AHA Statement on Confederate Monuments

The tragic events in Charlottesville, Virginia, have re-ignited debate about the place of Confederate monuments in public spaces, as well as related conversations about the role of Confederate, neo-Nazi, and white supremacist imagery in American political culture. Historians have been a vocal presence in these discussions and the American Historical Association is compiling an ongoing bibliography of the diverse perspectives of AHA members.

The AHA has also released the following statement about the role of history and historians in these public conversations. Rather than seeking to provide definitive answers to the questions posed by individual monuments, the AHA emphasizes the imperative of understanding historical context in any consideration of removing or recontextualizing monuments, or renaming public spaces.

Read full statement on historians.org:

The following Affiliated Societies have endorsed our statement on Confederate monuments:

American Association for State and Local History
American Journalism Historians Association 
Berkshire Conference of Women Historians
Chinese Historians in the United States
Committee on LGBT History
Coordinating Council for Women in History 
Forum on European Expansion and Global Interaction
French Colonial Historical Society 
Labor and Working Class History Association
National Council on Public History
New England Historical Association
North American Conference on British Studies 
Organization of American Historian
Social Welfare History Group
Society for French Historical Studies
Society for Historians of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era
Society for Italian Historical Studies
Society for the History of Children and Youth
Southern Historical Association
The Society for the Study of Southern Literature
Western Association of Women Historians

Western History Association
Western Society for French History

World History Association

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  1. FMJohnson

    It would be helpful to the public discussion of this topic for the AHA to follow up on its statement with the historical documentation that supports this assertion:

    Commemorating not just the Confederacy but also the “Redemption” of the South after Reconstruction, [monument-building] was part and parcel of the initiation of legally mandated segregation and widespread disenfranchisement across the South. Memorials to the Confederacy were intended, in part, to obscure the terrorism required to overthrow Reconstruction, and to intimidate African Americans politically and isolate them from the mainstream of public life.

    1. Bernie Cyrus

      This is a great response to the arbitrary judgement made by politically ambitious individuals who have not personally studied nor have allowed a balanced discussion . Let the light shine under discussions of experts. I know as a student of this history that its perceived darkness and historical narrative once truly revealed will be more inclusive than one side may expect.