African American Studies | African History | American Art and Architecture | Historic Preservation and Conservation | Other History of Art, Architecture, and Archaeology | Public History | Rhetoric | Rhetoric and Composition | Social History | United States History | Urban, Community and Regional Planning


Whether it is a monument, statue, plaque, or mural, the values and ideologies that are memorialized on public land reflect what reality the people of a country are choosing to remember. The United States’ political and racial history has led to the creation of controversial memorials, including memorials that honor the Confederacy and its leaders, influencing moral concepts based in racism, violence, and oppression. The continued veneration of these symbols on public land sends the message to the Black community that their oppressors are honored as heroes and that the society they live in still allows for their abuse. Annette-Gordon Reed, a Harvard historian, claims that public memorials could be used to celebrate the Black Americans who built the United States, and Confederate monuments could be better placed in locations of remembrance.

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