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Monuments and Memorialization: A Resource Guide

In the last several years, how we remember and memorialize the Civil War has been a hot topic in the United States. Each year, some event or action brings it into sharp focus, and that is true yet again in June 2020.

Exploring how and by whom Civil War stories have been told over time empowers us to participate in shaping how we build our civic spaces and to use those spaces to tell American experiences. As a site of national memory and political violence, Ford’s Theatre is well positioned to provide a forum for such conversations.

At Ford’s Theatre we believe that the monument landscape is not static and should not be unchangeable. People create it, change it and expand it as we change and grow as a people and as a nation.

At Ford’s, we turn to history and primary sources to contextualize and interpret the monument landscape. Below are some of our staff’s recommendations as we each navigate our personal and professional responses to these nuanced and complicated discussions.

Teachers stand on DC's Lincoln's Park observing a statue of Abraham Lincoln and an emancipated slave. Lincoln stands and the emancipated man kneels beside him.
Photo of D.C.'s Emancipation Memorial in Lincoln Park by Lauren Beyea.

By no means is this list complete, but it is a beginning.

  • For a robust, crowd-sourced and continually evolving list, check out this Confederate Monuments syllabus hosted by scholar and educator Kevin Levin.
  • Dr. Hilary Green hosts a continually-updated map of monument removals, including Confederate monuments, around the world.
  • On Monument Avenue, a website from the American Civil War Museum exploring debates about the statuary on Monument Avenue in Richmond, Virginia.

Ford’s staff members have written blog posts reflecting on our own work and understanding of memorialization:

Podcast Episodes (chronological by release date)

In this above episode of the Ford's "Cabinet Conversations" series, Dr. Hilary Green and Kevin Levin discuss how we remember and memorialize the Civil War, and how the legacies of the Lost Cause impact our world today.

Films and Videos

Articles and blog posts (alphabetical by author)

Books (alphabetical by author)

  • Dixie's Daughters: The United Daughters of the Confederacy and the Preservation of Confederate Culture (New Perspectives on the History of the South), by Karen L. Cox.
  • The Second Founding: How the Civil War and Reconstruction Remade the Constitution, by Eric Foner.
  • Shadowed Ground: America’s Landscapes of Violence and Tragedy, by Kenneth E. Foote.
  • Searching for Black Confederates: The Civil War’s Most Persistent Myth, by Kevin M. Levin.
  • How the South Won the Civil War: Oligarchy, Democracy, and the Continuing Fight for the Soul of America, by Heather Cox Richardson.

Alex Wood is Education Programs Manager at Ford’s Theatre. Follow her on Twitter: @xela415, @FordsEdu.

David McKenzie is Associate Director for Interpretive Resources at Ford’s Theatre. Follow him on Twitter  @DPMcKenzie.

Jake Flack is Associate Director for Museum Education at Ford’s Theatre.