The controversy over statues and memorials—not only tributes to Confederates in the South, but those honoring historical figures here in New York — is roiling the country with a new urgency.  Preservationists have squared off dramatically against those demanding a fresh assessment of icons and their place in our public squares. 
To dissect the issues and passions surrounding public memorials and historic memory, Roosevelt House is proud to present a panel of experts who rank among the leaders in this ongoing and crucial dialogue: Annette Gordon-Reed, the Charles Warren Professor of American Legal History at Harvard University and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Hemingses of Monticello: An American FamilyDavid W. Blight, professor of American History and Director of the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition at Yale University and author of Race and Reunion, winner of the Bancroft Prize; and Michele H. Bogart, professor of Art History, SUNY Stony Brook and author of Public Sculpture and the Civic Ideal in New York City. Moderating the discussion is Harold Holzer, the Jonathan W. Fanton Director of the Roosevelt House, and the Lincoln Prize-winning author of The Confederate Image and Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory: The Civil War in Art, among other books.
Beginning in the aftermath of a white supremacist march to preserve a Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville, Virginia, sculptures have come under new scrutiny — or simply come down — in places like New Orleans, Baltimore, and other cities.  Here in New York, Governor Cuomo ordered the removal of busts of Robert E. Lee and “Stonewall” Jackson from the old NYU Hall of Fame in the Bronx, while Mayor de Blasio named a commission to examine “what to do” about statues elsewhere in the city.  Scholars, art experts, community leaders, and elected officials have all entered the debate—as the discussion has now extended to long-standing local tributes to Christopher Columbus (Columbus Circle), Theodore Roosevelt (Museum of Natural History), and even George Washington (Union Square).  At the extreme, sculptures have been subject to defacement, vandalism, and disfiguration.
We hope you will be able to participate in this important conversation.

On Or Off Their Pedestals: The Debate Over Statues, Memorials, Memory, and Meaning | Posted on October 10th, 2017 | Public Programs, Special Projects and Conferences