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Estes Kefauver, Patrick Henry, John F. Kennedy, Liberty Bell, Robert Kennedy

Description

"Unveiled in a ceremony in 1963, the three figures were mounted on a raised podium, with the Liberty Bell below at the center of the base. From, left to right stand Estes Kefauver, Patrick Henry, and John F. Kennedy. The fourth figure, Robert Kennedy, was added to the group in 1969. All four were prominent political figures in their day, and as a review of history reveals, each supported tax revisions and government reform that Wickham would have supported.

Estes Kefauver (1903 –1963) was one of Tennessee’s most colorful United States Senators. As chairman of the Special Committee to Investigate Organized Crime in Interstate Commerce, Kefauver was renowned for exposing organized crime’s connection to governmental authorities via the first televised senate hearings in 1950 and 1951.Wickham asked Carroll Ellis to write the epitaph on Estes Kefauver’s statue, which included the following, E.K. In Public Life was a true Champion of the People. He was a Crusader. His Efforts for Better Government Was [sic] Untiring. Kefauver wore conspicuous black frame eyeglasses. As in other Wickham representations, the striving for verisimilitude
was achieved by adding actual eyeglasses to the senator’s head.

Patrick Henry’s (1736-1799) most famous statement is quoted in the inscription on the Liberty Bell situated directly in front of his place on Wickham’s podium.14 At the Second Virginia Conference in March of 1775, Henry declared, “Is Life So Dear or Peace So Sweet as to be Purchased at the Price of Slavery, Forbid It Almighty God As for Me Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death. For Wickham, as for so many Americans, Patrick Henry personified American revolutionary courage and patriotism. Henry’s reputation for fighting the battle against taxation without representation would have made him virtuous in Wickham’s eyes. Though Henry went on to become one of the 100 wealthiest landowners in Virginia, he was still recognized as fighting for more effective government while protecting the citizen’s basic civil liberties.

According to Wickham’s friend and neighbor Carroll Ellis, Wickham liked John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) for his Kefauver traits, especially the fact that he passed a tax decrease while in office. Kennedy’s military service, particularly his reputation as a heroic survivor in the same war that had killed Ernest Wickham, would also have won Wickham’s admiration. In fact, Wickham paraphrased Kennedy’s famed inaugural address sound bite as What will you do for your country (rather than Ask not what your country will do for you, . . .) on the podium of the statue. Kennedy had been in Tennessee in the summer of 1962, giving a speech at Vanderbilt and attending the official ceremony opening Percy Priest Dam. His presence was well received in the state, as the large crowds attending these events indicated. Whether Wickham was aware of or attended any of these events is unknown, but they do speak to Kennedy’s popularity in the region. Finally, Kennedy was a Catholic.

The statue of Robert F. Kennedy (1925-1968) was added to the group in 1969. A 3 November 1969 letter written to his daughter Nora, (Sister Justina) residing at Sacred Heart Convent in Cullman, Alabama, reveals that he had only recently completed the addition of Robert Kennedy.

Wickham’s organization of the supports for the concrete podium on which all four figures stand reveals that Robert Kennedy was indeed a later addition. Kennedy was shot to death on 6 June 1968 after delivering a presidential primary speech in a Los Angeles hotel. He may have been an appealing figure for Wickham because of his active involvement in the investigation of labor rackets, which exposed corruption in the Teamsters Union in the late 1950s. Kennedy, who was certainly a popular figure for the general public, had also become known as a friend of the rural working folk after a visit to Eastern Kentucky as a part of the “war on poverty.” Any or all of these factors might have prompted Wickham to honor his memory. " - quoted text is from the 2001 Customs House Museum Online Wickham Exhibit.

Picture Gallery
(Click on image for larger view)

ET and Estes Kefauver,Patrick Henry,John Kennedy Estes Kefauver,Patrick Henry, and John Kennedy 1 Estes Kefauver,Patrick Henry, John Kennedy 2 Estes Kefauver,Patrick Henry, John and Robert Kennedy
ET and Estes Kefauver,Patrick Henry,John Kennedy Estes Kefauver,Patrick Henry, and John Kennedy 1 Estes Kefauver,Patrick Henry, John Kennedy 2 Estes Kefauver,Patrick Henry, John and Robert Kennedy

Inscriptions

 

ESTES KEFAUVER
IN PUBLIC LIFE WAS A TRUE CHAMPION OF THE PEOPLE.  HE WAS A CRUSADER.  HIS EFFORTS FOR BETTER GOVERMENT WAS UNTIRING

 

PATRICK HENRY
 IS LIFE SO DEAR OR PEACE SO SWEET AS TO BE PURCHASED AT THE PRICE OF SLAVERY FORBID IT ALMIGHTY GOD.  AS FOR ME GIVE ME LIBERTY OR GIVE ME DEATH

JOHN F. KENNEDY
WHAT WILL YOU DO FOR YOUR COUNTRY

MAN OF VISION WITH FREEDOM,JUSTICE AND KINDNESS FOR THE WORLD

 

 

ROBERT F. KENNEDY
PRO PATRIA SEMPER FOR COUNTRY

 

 

LIBERTY  BELL
IS LIFE SO DEAR OR PEACE SO SWEET AS TO BE PURCHASED AT THE PRICE OF SLAVERY, FORBID IT ALMIGHTY GOD AS FOR ME GIVE ME LIBERTY OR GIVE ME DEATH

 

E.T.'s inscription on Kennedy statue

Get a souvenir of this statue at the new online Wickham Stone Park Gift Shop

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