Interviewed on Al Jazeera About Confederate Monuments

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.

About the author: Thank you for taking the time to read this post. What next? Scroll down and join the discussion in the comments section. Looking for more Civil War content? You can follow me on Twitter. Check out my forthcoming book, Searching For Black Confederates: The Civil War’s Most Persistent Myth, which is the first book-length analysis of the black Confederate myth ever published. Pre-order your copy today.

10 comments… add one
  • Rob Baker May 25, 2017 @ 9:55

    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.

    • Kevin Levin May 25, 2017 @ 10:05

      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.

      • Rob Baker May 25, 2017 @ 10:12

        Very true.

      • B Thomas May 25, 2017 @ 17:31

        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.

  • Maryann Germaine May 26, 2017 @ 10:59

    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.
    https://www.vox.com/2017/5/24/15675606/bryan-stevenson-confederacy-monuments-slavery-ezra-klein

    Maryann
    Northern VA

    • Kevin Levin May 26, 2017 @ 11:36

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

      • Kenny Jun 1, 2017 @ 13:06

        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!

        • Kevin Levin Jun 1, 2017 @ 13:17

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

          • Kenny Jun 1, 2017 @ 19:10

            No sir.
            The mayor disenfranchised the citizens by not allowing them to vote!

            And here is Malcolm Suber the organizer of the ONLY group to coalesce behind Mayor Landrieu in 2 years.
            That speaks volumes!

            Additionally,

            http://thehayride.com/2017/05/exclusive-heres-malcolm-suber-kicked-communist-party-u-s/

            • Kevin Levin Jun 2, 2017 @ 1:52

              Mr. Suber has the right to call for the removal of any monuments for any reason he chooses. That comes with being a resident of New Orleans. You clearly do not understand the meaning or the history of disfranchisement.

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