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Exploring the controversy of Confederate monuments

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David Trowbridge, associate professor and director of African and African American Studies at Marshall University, will give a presentation on the ongoing controversy surrounding Confederate monuments and symbols Feb. 27.

The event will be held at 6 p.m. in Drinko Library Atrium and is part of the series of Black History Month events sponsored by The Carter G. Woodson Lyceum.

“One of the issues that has been in the news recently involving African American history has been the debate about what to do with some of these confederate monuments,” Trowbridge said. “I thought it would be a topic of interest to people. I believe history allows us the ability to make arguments based on specific evidence, allows us to have constructive dialogue and we could be more creative than simply removing something or leaving it in place.”

One of the subjects Trowbridge will be talking about is the monuments built in the 1920s versus those built during the reconstruction period during the 1860s-70s.

The monuments reflect the views of those who were in control in the decades when they were created, but the 1920s was when there was an explosion of monuments. A lot of it has to do with the politics of the early 1900s, and who was in charge at the time.

“The question of what to do with these now phases us, and it’s not just in the United States,” Trowbridge said.

“This monumental landscape is being constructed deliberately to place white supremacy on a pedestal,” Trowbridge said. “But that is never the only thing they are doing; they are also honoring veterans and some of them are there. So, these speeches are interesting and worth exploring because they have these two conflicting goals.”

Trowbridge is a veteran himself, serving in the Iraqi War, as well as a historian.

“I think we need to understand that … there are many ways to preserve history besides a monument,” Trowbridge said.

Hannah Swartz can be contacted at [email protected]

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2 Comments

2 Responses to “Exploring the controversy of Confederate monuments”

  1. Ernest E. Blevins, MFA on February 8th, 2017 8:52 pm

    The Confederate Monument issue is a historic preservation issue. These monuments scatter the Southern landscape, likewise it seems to be overlooked the Monument Movement was not limited to the South as many Northern states created their monuments to the local boys in blue. Something I’ve noticed in quite overlooked in these discussions. They should be preserved, in situ and not attacked. At the Southeastern Society of Architectural Historians in September 2016 I presented a talk called “Confederate Monuments Matter” which deals with this issue of the attack of Confederate monuments — particularly large and in public monuments. I would agree, it can be a topic of interest as my talk was well attended with multiple sessions going on — some friendly to saving and some advocating eliminating history.

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  2. Ginny Zalaznik on February 9th, 2017 10:39 am

    Any monument that promotes white supremacy Should have been DESTROYED decades ago. Let’s dwell on the present and the future…. not the shameful past.

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