On the subject of Duluth’s statuary, whether or not they are “innocuous” is ultimately the wrong question to ask (Local View: “How innocuous really are Duluth’s historic white-guy statues?” July 3). Historian Carl Becker wrote, “History is what the present chooses to remember about the past.” All of the statuary mentioned in the column are just that, the efforts of those who, at that time, had the money and wherewithal to choose these figures to be remembered.
Rather than bother to tear these statues down — or any historical statue, for that matter — a different and perhaps more pragmatic approach would be to simply erect more and better statuary that represents those figures we choose to remember about the past: local Native people, civil rights leaders, maybe local labor leaders or civic leaders of various ethnicities, local artists and poets, and others.
I think most people would be fascinated to learn about our local history from perspectives other than those of the rich and connected who literally could afford to have a certain kind of history be told.
There is no such thing as an “innocuous” history; we all have a story to tell. What we need are more stories about the past not trying to pretend certain stories didn’t or don’t exist.
Mark W. Anderson