“The Plantation Called New York City”

Here is Sanitation Department chaplain, Reverend Fred Lucas’s invocation at New York City Mayor de Blasio’s inauguration on January 1. I honestly don’t know what I think of it. Most of the commentary that I’ve read gives me very little to think about, though I did find Greg Downs’s opinion piece to be helpful. May use it as part of my Civil War Memory class, which I am teaching this semester.

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7 comments… add one

  • Patrick Young Jan 3, 2014

    He used words and phrases like “shackles”, “bondage”, “Reconstruction” as well. Not sure why they don’t attract the same criticism. The new mayor does not fae a Lincolnesque task and Mike Bloomberg was not a modern Jeff Davis.

    Frankly, as a church-going person I have heard priests ask that we give up our enslavement to one vice or another over time. At union meetings I have heard low-wage workers described as slaves.

    Once the minister decided to use Emancipation Day as the theme, you have to assume the metaphors are going to be related to slavery and freedom.

    I always warn speakers not to become prisoners of their analogy.

    • Kevin Levin Jan 3, 2014

      Is it too much of a stretch to suggest that Reverend Lucas is following in the tradition of George Fitzhugh’s Cannibals All!?

  • Matt McKeon Jan 3, 2014

    While the point about religious imagery is well taken, he is using the terms in their historic, American context. Income inequality = slavery? I would say no, but income inequality in a place like New York City is a real issue. Also, The Sanitation Department gets a chaplain?

    • Patrick Young Jan 4, 2014

      I think that pretty much any city agency that was dominated by the Irish in the past has a chaplain.

  • Brad Jan 3, 2014

    It seems that some are not happy with Bloomberg but to compare NY to a plantation is absurd. The feeling is that he was catering more to wealthier individuals than to the working classes. NY has been run pretty efficiently the last 12 years but the City has moved to the left so we’ll see how things turn out in four years.

  • Michael Lynch Jan 3, 2014

    To me, it comes across as a gross trivialization of slavery. But that’s just my take.

  • Al Mackey Jan 4, 2014

    So are New Yorkers going to be free to enjoy large soft drinks now? :-)

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