Memorials, Monuments, and the Media Paper

This is a three-page reflective essay on the trending news stories about monuments to slaveholders, brutal conquerors, secessionists, etc. As a PEQ this course has the theme “how do people in the present use the past?” This assignment offers you the space to explore this theme.

 

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Background: While controversies over monuments to Founding Fathers, confederate officers, slaveholders, dictators, and conquistadors are not new, at no time in recent memory has the actual dismantling of these monuments occurred or been discussed so richly in the popular media. Since you will learn about many of the people whose memorialization is being challenged, I want to offer an opportunity for you to put your knowledge of American history study to work.

 

Guidelines: choose a news story from any national or local news source that is covering the controversies over how a historical figure is being memorialized and/or how that monument (or other memorial—songs, names of teams, buildings, colleges, other place names are all part of this controversies). Provide the link to the story at the top of the page or provide a copy.

 

1: describe the memorial/monument.

2: Discuss the historical figure being memorialized (use your textbook, lectures, or other sources as needed). Provide a bibliography and appropriate citations as per Rampolla.

3: According to the news stories, what are the criticisms of the figure? What are the defenses of the figure(s) or the memorial? How has the site been challenged (i.e. vandalism, tearing it down unofficially, dismantling with legal approval, etc.)

4: How does your understanding of history affect your thoughts on memorialization of this person and what should happen to the memorial?

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