What can our monuments teach us about history and ourselves?
(updated with the most recent, relevant links)
There’s a fitting recipe for classroom inquiry in recent current events about Confederate statues.
Here are a few essential questions to ask or assign:
What purpose do statues serve?
What star qualities make for the best statues?
Do we need statues? Who should decide which ones exist?
Are there people (or events) who should have a statue that don’t? Why?
(sidenote) If you take on the National History Day process in your classroom, researching the last question could help students choose topics.
Here’s an interesting article to get you thinking about statues more broadly:
Where Statues Go to Retire
The ongoing controversy over Confederate statues, which has seen these monuments removed from public spaces in more…
Here’s a good post to get you thinking about some of the most disgusting historical memorials that still exist:
There's hundreds of racist place names across the U.S. Here's why it's hard to change them.
The U.S.'s history of racism and segregation literally has its place - actually, many places - on the map, staining the…
Here’s a worthwhile instagram account that will take you on a visual tour of the deep(er) South: https://www.instagram.com/adeepersouth
i.e. This video captures the river site where Emmett Till’s body was found in 1955, where the conditions which led to his murder have not entirely disappeared.
Bulletproof memorial for Emmett Till erected after previous sign vandalized
After being vandalized and shot at numerous times, a memorial for Emmett Till in Mississippi was removed and replaced…
Here’s a good article about why people want to remove Confederate statues:
Confederate Statues Were Built To Further A 'White Supremacist Future'
As President Trump doubled down on his defense of Confederate statues and monuments this week, he overlooked an…
Why the Descendants of Confederate Generals Are Happy to See Their Names Go
For one group of Americans, the raging debate over the monuments and military bases honoring the men who fought to…
Here are a few good articles about how many Confederate statues exist, when they were installed, and how many are coming down:
There Are Still More Than 700 Confederate Monuments In The U.S.
Last weekend's white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, began as a protest against the city's plan to…
SPLC Catalogs Confederate Iconography
Update: It's worth reading Robert Moore's post on the SPLC report. I agree that a bottom-up approach to Confederate…
How Southern Socialites Rewrote Civil War History
See how this story connects to history.
Confederate Monuments Are Coming Down Across the United States. Here's a List.
Proposal to remove monument Confederate soldier monument toppled by protesters Protesters pulled down a statue of a…
The history and future of Confederate monuments
It's hard to forget the violence that broke out in Charlottesville, Virginia seven months ago when hundreds of white…
The Civil War ended 154 years ago. The Confederacy, as former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu has said, was on the…
Here’s an interesting primary source to utilize:
W.E.B. DuBois on Robert E. Lee
Yesterday I shared a brief passage from W.E.B. DuBois on Confederate monuments. Below is an short essay from DuBois on…
And here’s a fitting summary from Isabel Wilkerson’s book, “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents”:
Here’s a fitting, fake article about statues that might represent Americans better, especially if you need some levity:
Nation Rallies Around Ronald McDonald Statue That Embodies Country's True Heritage
WASHINGTON-Affirming their unwavering support for the fast food mascot, Americans rallied around a Ronald McDonald…
Maybe we should put up monuments to curious, struggling, persistent, learners inside and outside our schools…
If I had to pick one quote to memorialize in hallways, it would be this:
Sifting and winnowing - Wikipedia
Sifting and winnowing is a metaphor for the academic pursuit of truth affiliated with the University of Wisconsin…
Additional questions to ask:
How are statues similar to our resumes or social media profiles?
Do we need to include writing about the largest mass execution in American history in Minnesota or on the Lincoln Memorial?
Or a note about the only government to ever deploy a nuclear weapon on a civilian population outside the Truman Library?
Or should we expand the conversation to the history of the words we still commonly use as well?
There's a new way to deal with Confederate monuments: Signs that explain their racist history
lt’s happening in all sorts of places; said Adam Domby, a history professor at the College of…
Rumors of War
Rumors of War is a bronze monumental equestrian statue by artist Kehinde Wiley of an African-American young man (with…
What does this quote from Abraham Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address mean in the current context?
“The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave, to every heart and hearth-stone, all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”
Finally, here’s another favorite article from this current event, as it relates to so many important things that we care about:
Before taking action against hate, people should look inward
In the aftermath of racist violence like what unfolded in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend, one visceral…
In many current events cases, “Jumping straight to action is completely ineffective…”
Keep supporting those who break the barriers and chip away at the pillars of dehumanization.