A presentation, by Kirsten Mullen, olklorist and the founder of Artefactual, an arts-consulting practice, and Carolina Circuit Writers, focused on monuments and memory.
What is to be done with the 2,000+ Confederate monuments and memorials still on display in the US (in and on the grounds of city halls, county courthouses, municipal buildings and parks), including (rough estimate) 710 plantations--National Memorials, National Landmarks, National Register of Historic Places properties (nineteen in North Carolina alone, six of them state historic sites)-- that are open to the public. Should they be reclassified as "Black historic landmarks"? A private individual spent sixteen years and $8 million restoring Louisiana's Whitney Plantation, founded in 1752, as a site honoring the memory of those who were enslaved at the site. Contrast this controversial project with the Middleton Place Plantation near Charleston, which still defines itself solely as "the primary residence of several generations of the Middleton family, many of whom played prominent roles in the colonial and antebellum history of South Carolina."
As North Carolina's first Black director of Historic Sites and Properties recently said, "One of the greatest acts of racial violence is the erasure of a people through silence." I will touch on the work of scholars Kate Masur and Gregory Downs, co-editors of the journal The Civil War Era and #wewantmorehistory as well as Brent Leggs, director of the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund, at the National Register of Historic Preservation. Among the projects championed by the Action Fund is the preservation and promotion of the Pauli Murray Family Home, in Durham, NC, the birthplace of the queer civil rights lawyer who has been canonized a saint.