Sep 28, 2017
On this episode, Dr. Mike Sistrom, Department Head & Professor of History, Greensboro College and Dr. Damon Akins, Department Head, & Associate Professor of History, Guilford College discussed what should happen with the confederate monuments in the U.S.
Scattered mostly throughout the South, these monuments have been a hotly debated topic, most notably in recent weeks after the Charlottesville, Virginia protests by members of white nationalists groups (including the KKK & Neo-Natzi's) and Antifa. This protest was spurned by the scheduled removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee.
We discussed the underlying feelings of heritage in an attempt to understand what may have fueled the divisive feelings that persist around the issue of removing these monuments. Mike provided a website: http://docsouth.unc.edu/commland/ to check the stage / status of removal that many of the monuments are in - in the state of North Carolina.
Mike and Damon described the difference between "monumental" history and actual history. Both Mike and Damon presented that the time frame in which these confederate statues were erected was during the Jim Crow era (1890 - 1930's & even forward through to the 1980's) highlighting that this era was marked by the struggle for black, minority & female equality and the likely mis-use of white male power to exert itself through the placement of these statutes in public court houses and public spaces to solidify white male power.
Dr. Damon Akins presented innovative concepts being discussed of creating a "Monumental Hall" of prior statues as well as new sculptures for the sole purpose of enjoying their historical value. Also, the creation of an historical garden of monuments representing multiple perspectives and concepts of history to further stimulate discussion and appreciate of a wide range of historical topics.
Mike pointed out that monuments should represent the LOCAL histories of communities. Both Damon and Mike noted that new monuments should be approved by local communities - rather than be forced on them by private groups.
Damon advocated for the continued use of monuments that children may climb on. The goal of these future "Halls" of monuments and Historical Gardens would be to also update historical experiences as it adds other memorable events. This would serve to enhance learning and foster a deeper understanding of our human experience.