Southern Symbols: Remembering Our Past and Envisioning Our Future

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Friday October 13

10:00 AM  –  3:00 PM

Southern Symbols: Remembering Our Past and Envisioning Our Future

A Public Conversation at the Speed Art Museum

Friday, October 13, 2017, 10:00 am to 3:00 pm


Cities throughout the United States are removing public statues, flags, and monuments associated with the Confederacy. As a nation, we are revisiting how we remember the legacy of slavery, the Civil War, and our history of racial discrimination. In association with the exhibition Southern Accent: Seeking the American South in Contemporary Art, the Speed Art Museum will host a public conversation led by prominent artists and historians exploring the South’s complex history and its symbols. How should we mark historical sites? Who do we commemorate? What do we want to say? Moderated discussions will follow presentations historical experts and creative responses by artists.    


Morning Session (10:00 am - 11:45 am):

Historical Context: What is the history behind confederate monuments and symbols? If statues and markers are removed – what should happen to them? How do we remember the past?

Moderator: Dr. Catherine Clinton, Denman Professor of American History at the University of Texas at San Antonio


1. Dr. W. Fitzhugh Brundage, William B. Umstead Distinguished Professor; Department Chair of History at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Civil War Monuments and Contested Memories: North Carolina as a Case Study

2. Dr. Deirdre Cooper Owens, Assistant Professor of History at Queens College, City University of New York

Of Monuments and Men: Confronting the Historical Legacy of James Marion Sims

3. Sonya Clark, artist and Distinguished Research Fellow in the School of the Arts at Virginia Commonwealth University

Unraveling and the city of Richmond, Virginia


Lunch and viewing of Southern Accent:  11:45 am - 1:15 pm

 Afternoon Session (1:15 - 3:00 pm):

Contemporary decisions: What are new ways are we marking sites of pain and loss? What kind of new memorials should be created? How can we learn from example outside of the United States?

Moderator: Miranda Lash, Curator of Contemporary Art, Speed Art Museum


1. Dr. Jason Johnson, Assistant Professor at Trinity University, San Antonio

"Stumbling" towards memorialization: Germany and the victims of the Holocaust

2. Nari Ward, Artist based in New York, whose work has recently been exhibited at Socrates Sculpture Park, the Barnes Foundation, the Institute for Contemporary Art, Boston, and the High Line in Chelsea, New York.

A new monument proposal for the Speed Art Museum

3. Jessica Ingram, Assistant Professor in Graduate Fine Arts and Undergraduate Photography at California College of the Arts

Road Through Midnight: Civil Rights Memorial, activating the relationship between memory, site and community at unmarked sites of atrocities