In the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. are two memorial niches - complete with stained-glass windows and laudatory inscriptions - which honor Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. They were slaveholders, which included keeping blacks in chains. Nearby is buried the remains of one of America's most racist presidents, Woodrow Wilson.
The monuments to Jackson and Lee were proposed by the United Daughters of the Confederacy and were erected in 1953. Yesterday, in a surprise move, the United Daughters has revived its request that a monument called "faithful slave mammies" be erected in the Cathederal. The proposal was first made in the 1920's but was rejected.
The Chairwoman of The United Daughters of the Confederacy, Scarlett O'Hare, said today, "Americans just don't understand the affection that flowed between slave owners and their slaves."
"Nowhere was that truer than with the loyal black women who lovingly raised white children in our beloved Confederacy. And so we want the National Cathedral to erect a monument in memory of 'the faithful slave mammies' of the South," Ms. O'Hare stated.
She pointed out that the National Cathedral already treats the slave-owners Jackson and Lee like "saints because they are enshrined in stained glass windows."
She also said that they were "wrapped in a spiritual mantel." So, she reasoned, that because "the genteel tradition of slavery," was already recognized in the Cathedral," it would be a logical step to honor the faithful slave mammies.
"I see statutes. I rather envision them as Aunt Jemima-like black women holding a white infant. Perhaps their chains are resting on top of a washtub," she said.
She concluded by saying that "what with the rise of the Old Confederacy with its anti-black voter registration laws and other manifestations of the New Jim Crow, and secessionist sentiments expressed by Rick Perry and many others, it's seemed like the appropriate time to make the suggestion for the slave mammies statues."