Reading Monuments, Marking Turf and Embedding Memories
September 14, 2021
12pm - 1:30PM
Virtual Event - Register at: https://umd.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_DdOkMjjQS6qBNJitBoYwbg
A presentation focused on monuments and memory--what is to be done with the 2,000+ Confederate monuments and memorials still on display in the US (in and on the grounds of city halls, county courthouses, municipal buildings and parks), including (rough estimate) 710! plantations--National Memorials, National Landmarks, National Register of Historic Places properties (nineteen in North Carolina alone, six of them state historic sites)-- that are open to the public. Should they be reclassified as "black historic landmarks"? A private individual spent sixteen years and $8 million restoring Louisiana's Whitney Plantation, founded in 1752, as a site honoring the memory of those who were enslaved at the site. Contrast this controversial project with the Middleton Place Plantation near Charleston, which still defines itself solely as "the primary residence of several generations of the Middleton family, many of whom played prominent roles in the colonial and antebellum history of South Carolina."
As North Carolina's first black director of Historic Sites and Properties recently said, "One of the greatest acts of racial violence is the erasure of a people through silence." I would touch on the work of scholars Kate Masur and Gregory Downs, co-editors of the journal The Civil War Era and #wewantmorehistory as well as Brent Leggs, director of the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund, at the National Register of Historic Preservation. Among the projects championed by the Action Fund is the preservation and promotion of the Pauli Murray Family Home, in Durham, NC, the birthplace of the queer civil rights lawyer who has been canonized a saint.
Kirsten Mullen, Folklorist, Founder Artefactual, Founder Carolina Circuit Writers
Kirsten Mullen is a folklorist and the founder of Artefactual, an arts-consulting practice, and Carolina Circuit Writers, a literary consortium that brings expressive writers of color to the Carolinas. She was a member of the Freelon Adjaye Bond concept development team that was awarded the Smithsonian Institution’s commission to design the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Under the auspices of the North Carolina Arts Council she worked to expand the Coastal Folklife Survey. As a faculty member with the Community Folklife Documentation Institute, she trained students to research and document the state’s African American music heritage. Kirsten was a consultant on the North Carolina Museum of History’s “North Carolina Legends” and “Civil Rights” exhibition projects. Her writing can be found in museum catalogs and journals, and in commercial media—and includes “Black Culture and History Matter” (The American Prospect), which examines the politics of funding black cultural institutions. She is co-author with William Darity of the forthcoming book, From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the Twenty-first Century (University of North Carolina Press).
This event is co-sponsored by: