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Editorial: It seems to us ... Honoring Fernandes, goading the White House and uncovering history

In a well-deserved honor, The Buffalo Zoo has decided to name one of its new facilities, The Donna Fernades Amphibian and Reptile Center. It pays homage to the former zoo president for her role heading the cultural institution. The zoo’s Reptile House will reopen with new and renovated exhibits, along with new inhabitants and mechanical systems. The state will provide a $300,000 grant that gets the zoo to its $3.7 million goal.

Fernandes is humble. She is also effective, having led an overhaul of the zoo after being hired in 2000. She ultimately left her job as president in April 2017 but remains as a consultant, fund-raiser, grant writer, exhibition design specialist and all around Buffalo booster.

Most would consider it a “career limiting move” to turn down a presidential request and substitute it with something, well, ironic.

The chief curator at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum said no to a White House request for a Vincent Van Gogh painting. It would have been placed in the White House private quarters.
Instead curator Nancy Spector offered a gold toilet, on long-term loan.

A used toilet, by some 100,000 museum goers. Known as a “participatory sculpture,” it is a fully functional, solid 18-karat-gold copy of a Kohler toilet. Its title: “America.”

Don’t know how the Trumps are taking the offer, first reported by the Washington Post. No word, either, on how any of this will affect Spector’s current job title.

American history was unearthed this month, just off the Gulf of Mexico in the Mobile-Tensaw River Delta. If the wooden ship found sticking out of the mud there is what experts think, what was found is a painful reminder of international slave trade.

The remains are believed to be those of the Clotilda, a boat long in regional legend. In 1860, decades after Congress outlawed international slave trade, a crew used the ship to steal 110 men, women and children from their West Africa home and take them to slavery Alabama.

Fearing they had been spotted while navigating the back channels of the delta, the crew grounded the ship and set it afire. Now, the Clotilda may have been found as the “bomb cylcone” weather phenomenon early this month blew more water out to sea, exposing the remains of a charred 19th century vessel.

As terrible as this history is, with instances of intolerance rising in America, it’s a good time to be reminded of it.

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