At the center of Oxford, Mississippi’s town square stands a soldier, a gray Confederate. Armed with a rifle atop his pedestal, he guards the door to the courthouse, the door I walked through to register as a voter here in Lafayette County. If you walked around Oxford’s square the first week of June 2020, you might have seen that the stone soldier was no longer a guard but was himself guarded. Police and barricades surrounded the statue after George Floyd’s murder, after protesters filled American streets, and after a student at the University of Mississippi painted campus’s nearby Confederate statue with the words “spiritual genocide.” But if you walked around Oxford’s square in June of last year, instead of barricades you might have seen small parcels resting beside the soldier’s feet. From a bookstore a stone’s throw away, a regular customer would buy copies of a book about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., zip each book into a plastic bag, and leave them at the statue’s feet. This book-buyer’s quiet offering illustrates the threads of memory that weave the last two centuries of American history together with our present. In 1968, more than one hundred years after the Civil War ended, Dr. King was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. Proof that racial discord remained in Memphis across that passage of time was visible in the artistic landscape of the city. Memphis erected a statue of Jefferson Davis in 1964, the same year that President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act. Art historian Kirk Savage draws these events together, arguing that “the strange proximity of these two events in Memphis—the erection of the Davis monument and the assassination of Dr. King—is the illness of the United States in a nutshell.”1

Monuments matter because they have the power to freeze a certain narrative of American identity and pass it off as history. Monuments are conservative in their nature; they preserve without leaving openness for changing interpretation. While our United States Constitution is amendable, our artistic landscape proves less so. Whenever the removal of monuments creates an outcry, we should note what version of American identity that monument projects, and who is threatened by its removal. Most often it is white Americans who feel threatened, proving their investment in a certain rendering of their history. In the United States today, our monuments tend to promote a static conservation of white supremacy.

The American illness that the Jefferson Davis statue embodies is white forgetfulness, a refusal to face and remember the truth of our racially fraught history. As Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow, reminds us: “Everything and nothing has changed.”2 Alexander is among scholars and activists who connect the dots between the seventeenth and twenty-first centuries, reminding us that mass incarceration and deportation continue the legacy of slavery. When Confederate monuments exalt white supremacy, they perpetuate our forgetfulness of these historical roots. And when we forget, we are doomed to repeat. This is why Alexander must remind us that nothing has changed.

But a monument in Montgomery, Alabama, stands ready to remedy our forgetfulness. The National Memorial for Peace and Justice is a long-awaited and unique site in our monument landscape. The memorial’s monuments are unique because they resist the static, status quo understandings of history that so many of our monuments perpetuate. The memorial invites visitors to face disturbing truths in the hope of fostering reconciliation. Will it help us remember and reconcile as a nation? Montgomery is home to other monuments that undermine the history the memorial presents. Hopefully the National Memorial for Peace and Justice will refresh our memories, but if the nineteenth century teaches us anything, it’s that one step forward often leads to two steps back.

2Forgotten History:
The Real Civil War

The context for our conversations about monuments begins at least four hundred years ago when slaves from Africa were brought to North America. Slavery was “indispensable” to settling North America.3 By 1776, “one American out of five was a black slave.”4 As former colonists staked a claim to their self-determination, they begged the obvious question: could the institution of slavery coexist with the celebration of such liberty? While these ideas are incongruent, white American society proved willing to live with such contradictions. Economic advantage trumped ideological consistency, since by 1860 “the economic value of property in slaves amounted to more than the sum of all the money invested in railroads, banks, and factories in the United States.”5 As the United States expanded, this essential contradiction in American identity could no longer be ignored. Regional tension exploded into the Civil War, a conflict most accurately understood as “three overlapping but different struggles”—the South’s desire for independence and the preservation of slavery, the North’s desire to maintain unity, and an enslaved people’s quest for freedom, their American birthright.6 This third fundamental element of the Civil War, Blacks’ fight for freedom, is something that we have erased from history books, something our monuments barely remember. Instead, the Civil War in history and art “came to be remembered as a tragic family quarrel among white Americans in which Blacks had played no significant part.”7 But Blacks were at the heart of this struggle, fighting for their own self-determination.

After the Emancipation Proclamation, the Union army recruited Black soldiers to their cause. While the film Glory popularized the contributions of Northern regiments of Black soldiers, most Black soldiers were emancipated slaves from the South. In the Mississippi Valley alone, the Union recruited “some sixty-thousand men in all.”8 By the end of the war “black Union troops equaled or outnumbered the entire Confederate army.”9 The participation of Black soldiers in the war effort offered a potential shift for race relations in America. Although Black soldiers were initially paid less than white soldiers, some Black soldiers saw their military profession as an opportunity to push for equality. As one Black soldier put it: “No negro who has ever been a soldier can again be imposed upon; they have learned what it is to be free and they will infuse their feelings into others.”10 From an opposing perspective, a Georgia planter made the same argument: “If slaves make good soldiers, our whole theory of slavery is wrong.”11 By 1865 the Federal government corrected itself by retroactively granting equal pay to Black soldiers, solidifying the equal value of their service before the law.12

3Reconstruction: A Return to White Supremacy

But Black soldiers’ momentary military equality did not yield civic equality. W. E. B. Du Bois succinctly summarizes the history of the end of the nineteenth century through the twentieth century: “The slave went free; stood a brief moment in the sun; and then moved back again toward slavery.”13 Terror was the key to this regression. Founded in 1866, the KKK threatened and killed those who stood in the way of white supremacy. Though beaten back by the Federal government in 1871, by 1875 white supremacist organizations again used intimidation and violence to keep freedmen from the polls.  In an ironic reversal, President Grant now refused to use federal power to intervene, claiming the country was “tired” of having to deal with this white violence.14 Southern Democrats swept back into power, offsetting the short-term gains of the Republican party in the decade immediately following the Civil War. When the Supreme Court’s Plessy decision cemented segregation, states quickly followed Plessy with their own laws spreading this separation to all of life: schools, transportation, hospitals, even cemeteries.15 Alongside segregation, white Americans continued to use terror to cement their power, the most egregious example of which was lynchings: “Between 1880 and 1968,” states historian Eric Foner, “nearly 3,500 persons were lynched in the United States, the vast majority of them black men in the South.”16

4“Monuments of Folly”

How does this history manifest itself in the American imagination? The struggle of Black Americans moving from slavery toward freedom has rarely been depicted in art and sculpture. Frederick Douglass rightly explains one reason artists avoided the subject of slavery: “Human nature is so constituted that it cannot honor a helpless man, although it can pity him; and even that it cannot do long, if the signs of power do not arise.”17 While art tends to celebrate the human form, slavery denigrates the human form, rendering a person powerless. There are no known sculptural images of Black Americans before 1860.18 After the Civil War, the main attempts to represent emancipation occurred in depictions of a white man: Lincoln.

As the Black American struggle for freedom from slavery did not present itself in public art, in its absence, new monuments rose up to tell a story that erases their pain, gain, and agency. As Kirk Savage explains in Standing Soldier, Kneeling Slaves: Race, War, and Monument in Nineteenth-Century America, “Failure to create a real interracial order in sculpture . . . enabled the rise of new forms of public sculpture commemorating Anglo-American heroism. A whole new type of public monument emerged dedicated . . . to the ordinary white man.”19 From the mid-nineteenth century well into the twentieth century, organizations such as the Sons of Confederate Veterans and United Daughters of the Confederacy produced statues of Confederate soldiers that now litter the nation. Though Black American leaders like Frederick Douglass and W. E. B. Du Bois spoke out against the proliferation of these monuments, today there are more than 1,700 monuments, place names, and various other public symbols standing in honor of the Confederacy.20 What Savage claims in particular about the city of Memphis’s monuments is true more broadly: the proliferation of Confederate monuments is “truthful in only one respect: it records the white elite’s own self-deception and denial.”21 Years earlier, Douglass expressed the same opinion about such monuments: “In the memories of a wicked rebellion which they must necessarily perpetuate . . . it is a needless record of stupidity and wrong.”22

While these thousands of Confederate markers stand to represent how white Americans fought and killed one another in the Civil War, not a single memorial or monument was built to bear witness to the thousands of Black Americans killed at the hands of white Americans in lynchings. Ironically, the legacy of lynching has been preserved in a visual practice that manifests the unapologetic totality of white supremacy. With no fear of legal reprisal, white Americans took photographs of lynchings which were then made into postcards and sold as souvenirs.23 Certainly history includes art that attempted to push back against white supremacy. One powerful response came when the NAACAP unfurled a simple black flag with white text that declared to a New York City street: “A Man was Lynched Yesterday.” But threatened with losing their lease, the NAACP had to stop flying the flag in 1938.24

The absence of public monuments bearing witness to this violent history has a tremendous impact on us in the present. Perhaps the strongest evidence of monuments’ influence is the tremendous outcry their potential removal incites. Why the protest? What do these monuments do for us? Savage explains that a monument is a kind of “self-fulfilling prophecy”: “A funny thing happened once a monument was built and took its place in the landscape of people’s lives: it became a kind of natural fact.”25 In other words, regardless of their truth, the monuments we have can become the history we believe. Thus, in our current landscape, the true story of Black American agency and the violent response of white supremacy is undermined by the proliferation of monuments that ignore this story altogether.

Even when we see the need for the United States to acknowledge its history of terror, creating a monument that does so is complicated on a number of levels. As Megan Kate Nelson comments in the conclusion of Ruin Nation, “Representing traumatic events in built space is tricky business.”26 Our American monuments to history tend to be triumphant in tone. What would a memorial to tragedy and violence look like? Furthermore, Savage argues that monuments are “the most conservative of commemorative forms precisely because they are meant to last, unchanged, forever.”27 Monuments preserve a moment in our history. Thus, they render themselves a product of that moment’s interpretation, closed to reevaluation with the passage of time. Is it possible for a monument tell this tragic story while also staying open and active in our collective understanding?

In spite of these challenges, the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) decided to give it a try. The EJI conducted research and raised money to create a monument dedicated to the struggle of Black Americans, specifically this overlooked chapter of American history that includes the more than three thousand lynchings that served to maintain white supremacy in the United States. The resulting National Memorial for Peace and Justice opened in 2018 as the only monument of its kind in the country.

5An Active Memory: The National Memorial for Peace and Justice

The National Memorial for Peace and Justice’s grounds are shaped like a clock. As a visitor, you wind around a circular path that represents the time the memorial covers, from the transatlantic slave trade through the present. The heart of the memorial is dedicated to victims of lynchings. Here, coffin-sized rectangular monuments hang suspended from a pavilionlike roof in the open air. Each monument names a county in the United States. On each monument, you read the names and dates of lynchings that have occurred in that county. As you wind around, you also begin to descend while the monuments rise higher above you. When you enter, you read the monuments’ names and dates at eye-level, but by the time you exit, the monuments float high above your head. In this way, the monuments take the shape of the hanging bodies of lynched persons. The height of the monuments also conjures for the visitor the terrible weight of this history. The heavy burden of these names looms over the visitor.

Image of National Memorial for Peace and Justice
Image of National Memorial for Peace and Justice

This monument was built with an expectation that it will change as time passes. The first site of change lies in the blank space that remains on the county-specific monuments. These monuments can be taken down and added to. Already in the memorial’s short life, previously unknown accounts of lynchings have come to light. Since the initial planning report created by EJI in 2015, at least three hundred names of lynching victims have been added.28 The second site of change lies in the material. These monuments are made of Corten steel or “weathering steel.” One memorial guide explained to me that this material is self-healing. If the monuments are not maintained and cared for correctly, the names will slowly disappear over time. Thus, the monument requires a maintenance of its material memory that serves as a metaphor for us. Forgetting comes naturally; remembering takes work.

With its openness to change, the memorial never claims to be complete. A waterfall covering the wall near the exit stands dedicated to “unknown victims of racial terror lynchings.” In this way, the monument acknowledges the limits of its ability to remember. More broadly, the memorial intends to reproduce itself across the country. After leaving the memorial’s centerpiece monuments, a visitor walks into a field called Monument Park. Monument Park holds duplicate monuments for each county inside of the original monument. The EJI is currently collaborating with local authorities to send each duplicate to the US county it names. As the duplicates go out, the memorial will spread across to United States to the particular places where these lynchings occurred. In this way, the memorial refuses to be restricted to its physical place. As it spreads itself out across our nation, the memorial insists that Americans locally acknowledge the violence that it bears witness to.

Image of National Memorial for Peace and Justice

6Kwama Akoto-Bamfo: Original Pain in the Transatlantic Slave Trade

Surrounding the central memorial are three sculptures that begin and complete the narrative. The first statue by Ghanaian artist Kwame Akoto-Bamfo depicts the terror of the transatlantic slave trade. While the other artists and architects involved in the memorial’s design are based in America, the decision to recruit an African artist for this particular subject is deliberate. Akoto-Bamfo created this statue in Ghana and shipped it to Alabama “in its own version of the trans-Atlantic migration.”29 In the sculpture, you see three men and three women, one who is holding a baby. The seven figures together create a circular shape, each pulling outward from the center. The sculpture is characterized by its movement. Besides the baby, each figure enacts a unique posture of motion—hunching, reaching, walking forward, and one even seeming in lift off the ground. The motion of the statue is important in light of Black figures’ lack of agency in American art history. While the figures here are in chains, they are not still. They seem alive with resistance. The active nature of the bodies aligns with the active nature of the memorial at large.

Image of National Memorial for Peace and Justice Sculpture

In the midst of this motion, we see pain inscribed on these bodies. We see the pain in their expressive faces. Akoto-Bamfo renders their faces with veins showing through their skin to reveal strain. We see pain in bodies marked by lashes. Yet not all of the markings on the bodies signify pain. One female figure’s rounded belly displays a series of marks radiating out from her bellybutton. These could be tribal scars, tattoo-like etchings on the body. In some tribes, marks like this on the stomach indicate fertility. Reading the figure with this possibility in mind, Akoto-Bamfo juxtaposes on these bodies the pain of captivity with the signs of cultural roots and promise of reproduction.

Image of National Memorial for Peace and Justice Sculpture
Image of National Memorial for Peace and Justice Sculpture
Image of National Memorial for Peace and Justice Sculpture

Akoto-Bamfo’s decision to mark this female stomach along with the inclusion of a baby in the sculpture reminds you that the enslavement depicted here continues on for future generations, for the babies born to these kidnapped African women. This generational continuity contextualizes lynchings as a continuation of slavery’s dehumanization. Akoto-Bamfo’s inclusion of female bodies alongside male bodies is noteworthy, especially in light of the next sculpture in the memorial.

7Dana King’s Guided by Justice: The Civil Rights Movement’s Forgotten Agents of Change

After exiting the central memorial, the second work of sculpture is Dana King’s Guided by Justice. In King’s sculpture, three women face us. They are on the same sidewalk that the visitor uses but approaching from the opposite direction, head-on. The women are walking with their faces set in determination and strength. The faces are lifelike, each unique in features. As a memorial employee explained to me, King modelled their faces after different generations of women in her own family. Like Akoto-Bamfo’s sculpture, King’s sculpture alludes to motherhood. One of King’s figures appears to be pregnant, emphasized by the hand she places on her lower back in an attempt to relieve the weight of her stomach. In contrast to Akoto-Bamfo’s sculpture’s seminude figures, King’s women are extensively clothed and accessorized. They are wearing coats, glasses, earrings, and weddings rings. They are carrying lunch bags, purses, and an umbrella. Their thick-soled shoes, rendered in incredible detail, are sensible for walking. Their appearances communicate to us their preparedness as well as the specificity of their identities. This woman has a husband, has rain boots, has packed a lunch: she is someone, she comes from somewhere, and she is ready for this day. Just as Rita Dove’s poem “Rosa” takes note of “her sensible coat” and “purse,” so King is also using ordinary objects to give her women relatable specificity.30 Unlike Rosa Parks, King’s women go unnamed. With this omission, King honors the ordinary women who fought for justice without being named in our history. But within these sensible, ordinary appearances, these women accomplish the extraordinary. The plaque beside King’s sculpture tells us that these are women who chose to break the law that enforced segregation in transportation.

Image of National Memorial for Peace and Justice Sculpture

King’s Guided by Justice raised a question in my mind about the goal of the memorial. Does the EJI intend to tell the whole truth about the past? I had seen a sculpture bearing witness to the atrocities of the transatlantic slave trade, as well as a factual presentation of lynchings in the United States, but here the single sculpture representing the civil rights movement of the twentieth century makes an interesting decision: the only figures depicted are women. Fannie Lou Hamer, Mamie Till-Mobley, Rosa Parks, and so many other Black women were integral to the successes of the civil rights movement, but male Black leaders nevertheless organized in outspokenly sexist ways. Roy Wilkins, executive director of the NAACP, spoke of limiting Black women’s roles in the movement: “Biologically, they ought to have children and stay home. I can’t help it if God made them that way.”31 Stokely Carmichael famously quipped that a woman’s best position in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) was “prone.”32 Angela Davis aptly diagnoses what she sees in her repeated experiences of exclusion from political activity because she is a woman as “an unfortunate syndrome among some Black male activists—namely to confuse their political activity with an assertion of their maleness.”33 In a memorial characterized by honesty in facing our country’s dark realities, does this sculpture present a false narrative of gender equality within Black resistance? On the other hand, King’s sculpture becomes all the more effective in the light of this history of exclusion. To portray three women—including one who is pregnant, a direct contradiction of Wilkins’s comment above—celebrates Black women’s activism, a long overdue tribute.

8Hank Willis Thomas’s Raise Up: Police and Prisons Continue Slavery’s Legacy

The final sculpture in the memorial completes the circle from past to present, linking the horrors of enslavement and lynchings with the violence now inflicted on people of color by law enforcement and mass incarceration. Finally, as visitors wind down a sloping hill back towards the entrance to the memorial, they encounter American artist Hank Willis Thomas’s Raise Up. Here we see parts of the bodies of a line of men, from their shoulders up, raising their hands in the air. They emerge from a heavy rectangular block that entirely obscures their bodies below the shoulders. It is worth noticing the visitor’s placement in relation to the statue. When you finally arrive in “front” of it, these bodies have their backs to you. You, the visitor, have the uncomfortable experience of being in the position of a law enforcement officer directing these people to put their hands in the air. The guide at the memorial explained that the rectangular block holding these bodies represents how these people of color are drowning in a legal system stacked against them. A plaque beside this sculpture contextualizes what you have already seen in the memorial with what you are seeing now: “Our history of racial inequality has created conscious and unconscious bias that resulted in racial discrimination against people of color by law enforcement and the criminal justice system.” The plaque names police brutality as a current manifestation of the racism about which the entire memorial testifies.

Image of National Memorial for Peace and Justice Sculpture

9What the Memorial Stands to Correct: Montgomery’s Monuments to Whiteness

Drive away from the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, down Montgomery Avenue and up Dexter Avenue, past that Baptist Church. Or walk, it is barely more than a mile. And there, surrounding Alabama’s majestic white capitol building, you will find more monuments. On the south side of the capitol stands a statue of a policeman, dedicated by the Fraternal Order of the Police in 1986. In the era of the 1980s when this statue was dedicated, Reagan’s War on Drugs rhetoric led to a “renaissance of white civil society.”34 While Hank Willis Thomas’s Raise Up addressed law enforcement’s complicity in continuing the legacy of racial injustice, here the policeman is upheld with great pathos as the enforcer of this state’s agenda.

Image of National Memorial for Peace and Justice Sculpture

Walking east around the capitol building, you will pass a few more statues. One is a statue of Dr. J. Marion Sims. Sims, as the plaque notes, is known as the father of modern gynecology. What the plaque leaves out is how Sims gained this medical acclaim. Between 1846 and 1849, Sims performed experimental operations on eleven enslaved women in Alabama. Sims got permission from these women’s owners; the women’s permission was not required. Sims operated on them without anesthesia, sometimes in public so that others could observe his techniques.35 Two of the memorial’s three sculptures depict female bodies in states of pregnancy and early motherhood. Here, in contrast, stands a statue dedicated to the white man who used Black women’s reproductive systems to build his own successful career. Predictably, a few yards away from Sims stands a statue of Jefferson Davis with a plaque revealing its 1940 dedication date.

If you continue this walk all the way around to the north side of the capitol, opposite the statue of the policeman, you will encounter the towering Confederate Memorial Monument from 1886. Exactly one century before the statue of the policeman, these monuments stand in opposition to the work of the memorial. The National Memorial for Peace and Justice teaches us to read these capitol monuments as unapologetic narratives of state-sanctioned white supremacy—the police and the Confederacy—two institutions connected with the racial injustices of our past and present. And in case the capitol’s monuments are unclear, the actions of the state’s leader fill in the gaps. When the National Memorial for Peace and Justice opened in April of 2018, Alabama’s governor did not attend the opening. That same month, the governor released a video expressing her commitment to preserving historical monuments, with lingering footage of the Confederate Memorial Monument.36 This juxtaposition resonates with that troubling pairing of Memphis’s Jefferson Davis statue and Dr. King’s assassination in the 1960s. Has anything changed in fifty years? Will anything change in the next fifty?

Image of National Memorial for Peace and Justice Sculpture

What purpose will the National Memorial for Peace and Justice serve in our society? I wanted to write about this memorial because I craved a work of imagination that would counter our forgetfulness about racial violence. The purpose of the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, as the name implies, is to acknowledge these violent truths of our history as “the first step towards recovery and reconciliation.”37 Bryan Stevenson puts it this way: “Truth and reconciliation are sequential. You can’t get reconciliation until you first tell the truth.”38 But some Montgomery residents’ reactions to the memorial express a different belief about its purpose. According to these residents, as quoted in an article published in The Guardian, the memorial itself is a cause of division. “It’s going to cause an uproar and open old wounds” or, more crudely, “It’s bringing up bullshit.”39 Another woman interviewed said that the memorial is “just stirring up something.”40 One member of the Alabama Sons of the Confederate Veterans said, “We have moved past it. You don’t want to entice them and feed any fuel to the fire.”41 Their comments suggest that the memorial causes tension. At worst, these comments even cast doubt on the veracity of the memorial (“bullshit”). At best, these comments express a desire for peace and unity that the memorial is said to disrupt. In Lori Holyfield and Clifford Beacham’s research on Civil War monuments, they bring up the possibility that monuments dedicated to a single group’s experience (“fragmented”) have the potential to “send shame further underground.”42 They go on to ask: will the “creation of separate sites for separate audiences lead to compromise or further fragmentation?”43 Their question is an important one to ask about this memorial, especially in light of the public response that The Guardian article’s comments express.

The Montgomery residents quoted above are wrong in (at least) one crucial way. Post hoc ergo propter hoc: just because “uproar” or “stirring up something” might follow the creation of such a memorial, the National Memorial for Peace and Justice did not cause the uproar. On the contrary, the memorial exists because something was already “stirred up” here. The memorial did not create the problem. It names a pre-existing problem in our history. But this lesson on logical fallacy is worthless unless people get the education the memorial offers. And people who believe this monument is a troublemaker are unlikely to visit it.

The memorial is an overdue and effective work of art that contextualizes and educates about the way a particular racial violence that began over four hundred years ago lives on in the United States today. But to conclude by reading the memorial as a solution to our national division would be, as Kirk Savage says, to “imply a consensus we have not yet achieved.”44 Time will tell whether the memorial helps us reconcile as a nation. As Pres. Barack Obama and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. told us, the arc of the moral universe is long. That quote reminds me again how much the nineteenth century is still with us in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Dr. King borrowed this quote from a sermon by a nineteenth-century abolitionist minister named Theodore Parker, who said:


I do not pretend to understand the moral universe. The arc is a long one. My eye reaches but little ways. I cannot calculate the curve and complete the figure by experience of sight. I can divine it by conscience. And from what I see I am sure it bends toward justice.45


The recycling of this quote proves that we are still learning centuries-old lessons. How long will it take for the moral arc to bend? We may feel the pull of despair—or worse, apathy— about our national dishonesty. But protesters do not fill our streets out of apathy. Sometimes hope arrives dressed in anger. Now we have the momentum we need to take down monuments of denial. In their place, we can build monuments that tell the truth. The National Memorial for Peace and Justice shows us how.

Margaret Pless is a graduate of Vanderbilt University with a BA in English and history, and a minor in art history. She is currently working on her doctorate in English at the University of Mississippi, where she also received her MA in English. She is studying modern and contemporary American literature with an interest in the genre of memoir in southern literature. Before returning to school for her doctorate, she taught high school history and literature for five years in her hometown of Birmingham, Alabama.


  1. Kirk Savage, “As Confederate Monuments Fall, Do They Epitomize America’s Illness?” Hyperallergic, 26 Dec. 2017, http://hyperallergic.com/418989/memphis-confederate-monuments-removal/.
  2. Michelle Alexander, “The Injustice of this Moment Is Not an ‘Aberration.’” New York Times, 17 January 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/17/opinion/sunday/michelle-alexander-new-jim-crow.html.
  3. Eric Foner, Forever Free: The Story of Emancipation and Reconstruction (New York: Vintage Books, 2005), 6.
  4. Ibid., 9
  5. Ibid., 11
  6. Ibid., 42
  7. Ibid., xxi
  8. Ibid., 53
  9. Lori Holyfield and Clifford Beacham, “Memory Brokers, Shameful Pasts, and Civil War Commemoration,” Journal of Black Studies 42, no. 3 (April 2011): 436–56.
  10. Foner, 54
  11. Ibid., 55
  12. Ibid., 56
  13. Ibid., 212
  14. Ibid., 196
  15. Ibid., 208
  16. Ibid., 209
  17. Kirk Savage, Standing Soldier, Kneeling Slaves: Race, War, and Monument in Nineteenth-Century America (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1997), 30.
  18. Ibid., 16
  19. Ibid., 18–19
  20. Southern Poverty Law Center, “More Than 1,700 Monuments, Place Names, and Other Symbols Honoring the Confederacy Remain in Public Spaces,” June 4, 2018, https://www.splcenter.org/news/2018/06/04/splc-report-more-1700-monuments-place-names-and-other-symbols-honoring-confederacy-remain.
  21. Kirk Savage, “As Confederate Monuments Fall, Do They Epitomize America’s Illness?” Hyperallergic, December 26, 2017, http://hyperallergic.com/418989/memphis-confederate-monuments-removal/.
  22. Brian Palmer and Seth Freed Wessler, “The Costs of the Confederacy,” Smithsonian, December 2018, https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/costs-confederacy-special-report-180970731/.
  23. Equal Justice Initiative, “The National Memorial for Peace and Justice,” n.d., https://eji.org/national-lynching-memorial.
  24. Library of Congress, African American Odyssey Exhibit: Lynching Crusade, n.d., https://memory.loc.gov/ammem/aaohtml/aopart6b.html.
  25. Kirk Savage, Standing Soldier, Kneeling Slaves, 7.
  26. Megan Kate Nelson, Ruin Nation: Destruction and the American Civil War (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2012), 235.
  27. Savage, Standing Soldier, Kneeling Slave, 4.
  28. Kriston Capps, “Hanged, Burned, Shot, Drowned, Beaten,” Atlantic (November 2017), https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/11/a-national-monument-to-america-s-known-victims-of-lynching/540663/.
  29. Linda Matchan, “Bearing Witness to Slavery,” Boston Globe, May 30, 2018, https://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/travel/2018/05/30/reckoning-with-slavery-the-trans-atlantic-migration-sculpture/3wcJvsQIqEay7g3VZfLfsM/story.html.
  30. Rita Dove, “Rosa,” July 4, 1999, https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1999-jul-04-bk-52719-story.html.
  31. Jacqueline Jones, Labor of Love, Labor of Sorrow: Black Women, Work, and the Family from Slavery to Present (New York: Basic Books 2010), 369.
  32. Ibid., 341
  33. Angela Davis, Angela Davis: An Autobiography (New York: International Publishers, 1988), 161.
  34. Dylan Rodríquez, Forced Passages: Imprisoned Radical Intellectuals and the US Prison Regime (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2006), 18.
  35. Adam Serwer, “Why a Statue of the ‘Father of Gynecology’ Had to Come Down,” The Atlantic, April 18, 2018, https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/04/why-a-statue-of-the-father-of-gynecology-had-to-come-down/558311/.
  36. Avery Anapol, “Confederate Monuments: We Don’t Need ‘Out-of-State Liberals’ Telling Us What to Do,” The Hill, April 17, 2018, https://thehill.com/homenews/state-watch/383616-alabama-governor-defends-confederate-monuments-we-dont-need-out-of-state.
  37. Equal Justice Initiative, “The National Memorial for Peace and Justice.”
  38. Kriston Capps, “Hanged, Burned, Shot, Drowned, Beaten.”
  39. Sam Levin, “Lynching Memorial Leaves Some Quietly Seething: ‘Let Sleeping Dogs Lie,’” Guardian, April 28, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/apr/28/lynching-memorial-backlash-montgomery-alabama.
  40. Ibid.
  41. Ibid.
  42. Lori Holyfield and Clifford Beacham, “Memory Brokers, Shameful Pasts, and Civil War Commemoration.” Journal of Black Studies, 42, no. 3 (2011): 436–56, https://www.jstor.org/stable/41151351.
  43. Ibid., 452
  44. Kirk Savage, “When Should the Removal of Confederate Monuments Stop?” Hyperallergic, September 6, 2017, http://hyperallergic.com/399061/confederate-monument-removal-op-ed/.
  45. “Theodore Parker and the ‘Moral Universe,’” All Things Considered, National Public Radio, September 2, 2010, https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=129609461.

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