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Sat Jun 20, 2020, 06:03 AM

Why {was} Confederate general Albert Pike memorialized at Judiciary Square?

In the wake of the recent toppling:

Local

Why is Confederate general Albert Pike memorialized at Judiciary Square?



A statue erected in 1901 honoring Albert Pike stands near Judiciary Square in downtown Washington. Pike, a Confederate general, was active in the Masonic movement. (John Kelly/The Washington Post)

By John Kelly
October 22, 2016

Could you write about the statue of the man near the Fourth Street NW exit of the Judiciary Square Metro stop? I don’t know his name. He faces Fourth Street and his back is toward the rear of the Labor Department’s Frances Perkins Building. Effusive descriptive accolades on the statue make me wonder if there is a backstory to substantiate his greatness.

— Pat Deveny,
Arlington, Va.


His name is Albert Pike and, oh, does he have a backstory.

The words engraved on the memorial describe the multitalented Pike (1809-1891) thusly: AUTHOR, POET, SCHOLAR, SOLDIER, JURIST, ORATOR, PHILANTHROPIST and PHILOSOPHER. Hmm, did we leave anything out? Why, yes: Racist. Someone has added a reference to that. Spray-painted in two places on the granite base of Pike’s monument are the words “Black Lives Matter.”

{snip}

It is Pike’s Masonic activities — he wrote frequently on the topic and served as Grand Commander of the Supreme Council, Southern Jurisdiction — that prompted the construction of the memorial in 1901. The monument, with statues by sculptor Gaetano Trentanove, was paid for by the Masons.

It was said of Pike, “He found Freemasonry in a log cabin and left it in a Temple.” His body is interred in the House of the Temple, headquarters of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, at 16th and S streets NW, where there is a museum in his honor and the contents of his library are kept.

{snip}

Pike is the only Confederate Civil War general honored with a statue in the capital of the side that won. The D.C. Council once contemplated seeking its removal. In 1992, the monument was the site of weekly protests organized by followers of fringe political figure Lyndon LaRouche. At least once, they managed to climb the statue and dress Pike in white sheets.

{snip}

Twitter: @johnkelly

Have you seen something that made you wonder? Ask answerman@washpost.com.

For previous columns, visit washingtonpost.com/johnkelly.


John Kelly
John Kelly writes John Kelly's Washington, a daily look at Washington's less-famous side. Born in Washington, John started at The Post in 1989 as deputy editor in the Weekend section. Follow https://twitter.com/JohnKelly

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Reply Why {was} Confederate general Albert Pike memorialized at Judiciary Square? (Original post)
mahatmakanejeeves Jun 20 OP
InAbLuEsTaTe Jun 20 #1
mahatmakanejeeves Jun 20 #2
InAbLuEsTaTe Jun 20 #3
IronLionZion Jun 20 #4
mahatmakanejeeves Jun 20 #5

Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Sat Jun 20, 2020, 06:36 AM

1. Good question... glad to see racist statues coming down. Need to take them off our money tooi!!

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Response to InAbLuEsTaTe (Reply #1)

Sat Jun 20, 2020, 06:38 AM

2. Send your offensive money to me.

Washington? Slave owner.

Grant? Family held slaves.

Jefferson? Whoops.

Send it to me. I'll take it.

Thank you in advance.

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Reply #2)

Sat Jun 20, 2020, 07:10 AM

3. Good one!!

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Sat Jun 20, 2020, 09:53 AM

4. Protesters Topple, Burn Statue of Confederate General Albert Pike In Judiciary Square

https://dcist.com/story/20/06/20/protesters-confederate-general-statue-albert-pike-in-dc/

I live near here but didn't know about this statue. I must have walked by many times including last evening. The toppling happened later last night after a long day of protests and street closures.

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Response to IronLionZion (Reply #4)

Sat Jun 20, 2020, 09:59 AM

5. Although it was right on D Street, it was hidden by the trees.

It was across D Street from a DC government building. The south entrance to the Judiciary Square Metro station was also across D Street.

I've walked by it a few thousand times.

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