Monuments and Memory How the Law Writes American History

Those who want to improve the country`s memorial landscape have said they want financial support at the federal and state levels. But Thompson warns that governments seem to reject change. “After the protests began last summer, lawmakers in 18 states proposed bills that increase penalties for vandalizing a monument,” she noted. “Meanwhile, 13 state parliaments have considered bills that would make even the official removal of monuments more difficult, if not impossible.” The memorial audit calls for more such memorials that reflect a changing nation, “especially as locally led artists and grassroots coalitions face toxic legacies and open up new processes to portray a broader history in the public space.” The study is part of a larger $250 million project funded by Mellon, which the foundation says aims to “change the way our country`s history is told in the public space” by better reflecting “the vast and rich complexity of American history.” The review of 50,000 historic monuments across the country concludes that they “distort our history.” “We started as a class project where questions were asked,” said Paul Farber, co-director of the effort. In 2012, when he taught a course on monuments and urban space at the University of Pennsylvania, he struggled to find reliable data on the subject. “There is a common misconception that a government agency tracks all monuments – when they were built and to whom they were dedicated. But that doesn`t exist. The audit also found that U.S. memorials reflect national attention to violent events.

A third recall the war. For example, while nearly 6,000 refer to the civil war, only nine mention the reconstruction era that followed. The study also found that the memory of past violence is distorted: not a single memorial commemorates one of the 34 massacres of black Americans recorded during this tumultuous postwar period. Joan of Arc was more popular than Alexander Hamilton. St. Francis of Assisi ousts Robert E. Lee. And there are 11 times more sirens than congresswomen in Congress. These are some of the most surprising findings of the first comprehensive study of American public monuments, the results of which were released today. The report`s authors searched nearly half a million federal, state, local, tribal and territorial records to gain a detailed — and deeply revealing — overview of the nation`s memorial landscape.

Farber and his colleagues set out to get a “panoramic view” that could show general patterns in how Americans remembered their past. The team counted 50,000 monuments scattered across the United States and its overseas territories. The Historic Monuments Audit confirmed that 99.4 percent of U.S. monuments remain safe on their pedestals after last year`s upheaval. He also points out that monuments as a group have never been static and over time, hundreds of them have been moved, altered or dismantled for a variety of reasons, ranging from community disgust to road construction. “As power shifts and values develop, monuments are replaced,” said Greg Werkheiser, a Richmond cultural heritage attorney involved in the dismantling of Confederate statues. Several historians have praised the study for shining a light on a national debate that generated much heat. “The audit shows how many Americans don`t recognize themselves in public art,” said Erin Thompson, a historian at John Jay College, CUNY, and author of a forthcoming book called Smashing Statues. “Monuments are meant to inspire us all, so what does it mean if our monuments make it look like only rich white men deserve honor?” S. Waite Rawls, retired director of the Museum of the Confederacy and the American Civil War Museum in Richmond, condemned the removal of monuments, including one in Richmond for soldiers and sailors of the rebel cause. “These were guys who were usually drafted, and they should be honored,” he said.

“It`s like tearing down the Vietnam War Memorial.” “The history of the United States, as told by our current landscape of monuments, distorts our history,” the report concludes. “Where inequalities and injustices exist, monuments often perpetuate them.” In her report to the 2013 General Assembly, the Special Rapporteur addresses the issue of writing and teaching history, with a particular focus on history textbooks. In her study, the Special Rapporteur seeks to ascertain the circumstances in which the official historical narrative promoted by the State in schools becomes problematic from the point of view of human rights and peace. It also offers a set of recommendations to ensure a multi-perspective approach to history teaching. Noting that there are now more monuments to African Americans than to Confederates in Richmond, Rawls pointed out that on September 24, an African-American group unveiled a statue dedicated to the emancipation and freedom of blacks. Building on the previous study, the Special Rapporteur decided to address processes of commemoration of past events in post-conflict and divided societies, with particular emphasis on memorials and history/memory museums. She presented this report to the Human Rights Council in 2014 Alexander Cook Columbia Universities and Brown Dr. Cook is an assistant professor of history at Berkeley. His article Third World Maoism will soon appear in Timothy Cheek`s essay volume A Critical Introduction to Mao.

To be published by Cambridge University Press. “Memory is often possessed, history is interpreted. Memory is passed down from generation to generation; The story is being revised. Thompson estimates that about 170 memorials — less than half a percent — were dismantled after Floyd`s death. More than 80% of them were evicted due to community decisions, while the rest were knocked down by protesters. The vast majority were monuments to Confederate leaders or increasingly controversial figures like Christopher Columbus. (See how 9/11 memorials help us remember and cry.) The experience of African Americans is not the only thread in national history that is overlooked in the public sphere. The team counted nearly a thousand monuments erected after 1930 to celebrate white pioneers, but largely avoids mentioning the darker aspects of westward migration, such as massacres, land grabbing, and non-compliance with solemn treaties with Native Americans. Abraham Lincoln tops the list of people celebrated in public monuments across the United States — nearly 200 in total — with George Washington in second place and Christopher Columbus in third.

Predictably, Casimir Pulaski, a Polish cavalry officer of the Revolutionary War, beat Thomas Jefferson with 51 monuments dedicated to the three dozen dedicated to the author of the Declaration of Independence. Historical narratives are important elements of cultural heritage. They play a crucial role in collective identity, with people striving to recover, validate, make their own history known and acknowledged by others, and challenge interpretations. This has been evident during all the Special Rapporteur`s country visits. Mit dem Audit haben Forscher, Gesetzgeber und die Öffentlichkeit jedoch ein klares Bild, anhand dessen sie Amerikas monumentale Landschaft beurteilen können. How Civil War Financial Agents Sold the World on Union Grant, Pemberton, and the Battles May 19-22, 1863 Marriage, Money and the Law of Follies Ziegfeld to Anna Nicole Smith Women, Slavery, and Changing Identities in Washington, D.C.