At the end of the Part One of this two part series, Abraham Lincoln had been elected president, the Civil War had broken out, and the question of California’s loyalty to the Union was in grave doubt. The youthful Unitarian minister from Boston was a newcomer to the scene, but his powerful voice had been quickly recruited to the Union cause.

His impact would be immense and wide-ranging, and not just as a peerless advocate for the Union. From his proto-environmentalist writings on Yosemite to his contribution to a California culture of philanthropy, Starr King made his short time in our state count. Lincoln himself thought of Starr King as “the Man Who Saved California for the Union”, and at the beginning of the previous century most Californians felt the same, selecting King to represent the state in the form of a statue back in Washington D.C.

But this story doesn’t end in the past. In August of 2006, a resolution was rushed through the California legislature to evict Starr King from his place of honour and replace him with a statue of ex-president Ronald Reagan. There was no public discussion.

King’s statue is still standing, but his days are numbered. Can it be right to erase such a potent symbol of our collective past? Well… listen to the podcasts, digest some of the background material below, and then make up your own mind. It seems to me that King is the right guy for that job back east — if you agree, click the link below to locate your California State Representative and let your opinion be heard.

For further edification:
» Find your California State Representative —
» Starr King and the California Civil War (pt.1) — sparkletack
» Starr King statue — National Hall of Statuary
» “Debate Urged on Starr King Eviction” — San Francisco Chronicle 11/25/06
» “Saving Starr King” — Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 10/15/06
» “A Vacation among the Sierras: Yosemite in 1860” — Thomas Starr King
» “Roots of the American Red Cross” — Unitarian Universalist World

random episode from the archives:
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musical support:
Thanks to Aaron Derington for “Green Forest”, Devin Anderson for “Trifles – A Play in One Act”, George Wood for “Slack Jaw”, and Commander Yo for “420 Improvisation”. This week’s music courtesy of

printed bibliography:
“Thomas Starr King” — Robert Monzingo
“Apostle of Liberty” — Arnold Crompton
“SF, You’re History!” — J. Kingston Pierce
“Americans and the California Dream — Kevin Starr
“Starr King in California” — William Day Simonds (online edition — Project Gutenberg)

linking policy: books in print available through your local independent bookstore; out of print books through