Our Statement on Confederate Monuments
Recently, we shared with you Preservation NC’s statement affirming that Black Lives Matter. Indeed, the stories of African Americans “past and present, matter to today’s world.” We are committed to stand against racism and white supremacy, and to amplify the voices of communities that have been silenced for too long.
Today, we find ourselves at another inflection point in this historic movement, as community attention turns to Confederate monuments. As preservationists and story-tellers, we believe it is necessary for us to reinforce our stand against white supremacy and racism by supporting the removal of Confederate monuments. We echo the statements made by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which also supports the removal of Confederate monuments and the provision of historical context:
“Although some [Confederate monuments] were erected—like other monuments to war dead—for reasons of memorialization, most Confederate monuments were intended to serve as a celebration of Lost Cause mythology and to advance the ideas of white supremacy. Many of them still stand as symbols of those ideologies and sometimes serve as rallying points for bigotry and hate today. To many African Americans, they continue to serve as constant and painful reminders that racism is embedded in American society. We believe it is past time for us, as a nation, to acknowledge that these symbols do not reflect, and are in fact abhorrent to, our values and to our foundational obligation to continue building a more perfect union that embodies equality and justice for all.”
Our preservation work regularly connects us to the often inspiring, frequently distressing, and always complicated nature of history. This is a complex issue, and we believe that communities have a duty to address it head-on, centering on the voices of those negatively impacted by the monuments’ public display and prominence. We believe that monuments that are not and cannot be appropriately contextualized—and which do not acknowledge the painful realities of white supremacy—should be removed from public display.