Contemporary Monuments to the Slave Past: Race, Memorialization, Public Space, and Civic Engagement is a digital project that investigates how we visualize, interpret, and engage the slave past through contemporary monuments created for public spaces. I use the term “slave past” broadly to include the transatlantic slave trade and the Middle Passage, enslavement, resistance, emancipation, and freedom. From Mississippi to Illinois to Rhode Island, governments (local, county, state), corporations, colleges and universities, individuals, communities, and artists are in difficult conversations about how to acknowledge the painful history and legacy of the slave past and its visual representation.
My research is predicated on the idea that the memorialization of the slave past is plural and multi-vocal. I examine monuments in the South, Midwest, and Northeast that tell a diverse story about our contemporary engagement with the slave past. The exhibits on Omeka consider a range of content including monuments related to specific themes such as the Underground Railroad, groups of similar monuments such as those dedicated to the United States Colored Troops, and particular memorial landscapes in cities such as Alexandria, Virginia.
I am still in the process of building and writing exhibits on Omeka. To review the current data and exhibit on Harriet Tubman, visit Contemporary Monuments to the Slave Past at: https://www.slaverymonuments.org/