Jackson & Lee Monument Inscription at Art Museum Drive and Wyman Park Drive

Jackson & Lee Monument Inscription at Art Museum Drive and Wyman Park DriveR. and O. asked if we might all get on our bikes and ride around town a bit to look at different monuments and talk about what they do, and would I mind coming up with a route? It’s like these two climbed inside my head and found exactly what I wanted to do and then asked me to do it, I swear. Our ride was today, so I woke up early, made a list of a few different routes (Patterson Park or Federal Hill? Druid Hill Park or Fort McHenry? Pennsylvania Avenue or Mount Vernon?), and then rode over to the Jackson-Lee monument to meet up and discuss our options. We spent a good long while looking around at this one–why there are so many Confederate memorials (reunion, methinks), what it feels like to live in their midst, if it matters that we often don’t notice them, why this one was installed in the 1940s, and what the heck is going on with a claim that these men were “Christian soldiers and waged war like gentlemen.” I wondered about that, thinking about some of the ugliest parts of the war: Andersonville, Fort Pillow, Pickett’s Charge, the list goes on and on, and I wondered if war is ever fought “gentlemanly,” or if that’s actually what being a gentleman is about: staid meetings with each other amid brutal bloodshed. I’ll pass. The rest of our ride continued like this, using our smartyphones to learn Peggy Stewart Day was about a boat, not a woman, and learning enough about Severn Teackle Wallis to think it might be a good spot for a demonstration against the prison at Guantanamo Bay. We stopped by the police memorial on President Street and spent a good long while learning about the Katyn Massacre memorial at Harbor East before settling in for a long lunch and some brainstorming before a quick ride in the humid sunshine up the hill to home and a chat about how seeing these places by bike gives such a better sense for how they are knit together–yes, indeed. It was the perfect way to spend the day, and oh my, I’m excited about the collaborations that will come out of this marriage of bikes, nerdery, and art. Summertime, I see you over there!

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