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tv   Controversial Monuments of the American West  CSPAN  January 19, 2019 10:30am-12:01pm EST

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u.s. military leaders who massacred indians. and monuments to pioneers, missionaries, and early settlers who colonized the west. they also explore similarities and differences between the south and west. this talk is part of the western history association annual meeting. it's about 90 minutes. >> i am the author of a book called "the legacy of conquest." the working title is "the burden of western history." it tells you something about the relationship that i found myself in, the southern history. i hope that would see more of it. i was frequently saying i was hoping to do something comparable to what mr. woodward had done. obviously at a much lower
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ambition than that. i dreamed of a real engagement between southern and western history at that time. it irritated me that children played cowboys and indians in a lighthearted manner, in a way thank heavens they do not play masters and slaves. the seriousness of western history would be seen in a compared perspective with southern history really mattered to me. i think regional comparisons here are huge to a degree. i have been ok with the fact that national attention has been on the south and confederate memorials unless for us giving to help uswesterners find how we may handle it better. it may help, it may be more of a burden that our heritage is so complicated. and when we talk about monuments and memorials, we can't get to memorials of soldiers if we want
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to speak of that until we have talked about them. there's so much complexity to the heritage. and also images and memorials to and monuments that have little to do with soldiers in battle or missionaries were pioneer women. i will make my one comment on bronze. other one,age, the was the early 20th century or late 19th century. most of those statues, a good amount of them, are not in the era of the south or the mid-19th century. thereby enshrining the racial troubles of a much more recent era like 19th and 20th century. what is seldom observed in these disputes is bronze does not hold up well in the atmosphere.
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streaks.ts pitted and that is kind of cool, i will say, when you see the reverence that goes into some of the statues and think they have to be scrubbed every year. that strikes me as funny. the humor session was yesterday. moving on. i am really delighted to have these folks here. i think we will not only explore the similarities and differences in the heritage of the south, complicated heritages. but i also think we will have some interesting things to contemplate in the differences moodsture and regional between those two regions. i think we will find those two units can feel a great deal of complexity. those are my opening remarks. i will introduce all of the panelists.
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as we have covered up here, alphabetical order is the only thing that brings order to my disordered life. we will be following alphabetical order. it is far better for these introductions to be short so you can hear more time hearing the people, rather than hearing me speak about them. very brief. i'll riverside, our first speaker, is a professor of history at texas a&m. he is the author of a number of important and influential books. he has participated in two textbook projects. and he wrote a book, "expectations of equality, a history of black westerners. and he now has a wonderful project on the western civil rights movement and their relations with other groups. our second speaker, and let's say your remarks about your personal experiences were
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intense and moving. thank you. neil foley, our second speaker is the codirector of the climate center for southwest studies at southern methodist university. he is the author of the white --scourge, "the that is neile." foley. nobody has ever seen me do introductions with such efficiency. other people have been in the opposite situation. will she ever stop introducing people? margaret jacobs is the professor of history at the university of nebraska at lincoln. she is the author of "a
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generation removed." racewhite mother to a dark ." "engendered encounters pueblo cultures." in the chancellor's leadership professor of history at the university of california davis. he is the author of "battle and "misplaced lines." cindy prescott is the associate professor of history. there is a chancellor waiting out there to get going.
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you are doing fine. ok. she is an associate professor of history at the university of north dakota. she is the author of "gender and generation on the far western frontier. coat and she has a project that will be out next year, a book that will be out next year, pioneer mother monuments, constructing cultural memory. thus endeth the introductions. we will begin. albert? >> can everyone hear me? good afternoon and thank you for coming. thank you for inviting me. i had a much longer presentation, but i'm going to have to shorten it. let me begin by saying monuments in the west honoring african americans in my view reflect social justice civil rights, selfless service, bravery, patriotism, and the role of african-americans as pioneers in that region. blacks and whites were equally responsible for the broad public
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relations campaign to gain public acceptance of these monuments. and unlike confederate leaders and white supremacist politicians who saw this memorialized during reconstruction or in the modern jim crow era, which looks backward to some golden age, monuments that recognize african-americans look forward toward the future. blacks and whites, i may add, shared the cost of erecting these monuments. one of the most interesting areas of recognition in our region of the nation are postage stamps. but i don't have time to talk about that today so i'm going to talk about two people. robert jordan and dorie miller. i will start with dorie miller. dorie miller was born in 1919. he enrolled in the united states military in primarily because he 1939, grew up on a poor farm family in waco. a way for him to feed
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himself and also relieve the family of that burden. he served as one of the few opportunities for positions for african americans at that time in the navy. he served on the uss west virginia at the time of the attack on pearl harbor. many of you know the story, he left his post when the attack was underway. without any training, he manned the 50 caliber browning antiaircraft machine gun until he ran out of ammunition and was ordered to abandon ship. he also carried his white captain, who was injured, to safety. miller had no training, as i pointed out. for many years, the myth was perpetrated that he actually shot down a number that shot down a number of airplanes. he did not. nonetheless, this was still viewed as a heroic act. miller had been an outstanding football player in high school. he was also the heavyweight
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boxing champion on his ship. he was a big man. chester nimitz, the commander-in-chief of the pacific fleet, personally the navy cross to miller. he said he wanted to do it himself, which was unusual. this was the third highest honor awarded by the navy. nimitz and the navy used this episode as a recruiting tool. let me get down here. this is the poster that was issued. this was the recruiting tool they used. miller served, if you don't know the rest of the story, served in the pacific theater until 1943, when a torpedo struck his ship from a japanese submarine. the american warship miller served on site within minutes. miller one of the heroes of thearl harbor, was one of more than 600 fatalities. the united states navy
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commissioned a knox class frigate in honor of glory miller. also a bronze commemorative plaque of miller is located on the family park at the u.s. naval base pearl harbor. the united states post office recognized miller in 2010 by issuing a stamp in his honor to pay tribute to what they called distinguished american sailors. under president obama, two texas legislators introduced legislation to rename the waco v.a. medical center after dorie miller and president obama signed the legislation in 2015. 2017, the city of nine-foot bronze statue. my goodness. there it is, honoring miller.
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this is presently in bledsoe miller park. the city of waco as well as the rappaport foundation contributed to all of the expenses. the former u.s. ambassador to sweden, a lifelong native of waco gave the keynote , address at this particular time. miller's ceremony was a communitywide event. it was celebrated by blacks and whites alike. it was not a contentious and divisive issue that southern monuments represent. rather it was upbeat, uplifting, , patriotic. the recognition also helped to heal in a small way waco's shameful racial past. it lynched a 17-year-old african american farmworker who allegedly raped a white woman in 1918. wake up thus far has refused however to place any kind of remembrance for this horrid event, which they view as divisive rather than uplifting. of robert statue is
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jordan. statues of barbara jordan are located at both the austin international airport and on the ut campus. this is one of four statues honoring african-americans on the ut campus. it also represents the triumph of white and black austinites to come together and celebrate the life of a great texas woman. barbara jordan was a native of houston, texas. she ran successfully in 1973 for the 18th district, become the -- becoming the first woman from a southern state to serve in the u.s. congress. we know she led a distinguished career in that body, best known as a member of the house judiciary committee during the 1974 watergate hearings, which investigated the illegal conduct of richard nixon. in the fall of 2002, a ut
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student group called the orange jackets began a discussion with a number of student organizations on that campus to recognize an outstanding woman. because in their view, the campus lacked statues of female role models. the orange jackets were established in 1923. they are ut's oldest honorary women's women's -- honorary organization. they serve both ut campus and the greater austin community. during these discussions, barbara jordan's name emerged and orange jackets submitted jordan for consideration. in august of 2003, the board of regents gave final approval just one year after this process began. which i think is truly remarkable. the newly formed barbara jordan advisory committee started a tedious process of soliciting sculptures and appropriate comment to place on and around the statue. the only controversy i could
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locate when i read the project material this past summer was whether or not the committee should include any mention of jordan's sexual orientation. they did not. robert jordan, a number of people said he was a private person, so this ought to be left out. in april of 2009, a large group of ut students, staff, faculty , and community members celebrated the unveiling the barbara jordan statue. let me share with you some other pictures of that. this is the invitation, one is the invitation of the ceremony and the other is the picture itself. about 1000 people were invited. the official invitation downplayed jordan's race but ed her gender. it said, we hope you will join us as we celebrate the unveiling of the first statue of a prominent female figure, so honored in the 125-year history of the university.
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in conclusion, i would like to say memorials to african american westerners sparked little controversy. quite the contrary, they were supported and embraced by a broad spectrum of the community. the two subjects under discussion, statues represented the values and the principles not only of the community but also the u.s. constitution pride , in one's country, selfless service, sacrifice and patriotism. the monuments look to the future, and they represented optimism. america's promise was unfulfilled, but the future was bright. monuments to african americans were designed with the idea to unify the community and they sought input from all segments of the community unlike , monuments for confederate statues, where the african-american community was never consulted. mitch landrieu, former mayor of new orleans, expressed my view
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as well as anyone when he analyzed the meaning of the confederate statues and monuments in his city, he says the statues were not honoring history or heroes, they were created as political weapons, part of an effort to hide the truth, which is that the confederacy was on the wrong side of humanity. they helped distort the myth of southern chivalry to detract from the terror tactics that deprived african-americans of fundamental rights. for those of you not aware, mitch landrieu removed statues of jefferson davis, robert e lee, beauregard and a monument , honoring the militant white supremacist terrorist organization. these monuments recognized african americans that whites perceived as nonthreatening. in other words, they did not upset the status quo. thank you very much. [applause]
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>> i'm trying to find my own powerpoint. it disappeared on this. can you all hear me? yes. ok. patty has given us eight minutes. i'm going to read what i have because i cut it down to eight minutes and i don't want to go over. thank you for letting me use your ipad. we cannot do both on the same computer without i.t. specialists. getting your twitter messages keep popping up on the screen. >> full disclosure, neil was one of the ones pushing me to set
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limits. let me begin with a quote from the anthropologist. sorry if i butchered that french name. book written over two decades ago, he has his admonishment. we now know narratives are made of silences, not all of which are deliberate or even perceptible. but we may want to keep in mind while some of us debate what history is or was, others take it in their own hands. so white nationalists in charlottesville took history in last year.ands the dedication of hundreds of hundreds of confederate statues in the south from 1892 world war i and the naming of schools after confederate generals from the 1920's to the 1950's represented a two-pronged effort that began in the south toward the end of the 19th century. slavery andimize second to reaffirm the supremacy
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of the white race through the enforcement of jim crow segregation. meanwhile on the western front, new mexico and california grapple with their own version of confederate tributes, namely celebrations of spanish conquests and missionaries. controversies over the messaging of these have received less media attention nationally. although native peoples have as much appreciation for the statues as african-americans for confederate generals. i will mention four of these controversies before turning to a nearby texas site. the monument in san francisco depicts a vanquished indian lying at the feet of a settlor and a catholic priest. the catholic priest looks like a cross between the ghost of christmas past and a dementor. many native american groups
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viewed it as a reminder of forced conversion and possession of native lands by spanish-american settlers. member called the sculpture a monument to genocide and scoffed that its removal would show disrespect for history. this is a slide of a santa barbara mission that native activists decapitated a statue of the franciscan friar who was canonized as a saint by pope francis for his efforts to christianize california indians. these natives say he should be called the saint of genocide. in new mexico, during the festival of santa fe, held each year since 1911, hispanic residents dress as conquistadors to celebrate the 1692 reconquest of new mexico, which took place
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12 years after the pueblo revolt of 1680. for natives, it's a reminder of forced religious conversion and the violence against resistance to spanish rule. last year, the city council voted to end the reenactment. and a tribal member in northern new mexico said activist groups have been emboldened by the removal of confederate monuments across the united states. and then there is this foot. in 1598, a spanish conquistador ordered the right feet of men amputated. in 1998, natives in northern mexico returned the favor by sawing off his right foot. the native commandos left a statement. we took the liberty of removing
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his right foot on behalf of our brothers and sisters of pueblo. we see no glory in celebrating his centennial and we don't want our faces rubbed in it. perhaps most guilty of historical silence is located just a few blocks from us. the alamo originally established ize tribes whon lived in the region for over a millennia. the history of those native people was erased in the late 19th century, about the same time white southerners began their monument building craze. a native council estimates more than native americans are buried 1000 in the ground adjacent to the alamo. but the alamo narrative does not include native people, despite the fact that according to the 2010 census, san antonio with -- was the city with the 10th largest operation of native americans.
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texas mexicans died in the alamo to defend the federalist constitution of 1824. it remains a mission of martyrdom. the alamo narrative also completely erases the role of slavery in the struggle for independence from mexico, which had banned slavery. it even silences the voice of stephen f austin who wrote i have been a verse to the --nciples the left adverse adverse to the principles of slavery in texas. for years, anglo settlers had crossed the border between louisiana and mexico and texas without documents. aguess the alamo is also shrine to anglo illegal aliens.
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25 years later, texas voted to secede from the union in 1861 to preserve slavery. documentssionist demanded the protection of the beneficent and patriarchal system of african slavery and the servitude of africans to the white race. the racial fears and anxieties of the south and west intensify in the closing decades of the 19th century and the first two decades of the 20th over threats to white supremacy and to white women. it is no coincidence that the film's birth of the nation and martyrs of the alamo, both released in 1915, portray african-americans and ethnic mexicans as rapists of white women. the eruption of white male nationalism in texas in the south was as much about the threat to their masculinity as the racial power and privilege.
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today's whites are less than 50% of the total population. latinos are 40%. latinos also represent 50% of all public school students in the state. demography may not be destiny, but it matters what monuments and memorials are being celebrated, by whom, where and for what. for over a century, the university of texas in austin, and i speak from experience when i was there, used to hold an official celebration on march 2 of texas independence, until the practice was abandoned in the 1990's, when a growing number of latino and african american students protested against the celebration of the slave republic that demonized mexicans as well as blacks. what guidance might historians provide communities having to reassess their regional heritages and narratives of the past that these monuments serve as reminders? i don't have a clue. i really don't.
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maybe patty does. but i do know if communities want to build bridges instead of moats, they need consensus, first on values and ideas on what they want their communities to represent. and second, to consider whether those monuments embody those values and ideals that they wish to pass on to their children. thank you. [applause] >> good afternoon, everybody. can you hear me? neil has kindly agreed to be my sort of slide expert. there it goes. in my brief talk, i'm going to compare two recent efforts to
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memorialize our complex history, the national memorial for peace and justice in alabama, which is on lynching and an aborted art , installation called scaffolds, which is about capital punishment, which included the memorialization of 38 dakota men hanged in minnesota in 1862. i feel like a star. the national memorial for peace and justice opened to much acclaim on april 26, 2018, 1 mile away from the still standing jefferson davis monument in montgomery, alabama. this was founded by brian robertson and his equal justice initiative. and the new memorial is built on a six-acre site overlooking montgomery. next one. this memorial bears witness to
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more than 4400 african american men, women, and children who were hanged, shot, drowned, and beaten to death by white mobs between 1877 and 1950. they characterize the memorial as a sacred space for truth telling and reflection about racial terror in america and its legacy. so of course, there were some rumblings of discontent with the memorial at least from the white , locals. local residents feel it is a waste of money, a waste of space. but in general, if you follow the coverage of this nationally , there was great public support for this project and great interest in it. it was overwhelmingly positive reaction to it. next one. this is scaffolds.
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scaffold was to be unveiled in may 2017 at the reopening of the sculpture garden at the walker art museum in minneapolis. it was one of 16 new works being minneapolis. it was one of 16 new works being added to the garden as part of the $33 million restoration project and expansion. it was made of wood and steel and it was meant to represent seven historical gallows used in u.s. state-sanctioned executions by lynching or hanging between 1859 and 2006. these included the abolitionist john brown, the lincoln conspirators, the haymarket martyrs, saddam hussein, and the 38 dakota men in mankato. this sculpture was the creation of sam durrant who said, i made "scaffold" as a learning element me, white people
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who have not suffered the effects of a white supremacist society and may not consciously know that it exists. whites with the concept of race -- whites created the concept of race and have used it to maintain dominance for centuries. whites must be involved in its dismantling. that is his quote, not mine. next one? the museum's artist and director were shocked when local dakota people began gathering outside museum may 26 and remained all weekend to protest the new sculpture. it's really traumatizing for our people to look at that and have it just appear without any warning or idea they were doing this and it is not art to us, a dakota protester told the minnesota star tribune. in response to the protest, both the artist and the museum director apologize and expressed
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regret that they had not reached out to the dakotas. the agreed to a mediated meeting with the parks and rec board and the council of dakota elders, and at that meeting they came up with a plan to ceremonially dismantled a structure, led by dakota c ritual -- dakota spiritual leaders and successors. so my paper is really what accounts for this very different reception of these memorials? the obvious answer is one was a black lead project about black historical atrocities, and the other was a white initiated project about indian suffering. in this controversy came on the heels of an uproar over the tz'se artist dana schu "open casket," about
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emmett till. the african-american artist and writer had written an open letter to the curators, admonishing the artist pretreating black pain as raw material. but there may be deeper reasons for why one of these memorials and then accolades other, scorn. i will keep it there. last one. first, this is scratching below the surface a little bit. there is a collaboration element versus an individual arts project. the national memorial for peace and justice was a long-term, coordinated effort that included multiple artists, but sam durrant made "scaffold" without ever consulting any dakota people and this particularly incensed them. from a dakota public historian and museum professional, they can speak with us and not about us. going to another level, too, there is the context for this.
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note that the national memorial for peace and justice was to create sacred space. i think you can see this in the photograph. at the sculpture garden, curators placed "scaffold" between this sculpture of a giant cherry and this one of a big blue rooster. one. and another issue was the focus. the national memorial for peace and justice focused on particular abuse. specific victims and its long-term impact. "scaffold" used the dakota 38 to make a larger point about capital punishment. the monument does not really focus on the dakotas' pain or specific experience of colonialism. and related to this is the idea of honoring the actual victims.
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the national memorial for peace and justice represents my name all -- by name all the lynching victims in the inner sanctum. "scaffold" has no representation of the dakota men who were hanged, nor did it include the names, and protesters, in fact, displayed signs with the names of the 38 men who were hanged. another point of comparison would also be the narratives that each of these memorials create. the national memorial for peace and justice has a clear narrative about the historical links between enslavement and mass incarceration. "scaffold" is on the launch of scaffold" is a melange of examples without historical context. there are lots of other examples of these memorials and i would invite all of your interpretations. the controversy over "scaffold" shows as we strive to create new memorials in the west, we need
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to be as attentive to the process as to the product. this is something that i think ari is going to talk about or has talked about in his book on sand creek. hannah black rights that discussions of appropriation and thatnnah black writes discussions of appropriation and representation go to the heart of the question of how we can live in a reparative mode with humor, clarity, and hope. thank you. [applause] >> good afternoon. is that better? that's loud. it's just very loud all of a sudden. i don't know -- i don't like to be that loud. good afternoon. thank you very much for being here. thanks, patty, for inviting me to be part of this panel. it really is an honor to be up here with several of my favorite
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historians in the profession. i was on a panel this morning with a number of people, and i did not say that of them. please do not read into it if you are in the room. [laughter] >> no wonder you didn't want to be loud -- >> exactly. it would be much better if i could just be silenced. how are you doing, neil? >> [indiscernible] >> oh, you don't have to do that. just hit play. do you see that? that's all right, it is doing what it is supposed to do. july 4, 19 oh nine, the pioneers the pioneers909, association, which is a heritage association that celebrated colorado's settler past participated in what at that time was a national commemorative project. they unveiled the civil war memorial on the colorado state capitol steps. veterans of the civil war around the united states were nearing
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the end of their lives at the time. as a consequence, archives were acquiring document collections, historians were publishing regimental histories and cities were unveiling monuments intended to shape our future generations would see the civil war. press forward. i think if you press play and then forward, it should work. if it doesn't, it's ok. no, no, the first slide is like. -- the first slide is black. just -- [laughter] you've got to go back. keep going back. more, more, more. barry go. enough. all right. beautiful. [laughter] >> [indiscernible] [applause] >> the black slide was intended to convey a silence, which is
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often how we memorialize things. as david blake, kerry janie, and other scholars have argued, this upsurge of memorialization around the united states embodied what we now look back on and recognize as a reconciliation as to impulse. memorialize -- memorializers had constructed a narrative -- this was a story on which union and confederate soldiers have have fought bravely, fought well. it lent aid and comfort to the lost cause over time. it changed to the right to shape -- over the right to shape an emerging american empire in the trans-mississippi west, which could be swept aside in service of an amicable reunion between north and south. the marker you are seeing first
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relates to the states early history and then boasted of colorado citizens' patriotism. it was reported nearly 4000 coloradans had served in the union during the civil war. this was the highest average of any state or territory and with no drafter bounty. -- draft were bounty. and then it listed in all the and listedbeep -- all the battles and engagements in which those troops had fought, including a bloodletting that we now call the sand creek massacre. beep. [laughter] at the dedication of the --orado civil war more civil war memorial, organizers stitched together national unity and national pride. they tried to integrate visions of empire in liberty. thousands gathered that day to celebrate the heroic colorado volunteers who serve the union and at sand creek helped the
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nation to realize its manifest destiny. i will flash forward about 90 years to about 1998, when a colorado state senator named bob martinez got tired of walking by the memorial on his way to work. it deemed to him that sand creek, which he described as a placele massacre, had no on the list of battles and engagements. martinez believed the massacre had nothing to do with the civil war, a conflict he believed was best for member for preserving the union and for ending the institution of slavery. sand creek's inclusion on this memorial, martinez reasoned, insulted the tragedies of native victims, diminished the sacrifices of colorado soldiers who fought and died in this civil war. his colleagues in the state legislature agreed with him. the legislature decided it would hire a metal worker to remove the plaque from the statues base, grind off the words sand
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creek, burnish the remaining 21 battles and engagements, and reattach it to the memorial. you could get rid of the horrors of the past for $1000, it turned out. then david hollis, colorado's chief historian, heard about this plan. he thought it was "well intentioned but lousy." he worked with cheyenne representatives on other sand creek projects, including the park services effort to memorialize the massacre and national historic site. he contacted some of these representatives, and they agreed with him, this is steve brady, "there were many indian massacres during the civil war, but people want to forget those stories." crystallized tom noel, a local historian, who argued in the denver post that coloradans should grapple with their past, rather than try to forget it. he suggested the civil war memorial should remain and the
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story is an creek with all of its various interpretations needs to be left open for public discussion and reflection. then, some of sand creek's latter-day defenders, including members of the nationalist organization called the order of the indian wars, agreed with tom noel the plaque should be left alone entirely. a man named mike corey said "taking sand creek off of the statue is not going to make it disappear. you gain nothing by hiding it under a blanket." unlike noel, he advocated not out of respect for the complexity of ever shifting memories, but because he thought "politically correct meddling would dishonor the people who fought in the civil war." in 1998, they testified and offered lawmakers a compromise. rather than removing the sand
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creek memorial, they should provide visitors with context, informing the public about the massacre through historical markers. within a few months, the legislature decided to adopt this suggestion. four years of committee meetings and public outreach passed before the new interpretive text was finally ready. four years to write a few hundred words, which is better than i am doing on my book at the moment. on november 26, 2004, senator martinez stood next to his civil war memorial that i have shown you. after arapahoe and cheyenne singers performed an honor song, martinez unveiled a bronze inque that had been shrouded --. the plaque went on to recount the particulars of what happened at sand creek for turning to the contested nature public memory. "though some civilians and military personnel immediately
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denounced the attack as a massacre, others claim the cheyennes and arapahoe's were a legitimate target." sponsors war memorial mischaracterize the actual events when they designated said creek a battle. the plaque concluded by pointing to widespread recognition of the tragedy as the sand creek massacre. in the decade and a half or so since the state of colorado rededicated the civil war memorial, tens of thousands, maybe even hundreds of thousands of people have visited the capitol steps in denver. it is not clear how many of them have noticed this plaque, but some of them have. hundreds of thousands of additional people have trouble to the southeastern part of the state, where they have climbed a small rise overlooking the sand creek tilling fields, located within the national parks services historic site. americans, prompted by popular culture and public memory, still recall the civil war only as a war of emancipation, as a good war. but i will end on an uncharacteristically up the note
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might beeat note -- it possible that the complex monuments and memorials, the civil war may also be remembered as a war of empire. it's possible that visitors to colorado state capital can learn that history is shot through with these kinds of painful ironies and the act of memorialization -- contingent, contested, is sometimes fraught with unexpected lessons. thank you. [applause] >> ok, i will stop frantically taking notes on my colleagues and prepare my mind to actually speak to you myself. i will see if i can find my file. i am going to be asking the question today, our pioneer monuments racist, which is really underpinning a lot of the things my colleagues are talking about as well.
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all right, are they racist? the earliestthat pioneer monuments, which were erected beginning in the 1880's and 1890's, the same time confederate monuments are going increasingly in the south are about enshrining white supremacy. go to the next slide, neil? so you have white, strong men towering over their indian guides, as in this one in front of the statehouse in des moines .owa -- in des moines, iowa san francisco's pioneer monument from the 1890's, which has minerva, the goddess of war, and bartering -- embodying eureka, the spirit of california, honoring many men who achieved the conquest of california, leading from indian savagery
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andugh spanish fantasy past mexican romance to white anglo civilization, including, as we session, then this statue that was protested in the 1990's and was removed last month. it was moved from its pedestal to an undisclosed location. there were native activists who were there and held a ceremony crews removed it. the current plan, last i heard, is to leave the pedestal on which it stands as empty, and i am interested in the debate about what the text should say explaining why it is empty. in 1909, as denver was putting
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monument, theyr also were putting of a pioneer monument. the artist placed prospector settlers, a pioneer mother at the base, and the plan was to put the plains indian warrior henri remorse back at the top, -- on rearing horse back at the top, but the people of denver freaked out because you cannot have progress from savagery to civilization that goes top to bottom. they read it from bottom to top and read this warrior as the conqueror of the whites and that was not acceptable, so they substituted kit carson an indian , fighter, for the plains indian warrior that was supposed to be wondering off into defeat. and then in portland, oregon, -- aas part of a luis lewis and clark centennial expedition, we have sacagawea
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represented as the female guide of the lewis and clarke expeditions. this was put up by some elite white separatists as essentially a feminist project, and the plaque says it is in honor of the female guide of the lewis and clark expedition and the pioneer mother of oregon. and i argue this is the first of many pioneer mother statues in 1905, the feminists are arguing that sacagawea paved the way for the white pioneer mothers, who paved the way for white civilization. so these early statues are looking for ways to demonstrates -- demonstrate white civilization. seeing it as a progression from savagery to civilization. shift around the time of
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world war i is away from showing pioneer men to showing pioneer women as an embodiment of white civilization. pioneer mothers always carrying civilization westward, but not quite ever arriving. the come to embody blessings of white civilization arriving in the west. and thus become part of the settler colonial project in in theg whites' place west. after world war ii, we see a shift away from what i call the pioneer mother movement of the -- of the 1920's and the 1930's into the nuclear family. the mother looks the same, you add the mother in the sun, and the sons as the hope for the future, in the midst of cold war era anxiety about nuclear family relationships, and pioneer
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families become the american family. they are representing a set of values we can hold onto as the civil rights movement leads to generational conflict, we should look back to the 1950's or perhaps the 1850's as the ideal we should be looking towards, right? and amid the farm crisis of the 1880's -- excuse me, of the 1980's, we have people on the plains looking back to the 1880's or 1860's. western cities really lost interest in pioneer monuments, but smaller towns on the planes become very interested in settler persistence. no mention of the people who had been there before, right? we survived in an empty land. we will not talk about why it is empty. very recently, as we have already heard, i will touch on this briefly and others have already touched on it, we see
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resistance and removal of statues -- the conversations really started in the early 1990's, when new western history, patty's book and others may people started -- may people start asking questions. the san francisco high in your monuments, including the early days portion of it -- pioneer monument, including the early days portion of it, was moved to blocks to make room for a revamped civic center, and then there was controversy about preservation, saying you could not move something that is already there, to racism, that this is racist and we should tear it down. the compromise was to move the statue out of the way and put up an interpretive plaque, which took them several years to come up with my which about. that was allowed to become overgrown and nobody knew it was there, until the confederate controversy starting in 2015 brought renewed interest to these statues, so
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conversations are changing. this one was removed in 2017 in kalamazoo, michigan, removing townsend of the pioneers, which -- removing "fountain of the it is very finalized but that is an indian man in headdress. it was removed and they left this empty pedestal behind. these are the only two sites i know have been labeled as pioneer monuments explicitly have been removed, but there is a debates about these monuments that are -- -- that are about southern colonialism as well, the pioneer label -- people are less quick to recognize that it also carries settler colonialism and locations. thank you. -- colonialism implications. thank you. [applause]
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so, thanks to the people who exhorted me to make sure that we follow the time. you have been remarkable. this will set a new pattern for this profession. we have not been so brilliant in the time control, but you have been great. so as a treat, you have a chance to speak to each other, if there is anything anyone wanted to say to any of the presenters among yourselves? i will say myself that it seems an unexpected aspect of this is that the west might have some -- not a lotions of them, necessarily, but traditions of honoring people we would want to honor and having a process that actually -- your story about colorado, people had four years of committee meetings, that is quite inspirational, but to come up with something that was fairly far better than what had been there.
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like we have something we might be able to offer and in fact, neil is saying that he came out with a very find conclusion -- very find conclusion to what the west is offering. the privilege of going last, so i had the privilege to react to all of my colleagues, but i want to bring a question that a few of us in this room had on wednesday, a question of why and how our western memorialization and southern memorialization different? we were having a meta-discussion about what that looks like and what does that mean? one of the things that stood out to me was that southern history has gotten boils down to this confederate narrative of one specific and federate narrative, a few specific generals we honor over , and areagain memorialized across the country, that western history is much
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more complex in terms of the ways it has been remembered and thought about and more localized. i want to bring that into this conversation, because i thought the presentations speak to that, and designate how these issues really are in the west, where we ,ave so much ethnic diversity so many different national histories and colonial histories intersecting and overlapping. upi am getting too cheerful to her, because it seems to me that the empty pedestal, the processes don't build the bridge, built the bomoat. wow, my optimism went away really fast. [laughter] moat, build a bridge. but the notion that san francisco -- it seems to be quite a creative community -- could take that anti-pedestal
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and conjure up something better to have, and out of a process of discussion. i would say that my favorite colorado, from proposing for confederate memorials that white flags be inserted in the hands, as just a provisional, while waiting for the next move, just a great mass production of white flags and putting those in robert e lee's hands would be an interesting idea -- a bronze white flag, i am not certain what that is. but that is a very positive notion in this locality, and in an imaginable world it has happened before. people can be engaged in community discussions on how to do that. , i think in a moment margaret wants to speak, but it does seem like a lot had to be left out in order to celebrate barbara jordan, and
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bitter and tillery -- and military veterans had to be looked away from. margaret? >> i took away a very different lesson than what you did, patty. it was mainly from the two cases i was talking about, because my take away from looking at those two cases was that there was something more fraught about western history new efforts to memorialize western history the new efforts to memorialize southern history. i do not know if that is true, but based on those two cases, it felt like there is such unhealed pain and ongoing colonialism in the west. slavery is over, obviously, the legacies of slavery are not over. incarceration is still a huge problem. many social inequalities are an enormous problem, but colonialism is still ongoing and it is very invisible.
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to me, i think some of the efforts to memorialize what is going on in western history, at least around indigenous peoples, raw andry, very very painful to me. i would not necessarily agree with patty. >> what you showed us the cherry and the rooster, and that was not a regional tradition by which we frame tragedy, with idiotic sculptures. that is not our way. so that was a deep weirdness there -- you are too persuasive in presenting that context, but i get the point now, thank you. >> having been uncharacteristically upbeat earlier, i will regress to the mean and also say i do not necessarily disagree with patty, but i think some of what we are observing in the west is that monuments to southern colonialism may not be
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challenged as often or as aggressively as monuments to south,upremacy in the because settler colonialism was extraordinarily effective at getting rid of native peoples in a place like minneapolis -- not entirely, but in a place like minneapolis, where there is a large dakota community, you see the dakota is coming out and saying, this is totally an acceptable. takes theo, it national park service memorializing sand creek for cheyennes to come back from northern cheyenne country and say, we would like to be involved in this process of re-memorializing or reinterpreting the civil war memorial on the state capitol steps. the denver urban indian community is significant, and there is no fatalistic reason to say that won't ever rise to the of people in
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minneapolis, the native people in minneapolis. we should not underestimate the urban indian community and a lot of western locales. enver urband indian community is made up with members many nations, and it gets more complicated for reasons that i think are incredibly complex and historically contingent, the african-american community in the south understands they have a shared experience of oppression in the form of slavery, particularly, and they tend to at least, recently have been working hard and together. i share your optimism, i think it could happen in the west as well, but i think the demographics are different and the politics around it are going to be more complicated. mind, when i was doing the research on the ute
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campus, it was a white community that seems to be the driving force, because the black population is just too small on that campus. this group that i found in the orange jackets, that is a white student organization. their point was not to honor or man, they did not honor the persons or person butnamed arbor jordan cohen there was controversy. i read the minutes of that organization and the minutes of the board of supervisors, at least bullet points. i could not find -- the only objection that i found was whether or not there was some discussion to mention something on her sexuality. i show you all the images of the statue because if you have been on that campus, it is really a beautiful statue.
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there are different point of the statue where you can read, there is signage, etc. that was really the controversy. she is also buried in the austin eight cemetery, and there is one word -- she is right next to stephen f austin, which i find ironic, and there is one word on her tombstone, and that is patriot, which i found to be quite interesting. again, i think white students are the driving force. the other thing i wanted to say, unlike ut, there has not been any serious discussion about taking down statues on texas a&m's campus, to my knowledge. yeah, i was there in the 1990's, up until six years ago, so i watched the barbara jordan statue go up and the mlk statue and the cesar chavez about the same time everyone was trying to get rid of president wilson and jefferson davis.
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we were right, front center of .he tower i agree with you, it was a lot of white students, but the fact of the matter is, 50,000 students -- when i got there in the early 1990's, 78% of them were white. today, it is a majority minority university, whites are 46% of the population at ut austin now. that is part of it. there is a small contingent of others who were a little upset for barbara jordan advocating for citizenship cards as part of her immigration reform. we havented out that if to carry citizenship cards, we will be racially profiled because they are not going to ask african-americans or white people if they are citizens, but dark people will be asked to prove their belonging to the u.s. the other thing i wanted to say left, the entire time i was there, had never,ricans
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never risen above 4% of the population of ut austin, ever. no matter how many times -- students came to see me when i was associate dean there, african-american students, and asked me if there was a master plan to keep african-americans from going above 4%. i remember my response was wow, i never thought of it. there might be one. i should investigate that. i did. i would put nothing past ut for maintaining a list like that, but then they started to launch all of these investigations into why it does not go above 4%. i will not go into that, but i wrote a journal on the 50th anniversary of brown the board -- brown v. board. they basically wanted people to rebut on this, and they were saying it was a pipeline issue.
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those are certainly still ongoing at ut. i keep track of these things. could you say something about what you envisioned, to build fewer moats and more bridges in the process on community deliberations? it depends on your point of view, but how these outcomes -- first of all, communities stick together, right? they meet at the school auditoriums. all three of my daughters went to robert e lee elementary school, and then they graduated and then they said, how come you never protested against the name of that school? i said, you never really thought of that. you grow up and get acclimated to the robert e lee schools all over the south. i am not from texas and i never saw any in the -- in washington, d.c. so two years later, they are deciding against that name.
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as many of you in this room know, because there are so many robert e. lee experiences, some of them stayed with the name, the one in hyde park in austin, they did not want to give up lee . and a lot of the resistance were the teachers themselves. the teachers liked the name lee, because it was a high-performing school in hyde park, and they like saying, i teach at lee instead of one of the nonperforming schools in east austin. not everybody was happy with this, but it was a consensus of the majority. they would say, it is going to be lee, but not robert e lee. now it is lee elementary, but it is russell lee. you don't know who russell lee is? the photographer. the federal farm agency
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from the 1930's who went around taking pictures of poor people. nobody cares, nobody knows about him, but his papers are at the the thing that really upsets me about that, as a father of three daughters who went through that and was already at smu at the time, there are two options. keep robert e. lee, go to russell lee, or the third option was, name the school after the first african-american woman teacher, first african-american teacher period who is actually still alive and taught all three of my daughters in second grade. i thought, that was the obvious choice, right? but they wanted to cling to lee. it, what to cling to robert ely represented, but they wanted the name. you could not give up the name for a living african-american woman who spent 35 or 40 years teaching at that school and retired.
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i will say very quickly, the same thing happened with stonewall jackson school just this year. just up the street from smu? thing, they same had community meetings and yelled and screamed at each other. the teachers wanted to keep jackson, because it was a high-performing school as they like saying they taught at jackson. the parents, a lot of them are werety at smu, and they able to get the dallas independent school district to reading the whole thing mockingbird elementary school, because it is it is on mockingbird lane, a big street in dallas that runs right through smu's campus. the point is, the communities have to make those decisions. >> margaret but it is so of thent, if the members community would start just calling it spike lee. [laughter]
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margaret, for that. we do have time for some questions. polly? we will bring the microphone to incapable ofou are being heard, but for the audience who is dying to see this on c-span. >> every time someone hands me a microphone i feel like one of the supremes. you know, stop in the name of love. the department of history and art history, what i missed was some analysis of the soldiers themselves. for example, why does the pioneer mother always look like a drudge? right? what is with the sunbonnet? you have to take a look at that and leak that to the stories also, also the analysis of the object itself.
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that is basically it. i think it is a large part of what the sculptures convey. that in a longer version, is certainly part of it, but as a reminder, a piece of art does deserve interpretation. anticipated, my first response is, in my longer works, you can read all about it. i will give one example of this. first pioneer mother wasn't -- and i barely touched on her in we had soccern, do we as a pioneer mother. the person he was labeled as a pioneer mother in san francisco in 2015, and the explicitly social darwinist exposition, about colonialism and all of this stuff, the eastern artist who was brought into produce this monument of a pioneer
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mother dressed her initially in a buckskin down and moccasins, and people freaked out about that as well because you can have -- and i showed you in my slides -- a pioneer man, a white man settler can wear french buckskin and that shows he is a ruddy, rugged frontiersman. when a woman is in buckskin, she druge and we can't have that. so the artist agreed to adjust her clothing to make sure that she was clearly white, right? so the sun bonnet, at least one of the reasons she had to be sunbonnet hit after that -- that istted after because women needed the sun bonnet to maintain their whiteness in the west. they are maintaining their complexion, which is all about maintaining their whiteness.
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i have a question for cynthia prescott. you showed the statue of the pioneer family in front of the county building in the city i live in. how widely did you look for statues? did you know there was a self standing statues of one of the principal ute chiefs in that area? that one.idn't know my project -- i was trying to be comprehensive in statute that were labeled with the word "pioneer," and i recognize that by doing so, i'd identified nearly 200 that had this label >> associated with them. >>you were only interested in finding pioneers? >> i did, but in doing so, i was at racing -- erasing many of these. i do know of one immediate,
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oklahoma, a similar pioneer bommer autoe, and a -- and a uber on -- eight boomer on horseback ready to claim indian land, they hired the same sculptor to sculpt an indian on horseback to fire back. i will not claim to become friends in my treatment of that. >> that statue could be seen as colonialism, because the largest in the hole of utes in utah territory were near where that was, in utah county. >> in some cases, these data sculptures are off -- these native sculptures are offering a counter narrative, in some cases they are pushing colonialism to read when it is native people watching the white people show up to displace them, it sends a different narrative. >> i grabbed the mic because it was next to me.
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recently, you are talking about the lee elementary school controversy, there is an interesting story in celtic city, where they changed the name of the andrew jackson elementary school to the mary jackson elementary school, and mary jackson was the first -- she was a nasa engineer and the school board said, she had her college degree and andrew jackson did not, and we want to point our students towards college. so that is one possible solution out there, if the last name is lee, find a different name that reflects somebody you want to represent your students. i just wanted to share that comment. >> [inaudible] >> first, i have had the wonderful opportunity of -- hello, the camera is in the way -- reading cynthia's book.
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buy a copy, sign it in your classes, come on. it is really good. really interesting. patty, i hate to stop on your but youtriumphalism, have to taste -- not only is there a fabulous installation in montgomery, alabama about lynching, they are our remarkable memorials to the civil war throughout this up. there is marvelous african-american tourism throughout the south. many of you might be aware that after the great migration to the north, many families come back at family reunions, school reunions, this is black tourism, and the little rock nine have an installation on the capitol grounds, larger-than-life. nine,dly resembles the but they kind of think they look like themselves.
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the first african-american student at the university of mississippi, there is a statue to that. there is an installation about the enslaved labor that built the university of north carolina chapel hill near silent sam, the statue that got justifiably torn down. there is a lot going on in the south that is something of a counterstatement to all of these ridiculous confederate memorials, and i think that is an aspect of why those are coming down. i have to deal with a lot of this because -- here is the kicker. stone mountain, georgia, mount rushmore. have one of the most massive installations to american nationalism, and it is in the american west. >> by the same artist, by the
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way. >> exactly, absolutely. here we are, western historians -- what is our responsibility? it is a huge local tourist -- we wonder about the alamo, let's wonder about mount rushmore and what it represents in terms of interpreting western history and what is the counter narrative that can be presented? but what can we do? >> spike lee. >> sure. he could be one of the faces now. >> the scale of the number of monuments and their weight, heaviness, and enormity, it seems like we need to get more creative artists involved in this. some people have been very remarkable in this, playing or countering a lot of this, because that is a lot of sandblasting to take that sucker down. when artificial intelligence
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puts so many people out of employment, there is a whole other industry waiting to happen in monument removal. [laughter] that is where they can go and we can retrain them. refocusing. commenting on it and twisting it in some way. this? oh,d i do with i am through talking. alison rose jefferson. i wanted to comment on margaret project that she presented, and this is a perfect example of why we need to have public historians involved with art museums when they are developing these kinds of projects, because a project in minneapolis, the problem with that project was that it was not well thought out. an artist that maybe had
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good intentions, i cannot say what his motivations were, because there were a lot of different motivations that could have gone along with him developing that sculpture from the standpoint of really being genuinely interested in social a statement fees as well because he thought he could get attention. those things do happen. in terms of museum people, they should have been more involved in doing community outreach to the people that he wanted to commemorate in the sculpture to how out their thoughts on this sculpture should be put together, as it relates to the museum in alabama. the peace and justice memorial site -- that was developed over .ears it had all kinds of research
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that went into it. it was a commemorative project that is not just about lynching, it is about the people who exploited and also dehumanized and -- we all know the different use to talk about what that monument represents. i think this is a perfect example of why we as public historians need to be more involved in these kinds of monumental processes. >> yes, we are talking about the west end the south, but there is a national thing as well, i we need to get
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some kind of public historians and public interest in the ways we shape the way we think about ourselves -- i am trying to get this thing to look like -- i want to show you, this is the bottom slide here, the rotunda in the united states capital. i worked at the senate for three years as a young man. citadel, -- this is the citadel, with three times as many confederate figures. i wrote the names down there, and the 12 confederates -- the only three i recognize were davis, calcium, and lee -- davis, calhoun, and lee, and the players.e minor they put up statues of rosa parks, mlk, sojourner truth, from the 1960's.
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they were missing native americans. so, they chose one native american. anybody know who that is? >> [indiscernible] >> was it standing bear? >> he is going there now. >> before that, i think it was the leader of the pueblo revolt. you got a pretty big lobby in the 19 or 20 pueblo communities in new mexico. all, richard nixon gave them back the blue lake. another thing is the controversy in the worldues war ii monuments. and the fact that one of the reasons this became a controversy is one of the veterans said that the design --
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i am trying to find what he said. h of shame black gas and sorrow cut into the earth." he came up with this one. what i did not know about this 1 -- i knew there was a white man in the middle and a black man on the right, person of african ancestry. guess who the person on the left is? it is supposed to be a latino. yeah, that's what i thought. oh. i mean, they got the skin colored right, maybe, but they were trying to be contemporary like, ok, we will put up a more traditional kind of statue of soldiers, maybe not raising the american flag. ok, now this style, but show
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diversity, right? that's always a good thing to do. but african americans was -- but the african-american statue was actually sculpted based on the sitting of an african-american soldier and so was the white dude, but the latino is kind of a composite. i do not know how they figured that was a latino because i grew i never thought of that as latino. i should be happy now, i guess. but if you are going to be diversity, maybe there should be more than three people up there. where are the women too? they were also part of that. >> ok, great. >> very quickly i wanted to highlight a positive thing that is going on at the university of utah, and that is the northwest band of the shoshone nation has purchased the bear river massacre site and is in the process -- i am not the best person in the room to talk about
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it. the chair is right there, of the tribe, but they are in the developing their own commemorative and interpretive center for the roadside, and that it an amazing step forward, when native people will interpret this themselves. and many of you know there has been a lot written about the monuments that are there already, that are essentially pioneer memorials. i think it will be an important change. >> [indiscernible] >> i am chair perry from the northwestern band of shoshone nation. thank you for having me. this has been fascinating. i just have just a perspective from us, my grandmother always told me that no one has ever story, andear our
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wonder you will have to tell them our story. -- and one day we will have to tell them our story. the other thing is, i'm not a monument eraser. i want you to know that. monuments are part of history, i too am i -- and who am tell you that monuments that were put up hundreds of years ago are not important, even though we are smarter today. history is not always neat and tidy, is it? but we need to be able to look at those things. we were able to purchase the massacre site. build an $8 to million interpretive center on the whole site to tell the whole story. our perspective, but hopefully it is a perspective that looks at everybody's of view, because point my grandmother always told me that everyone has a story that is worthy of being told. what is your story? your story is equally as important as mine. so i am just honored to be here,
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hear howr presence, smart you are. i told my wife, i don't talk like you people and i feel intimidated sometimes. but your voices are as important as ours. so thank you. >> ok. [applause] >> this is a slightly imperial moment that i will engage in, but the panelists were spectacular, the questions were great, your attentiveness. all the conversations that are waiting to happen -- this is the center cosponsored with the association of the american west, and we have a custom where the audience, they realize that they have had an amazing response and i am just calling for a standing ovation. [applause]
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[captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2018] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] >> you're watching american history tv, only on c-span3. retired fbi agent william owsley spent two decades prosecuting organized crime figures in kansas that he. he is the author of "monsters in our midst, the kansas city crime family." sits down with kansas city public podcasting editor for an illustrative discussion about the game lend


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