Tear Down the Confederate Monuments, But What Next? 12 Art Historians and Scholars on the Way Forward

8/24/2017 - Associate Professor of History Gregory Downs at Artnet.

Across the United States, the debate about Confederate memorials and other monuments to a racist past has entered a critical phase. In the wake of the horrifying events of Charlottesville, city governments from Baltimore, Maryland, to Madison, Wisconsin, have been moved to act. Given the role of such monuments as rallying points for an emboldened minority of white nationalists, the case for removal seems clear.

Yet important questions about how to act remain. What is the most effective way to deal with such historically loaded material? Is there a risk in erasing a history that, however loaded, still needs to be studied? Once removed, what is to be done with the disputed monuments? And what kind of models for counter-monuments should be considered, if any?

"Only by engaging carefully with many people on the ground can we hope to decide which of these two methods is most responsive to their needs and most conducive to building, at last, more accurate and inclusive public understandings of the history of the Civil War, Reconstruction, and Jim Crow," said Downs.

Read the full story at Artnet.