Good Darky - Baton Rouge, LA
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member scrambler390
N 30° 24.667 W 091° 06.826
15R E 681184 N 3365851
Since its completion in 1927, this sculpture has had a rough and controversial "life". Statue is also known as Uncle Jack. 18 pictures in gallery to enjoy!
Waymark Code: WM7Z78
Location: Louisiana, United States
Date Posted: 12/27/2009
Published By:Groundspeak Regular Member condor1
Views: 7

Controversial statue due to subject. Statue has been at the LSU Rural Life Museun since 1974. The Museum, is a fine place to visit. Other than Uncle Jack, the museum has original south Louisiana Plantation buildings set up and arranged to mimick a working mid to late 1800's plantation farm. Also a large "stock" of other plantation life pieces, household, buggies, boats, dress, Civil war, etc... Great place to visit.

There is a great history on this statue on 3 plaques located next to it. They state

Uncle Jack Bronze Statue
This bronze statue of an elderly black man was created to memorialize the accomplishments and contributions of the African-Americans in nineteenth century Louisiana. After a long and colorful history, the statue was acquired by the LSU Rural Life Museum from the Bryan/Ducournau family in 1974.
The statue of an old man tipping his hat was commissioned in 1926 and erected in 1927 at the foot of Front Street in Natchitoches, Louisiana. Set in a small park within a circular drive, the statue became a major tourist attraction as a one of a kind memorial to black workers of the nineteenth century. The statue has been known as the “Good Darky” and “Uncle Jack.” The original plaque (no longer visible) reads, “Dedicated to the arduous and faithful services of the good darkies of Louisiana.” Newspapers and magazines, including the National Geographic, contained articles and pictures of the statue and stated, “A visit to Natchitoches was not complete without a visit to the statue.”
Jackson Lee “Jack” Bryan who was born in Mansfield, Louisiana in 1868 grew up on Hope Plantation, Natchez, Louisiana. Later Mr. Bryan moved to Natchitoches, Louisiana and became a successful cotton planter, oil mill owner, and banker. Moved by childhood memories, in 1926 Mr. Bryan decided to commission and erect a statue dedicated to the faithful service of black people who had played an instrumental role in the building of Louisiana. Hans Schuler, Sr. (1874-1951) was selected to sculpt and cast a statue in bronze for $4,300.00. Known as the “Monument Maker,” he graduated from the Maryland Institute’s Rinehart School of Sculptor in Baltimore, Maryland. Early in his career he was the first American sculptor to win a Salon Gold Medal in Paris (1901). He went on to be a great success, acquiring numerous awards and commissions throughout the United States. This statue is one of his best known works, and it has national artistic merit.
Uncle Jack Protested
Even before the statue was cast, there was controversy. It was believed that much of the white community of Natchitoches would not accept a monument dedicated to Blacks. In a letter dated, June 15, 1926, Mr. Jo Bryan warned his brother Jack, that before the statue was created he should “offer the statue to the town council, and get their acceptance.” Also he cautioned that to erect the only statue in town to a Negro would not be tolerated by many white citizens in the community. In spite of these warnings, Jack Bryan continued with his project. The statue was generally accepted and later beloved by the white community in Natchitoches and throughout the United States. Across the country newspapers such as The New York Times praised the erection of the statue by Jack Bryan. Interpretation of the statue began to change, and everyone developed his or her own opinion of the statue.
Many African-Americans did not see the statue as a positive memorial. In 1968, the statue became a subject of controversy when a group of Blacks actively protested its public presence. As a result of the adverse publicity and changing times of the 1960’s, “Uncle Jack” became a target of vandals, and eventually city officials decided to remove the statue to avoid racial troubles. The removal was to be secret, but city workmen notified Mrs. Jo Bryan Ducournau, daughter of the late Jack Bryan. Mrs. Ducournau was adamantly opposed to its removal. When she arrived, a chain had been wrapped around the statue in preparation for pulling it down. Mrs. Ducournau prevented the men from completing their task. Eventually the statue did come down, with the Mayor’s promise to properly store it. However, the statue was found a few months later lying in the weeds by a lake into which its base had been thrown. Once retrieved, the statue was then stored for four years at the Natchitoches Airport until a more suitable place could be found.
“Uncle Jack” Comes to the LSU Rural Life Museum
In 1972, LSU Chancellor Cecil G. Taylor, Johnny Cox, Director of the AgCenter, and Steele Burden learned about the statue’s existence. They presented Mrs. Jo Ducournau with a plan to loan the statue to LSU for a period of one year. Local Natchitoches organizations opposed this plan. They advocated returning it to its original location. Despite eight other requests for the statue, including one from the Smithsonian Institute, Mrs. Ducournau selected the LSU Rural Life Museum.
Mr. Steele Burden, Miss Ione Burden, and Mrs. Jo Bryan Ducournau developed and shared a mutual respect and affection for the statue’s significance and preservation. In personal correspondence, Mrs. Ducournau expressed her pleasure that the statue had found a suitable resting place.
Uncle Jack is still controversial today. Individual reactions vary: to some, it is an honor; to others, it’s demeaning; and still to others, it is fond reminiscences. However, everyone will agree that it is part of Louisiana’s history. In the future is hoped that an accurate interpretation of the statue will be revealed not only to our visitors but also to ourselves.
National Geographic, June 1926 The Natchitoches Times, Thursday, September 21, 1972 Alexandria Town Talk, Friday, September 22, 1972 New York Times Smithsonian Institution Research Information System Schuler School of Fine Arts Jo Bryan Ducournau Papers LSU Rural Life Museum Collection
TITLE: Good Darky

ARTIST(S): Hans Schuler

DATE: 01/01/1927

MEDIUM: bronze; Base: concrete


Direct Link to the Individual Listing in the Smithsonian Art Inventory: [Web Link]

4560 Essen Ln Baton Rouge, LA 70809

I am no expert, but I would think some maintance should be given to this sculpture. It appeared dirty as compared to other sculptures I have seen.

Visit Instructions:
Please give the date of your visit, your impressions of the sculpture, and at least ONE ORIGINAL PHOTOGRAPH. Add any additional information you may have, particularly any personal observations about the condition of the sculpture.
Search for... Google Map
Google Maps
Bing Maps
Nearest Waymarks
Nearest Smithsonian Art Inventory Sculptures
Nearest Geocaches
Create a scavenger hunt using this waymark as the center point
Recent Visits/Logs:
There are no logs for this waymark yet.