For decades, Civil War monuments – especially Confederate monuments -- have been lightning rods for controversy, primarily when public funds are needed to repair or maintain them. The June 2015 murders at Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, unleashed an unprecedented wave of anger against Confederate symbols, which has prompted the removal of monuments from public spaces.
The Museum’s 2017 symposium will explore the past, present, and future of Civil War monuments on the American commemorative landscape, South and North. What were the historical, social, and cultural contexts in which monuments were erected? How have changes in those contexts affected the way our increasingly diverse public regards Civil War monuments? The program seeks to provide the background and perspective that will help understand the controversies surrounding monuments.
Saturday, February 25, 2017
The speakers for the symposium are Dr. Thomas J. Brown of the University of South Carolina, and author of The Public Art of Civil War Commemoration and Civil War Canon: Sites of Confederate Memory in South Carolina; Christy S. Coleman, CEO of the American Civil War Museum, who is also a member of Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s Monuments Work Group; Prof. Ervin L. Jordan, Jr., of the University of Virginia and author of Black Confederates and Afro-Yankees in Civil War Virginia; Dr. James Loewen, author of Lies Across America: What Our Historic Sites Get Wrong and other works; and Dr. Timothy S. Sedore of the City University of New York, Bronx Community College, and author of An Illustrated Guide to Virginia’s Civil War Monuments and a forthcoming work on Tennessee monuments.
The symposium will conclude with a panel discussion involving the speakers and the audience to consider the future of Civil War monuments.
Co-sponsored with the John L. Nau III Center for Civil War History at the University of Virginia and hosted by the Library of Virginia, the symposium will be held at the Library on Saturday, February 25, 2017, from 9:30-4:00 p.m. Advance registration is strongly encouraged. You may register online here or you can print, fill out, and mail in the attached pdf.
Read more about the Symposium in the Richmond Times Dispatch.
Q&A with the speakers
We asked our Symposium speakers two questions about their study of Civil War monuments and will be posting their answers in the lead up to February 25.