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A Ghost Set in Stone: The Memory of Nathan Bedford Forrest in Tennessee

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Since Dylan Roof, a white supremacist, shot and killed nine members of a black church in Charleston on June 17, 2015, Confederate symbols have stood at the center of much

Since Dylan Roof, a white supremacist, shot and killed nine members of a black church in Charleston on June 17, 2015, Confederate symbols have stood at the center of much controversy across the United States. Although the Confederate battle flag remains the most obvious example, the debate took a particular form in Tennessee, centering on the image of General Nathan Bedford Forrest. Born in 1822 to a poor family, he left school early to work. Although his work in the slave trade made him a millionaire, his later participation in the massacre of over 300 black soldiers at Fort Pillow in 1864 during the Civil War and association with the Ku Klux Klan cemented his reputation as a violent racist. Yet, many white Tennesseans praised him as a hero and memorialized him. This thesis examines Nathan Bedford Forrest State Park in Benton County and Forrest Park, now Health Sciences Park, in Memphis to examine what characteristics denote a controversial memorial. Specifically, I focus on the physical form, the location, and the demographics of the area, investigating how these components work together to give rise to controversy or acceptance of the memorial's image. Physical representations greatly impact the ideas associated with the memorial while racial demographics affect whether or not Forrest's representation as a hero speaks true to modern interpretations and opinions.

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Date Created
  • 2016-05

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The Art of Memory: Public Memorials

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Abstract The Art of Memory: Public Memorials Scarlett Olson In ancient times, memorials were constructed to commemorate victories in battle or to pay homage to kings and gods. Now, however,

Abstract The Art of Memory: Public Memorials Scarlett Olson In ancient times, memorials were constructed to commemorate victories in battle or to pay homage to kings and gods. Now, however, memorials focus more on the events of war and those who died fighting for their country. They are spaces designed to create an atmosphere of quiet reflection to allow us to honor the dead and to serve as a reminder of the consequences of our actions. In this paper, I will analyze public memorials, specifically the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, using the concept of collective memory. The idea of collective memory was first formulated by Maurice Halbwachs in the early twentieth century, and it is at its core the belief that a group can share the same memories regarding specific events. The ideas and theories of collective memory, when applied to the analysis of memorial, can provide a new framework for exploring the form, content, effect, and affect of these structures. Collective memory can be manipulated by society and the creation of specific memorials is one very effective way to influence public opinion about certain historical events.

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Date Created
  • 2005-05

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A History of the Monuments & Memorials in the Wesley Bolin Plaza at the Arizona State Capitol

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ABSTRACT

The Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza is located across the street from the state capitol building in Phoenix, Arizona. Here, pieces of Arizona’s history are commemorated through monuments and memorials.

ABSTRACT

The Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza is located across the street from the state capitol building in Phoenix, Arizona. Here, pieces of Arizona’s history are commemorated through monuments and memorials. Monuments and memorials reflect how people have conceived their collective identity, especially when those choices are made in public spaces. The markers in the Wesley Bolin Plaza reflect the changing identity of Arizonans, both locally and in connection to national identity. Over time, they have become crucial to shaping the landscape and the historical memory of the city, state, or country. Of note, the memorials on the Arizona State Capitol grounds are unique in how they are placed all together in a park directly across the street. In 1976, the Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza emerged through a conversation with broader currents in the region’s and nation’s history. Over time, the plaza has become a sacred space because so many of its memorials include relics and artifacts, or list the names of those who have lost their lives in their service to Arizona. In these ways the plaza became a landscape of memory where visitors come to remember and honor those people and parts of Arizona history. The memorial plaza also influences Arizonans’ knowledge of history. It engenders a local as well as a national loyalty and identity in its citizens and visitors. By researching the history of several of the prominent monuments and memorials in the plaza, I discovered a rich history and an intriguing story behind each one that is built. Most monuments and memorials are commemorating complex events or people in history, yet have only short inscriptions on them. As a result, much of the historical narrative, complexities, and symbolism can be lost. My purpose is to tell the story of the plaza, these memorials, and their history; highlighting their significance to Arizonans and explaining how the monuments and memorials fit into the larger story of historical commemoration.

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Date Created
  • 2019