The ECW Top Ten list of Most-Read blog posts from 2020 has now reached the Top Five! And, yes, we’re back to monuments.
Monuments don’t just commemorate history, they tell stories. Statues also say something about the people who put the statues up as much as they say about the people they portray.
What happens if a statue exhibits “selective memory”?
Our fifth-most-read post of the year used the example of a statue of Robert E. Lee that stands on the Antietam battlefield to ask questions about the stories monuments tell. How are facts chosen and arranged to construct those stories? How should we engage with them?
#5: When a Monument Cherrypicks Its History posted by Chris Mackowski on December 15, 2020
When people have the chance to learn about history, don’t we want that history to be factually correct? That’s the question I asked last week when writing about the Robert E. Lee statue at Antietam. Placed at a spot on the battlefield Lee never visited, the factual inaccuracies inherent in the statue’s placement undermine the value of the statue as an interpretive tool, which is one of the strongest arguments in favor of keeping statues and monuments up. “Shouldn’t accuracy matter?” I asked.
Today I’d like to pose a related question that I didn’t tackle in my first post….