21st Confederate Monuments and Memorials: Commemoration in the Digital Age


Hi everyone! Since my last proposal, I spent a lot of time scouring the internet for locations and details surrounding Confederate monuments and memorials that have been erected since 2000. Since then, I built out a story map page that adds some context surrounding the creation of Confederate monuments and the organizations that are building them.

Here is my map with an item and its description.

I found at least 34 monuments and mapped them here. I focused on including the date they were built, the group that sponsored it, and whether or not it is on public land, because these are all topics I elaborate on after the map on the site. Is there any other information you would like to see within the pins?

Last week, I found potentially 10 more monuments in North Carolina alone that have not been mapped yet, since I wanted to focus on the writing aspect of the site.

I decided to pull images from websites that host information about these monuments–mainly hmdb.org and waymarking.com. They both are a good repository of information and pictures that I would otherwise not have access to since travel is limited in today’s world. Each entry that has an image has a link to a page with further information about the monument. I decided not to put the inscriptions on the map, as I thought it would make the pins too wordy.

An example of my “Actors” section.

Above is my section on the organizations funded and building these monuments. This section needs a little work–I wasn’t sure what to do with it. I wanted to discuss the organizations and their motives without taking up massive space on the site, but I don’t know if it is finished or done well. I would love to hear your feedback on this section.

I focused mostly on providing short biographical detail before then adding information pulled from their websites and primary source material. However, I trimmed it down to this size because it felt a bit too academic and less accesible.

The beginning of my “Conclusions” section.

After the map and the actors, I have a concluding section where I address the questions that I posed at the beginning of the site. I feel this helps keep the reader engaged with the material as well as some of the historical debates surrounding the topics. I made a google forms document that visitors can fill out with more questions or comments regarding the page, and have a google doc linked in my credits section that will serve as my works cited for the project.

Overall, I think this project is a novelty within the field of mapping these monuments, as many of the existing maps do not have interpretive elements alongs side the physical representation of space. I think that the flexibility of ArcGIS has been beneficial, especially since I can continue to make edits and changes as needed. However, I do not like the lack of citation accessibility on the site which makes incorporating primary source material harder (I’ve tried to overcome this by hyperlinking whenever relevant/possible).

Perhaps the biggest struggle I had with this project was the writing. I spent a lot of time fretting that my language choice was academic and less journalistic; and making comparisons between this medium of history and that of papers. I’m not sure if anyone else felt this way with their projects, but I would love to hear how you’ve handled something similar to this feeling. I hope you guys enjoy this and if you have any questions or suggestions, I am open to them!

3 Replies to “21st Confederate Monuments and Memorials: Commemoration in the Digital Age”

  1. Josh — this project is looking really impressive. The amount of research you have put into this is clear. This is a really important research topic; one that I think is extremely relevant today.

    On the topic of writing — I’m happy to trade projects for proofreading before the end of the semester! I also feel like I am struggling to achieve a tone appropriate for an online exhibit. As of now, I’ve been trying to get the text written before I edit it to be less academic-like and more exhibit-like

    1. Hi Emily, I am happy to take you up on the proofreading offer. I think having a fresh set of eyes will be very beneficial.

  2. Very much impressed by how well the project is coming together! I think the map itself is engaging and I appreciate the work you have put into the text to frame the essay.

    As one initial note, it wasn’t entirely clear to me what the different color pins meant. Does it represent the different actors that created them? If so, it would be good to add in something like a key for the map that made it explicit which colors represented which organizations.

    I think it would be great to add something up front to stress that we are starting to hear a lot about taking down confederate monuments but that it might surprise people to learn that there are in fact new confederate monuments that are still going up. I think that is a really powerful hook for the project and it would be good to get that folded into your intro.

    I really appreciate the way that you state explicit research questions up front in your intro and then come back and respond directly to each of them in your conclusions.

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