Yesterday I took part in a panel discussion about the removal of Confederate monuments in New Orleans on Al Jazeera’s, “The Stream.” It was a very lively discussion and I did my best to be heard. The other three panelists included a history professor from the University of Pennsylvania and two local activists in New Orleans. I especially enjoyed listening to Terri Coleman, who gave me a great deal to think about.

Thanks to Nur Nasreen at Al Jazeera for the invitation.

10 comments add yours

  1. This reminds me of many panels I’ve been on and witnessed at the Appalachian Studies Conference. Activists and Academics.

    I liked Jonathan’s point of “add rather than subtract,” which is why I find your statements about Richmond to be so appealing. I’m left wondering though on Terri’s point about the contextualization of these monuments. Is white supremacy “THE” context around the monuments – do we have to consider this in such a binary way of either or? I think you were spot on, I emphasize with the public historians who wants to preserve for those educational purposes BUT what is the value of my concern against a community that feels oppressed by such monuments?

    Good interview, there is a lot there to think about.

    • Glad to hear you found it helpful.

      Is white supremacy “THE” context around the monuments – do we have to consider this in such a binary way of either or?

      I actually found this to be one of the most compelling comments of the entire show. I’ve always thought of “context” as historical context, but never in terms of the lived experience of people who live in close proximity to these sites and who find them objectionable.

      • I think that is really the only context in which pro-confederacy monument folks ever think about. The here and now-who is seeing these monuments and what statement they are making to the community and about the community.

  2. Sadly I’m getting a “this video is unavailable” message for this link. So far, the most eloquent speaker I’ve heard on this topic is Bryan Stephenson, founder of the Equal Justice Initiative. What he has to say about growing up in the South, and living in Alabama today is eye-opening, indeed.

    (Am I the only person who didn’t know in 2017 their state constitution still does not permit black & white students to attend school together?!)

    A longish interview, but worth it.

    Northern VA

    • Works for me. Stevenson is indeed very eloquent on this subject.

      • Ever wonder why Mayor Landrieu and the city council would not allow the citizens to vote on this matter?

        Every poll in New Orleans showed 65-70% of NOLA residents wanted the Confederate memorials to remain!

        • The citizens of NOLA will have an opportunity to vote the mayor and city council out of office if they so choose.

Now that you've read the post, share your thoughts.