Mar 16, 2008

An Act of Historical Vandalism! Restore The Madoc Plaque!

Sign the Petition
Storm Over Missing Madoc Plaque
Support The Alabama Welsh

Firstly let me say that I entirely support the Alabama Welsh Society in their efforts to have the plaque restored ( see above linked articles for background ). I am not a believer in the Madoc story. Of course I would like to believe it and am always ready to be convinced but currently there is no concrete evidence to support it and the whole episode seems too convenient for Tudor propaganda purposes not to have been fabricated. It is a fact, however, that many people have believed this story including Thomas Jefferson and Meriwether Lewis. Both men were of Welsh ancestry and one of the secondary goals of The Lewis and Clark expedition was to locate the lost tribe of Welsh speaking Indians possibly amongst the Mandans.

The following is a quote from the above-linked article. It outlines the official explanation for the plaque's removal:-

"But according to the site manager of Fort Morgan, Blanton Blankenship, the plaque has since been removed and is currently in storage because the site only "focuses on the United States military presence".

In a letter to the Welsh society, Mr Blankenship said: " This does not reflect prejudice against Prince Madoc or the Welsh, as we also do not interpret the prehistoric Native American nor historic Spanish, French and English occupations of this area. There are no plans to put it back on exhibit."

All of this entirely misses the point! The plaque is itself a part of American history. It is a manifestation of a belief ( mistaken or otherwise ) that has motivated men like Jefferson and Lewis and many others amongst the pioneers and explorers of the 19th century. In Hudson N.Y. there is a public park which, for various bizarre reasons, is home to a statue of St. Winifrede, a 7th century Welsh Saint. Should it be removed because the park focuses on recreational use and not religious or historical commemoration? Is it not conceivable that a site, historical or otherwise, can serve more than one purpose or provide a home for a variety of artifacts?

But let us indulge in a little reductio ad absurdum. I am a former resident of downtown Cardiff. Cardiff Castle is well known as a mish-mash of Roman, Norman, late Medieval and 19th Century structures. Let us suppose that it was decided that visitors should focus on the period of the Roman occupation. Do we then demolish the rest in order to remove any possible distractions? Surely the absurdity of this must impinge upon even the most beaurocratically warped mind?

The Alabama Welsh society want us to write to a number of people listed on this page. I for one will be heeding their call.

As a side note:- How come it took twenty years before anyone noticed it was gone?

(Image at the top of this page reproduced by kind permission of The Alabama Welsh Society. Why doesn't Blogger allow captions??)

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