Arkansan Albert Pike's statue unwelcome in Washington, D.C. And everywhere. | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Arkansan Albert Pike's statue unwelcome in Washington, D.C. And everywhere.

Posted By on Tue, Oct 31, 2017 at 7:40 AM

click to enlarge LOOKING FOR A HOME: The Albert Pike statue in Washington, D.C. - WIKIPEDIA
  • Wikipedia
  • LOOKING FOR A HOME: The Albert Pike statue in Washington, D.C.
A statue of Albert Pike, who spent important years in Arkansas, stands in Washington, D.C. and there's wide agreement the statue of the secessionist and Confederate general should go. But there's a problem, the Washington Post reports:

Everyone, from Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) to the chair of a congressional committee that would have to approve its removal, says it’s fine to take it down.

The problem is that if Congress votes to remove it, no one wants custody. Pike would be homeless, a political hot potato.

Even the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, the fraternal organization that commissioned the Pike statue, petitioned Congress for its installation in 1898 and reveres Pike as a hero, doesn’t want to accept responsibility for it.
The Masons were in on a plan to whisk the statue away in the dark of night to an undisclosed location, but the National Park Service said that action could risk trespassing charges. Legislation has been filed. The Republican chairman of the committee handling the bill has no problem with it.

But where would it go? Don't say Arkansas.

In Pike’s adopted home state of Arkansas, his name is on a highway, a campground and the Albert Pike Memorial Temple in Little Rock.

But C. James Graham, the top Freemason in the state, said there’s no room for the statue at his temple even if funds could be raised for a 1,000-mile trip.

“I don’t know that we would necessarily want it,” said Graham, 58, an associate dean at the University of Arkansas medical school.
The Encyclopedia of Arkansas has plenty of details about Pike's life, including his support for secession and his stint as a Confederate general and poor leadership of Indian troops. Example:

An ambitious public figure, Pike joined others in 1845 in supporting actions against Mexico, what became the Mexican War. He helped raise the Little Rock Guards, a company incorporated into the Arkansas cavalry regiment of Colonel Archibald Yell, and served as its captain. Pike concluded early on that the senior officers of his regiment were incompetent, and he shared his observations with the people back in Arkansas through letters to the newspapers. Following the Battle of Buena Vista, he leveled particularly harsh criticism against Lieutenant Colonel John Selden Roane. After the publication of a particularly vitriolic letter by Pike in the Arkansas Gazette, Roane demanded that Pike apologize or “give him satisfaction.” Pike refused to apologize, and the two fought a duel near Fort Smith on a sand bank in the Arkansas River. In the exchange of fire, neither hit his antagonist, and the two were persuaded to halt the duel, with honor satisfied.
Pike died in Washington. His Little Rock home — the Pike-Fletcher-Terry Mansion — still stands at Seventh and Rock. It's a property of the Arkansas Arts Center and, rarely used, in need of repair.

PS: Perhaps White House Chief of Staff John Kelly could give Pike a home in his yard. He defended the Confederacy in an interview yesterday and put the Civil War down to an inability of the parties to compromise. (I mean, really, was was ever wrong with counting black people as partial humans?) He also refused to apologize for lying about the Florida representative who criticized Donald Trump's handling of a call to the family of a slain soldier.

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