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Caption: Proposed Mothers' Memorial by John Geddes, 1922-30, Credit: (Library of Congress).
Image by: (Library of Congress). 
Proposed Mothers' Memorial by John Geddes, 1922-30 

Monumental Disagreements [rebroadcast]

From: BackStory with the American History Guys
Series: BackStory with the American History Guys: Full Episodes
Length: 54:00

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This is a country awash in monuments. They adorn traffic circles, street corners and, of course, the National Mall. In this special Memorial Day episode of BackStory, the American History Guys explore the idea of national remembrance. What or whom have Americans chosen to memorialize? And what do these choices say about us?

Mothers-memorial_small This is a country awash in monuments. They adorn traffic circles, street corners and, of course, the National Mall. We’ve memorialized everything from famous soldiers and statesmen, to big ideas or major events – and a lot in between. Yet our ambivalence towards these monuments is as old as our enthusiasm for them. Case in point: The Washington Monument. Ever wonder why there isn’t actually a image of Washington on it?

In this Memorial Day episode of BackStory , we explore the idea of national remembrance. Looking at some of our country’s most iconic monuments, the Guys ask what—and whom—Americans choose to remember, and discover how memorials often tell us more about their creators than what or whom they memorialize.

Guests Include:

  • Kirk Savage , Professor of Art and Architecture at the University of Pittsburgh on the early controversy over whether or not to build the Washington Monument on the National Mall.
  • Kristin Szakos , City Council Member in Charlottesville, Virginia, on two local monuments to famous Confederate generals.
  • Teresa Bergman , Professor of Communications and Film Studies at the University of the Pacific, on the evolving film presentations the National Park Service has used to welcome tourists at Mount Rushmore.

Piece Description

This is a country awash in monuments. They adorn traffic circles, street corners and, of course, the National Mall. We’ve memorialized everything from famous soldiers and statesmen, to big ideas or major events – and a lot in between. Yet our ambivalence towards these monuments is as old as our enthusiasm for them. Case in point: The Washington Monument. Ever wonder why there isn’t actually a image of Washington on it?

In this Memorial Day episode of BackStory , we explore the idea of national remembrance. Looking at some of our country’s most iconic monuments, the Guys ask what—and whom—Americans choose to remember, and discover how memorials often tell us more about their creators than what or whom they memorialize.

Guests Include:

  • Kirk Savage , Professor of Art and Architecture at the University of Pittsburgh on the early controversy over whether or not to build the Washington Monument on the National Mall.
  • Kristin Szakos , City Council Member in Charlottesville, Virginia, on two local monuments to famous Confederate generals.
  • Teresa Bergman , Professor of Communications and Film Studies at the University of the Pacific, on the evolving film presentations the National Park Service has used to welcome tourists at Mount Rushmore.

Transcript

SHOW RUNDOWN

06:00 – 19:00 SEG A

IC: Major funding for Backstory is provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities…
OC: We’ll be back in a minute.

6:00 - 10:41 In Our Own Backyard

Ed chats with Charlottesville, Virginia, City Councilwoman Kristin Szakos about two local monuments to famous Confederate generals.

10:42 – 19:00 Mall Rats

The Guys talk to art historian Kirk Savage about the early controversy over whether or not to build the Washington Monument on the National Mall.

19:00 – 20:00 STATION BREAK 1 (MUSIC BED)

20:00 – 39:00 SEG B
IC: Welcome back to BackStory…
OC: We’ll be back in a minute with more BackStory.

20:00 – 30:20 Between a Rock and a Hard Place

BackStory producers Eric Mennel and Nell Boeschenstein visit Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia to tell the story of a monument in honor of Heyward Shepherd, a free black a...
Read the full transcript

Related Website

backstoryradio.org