A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
From: Frank Reed
Date: 2021 Sep 6, 08:10 -0700
Matthew Fontaine Maury was glorified and rendered into myth in the southern USA during Reconstruction and the Jim Crow era. He was proclaimed a "great scientist" and above all a "great scientist of the Confederate States of America", and worship of him continues even today. A giant statue was erected of him along the lane of statues in Richmond that "honored" the "heroes" of the Confederacy. Maury's statue was unveiled in 1929, funded largely by that vile organization, the Daughters of the Confederacy. The statue turned the myth into immutable stone in the era when the US South, and some of the North and West, too, had become a disgraceful apartheid republic.
Maury was also an ardent racist. Of course he was not alone. Many brilliant men from the middle of the 19th century and straight through most of the 20th century were ardent racists who believed that science could prove that some members of Homo sapiens were objectively inferior, perhaps even subspecies. Maury was one, and he also fervently promoted slavery in the western hemisphere.
Maury is now facing a major re-evaluation and rejection. He was not the great scientist of legend. And he was a racist. Here's coverage from "Science" of his downfall in the public eye: