White Supremacy, Monuments & Memory: Charlottesville in Historical Context

 UPDATE: venue change to ILC 120 due to extent of public interest in this forum.
“The History Department is hosting a panel discussion on the recent events in Charlottesville and their historical context. Professors Susan Crane, Tyina Steptoe, and Katie Hemphill will speak on the history of white supremacist movements in the U.S., debates over Confederate monuments, and historical memory. All UA students, faculty, staff, alums, and community members are invited to attend. The discussion will be held Wednesday, August 30 at 5:30 pm 

in the Integrated Learning Center 120. (underground, west of Cherry Ave.)

One response to “White Supremacy, Monuments & Memory: Charlottesville in Historical Context

  1. Fascinating panel discussion tonight by these history professors, attended by about 200 people. Prof. Hemphill gave historical overview of the Confederate monuments erected mostly in 1900 to 1910, because South was first in poverty and rebuilding. No consensus between Southern Whites and Blacks after civil war, for Blacks the war represented freedom/emancipation but for Southern Whites it meant a “lost cause”. First monuments built in cemeteries, then later at courthouses & public spaces by United Daughters of Confederacy, followed by rise of white supremacists, Jim Crow laws and segregation. Prof. Steptoe (from Houston, TX) spoke of Texas’s 2nd largest # of monuments (178) to Virginia’s 223. The federal government supported desegregation in WWII and a desegregated military, with Blacks moving to North and Western states. 1954 KKK re-emerged. She spoke of Selma Alabama’s current re-enactments of Civil rights marches as well as Civil War battle lead by General Nathan Bedford Forrest (whose monument/bust has twice been stolen). There are 6 Confederate monuments in Arizona and why/when were they built? Prof. Crane then considered monuments in historical context, “the historical consciousness”, how people choose to remember history, the “collective memory” by different groups. People are now defacing monuments and de-legitimizing them, renaming parks, schools, highways. She remarked about Germany coming to terms w/ their shameful past of the Holocaust with monuments against facism, and the brass stolperstine plaques (on the sidewalks/streets, memorializing where Jews lived, and were taken & murdered in the camps). Questions from audience were about why were the Charlottesville demonstrators so angry?, what to do w/ Confederate monuments by SURJ organizer; any positive aspects of these statues?; what arguments can you use to educate & remove them?; should they be placed in museums, as history? what is the sense of America’s national narrative? (i.e. General George Custer statues, and Mt. Rushmore) and have the Germans come to terms with their past? Personal note: My husband got his Ph.D. from UVA and we lived in Charlottesville for 3 years.

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