Segregation in America

Iconography

The Lasting Legacy of Confederate Monuments

Confederate monuments romanticize a society founded on white supremacy and valorize those who fought on its behalf. Nearly 2000 such monuments stand today throughout the United States.

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Additional Information

The Lasting Legacy of Confederate Monuments

Confederate monuments romanticize a society founded on white supremacy and valorize those who fought on its behalf. Nearly 2000 such monuments stand today throughout the United States.

WHY MONUMENTS MATTER

The Lasting Legacy of Confederate Monuments

This map represents nearly 2000 Confederate monuments that EJI has documented across the United States. These monuments serve a function more potent than simply honoring the dead or recounting historical fact. Those installed around the turn of the 20th century aimed to reinvent historical fact, romanticize and glorify enslavement, valorize those who fought to preserve it, and reframe Southern secession as an honorable effort to defend local autonomy and states’ rights.

More monuments were installed in later decades, generations after the Civil War ended, in response to the increasingly successful campaign for African American rights and equality. To oppose the civil rights movement, Southern states, elected officials, and organizations espousing white supremacy used public displays of Confederate iconography to defiantly signal their ongoing commitment to resistance to racial equality. Proponents of that message today continue to erect new Confederate monuments while fiercely defending those that already stand.

In this database, EJI seeks to document any statue, plaque, memorial site, or other monument that is readily publicly visible and serves to endorse or glorify the cause of the Confederacy, particularly those that endorse enslavement or related efforts to resist racial equality. Where relevant, we have also sought to document recent efforts to remove Confederate monuments -- recognizing that, in most instances, "removed" monuments are simply preserved and awaiting re-installation elsewhere. Though not included in this monument map, EJI also recognizes that thousands more streets, schools, parks, towns, cities, counties, public buildings, and other locations throughout the country still bear the names of Confederate leaders revered for their roles defending a system of racial injustice.

As you explore Segregation in America to learn about the people and forces that fought against racial equality during the mid-20th century, we invite you to see this map as more than a collection of historical relics. Rooted in a narrative of white supremacy and motivated by an evolving system of racial difference, these monuments stand as active statements of our past and present values and as public representations of the landscape on which we build our future.

Confederate Monuments