Monument Lab

Civil War Memory and Monuments to White Supremacy with Art Historian Kirk Savage

Episode Summary

Professor and Art Historian Kirk Savage is one of the nation’s foremost experts on monuments and memorials. Savage is the author of several books including Monument Wars and Standing Soldiers, Kneeling Slaves: Race, War, and Monument in Nineteenth-Century America, which was recently reprinted in an updated edition from Princeton University Press. Savage’s landmark book reveals how African American soldiers were largely left off public monuments after the Civil War, in favor of sites dedicated to white leaders, as well as white union and Confederate soldiers. Savage traces how so many Confederate monuments were installed on public lands, who initially paid for them, and how they reinforced practices of white supremacy. In recent projects, he is collaborating with artists on permanent and temporary monument projects to shift the ways we experience history in public spaces.

Episode Notes

Professor and Art Historian Kirk Savage is one of the nation’s foremost experts on monuments and memorials. Savage is the author of several books including Monument Wars and Standing Soldiers, Kneeling Slaves: Race, War, and Monument in Nineteenth-Century America, which was recently reprinted in an updated edition from Princeton University Press. Savage’s landmark book reveals how African American soldiers were largely left off public monuments after the Civil War, in favor of sites dedicated to white leaders, as well as white union and Confederate soldiers. Savage traces how so many Confederate monuments were installed on public lands, who initially paid for them, and how they reinforced practices of white supremacy. In recent projects, he is collaborating with artists on permanent and temporary monument projects to shift the ways we experience history in public spaces.