Abstract

“Monumental Propaganda” compares the use of monuments by the Soviet Union and supporters of the Southern side in the American Civil War—in particular, the way they claimed ideological territory by proliferating statues of Lenin and Robert E. Lee, respectively. To answer the question of whether an alternative commemorative landscape might be imaginable, the essay turns to The Negro in Virginia (1940), a book devoted to the historical achievements of black citizenry in America. The book's endpapers present an illustrated map of Virginia indicating sites where black Americans played a critical historical, economic, and/or cultural role. In a book that can itself be seen as a kind of counter-monument to those extolling the Lost Cause, the map presents a vision of monuments that might have been.

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