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public history



  • The Statue of Chief Justice Taney Never Belonged in the Capitol

    by Corey M. Brooks

    “If a man,” famed Massachusetts radical Charles Sumner asserted, “has done evil during his life he must not be complimented in marble.” Instead Sumner demanded “the name of Taney … be hooted down the page of history.”



  • House Will Vote on Bill to Remove Confederate Statues from Capitol

    The bill would remove from public view monuments to figures associated with the Confederacy or the causes of slavery and white supremacy that motivated it, including a bust of Chief Justice Roger Taney, author of the notorious Dred Scott decision. 



  • When Monuments Go Bad

    Chicago is engaging in a broad and unprecedented study of the city's monuments and the political and cultural implications of memorialization in public space. Will this help avoid the bitter controversies and protests that have erupted in other cities? 



  • On Public Art, Historical Memory, and Racial Violence

    by Melanie Chambliss

    "Anniversaries are useful for focusing the public’s attention on historically significant events, including the Tulsa Race Massacre, but we must ask ourselves what happens next?"



  • Some Representations of Native Americans Erase their History

    by Hayley Negrin

    "Visibly racist and inaccurate representations of Indigenous people in public spaces send a message to Indigenous people everywhere that they are not in control of their own destiny, that they are not permitted to define themselves. The process of conquest continues."



  • The Next Battle of the Alamo! (Excerpt)

    A new book takes on Texans' embrace of the Alamo myth and the politics of preserving the site, with an odd detour through the Alamo memorabilia collection of British pop star Phil Collins. 


  • The Rebuilt Berlin Palace Embodies the Tensions of the City's History and Future

    by Barney White-Spunner

    While Berliners have incorporated the city's notorious wall into museums and public art, restoring the site of the Berliner Schloss of the Hohenzollerns and then the Palast der Republic of the East German government has been much more contentious. The Humboldt Forum has been criticized, but its design and reception exemplify the tensions inherent in democracy.



  • Why Confederate Lies Live On

    by Clint Smith

    Throughout the south, and in the minds of Americans, aesthetics and idealized depictions of valor continue to obscure the fact that the Confederacy fought to maintain a social order based on the ownership of human beings and white supremacy.