Thinking outside the (wooden) box: a rhetorical analysis of the ethical complexity of the Uncle Jack statue Public Deposited

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  • March 22, 2019
  • Klobucar, Gretchen Victoria
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Communication
  • The life-sized bronze statue variously known as Uncle Jack or the Good Darky has been subject to protests and numerous relocations. Currently located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana at the Louisiana State University Rural Life Museum, the statue continues to be a source of controversy as an artifact with shifting use and value over the last 84 years. Based on the statue's sculptured body, the wooden box covering the original inscription, and the interpretive placard, I argue that the ethical complexity of past racial relations and the racial anxiety the statue continues to provoke are framed by the museum either as problems of the past or as problems deferred indefinitely to the future. This critical analysis assesses the rhetorical and ethical consequences of the statue and the way the museum has framed it, and demonstrates why prescriptions to destroy the statue are ill-considered.
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  • In Copyright
  • "... in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in the Department of Communication Studies..."
  • Blair, Carole
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Place of publication
  • Chapel Hill, NC
  • Open access

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