Nevada City Council asks for a “redo” of the Aaron Sargent statue proposal

After a long public discussion, the most telling comment came from a resident who observed:  Confederate monuments are coming down in the South at the same time Nevada City is thinking about putting one up to honor someone who was a noted proponent of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882.

Case closed. Meeting adjourned.

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for 12 years, and he was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News for eight years, among other positions. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing, swimming, and trout fishing in the Sierra.

5 thoughts on “Nevada City Council asks for a “redo” of the Aaron Sargent statue proposal”

  1. I attended the meeting in hopes of offering advice that would make the Sargent sculpture better. I assumed it was a done deal, so I was focused on the pose and historic accuracy of the figures.
    Aaron Sargent was roundly called out for his participation in the CEA and that seemed to be the main complaint of several commenters. A young teacher was particularly effective and well-prepared with her comments.
    At the end, Duane made a comment that Ellen needs to be investigated for racism as well as Aaron.
    My feeling is that if Ellen Sargent, “comes up clean”, a statue in her honor would be appropriate.
    Someone referred to her as “Our Suffragette”.

    What I was not expecting was the notion put forth to create a monument to the Nisenan by commissioning a statue of a female Nisenan dancer which would compliment the statue of a male Nisenan dancer in the city of Auburn.
    I have long spoken out about such a work to honor Nevada County’s First People.
    A proposal of a statue of “Indians”, was floated for Robinson Plaza years ago. The proposal drawing for that work did not receive much traction and it was, in my mind, a rather generic and weak design.
    I would gladly help support a monument to the Nisenan.
    Not wishing to see Ellen Sargent, ” thrown out with the bath water”, I would also be wholly `in favor of a monument to Ellen Sargent, once she passes the moral, “sniff test”. Aaron could still be minimally represented in a small cameo brooch placed over her heart.

  2. Thank you Jeff,
    One more thought has occurred to me, so before we declare the Sargent monument moribund, might we consider the second figure in the sculpture, standing beside the seated Ellen Sargent, to be Susan B. Anthony herself? She is a much more widely known historical figure than Arron Sargent.
    She might symbolically, “stand by,” Ellen, whose seated pose could symbolize the ,”seat at the table”, she helped secure for almost all U.S. women. (I say “almost” because native women were not declared U.S. citizens until 1924.)
    With a small pedestal table between them, the ladies could each have a hand resting on a scroll imprinted with the Roman numerals “XIX”.

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