examples of art and architecture that helped shape history throughout time.

The Statue of Liberty has long been a historical monument guiding new immigrants to the United States. It was constructed in France shortly after the American Civil War for a couple of reasons. Some politicians in France wanted to maintain Republican ideals in their home country. Brett Hansen, editor at the American Society of Civil Engineers, explains, “The French politician and historian Édouard René Lefèvre de Laboulaye and other politicians were resisting a movement to return France to a monarchy” (Hansen, pg. 34). It was hoped that a gift to the United States in her time of reunion would surely yield patriotism from France in rejecting the monarchy. Laboulaye requested that Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi design the Statue of Liberty. Impressed by the creation of the Suez Canal a few years before, Bartholdi wanted to create something great, and found an opportunity in Laboulaye’s ideas to build something that would boost his fame as an artist.

Although Bartholdi gained a considerable amount of inspiration from Egypt and his ego, some of the political intent was geared towards newly freed African American slaves. Rebecca Joseph, anthropologist for the National Park Service, emphasizes, “Edouard de Laboulaye was a prolific French abolitionist who believed that the end of slavery marked the realization of the American democratic...
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