Washington Monument before the presidential inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC (January 21, 2013)

Monumental Disagreements

In this special Memorial Day episode of BackStory, the Guys explore the idea of national remembrance.
Remains of the 1639 Jamestown Church tower (with 20th century reconstruction on the original foundations)

The Misguided Focus on 1619 as the Beginning of Slavery in the U.S.

Michael Guasco argues that pinpointing the beginning of slavery in North America at Jamestown distorts its history
Trump Tower in New York City.

Where Donald Trump Learned His Tough Love for History

He professes admiration for "statues and monuments" but his family has a record of tearing down rather than preserving.
Monticello, the Virginia home of Thomas Jefferson, on July 12, 2003.

Sally Hemings Takes Center Stage

A new exhibit at Monticello tells her story through the words of Madison Hemings, the son of Sally and Thomas Jefferson.
The Robert E. Lee monument and scaffolding during construction in Richmond in 1890.

The Day White Virginia Stopped Admiring Gen. Robert E. Lee and Started Worshiping Him

Stripping Virginia of its Lee tributes is far harder than it is in other places.
A Confederate monument in New Orleans of General Robert E Lee.

Falling Out of Love with the Civil War

America's unconditional love of the Civil War has blinded us to its true meaning.
The footstone marking Hiram Revels’s grave, Hill Crest Cemetery, Holly Springs, Mississippi, July 2013.

The Monuments We Never Built

Why we must ask not only what stories our landscapes of commemoration tell, but also what stories they leave out.
Statue of Robert E. Lee.

"I've Studied The History Of Confederate Memorials. Here's What To Do About Them."

Many were funded privately. The public now deserves a say in their fate.
A member of the Ku Klux Klan shouts at counter protesters during a rally in support of Confederate monuments.

Racism, Medievalism, and the White Supremacists of Charlottesville

The weekend's demonstrators were the latest in a long line of American racists to ally themselves with an imagined Middle Ages.
John F. Kennedy in the Oval Office (July 11, 1963).

The Ideological Slipperiness of the Kennedy Legacy

Politicians from both sides of the aisle have tried to stake a claim to the power of the Kennedy legend. What is it about Camelot?
Portrait of Confederate General William Mahone.

The Confederate General Who Was Erased

There's a reason you won't find many monuments in the South to one of Robert E. Lee's most able deputies.
Statue of Thomas Jefferson at the University of Virginia.

What Would Jefferson Say About White Supremacists Descending Upon his University?

Jefferson had a complicated relationship with white supremacy.