Monumental Decisions: The Legacy and Future of Civil War Markers in Our Public Spaces
Date: Saturday February 3rd
Time: 2:00 pm to 3:30 pm
Where: Pack Memorial Library, Lord Auditorium, lower level.
This event is free and open to the public.
Sponsored by the Friends of the North Carolina Room
Like any local history room, our goal is to add historical information, not to take it away.
Special guest speaker: Professor Fitzhugh Brundage, Chair of UNC Chapel Hill’s History Department, will headline a program on interpreting and dealing with Civil War monuments. The title of Professor Brundage’s talk will be, “A Vexing and Awkward Debate: The Legacy of a Confederate Landscape?”
Other speakers: The program will begin with two brief presentations by local historians.
Roy Harris will survey Buncombe County’s Confederate monuments—when and how they came into existence.
Jon Elliston will review the history of the local white supremacy movement that undergirded the introduction of the monuments.
Questions about how Confederate monuments’ proper places will be decided came to a cataclysm in Charlottesville, Va., last August, causing one death, multiple injuries and an acceleration of the evolving national debate. Locally, disputes over what to do with fixtures as prominent as Asheville’s Vance Monument have led to heated discussions and soul-searching about a path forward.
The focus of this program is to present when and where monuments were placed, who placed them, who paid for them, and a look at how they were presented to the public when they were placed. We also hope to shed light on the social and political times of Asheville, Buncombe County and North Carolina, during the time that they were erected.
Professor Fitz Brundage, who received both his masters and PhD from Harvard University in the 1980s, has since become a leading scholar of the history of the American South, with a focus on the historical memory of white and black populations in the post-Civil War era. He has spearheaded Commemorative Landscapes of North Carolina, an ongoing online project to document the state’s monuments and their meanings.
This is a link to his site documenting Buncombe County’s monuments. Commemorative Landscapes.
Post by North Carolina Room librarian Zoe Rhine