Memory and Monument Wars in American Cities: New York, Charlottesville and Montgomery [1st ed.] 9783030537708, 9783030537715

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Memory and Monument Wars in American Cities: New York, Charlottesville and Montgomery [1st ed.]
 9783030537708, 9783030537715

Table of contents :
Front Matter ....Pages i-v
Introduction: US Cities’ Agentic Role in Twenty-First-Century Memory and Monument Wars (Marouf A. Hasian Jr., Nicholas S. Paliewicz)....Pages 1-19
The Fortification of New York City: Post-9/11 Memorialization and the Localization of the War on Terror (Marouf A. Hasian Jr., Nicholas S. Paliewicz)....Pages 21-57
Civil Lawfare, Remembrances of Lost Causes, and Charlottesville’s Confederate Monument Controversies (Marouf A. Hasian Jr., Nicholas S. Paliewicz)....Pages 59-95
Montgomery, “Racial Terror” Lynching Remembrances, and Municipal Quests for American Truth and Reconciliation (Marouf A. Hasian Jr., Nicholas S. Paliewicz)....Pages 97-133
The Future Roles of Remembering and Forgetting for Agentic Twenty-First-Century Cities (Marouf A. Hasian Jr., Nicholas S. Paliewicz)....Pages 135-149
Back Matter ....Pages 151-152

Citation preview


Memory and Monument Wars in American Cities New York, Charlottesville and Montgomery Marouf A. Hasian, Jr. Nicholas S. Paliewicz

Palgrave Macmillan Memory Studies Series Editors Andrew Hoskins University of Glasgow Glasgow, UK John Sutton Department of Cognitive Science Macquarie University Macquarie, Australia

The nascent field of Memory Studies emerges from contemporary trends that include a shift from concern with historical knowledge of events to that of memory, from ‘what we know’ to ‘how we remember it’; changes in generational memory; the rapid advance of technologies of memory; panics over declining powers of memory, which mirror our fascination with the possibilities of memory enhancement; and the development of trauma narratives in reshaping the past. These factors have contributed to an intensification of public discourses on our past over the last thirty years. Technological, political, interpersonal, social and cultural shifts affect what, how and why people and societies remember and forget. This groundbreaking new series tackles questions such as: What is 'memory' under these conditions? What are its prospects, and also the prospects for its interdisciplinary and systematic study? What are the conceptual, theoretical and methodological tools for its investigation and illumination? More information about this series at

Marouf A. Hasian Jr. Nicholas S. Paliewicz

Memory and Monument Wars in American Cities New York, Charlottesville and Montgomery

Marouf A. Hasian Jr. Department of Communication University of Utah Salt Lake City, UT, USA

Nicholas S. Paliewicz Department of Communication University of Louisville Louisville, KY, USA

Palgrave Macmillan Memory Studies ISBN 978-3-030-53770-8    ISBN 978-3-030-53771-5 (eBook) © The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020 This work is subject to copyright. All rights are solely and exclusively licensed by the Publisher, whether the whole or part of the material is concerned, specifically the rights of translation, reprinting, reuse of illustrations, recitation, broadcasting, reproduction on microfilms or in any other physical way, and transmission or information storage and retrieval, electronic adaptation, computer software, or by similar or dissimilar methodology now known or hereafter developed. The use of general descriptive names, registered names, trademarks, service marks, etc. in this publication does not imply, even in the absence of a specific statement, that such names are exempt from the relevant protective laws and regulations and therefore free for general use. The publisher, the authors and the editors are safe to assume that the advice and information in this book are believed to be true and accurate at the date of publication. Neither the publisher nor the authors or the editors give a warranty, expressed or implied, with respect to the material contained herein or for any errors or omissions that may have been made. The publisher remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations. Cover image: Image Source / gettyimages Cover design: eStudioCalamar This Palgrave Macmillan imprint is published by the registered company Springer Nature Switzerland AG. The registered company address is: Gewerbestrasse 11, 6330 Cham, Switzerland


1 Introduction: US Cities’ Agentic Role in­Twenty-FirstCentury Memory and­Monument Wars  1 2 The Fortification of New York City: Post-­9/11 Memorialization and the Localization of the War on Terror 21 3 Civil Lawfare, Remembrances of Lost Causes, and Charlottesville’s Confederate Monument Controversies 59 4 Montgomery, “Racial Terror” Lynching Remembrances, and Municipal Quests for American Truth and Reconciliation 97 5 The Future Roles of Remembering and Forgetting for Agentic Twenty-First-­Century Cities135 Index151



Introduction: US Cities’ Agentic Role in Twenty-First-Century Memory and Monument Wars

Abstract  This introductory chapter situates our work at the nexus of urban studies, critical rhetoric, political geography, and memory studies, and presents readers with a view on cities as agentic actors that traverse various memoryscapes for strategic uses in the present. Assembling human and non-human actors across dense cityscapes, we set up our analyses of “monument wars” in New York, Charlottesville, and Montgomery with a posthuman view on rhetoric, agency, and memory. Keywords  Memoryscape • Cityscape • Counter-monument • Agency • New York • Charlottesville • Montgomery This book is about the challenges posed by key municipal events in what some have called “monument wars”1 or “statue wars,”2 and it extends the work of interdisciplinary theorists who are interested in the study of both urban American cityscapes and public memoryscapes. Our interest in this topic comes in the wake of heated debates that have taken place after several traumatic events: the attack by Dylann Roof on the congregation assembled at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston, South Carolina, where nine individuals lost their lives;3 the August 12, 2017 confrontations on the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia; and the 2019 shootings of praying Muslims in Christchurch, New Zealand.4 All sorts of disagreements about how to remember, or forget, particular © The Author(s) 2020 M. A. Hasian Jr., N. S. Paliewicz, Memory and Monument Wars in American Cities, Palgrave Macmillan Memory Studies,




ways of viewing victimage and racialized histories have impacted how city residents have been turned into targets by domestic terrorists and others who seem to be declaring war on precarious urban landscapes. We are convinced that these attacks by white nationalists and others are harbingers of things to come, as members of communities who once worried about the horrific losses on military battlefields are now having to fight ideological conflicts in cities that are now treated as if they are under siege. We are finding that the older academic disputes over the meaning of the “cultural wars” have spilled over into more than just verbal or textual exchanges as decision-makers, scholars, police, judges, investigative journalists, and lay persons in cityscapes hear about how armed protesters in cities chant “you will not replace us” as they march through downtown streets.5 Patricia Davis, writing in the Southern Communication Journal, averred that the “politics of memory, race, and place in southern cityscapes have inspired new areas of inquiry as two interrelated phenomenon have conspired to change the urban fabric.”6 Is it possible that we are just now beginning to realize that some cities are trying to gain control and have some say as they deal with everything from the building of Trumpian walls at the borders to legal standing of “sanctuary” cities7 to ways that Americans should assess what happened with the death of Michael Brown and the protests in Ferguson, Missouri?8 Are we only now coming to realize the lingering traumas that are felt by a resilient New York City have something to do with contested memoryscapes or cityscapes as various cultural topographies are linked to violent pasts, presents, and futures? Is this the time when critics need to follow those who are interested in network-centric theories, dingpolitik (the politics of things), or “new materialism” as we endeavor to come up with theories and methods that allow us to understand the complex dynamics of the rhetoricity of cities?9 Clearly there are those scholars working in urban studies, political geography, security studies, cultural studies, or critical sociology and related disciplines who have been asking academic communities to rethink notions of social agency. Ash Amin, writing in the journal City in 2007, had this to say: The social has been largely grasped in the area of human experience. The non-human—including the built environment, nature, technology, infrastructure, animal, and viral life—has not been allowed to feature as part of the social. Accounts of urban social life have tended to engage only



marginally with the body of social theory associated with the work of Delueze and Guattari, de Lande, Ingold, Law, Latour, Haraway, and others who steadfastly refuse to reduce the social to the human.10

Is it possible that we can see how cities, and portions of cities, may be caught up in salient national public controversies? Have cities, for instances, had to make decisions regarding how to participate, or not participate, in monument wars? Extending the work of urban studies researchers, critical rhetoricians, political geographers, memory studies scholars, and others who are interested in the study of collective traumas and public memories that are associated with dark tourism, urban violence, and related phenomenon, we invite readers to focus on cities’ reactions to various racial divides, societal fissures, and wounds that can be linked to various acts of commemorative remembering and forgetting. As Professor Barbie Zelizer has argued elsewhere, collective memories that are purveyed by state-sponsored memorialists involve “the fabrication, rearrangement, elaboration, and omission of details about the past” as matters of “accuracy and authenticity” are pushed aside so as to “accommodate broader issues of identity formation, power, and political affiliation,”11 and we would extend this to advocate for investigations of why cities choose to remember or forget particular real or imagined urban histories or municipal memories. That said, we recognize the politicized, contentious, and affective nature of some studies that critique the activities of cities that may be producing memoryscapes that others might find objectionable. Notice, for example, how many of the memorial museums that are going up in Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, or Croatia invite visitors to consider the “double genocide” that may have been perpetrated by Stalin’s communists during the famine years before the advent of the Nazi Holocaust.12 Are these cities’ museums and memorials and other commemorative sites authentically recollecting the mass violence that was perpetrated during the Judeocide— producing what Michael Rothberg has called “multidirectional” memories13—or are they inviting Eastern Europeans to engage in official and unofficial victimage wars that focus more on post-1989 anxieties? We are obviously not the first interdisciplinary scholars who have called attention to the growing rhetoricity of various cities’ monuments, statues, parks, cemeteries, and other sites of commemoration. In 1993, for example, Bryan Cheyette, in his review of some of James Young’s work on the “texture of memory” and the “rhetoric of ruins,” noted how in the



aftermath of traumatic events like World War II “memorials and monuments built to commemorate those” who “perished in the death camps became more conspicuous.”14 During the following decades all sorts of studies of collective memories, monuments, museums, and other “sites of memory” flourished to the point where many started writing about the surfeit of memory studies. By 2008 Erika Doss could write about the “memorial mania” that was capturing the attention of so Americans,15 and there was little question that both public and scholarly interests were driving what many regarded as the “memory boom.”16 Transcontinental debates about what to do with immigration populations at Calais17 were soon being linked to geopolitical disputes about everything from the population demographics of cities to the growing power of “alternative right” (alt-right) on several continents. Oftentimes, in contingent, unexpected, and dramatic ways disputes over national heritage, monumentalization, race, population density, identity politics, and even colonialism were linked demands that objectionable statues be taken down and replaced with less objectionable objects. For instance, in 2015 students on college campuses in South Africa began a movement known as “Rhodes Must Fall,” demanding the taking down of statues of the British imperial expansionist Cecil Rhodes, and when these same rhetorical impulses traveled to England they were met by what Amit Chaudhuri called the “nation’s long retreat from multiculturalism and the return of a rose-tinted memory of empire.”18 The political shockwaves that could be felt in the aftermath of Donald Trump’s presidential victory were soon followed by violence in several cities as various factions prepared for a new type of urban warfare that harkened back to the 1960s civil rights protests in the streets of Selma and Birmingham. As we explain in one of this book’s chapters the rhetoricity of an agentic city was put on display during August 2017 when the city of Charlottesville, Virginia became a memoryscape as local police were caught in the middle of conflicting protests that were organized by members of the “Unite the Right” coalitions and anti-fascist (“antifa”) demonstrators. Three individuals lost their lives during two days of protest, and journalists would later report that all of this began after Charlottesville Council members determined that some Confederate statuary needed to be taken down in the name of “public safety.” As we argue later on in this book, during the first decade of the twenty-­ first century local municipalities across America became convinced that Confederate flags, monuments, markers, buildings, street names, and



other Civil War symbols were contributing to waves of domestic violence—including attacks on churches and synagogues—and city officials for many reasons tried to “take ‘em down.” These efforts, in turn, catalyzed the impulses of a wide array of political and cultural communities who, for varied reasons, tried to either apply new state statutes or tried to use those already in place to prevent the removal or recontextualization of what many deemed Confederate heritage that deserved preservation. Previous interdisciplinary studies have done an excellent job of providing needed insights into the historical and public memory features of many of these Confederate monument debates, but many researchers are just beginning to study the role that cities—as rhetorical agents—play in what Kirk Savage once called the “monument wars.” While Savage was primarily interested in studying some of the contestation over key memorials on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., and recommended a “modest proposal” of having a moratorium for a decade on monumental building on the Mall to help make room for an “open conversation”19 we would invite readers to extend this analysis so that we can see how entire cities might engage in similar deliberations. This is especially important where all sorts of violence can be linked to past, present, and future memorialization practices. The rest of this chapter proceeds as follows. We begin with a subsection that theorizes cityscapes and memoryscapes. This general overview is followed by a subsection on cities that engaged in monument wars that have portentous consequences. We then justify our choice of three case studies—critical rhetorical analyses of New York City’s 9/11 Memorial and Museum, Charlottesville’s decisions to try and remove the Robert E. Lee and “Stonewall” Jackson statues, and Montgomery’s “Lynching Memorial”—before we present a brief conclusion.

The Rhetorical Dimensions of Memoryscapes and Cityscapes Memoryscapes have been defined as “particular clusters of spaces and locales which have a particular significance in the ways in which people related to and narrative the past.”20 Kendall Phillips and Mitchell Reyes, two rhetoricians working in the field of communication studies, have noted how memoryscapes can sometimes drift across nationalist boundaries



because of globalization influences, and they explain some of the functions and the structures of these entities when they note that memoryscapes operate on “a complex and vibrant plane upon which memories emerge, are contested, transform, encounter other memories, mutate, and multiply.”21 Memoryscapes are fluid, protean, and mutable. They flow through the affective allegiances of human collectives. As such, they cannot be objectified. Those who treat some memories as inflexible, essentialities entities miss the ways that even the most hegemonic of structures have fissures and cracks that can be dissected, cut, and even buried. As Michel Foucault and others have noted in studies of utopias and heterotopias, the materials that go into the production of sedimented formations like “effective histories,” archives, cemeteries, ships, etc., have everything to do with contingent discourse/power/knowledge formations.22 Holidays, commemorative markers, museums, and memorials are only some of the tangible materials that can be used by municipalities to convey more intangible persuasive ideas. Cities and cityscapes, we contend, should be understood as a part of the human and non-human relational systems that contribute to the formation of the objects of contention in twenty-first-century monument wars. In many ways cities that find themselves in the middle of ethical, cultural, political, and legal battles can be viewed as examples of what Bruno Latour called “mediators,” agentic figures that “transform, translate, distort, and modify the meanings of the elements that they are supposed to carry.”23 In Latour’s “From Realpolitik to Dingpolitik” essay, he comments on those who “traced” the “complex genealogy” of “cities, landscapes, animals, merchants, dancers, and the ubiquitous rendering of light and space.”24 This, we contend, was Latour’s way of pointing out that cityscapes, landscapes, and other larger formations had everything to do with “dingpolitik” (the politics of things) that was left behind in anthropocentric ways of thinking about deliberative democratic ideals of “realpolitik.” This broadening of the ways that writers like Bruno Latour or Ash Amin conceptualize the “social” invites critics to see how cities—with everything from the strategic placements of cemeteries to the erection of classical war statues—are involved in the co-production of memoryscapes. Our book will highlight the agentic actions of New York City, Charlottesville, and Montgomery, and we extend the work of James Young, who has shown how German cities have worked at mastering their own fraught pasts that were produced by forming structures around Holocaust memories and putting together assemblages in all sorts of



national monuments and counter-monuments.25 Young argued that both “a monument and its significance are constructed in particular times and places, contingent on the political, historical and aesthetic realities of the moment.”26 Regardless of whether we are discussing the post-apartheid politics of the neighborhoods of Johannesburg, or the division nature of Jerusalem memoryscapes, it is fair to argue that cities play a major role in the production of symbolic formations that influence how communities assess their past heritage, their present needs, and their future plans. In Bruno Latour and Emilie Hermant’s famous analysis of Paris, they suggest that researchers who wish to study the social life and “complex relations” of a city have to avoid the “two perversions of idolatry and iconoclasm,” along with other maladies. Latour and Hermant then provide readers with a performative example of how to try and study the “movement of inscriptions” and other texts and visualities of Parisian spaces and places.27 Building off of previous work on network-centric theories of action the authors opine: It’s to objects that we must now turn if we want to understand what, day after day, keeps life in the big city together: objects despised under the label “urban setting,” yet whose exquisite urbanity holds the key to our life in common…. It seems that the big city is even more populous than Babylon, with a multitude of agitated little beings whose combined action gives height, width and depth to the entangled networks…. I’m not simply passing through Paris: the “I” also passes through forms of action, regimes of intelligence.28

In their critiques of the social life of Paris, Latour and Hermant commented on the symbolic significance of museums, roads, parking garages, tourism, Charlemagne’s statue, crypts, architecture, and other phenomena that had to do with French urbanism.29 For our purposes here, we want to focus on how several American cities are responding to various social pressures in key monument wars.

The City as Agentic in Salient Twenty-First-Century Monument Wars When critical scholars take up the question of the social agency of cities in studies of memoryscapes they will inevitably have to take into consideration issues of power, hegemony, counter-monuments, and contestation



in their analysis. Even legal scholars, who are used to studying the “personhood” of corporations, have realized that cities can be thought out of as entities that are caught in webs of governmental struggles. Gerald Frug, in an influential law review that was written in 1998, explained why he felt that legal structures had created situations where U.S. cities were “powerless”: American cities today do not have the power to solve their own current problems or to control their future development. Under current law, cities have no “natural” or “inherent” power to do anything simply because they decide to do it. Cities have only those powers delegated to them by state law and traditionally those delegated powers have been rigorously limited by judicial interpretation. Moreover, city authority exercised pursuant to unquestionable delegated powers is itself subject to absolute state control.30

In theory, for some legal scholars who were influenced by postmodern or post-structural thinking about the law, far too many had forgotten about the difficulties that cities faced when they were ill equipped to make decisions without the supervision of state or federal authorities. If we turn our attention to global rhetorical situations, we can find international examples of where cities have had to decide what to do when they lacked the power that Frug was mentioning. In her study of the rebuilding of the city of Sarajevo after the “siege” that took place between 1992 and 1995, Stefanie Kappler uses the notion of memoryscapes to explain how this municipality reacted after being attacked for years by Serbian forces. Kappler was interested in reviewing the memory politics and the ideological negotiations that took place in this municipality in the aftermath of violent conflict, during periods where witnesses needed to see post-conflict justice.31 Arguing that Sarajevo was a place of “ambivalent memoryscapes,” Kappler shows how complementary and contradictory pressures were coming from international and local actors as Sarajevo used monuments and other memorials to envision what this part of the world would be like in this post-conflict setting. Extending the work of writers like Barbie Zelizer and Bruno Latour, Kappler argues that city memories in this situation need to be read in ways that allow critics to see “conflict, agency, and power as spatial, discursive practices.”32 In Bosnia-­ Herzegovina, memorials are viewed by Kappler as mediators of the “contested narratives” that can be encountered in the “city of Sarajevo,” and she contends that those who travel to this part of Europe can only



understand some of the ambivalences and traumas of the past that are associated with the strategic usages of “monuments, museums and other spaces of memory…”33 Her particular approach involved analysis of monuments and memorials in Sarajevo, as well as the discourses that were produced by those who argued about the shape and contours of these memoryscapes. While some might argue that cityscape or memoryscape investigations need to focus on the more uplifting, neo-liberal features of contemporary landscapes we would suggest that at times cities become agent when they are forced to remember and forget or simply cope with what Ann Stoler has labeled “ruins and ruination.”34 Karen Till has similarly suggested that researchers can profitably study “wounded cities.”35 Till notes: By considering cities as “wounded,” urban space cannot be understood as property only. If cities and their inhabitants are understood as having been wounded by state and dominant social-political practices, other imaginaries of place, temporality, and the city might focus attention on why places, peoples, groups, environments, and nonhuman natures continue to be injured.36

Can cities be thought of as spaces and places—sometimes powerful, sometimes vulnerable—that have memories or monuments that are built, destroyed, and rebuilt, oftentimes depending on biopolitical or thanatopolitical conditions? Critical scholars interested in studies of wounded cities might study all types of existential threats—physical violence, burnings, natural disasters, wars, etc.—that are viewed through all sorts of memoryscapes. For instance, there is little doubt that perceived dangers after the events of September 11, 2001—especially Jihadist or Taliban or Al Qaeda or ISIS terrorism—influenced the ways that twenty-first-century researchers, decision-­makers, investigative journalists, or lay persons treated cities like New York City or Washington, D.C.  Before the 2018 opening of Baghdad’s famous “Green Zone,” huge neighborhood spaces within the city had been cordoned off to protect American and coalition forces from terrorist attacks.37 This urban militarism and securitization has impacted not only Bagdad but the many other global cities. In Cities Under Siege: The New Military Urbanism, Steven Graham contends that cities are the new battlegrounds for a globalized world that is facing increased urbanization.38 As various factions fight over scarce symbolic and material resources in urban



landscapes, transcontinental audiences witness the spread of political violence that influences how we argue about everything from infrastructures to city spaces to bunkers. The advent of the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) is not the only rhetorical event that has impacted the formation of memoryscapes and cityscapes, and in this book we want to focus on how three American cities are coping with their traumatic wounds: New York, Charlottesville, and Montgomery.

Why Study New York’s 9/11 Memorial and Museum, Charlottesville’s Robert E. Lee Statue Removal Efforts, or Montgomery’s National Memorial for Peace and Justice? All three of the case studies that we have chosen for this book involve rhetorical situations where cities have been asked to deal with complex histories, traumatized moments, and contentious memoryscapes. There are several reasons why we chose to begin our book with a review of the 9/11 Memorial and Museum in New York City. This is hallowed ground, a privileged site of America’s civil religion that continues to attract hundreds of thousands of visitors. By 2018, the National September 11 Memorial and Memorial Museum would be ranked as the top museum in the United States by TripAdvisor, based on the quality and quantity of user-generated reviews that were published on the TripAdvisor website.39 Second, there is no doubt that the passage of years has not hindered the efforts of those who wish to commemorate the acts of those who are remembered through the display of more than 110,000 artifacts in the 9/11 Museum. In May 2019 Madison Horne could still recall: The attacks of September 11, 2001 killed almost 3,000 people, shocked the world and forever seared 9/11 into memory as a date filled with tragedy, loss and heroism…. By May 2002, workers had moved more than 108,000 truckloads—1.8 million tons—of rubble to a Staten Island landfill. However, fires burned underground for months, leaving downtown Manhattan in smoke and dust with the intense smell of burning rubber, plastic and steel.40

Although many today consider the 9/11 Memorial and Museum to be a place that puts on display New York City’s resilience and ability to overcome political wrangling, it will be our contention that for more than a



decade various stakeholders debated about what to do with everything from dust at street levels to the burial or the missing to the best ways of visually representing in the museum various terrorist attacks.41 Our second case study provides a genealogical analysis of some of the monumental wars that have been fought by agents in and around Charlottesville since the Reconstruction years. In this portion of the book we explain how the loss of life in Charlottesville in August 2017 involved more than just street fights between far right and far left communities that ruptured this city. Richard Schragger, a law professor at the University of Virginia Law School, characterized this situation as one that pits this local municipality against “armed aggressors” from the outside—white supremacists, neo-Nazis, members of the alternative right, and others who came heavily armed to march down the streets of a town with some 47,000 residents.42 Like dozens of investigative journalists, Schragger viewed these visits by members of the “Unite the Right” as actions from outsiders that resembled some siege or invasion on a defenseless town. In an essay filled with thanatopolitical or necropolitical discussion of “pathologies” and “vulnerabilities,” Schragger painted a post-apocalyptic picture of a city in the Anthropocene that faced far right coalitions that had the ability to “mock the mayor,” “threaten cities with violence,” and even “make plans for repeated invasions.”43 In Schragger’s narration of events progressive Charlottesville—that is portrayed as striving to provide an inclusive voice for all citizens, including people of color—is a city that is “itself” under “siege,” physically and mentally, as those who assert “white supremacy and religious superiority” are trying to “takeover” this municipality.44 Although our own focus—influenced by the work of critical rhetorical studies, critical cultural studies, and other post-structural analyses— involves more than a focus on individual human agency or single legal cases arising out of these far right marches we can understand why Professor Schragger would want to treat Charlottesville as if it had, or should have, the legal status of personhood in these struggles over heritage preservation, removal of monuments, and municipal memories. He explains the disempowering nature of the U.S. federal and state jurisprudential forces that prevented a Virginia city from taking down objectionable Confederate statuary: Charlottesville’s vulnerability in the face of white supremacist invasions is a feature of all cities’ liminal status in American law. Municipal corporations



neither enjoy the full powers of the state nor the rights accorded individuals and private corporations. Among other limitations, state law restricts Charlottesville’s authority to remove Confederate war memorials or to regulate firearms. So too, our current constitutional doctrine does not easily permit cities to assert First Amendment rights against state-mandated local government speech.45

Using language that looks much like Jacques Derrida’s work on autoimmunity46 or Roberto Esposito’s work on civitas and immunitas,47 Schragger asks readers of his essays to rethink the importance of granting cities the power and rights that they need to prevent white supremacists and others from constantly visiting towns in order to stir up racial hatred and cause local deaths. Some stakeholders in these disputes sought to use civil warfare in their battles with opponents. After Heather Heyer lost her life during the Charlottesville violence in 2017, more and more city mayors clashed with state legislatures over the question of whether local municipalities could, or should, be removed. To complicate matters, in May 2019 a Virginia judge, Richard Moore, ruled in a lawsuit that was filed against Charlottesville city council members who had voted to remove a statue of Confederate General Robert E.  Lee.48 In spite of Moore’s decision the existence of conflicting Virginian judicial decisions has emboldened Charlottesville citizens who continue to campaign for what they believe will be the inevitable removal of objectionable Lost Cause memorials. The third case study that we cover in this book has to do with the historical and contemporary wounds that the city of Montgomery, and its residents, have been coping with since the antebellum years. Here our interest in is explaining how Bryan Stevenson and the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) helped collect money and plan the building of what called a “lynching memorial” and Legacy Museum. Unlike other, more classical, modernist, and neo-liberal civil rights memorials that focus on putting on display the progress that comes from incremental “colorblind” civil rights reform, the Montgomery interventions in the monument wars are meant to raise consciousness about the pernicious, and lingering impacts, of America’s “racial terrorism.” Before, during, and after the opening of the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, there were many who realized that this city was putting up a type of counter-memorial that would be used to critique the heart of Dixie’s obsessions with Confederate monuments and other Lost Cause



memorials, markers, and emblems. Months before the official opening of this museum, Jared Foretek could write: “Seeking Peace and Justice, Montgomery Plans a Lynching Memorial.”49 Select remembrances were at the heart of controversies in Alabama and elsewhere when it came to the symbolic importance of having memorials about fraught lynching pasts. As Campbell Robertson of the New York Times noted in April 2018, the city of Montgomery had allowed for the building of this radical type of civil rights memorial on a six-acre site overlooking the Alabama State Capitol, and it would be dedicated by those members of the EJI who were demanding “a reckoning with one of the nation’s least recognized atrocities: the lynching of thousands of black people in a decades-long campaign of racial terror.”50 As we shall see in Chap. 4, Montgomery’s memoryscape was being drastically altered to include many voices that had been traditionally marginalized in Alabama’s public spaces and places. Montgomery’s decision to allow the building of the National Memorial for Peace and Justice came at an auspicious moment in time, during a period that witnessed many heated local, regional, and national debates about either the building, or the dismantling, of Confederate statuary that was linked to an assortment of perceived social traumas. While some of residents of American cities—especially in the South— wanted to preserve the thousands of Confederate statues and memories that dotted American landscapes and memoryscapes because of aesthetics, heritage concerns, or historical interest in the “Lost Cause,” others were convinced that these sculptured statues and other Confederate monuments continued to traumatize African American populations. Note the way that the EJI website discusses some of the issues in an essay entitled “Alabama Lawmakers Protect Confederate Memorials”: In a move to prevent communities from addressing racially insensitive memorials, symbols, and monuments, the Alabama legislature passed an unprecedented bill that prohibits the “relocation, removal, alteration, renaming, or other disturbance of” any Confederate or other monument that is at least 40 years old. Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed the Alabama Memorial Preservation Act into law …. The new law also prohibits renaming buildings and streets with historical names that have been in place at least 40 years, and requires approval from a new commission to change or rename buildings, streets, schools, or other monuments that are between 20 and 40 years old.51



The EJI employees went on to explain that Alabama Senator Gerald Allen had introduced the legislation to “shield Confederal memorials” after the state of Alabama had decided to remove the Confederate flag from the capitol grounds in 2015. All of this took place in the aftermath of the mediated coverage of the killing of African American worshippers in a Charleston church by a young white man “who embraced Confederate iconography.”52 While some observers might argue that the preservation of Confederate statues, flags, monuments, or other mnemonic objects has little to do with racialized histories or twenty-first-century memoryscapes, there are some Montgomery residents who vehemently disagree. At the same time that they noted that an “88-foot-tall Confederate monument” remained on capitol grounds the EJI reported that hundreds of white Alabamians had gathered in Montgomery to protest the flag’s removal, “alleging cultural genocide and holding signs proclaiming that ‘Southern Lives Matter.’”53 The EJI symbolically and materially linked local, urban disputation in Montgomery to more regional monumental disputation when they noted that across the “the South, some 132 Confederate rallies took place within six weeks of the Charleston shooting, including a Ku Klux Klan rally at the South Carolina statehouse demanding the flag’s return.”54 These types of race-conscious contextualizations allow EJI supporters to view twenty-first-century debates about Confederate memorials as performative events that have everything to do with recognition of past lynching horrors, present efforts to defend white supremacy, and future needs for reconciliation. On the same weekend that the National Memorial for Peace and Justice was opened to the public, the Southern Poverty Law Center was reporting that as “Confederate monuments are going down,” lynching “memorials are going up.”55 Academics who witness municipal or state interventionism in debates about Confederate memorialization are not always sure what to make of all of this talk of lingering lynching legacies, white supremacy, and “racial terrorism.” W. Fitzhugh Brundage, for example, writing in 2018, opined: The contemporary commemorative landscape in the United States is dense with Confederate memorials. Although the national tolerance for these monuments that honor sedition, rebellion, treason and white supremacy has waned in some communities, there is still widespread misunderstandings about their origins and intended meanings.56



Was Brundage implying that if more Americans knew about these historical origins, and that if they knew more about their intended meanings, they would support the city mayors and other municipal agents who were trying to take down Confederate statuary?

Conclusion We are convinced that all of us have a great deal to learn from agentic studies of cityscapes and we invite readers to conceptualize the theoretical and pragmatic ways that cities, during the last several decades, have become entangled in complex and heterogeneous monumental battles over memoryscapes and landscapes.

Notes 1. Kirk Savage, Monument Wars: Washington, D.C., the National Mall, and the Transformation of the Memorial Landscape (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2009). For a journalist’s take on the Confederate variations of these monument wars see Rebecca Solnit, “The Monument Wars,” Harper’s Magazine, January, 2017, archive/2017/01/the-monument-wars/. See also Michelle D.  Brock, Molly Michelmore and Sarah Horowitz, “Why Universities Should be on the Front Lines of the Monument Wars,” The Washington Post, last modified September 6, 2018, 2. Frank Bongiorno, “The Statue Wars,” Inside Story, last modified September 4, 2017,; Tyler Stiem, “Statue Wars: What Should We Do with Troublesome Monuments,” The Guardian, last modified September 26, 2018, https://www.theguardian. com/cities/2018/sep/26/statue-wars-what-should-we-do-with-troublesome-monuments; Sarah Vowell, “America’s Statue Wars are a Family Feud,” The New York Times, last modified November 16, 2017, https:// 3. Plans are already underway for the building of a memorial for those who lost their lives in the Charleston attack. Camila Domonoske, “Architect Unveils Design for Emanuel AME Church Memorial,” NPR, last modified July 16, 2018, architect-unveils-design-for-mother-emanuel-ame-church-memorial. 4. See Julia Hollingsworth, “Christchurch Terror Attack Death Toll Increases to 51,” CNN, last updated May 2, 2019, https://www.cnn. com/2019/05/02/asia/nz-christchurch-attack-death-toll-intl/ index.html.



5. Anti-Defamation League Staff, “White Supremacists Adopt New Slogan: ‘You Will Not Replace Us’,” Anti-Defamation League, last modified June 9, 2017, 6. Patricia Davis, “Memoryscapes in Transition: Black History Museums, New South Narratives, and Urban Regeneration,” Southern Communication Journal 78, no. 2 (2013): 107–127. 7. Southern Poverty Law Center Staff, “The Current State of Sanctuary Law,” Southern Poverty Law Center, last modified March 8, 2018, https://www. 8. Nicholas Mirzoeff, “The Murder of Michael Brown: Reading the Ferguson Grand Jury Transcript,” Social Text 34, no. 1 (2016): 49–71; Yarimar Bonilla and Jonathan Kosa, “#Ferguson: Digital Protest, Hashtag Ethnography, and the Racial Politics of Social Media in the United States,” American Ethnologist 42, no. 1 (2018): 4–17. 9. For more on the dingpolitik aspects of memoryscapes see Nicholas S.  Paliewicz and Marouf A.  Hasian, Jr., The Securitization of Memorial Space: Rhetoric and Public Memory (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2019). 10. Ash Amin, “Re-thinking the Urban Social,” City 11, no. 1 (2007): 107–108. See also Michael Acuto, “Seeing Like a City,” Social & Cultural Geography 18, no. 5 (2017): 732–733. 11. Barbie Zelizer, Remembering to Forget: Holocaust Memory Through the Camera’s Eye (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998), 3. 12. See Ljiljana Radonić, “From ‘Double Genocide’ to ’the New Jews’: Holocaust, Genocide and Mass Violence in Post-Communist Memorial Museums,” Journal of Genocide Research 20, no. 4 (November 2018): 510–529. For a much earlier critique that hinted at what was to come see Jonathan Freedland, “I See Why ‘Double Genocide’ Is a Term Lithuanians Want,” The Guardian, last modified September 14, 2010, https://www.‑lithuania-holocaust-communism. 13. Michael Rothberg, Multidirectional Memory: Remembering the Holocaust in the Age of Decolonization (Stanford: University of Stanford Press, 2009). 14. Bryan Cheyette, “Book Review: Double Monuments to the Rhetoric of Ruins,” Independent, last modified July 24, 1993, paragraph 1, https:// 15. Erika Doss, Memorial Mania: Public Feelings in America (Chicago: University of Chicago, 2010).



16. Jay Winter, “The Generation of Memory: Reflections on the ‘Memory Boom” in Contemporary Historical Studies,” Archives & Social Studies 1 (2017): 363–397. 17. See Dan Hicks and Sarat Mallet, Lande: The Calais “Jungle” and Beyond (Bristol: Bristol University Press, 2019). 18. Amit Chaudhuri, “The Real Meaning of Rhodes Must Fall,” The Guardian, last modified March 16, 2016, 19. Savage, Monument Wars, 312. 20. Kappler, “Saravejo’s Ambivalent Memoryscape,” 3. 21. Kendall Phillips and G. Mitchell Reyes, “Surveying Global Memoryscapes: The Shifting Terrain of Public Memory Studies,” In Global Memoryscapes: Contesting Remembrance in a Transnational Age (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2011), 1–26, 14. 22. On the linkages that exist between cityscapes and Foucauldian “effective histories” see Ann L. Stoler, “Imperial Debris: Reflections on Ruins and Ruination,” Cultural Anthropology 23, no. 2 (May 2008): 191–219. 23. Bruno Latour, Reassembling the Social (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007), 39. 24. Bruno Latour, “From Realpolitik to Dingpolitik or How to Make Things Public,” Bruno, 7, files/downloads/96-MTP-DING.pdf. 25. James E.  Young, ‘The Counter-Monument: Memory Against Itself in Germany Today,” Critical Inquiry, 18, no. 2 (1992): 267–296. See also James E.  Young, At Memory’s Edge: After-Images of the Holocaust in Contemporary Art and Architecture (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000); Noam Lupu, “Memory Vanished, Absent, and Confined: The Countermemorial Project in 1980s and 1990s Germany,” History and Memory 15, no. 2 (2003): 130–164. 26. Robert Young, “Memory and Counter-Memory: The End of the Monument in Germany,” Harvard Design Magazine 9 (1999): 1–10, 3. 27. Bruno Latour and Emilie Hermant, “Paris: Invisible City,” Bruno Latour. fr., n.d., 29–30. 28. Ibid., 63–64, 67. 29. Ibid., 1–77. 30. Gerald E. Frug, “The City as a Legal Concept,” Harvard Law Review 93, no. 6 (April 1980): 1057–1154, 1062. 31. Stefanie Kappler, “Sarejevo’s Ambivalent Memoryscape: Spatial Stories of Peace and Conflict,” Memory Studies 10, no. 2 (2017): 130–143. 32. Ibid., 2. 33. Ibid., 7.



34. Stoler, Imperial Debris. 35. Karen E. Till, “Wounded Cities: Memory-Work and a Place-Based Ethics of Care,” Political Geography 31, no. 1 (January 2012): 3–14. 36. Ibid., 5. 37. See William Langewiesche, “Welcome to the Green Zone,” The Atlantic, November 2004, archive/2004/11/welcome-to-the-green-zone/303547/; Falih Hassan and Rod Nordland, “Baghdad’s Fortified Green Zone Opens to Public After 15 Years,” The New York Times, last modified December 10, 2018, The fascination with the “Green Zone” even inspired a Iraq war thriller by Paul Greengrass. See Alex von Tunzelmann, “Green Zone: A Surfeit of Sincerity,” The Guardian, last modified September 1, 2011, 38. Steven Graham, Cities Under Siege: The New Military Urbanism (New York: Verso, 2010). 39. 9/11 Memorial & Museum Staff, “The 9/11 Memorial & Museum Ranked Top Museum in U.S.,”, last modified September 6, 2018, 40. Madison Horne, “9/11 Lost and Found: The Items Left Behind,” History. com, last modified May 6, 2019, paragraphs 1, 3, https://www.history. com/news/9-11-artifacts-ground-zero-photos. 41. See Jay D. Aronson, Who Owns the Dead? The Science and Politics of Death at Ground Zero (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2016). 42. Richard C. Schragger, “When White Supremacists Invade a City,” Virginia Law Review no. 104 (January 2018): 58–73, 73. 43. Ibid., 72. 44. Ibid. 45. Ibid., 73. 46. J. Hillis Miller, “Derrida’s Politics of Autoimmunity,” Discourse 30, nos. 1 & 2 (Winter & Spring 2008): 208–225. 47. See Roberto Esposito, Immunitas: The Protection and Negation of Life (New York: Polity, 2011). 48. BBC Staff, “Charlottesville Confederate Statutes Protected, Virginia Judge Rules,” BBC News, last modified May 1, 2019, news/world-us-canada-48125171. 49. Jared Foretek, “Seeking Peace and Justice, Montgomery Plans a Lynching Memorial,” City Lab, last modified August 21, 2017,



50. Campbell Robertson, “A Lynching Memorial is Opening. The Country Has Never Seen Anything Like It,” The New  York Times, last modified April 25, 2018, paragraph 3, us/lynching-memorial-alabama.html. 51. Equal Justice Initiative Staff, “Alabama Lawmakers Protect Confederate Memorials,” Equal Justice Initiative, last modified May 29, 2017, paragraphs 1–2, 52. Ibid., paragraph 3. 53. Ibid. 54. Ibid. 55. Southern Poverty Law Center Staff, “Weekend Read: Confederate Monuments Are Doing Down. Lynching Memorials Are Going Up,” Southern Poverty Law Center, last modified April 27, 2018, https://www. 56. W.  Fitzhugh Brundage, “Exclusion, Inclusion, and the Politics of Confederate Commemoration in the American South,” Politics, Groups, and Identities 6, no. 2 (2018): 324–330.


The Fortification of New York City: Post-­ 9/11 Memorialization and the Localization of the War on Terror

Abstract  This chapter studies New York’s post-9/11 agency. In the wake of the terrorist attacks, our analysis shows how New York went through three stages—woundedness, resilience, and arrogance—that have shaped its personality in powerful ways. After nearly a decade of organizational disputation about how to remember, the New  York Police Department emerged as the dominant actor in the shaping of New York’s post-9/11 character as a twenty-first-century police city. Keywords  New York • National September 11 Memorial and Memorial Museum • Police city • Urbicide • New York Police Department • 9/11 The terrorist attacks on the former World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, produced a particular type of American historical moment—a history for what had become known as the “post-9/11” or “September 12” era of total securitization.1 While New York City (NYC) has always asserted its power to craft influential nationalistic narratives the 9/11 attacks on the Twin Towers created rhetorical situations that led to the crafting of entirely new ideological formations that fundamentally transformed New York City. As a post-structural event in every sense of the word, 9/11 forced New Yorkers to do their best to try and make sense of the magnitude of the trauma that claimed the lives of nearly 3000 victims. As Jack © The Author(s) 2020 M. A. Hasian Jr., N. S. Paliewicz, Memory and Monument Wars in American Cities, Palgrave Macmillan Memory Studies,




Rosenthal of The New York Times commented, “just as the shock and pain are burned into memory, the words of 9/11 remain chiseled into the language.”2 Consider some of the chiseling that went on in New York City on, and after, 9/11/01. As first responders were picking up bodies from the dust and rubble of Ground Zero, New York City was mending its open, and nationally televised, wounds. Clyde Haberman noted at the time that 9/11 decimated an entire zip code (10048). And zip codes, he adds, “mean something,” not only in terms of New  York City’s “tale told in numbers”—as the New York Magazine detailed, 2977 fatalities, 6000 injured, 1.8 million tons of debris removed, $105 billion lost in New York the month after the attacks3—but also how “communities, feeling that their very identities are at stake, sometimes fight over them.”4 If cities can be considered to be types of bodies, as Ann Wagner suggests, then 9/11 was an event where this city risked losing heart, one of the most vital organs.5 No doubt many will always remember where they were on September 11, 2001, and they can reminisce about the differences that existed between the city’s history that would be chronicled before and after the terrorist attacks. In American Ground: The Unbuilding of the World Trade Center, William Langewiesche was sure that the “dread that Americans felt during the weeks following the September 11 attacks stemmed … from a collective sense of being dragged headlong into an apocalyptic future for which society seemed unprepared.”6 In a single day, New York City became a city of absence: absent security, absent bodies, absent towers, and absent meaning. While the attacks happened in New York, many other global citizens were traumatized by these events. One third of the planet—some two billion people—were said to have viewed the attacks on live television,7 and the virtuality of this trauma led to transglobal feelings of confusion, anger, and loss.8 The spectral and vicarious nature of mediated “9/11-TV” turned all of this into an inescapable act of vicarious witnessing.9 As Jennifer Pollard later remarked, the media’s endless circulation of images, videos, and photographs created a constant diffusion of live presentation (rather than representation) of 9/11’s shock-and-awe reality that deeply complicated more natural processes of healing.10 This was especially true in situations where survivors and others were continuously barraged with pictures of those that intentionally leapt to



their fates from the Twin Towers rather than suffer by immolation. To Barbie Zelizer, these “about-to-die” photos—especially the iconic “Falling Man,” which was photographed before the collapse of one of the towers—may have spared viewers from the initial trauma of gore and tragedy, but their “subjunctive” capacities have also heightened the audience’s imaginative capacities for open-ended interpretations in a suspended “as if” moment.11 New York City had to repair its “body” not just for itself but also for the billions of non-New Yorkers watching the events on live television. Within hours of the attack on the Twin Towers, it became abundantly clear that not everyone was going to be involved in the study of what had happened. At the same time that decision-makers pointed to the iconic photos that were taken of firefighters and other first responders, many of the 8 million other New Yorkers were excluded from participating in any meaningful way in this these cataclysmic events. As Diana Taylor notes in The Archive and the Repertoire empowered authorities left no room for public participation, as the roles of actors with moral or ethical agency— for example, the NYPD and FDNY—had already been assigned. Everybody else was told to “stay out of the way” and “wait patiently in lines at airports and ballparks, knowing it was for a greater good.”12 Left without recourse, and feeling compelled to view the events on TV, New Yorkers were barred from interfering with the early interventions. They were told by Mayor Giuliani to “go shopping”13 and by President George W. Bush to go “to Disney World.”14 All many could do was watch the events unfold on their public screens while paralyzed by the magnitude of the situation.15 No wonder that some developed “hero envy” or “trauma envy.”16 Meanwhile, images of terror, death, and disaster continued to play on an “endless loop “of trauma that prevented subjects from escaping the visual onslaught of trauma.”17 As we explain throughout this chapter, publics eventually had their opportunity to participate as meaningful actors—even “heroes”—but only by acquiescing to the rules of securitization that were established by the police and other empowered authorities. In this way, New York City eventually acquired elevated agency as a securitized police city labeled “resilient” and framed as a city that might be emulated by others worried about terror attacks. Today it is easy to forget that some of the histories and memories that were produced in the immediate aftermath of the attacks on New  York



City look nothing like our twenty-first-century remembrances of these same affairs. As Nancy Foner notes in the introduction to her edited book, The Wounded City, the post-9/11 “terrain of disaster” affected numerous communities in powerful, albeit different, ways.18 For instance, New York City immediately experienced a surge of xenophobia and racism against ethnic communities who were accused of potentially having something to do with these horrific acts. A welter of topics and issues were raised by those who wanted to protect the city—dangers presented by Arab Muslims, Hispanics, Asians; increased class-based disparities between ultra-rich and the poor; environmental impacts in downwind communities such as Battery Park, Tribeca, Rockaway communities, and Jersey City. Many of the traumatic wounded were rendered visible (e.g., FDNY and NYPD), while invisible workers (e.g., taxi drivers, airline employees, custodians) did their best to carry on.19 Human and post-human worlds collided. During this period New Yorkers argued about how best to remember and commemorate 9/11. Should the city rebuild the Twin Towers, or should their absences be marked by leaving open spaces for future generations? How should the dead be mourned, and what role should New York City play in their burial or cremation? Did the city need another large tourist attraction that might interfere with the flow of traffic through some local neighborhood, or was this a national tragedy that required transcontinental memory-work? The polysemic and polyvalent nature of the representations of the new “history” of New York City contributed to the presence of heated debates about how best to represent these terrorist events, but from a critical genealogical perspective this was certainly not the first time that New York City had been wounded or experienced massive trauma. As Nancy Foner observed, New York City had experienced several disasters in years past— such as the cholera outbreak in 1832 that contributed to 3513 deaths; a deadly conflagration on the steamer, General Slocum, that killed over 1000 in 1904; and even terrorist attacks such as the Wall Street bombing in 1920, which killed 30 and injured 300.20 However, 9/11 was uniquely constitutive of “another … newer, species of trouble” considering these attacks’ “scale, size, and location in a quintessentially global city.”21 Never have so many “ideal victims” that “symbolically represented the state” died in a single day.22 While many interdisciplinary scholars like Foner have studied the various personal and organizational controversies that drew in 9/11



stakeholders such as the first responders, family members of the 9/11 victims, and politicians, researchers are just beginning to pay systematic attention to the role that New York City, as an agentic force, played during these turbulent times. Extending the work of folks such as Ann Wagner, Stephen Graham, and Mary Douglas, we read cities as embodied subjective actors that try to protect residents by making strategic decisions regarding remembering and forgetting.23 In the wake of the 9/11 death, dust, and rubble that the terrorist attacks left behind, New  York City acquired newfound agency through speech, thought, and power and influence. After the first few days there were early signs that some city representatives wanted to harp on notions of American exceptionalism, or they wanted to reference the payback that was coming to bin Laden and his minions, but we also have lingering memories and histories of the attacks that reminded us of the need for survivalism or the clean-up of the debris. New York City developed the all-too-human capacity to remember in strategic ways—ways, we should add, that were rhetorical selections and deflections of pasts. Who, after all, had any interest in trying to trace why Al Qaeda had any grievances that ought to be studied, or had anything to do with American foreign interventionism in the Middle East? Our analysis shows how New  York City, as an agentic actor, went through at least three stages of memory as it transitioned to a police city.24 In the same way that human bodies that are wounded sometimes heal, given time and attention, this was a city that experienced a metamorphosis as it immunized itself against all sorts of real and imagined threats over the next two decades. That said, we wonder whether it was also possible that NYC continued to treat itself as a besieged, garrison state long after imminent threats disappeared from terrorist horizons. As we detail below, New York City became a transformative body that went from (1) a wounded city marked by the chronotope of dust; to (2) a resilient city that warranted securitization; to (3) an empowered sovereign “police city.” Our overarching argument in this chapter is that New York City’s current stages of Global War on Terror (GWOT) memories are defined by a type of arrogance that has everything to do with remaining perceptions of traumatic and prosthetic wounds. This is a city, in other words, that sometimes acts as if the march of history ended, and ossified, on 9/11/01. As readers shall see, today’s NYC continues to arm itself, and continues to suggest that the nation follow this city and view itself as vulnerable,



long after the death of Bin Laden and long after the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. This is a city intent on displaying its precarity as well as its capacity to use the might of the United States to counter domestic and international foes who might threat the body politic. In the process of portraying its resilience NYC seems to forget that it has a long history of recovering from other disasters, and amnesia sets in as it forgets the complicated nature of 9/11 responses. As detailed in the following section, one such forgetting has to do with selective recollections of the institutional failures and petty disagreements that surfaced early on. For instance, before the dust even settled (literally and figuratively), communication breakdowns between first responders such as the FDNY, NYPD, and EMS interfered with the very search and rescue operations that many publics revered. Not only that but the NYPD and FDNY fought each other as they quibbled over added responsibilities, first responder designation, and territorial jurisdiction. Although New York City largely forgot many of these “turf wars” in hagiographic chronicles of these events these first responder squabbles played a pivotal role in the shaping the formation of New  York City’s post-9/11 militaristic personality. In this chapter we hope to show how the NYPD, above all other organizations, became the dominant organizational force of New York City, and we contend that the formation of this city’s police force’s militaristic persona helped shape key histories and memories of what would become the “September 12” era. There is little question that at the same time the city of New  York worked away at clearing the rubble of 9/11 it also began work on planning out how it would remember the fallen and contextualize for future generations of New Yorkers and Americans what had “happened.” Given Walter Benjamin’s insight that we primarily remember the “history” that flashes before us in moments of danger, the city had to decide what it wanted to remember to forget after 9/11. When the 9/11 Memorial, and later, the 9/11 Museum, opened to the public, many of the first responder failures, the contradictory decisions of empowered officials, and the chaos of ruination were erased in order to paint a monolithic and uplifting picture of “what happened.” As we detail in our second section, narratives of resilience slowly started to define New York City’s personality and the character of those who survived. We argue that this move toward empowerment and resilience came at a



cost—as global denizens witnessed the near total securitization of a city that acted as though it was daily being traumatized again and again by waves of foreign terrorists. Becoming resilient in this select “history” meant turning New York City into a fortress that localized, and revivified interest in, continually fighting the War on Terrorism. These strategic remembrances, and own dark recollections, produced their own “hauntologies.”25 In our conclusion we show how New York City’s post-9/11 narcissism has become a metonym for the nation’s resilience as other cities throughout the United States have appropriated New York City’s effective history (Foucault) so that they too can project a moral ethos of being vigilant communities that are filled with freedom-fighting, firstresponding, patriotic agents like the New Yorkers. Consequently, countless other cities throughout the nation became piously attached to New York City’s institutional counter-terrorist memories and histories, and as we note in the third subsection of this chapter they began modeling their behaviors in ways that reflected their respect for New  York City’s securitization efforts. Unfortunately, we see some of this ideological and dingpolitik drift as highly problematic, in that these counter-terrorist agentic forces at municipal levels in NYC generated their own momentum. These rhetorical forces that developed soon after 9/11 led to the fortification of the city against all types of real and imagined foes, including many Muslims. New Yorkers who supported the massive policing of the city quickly forgot the evidence of receding existential threats. Securitization ideologies remain, long after New Yorkers and other Americans forgot the specific historical events that led to the constitutively production of those ideologies in the first place. This all leads to a second major argument that we will make in this chapter: That new sets of insecurities have developed that have inadvertently contributed to America’s surge of white nationalist thinking and right-wing populism. As New York City’s 9/11 stories show, rhetorics of securitization may temporarily help bodies recover from wounds, but they can become problematic “noble lies” when cities fortify themselves in ways that treat foreign residents, or immigrants, or many others as if they themselves were carriers of terrorism that perpetually threaten American cities.



The coverage of the seemingly never-ending GWOT requires that cities like New York continue to be haunted by the specter of Al Qaeda threats that need to be remembered at the same time that we mourn the victims of the terrorist attacks.

The Wounds of 9/11/01: The Chronotope of Dust While actors and networks throughout the world were finding ways to mend “the hole in the nation’s heart,” Manhattan’s horrifying voids revealed an indescribable strangeness; a loss, or emptiness that consumed New York City. New York City after 9/11 was characterized by disorder, chaos, bewilderment. Responders sometimes worked together, and at other times at cross-purposes. No wonder that many described Lower Manhattan in the aftermath of the attacks as a “war zone,” or a “battlefield.” Without the Twin Towers, many publics in New York City found themselves assuming the role of spectators who, as Michel De Certeau once noted, were characterized by their illegible bodies and “blindness.”26 9/11 survivors and traveling “pilgrims” looked, but could not see, watched, but could not act, and observed, but could not understand. Before their eyes was an irreducible spectacle of disaster, and this is why people sought political and moral authorities to help them make sense of what happened.27 NYC could not stand by and treat this as something that could be handled by its civilian residents. New York City’s body, in many ways, was dematerialized to dust, and in post-human ways it became strangely blended with other substances. For our purposes dust served as a chronotope—a trope that characterized space and time28—that impacted how New  Yorkers perceived time and space. As Marita Sturken has convincingly argued, dust can ultimately function as a referent for the cyclical materiality of substance.29 She quotes Carolyn Steedman’s work to support her argument: “Dust … is about circularity, the impossibility of things disappearing, or going away, or being gone. Nothing can be destroyed.”30 It was for this reason, that dust, for a while, took on the form of a “polluting substance” in New York City that had “to be scrubbed away precisely because of its liminal status—as both refuse and body.”31 The omnipresence of dust in NYC in the days and weeks after 9/11 also meant that families and friends of the missing or the dead could not



properly mourn for their loved ones at the place of their disappearance. Some bodies would never be identified, and it was difficult to identify the material presence of many who died during the attacks. Human remains were scattered across Lower Manhattan and were found in the debris. This is why Patricia Yeager describes the detritus as “frightening and animated” and she had the temerity to ask the question that everybody was thinking: “Is it rubble or body part?”32 In fact, as Sturken points out in several places, only 1592 (58%) of the 2749 people who were killed were properly identified.33 How do people mourn bodies that have vanished? And what happens when body parts are confused with refuse? What are the responsibilities of cities like NYC in these types of situations? NYC’s dust issues manifested themselves in the Fresh Kills controversy. Fresh Kills—kill being Dutch for “stream”—is a landfill located on Stanton Island that became a focal point of controversy during post-9/11 cleanup operations. Prior to the closing of this facility in early 2001 Fresh Kills was regarded as one of the largest landfills in the world, and it is also the place where many city workers were kept busy sorting through the human remains from Ground Zero. Already traumatized families of the dead were not sure what to make of Fresh Kills. They were not enamored by the idea that the unidentified remains of their loved ones might be permanently mixed with New York City’s trash. These anxieties led to the creation of WTC Families for Proper Burial, a group that unsuccessfully attempted to remove and rebury the human remains. One family member, speaking of the mound known as “1/9,” told journalists that “it just turns my stomach that he would be left in a garbage dump.”34 In many ways these early disputes highlighted the biopolitical and thanatopolitical nature of some of NYC early responses to the 9/11 attacks. For one British journalist Fresh Kills became “New York City’s digestive system” and many “still bear the scars of their role in [it]—the receptacle of practically all of its garbage for almost 70 years.”35 New York’s heart was not the only body part affected by the attacks, and references to the Fresh Kills site underscored the vulnerability of a city that had trouble separating and identifying human and non-human substances found in post-­ attack rubble. Ground Zero and Fresh Kills formed an interrelated assemblage, spaces in social networks that signified particular treatment of bodies and the



materialities of those bodies. Human grids of intelligibility intermingled with non-human parts of even larger civic bodies that shaped New York City’s agentic capacity to remember (and forget) 9/11 in profound ways. Fresh Kills, to Sturken, “disrupts any simple categorization” and consequently became the “countersite to Ground Zero.”36 Considering the ways trash is a vital material part of the biosystem of every city, and considering the history of this particular site, we can understand how the movements of parts from one of the world’s receptacle to a hallowed memorial would not be easy ones. The city’s—as well as New  Yorkers’ and others’ reactions to these Fresh Kill moves—gets at some of the tensions, that contradictions, the incommensurabilities, the selective historical framing, and the politics of Ground Zero remembrances.37 If we extend the work of Michel Foucault on thanatopolitics, Achille Mmembe on necropolitics, Roberto Esposito on immunitas,38 and Jacques Derrida on autoimmunity39 we would have to conclude that at least during the early stages of post-911 recovery New  York City was not just wounded; it was also a very sick place. The omnipresence of dust created toxic situations, to the point where one 2014 report showed that some 2500 workers and responders who had arrived to help the dead and dying were themselves coming down with cancer and other diseases.40 Other reports evidenced how 7000 firefighters, police officers, and volunteers were now critically ill.41 A typical journalist report was filed by someone who was sure that nearly 10,000 persons “have gotten cancer from toxic 9/11 dust.”42 Uncertainties about the environmental impacts of all of this dust meant that NYC now had to not only cope with physical terrorist threats from Al Qaeda but biohazards as well. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Department of Health now placed NYC under their own metaphoric microscopes. In City of Dust: Illness, Arrogance, and 9/11 Anthony DePalma opined that some of the city’s must trusted epistemic communities argued incessantly, remained silent, or provided publics with inaccurate information regarding what to do in the midst of this contamination.43 A clash of perspectives, differing organizational goals, and conflicting ways of configuring transcendent needs ensured that some prioritized economic recovery over health concerns. When the former Chief of the EPA, Christie Whitman, tried to tell New Yorkers about some of this prioritization this



caused rifts among the ranks of those in charge of the cleanup.44 And while the OSHA spokespersons claimed that they had distributed tens of thousands of masks to workers, OSHA was also an agency that suspended its enforcement of some potential violations in the name of economic recovery.45 The optics of this period mattered as well. Yes, masks were handed out, but were these the types of masks that were needed by those working in and around what many regarded as a toxic waste site?46 Members of the Army Corp of Engineers—the organization that primarily handled the Fresh Kills operations—had essential protective gear, but there was no shortage of those who felt that NYC clean-up workers were forced to work in hazardous conditions without that same protective gear that was worn by the Army Corp of Engineers. Had the city of New York failed to auto-immunize itself against non-­ terrorist biopolitical or thanatopolitical threats? Readers will not be surprised to learn that thousands of firefighters, police officers, and workers filed lawsuits against state organizational authorities in 2006 for failing to provide rescuers with the respirators and other protective devices that they needed as they worked with, and around, toxic chemicals like PCB, benzene, and asbestos.47 As a chronotope for New York’s different forms of woundedness during this mercurial stage of memory dust became a way for New York to configure both the passage of time and the reclamation of space. As we show in the following section, the NYPD would emerge as a powerful actor that would take advantage of what they saw as a security vacuum, and this turned into an opportunity to turn New York City into a garrisoned city. This, however, did not come before the city became involved in various “turf wars” with the FDNY.

Turf Wars: The Battles for Securitized New York Space Between the NYPD and FDNY One of the most important spatial disputes that took place in the years ­following the attack on the Twin Towers involved the NYPD and FDNY—those designated “official” heroes on “9/11 TV”—who were having their own quarrels which, as it turns out, affected New York City’s social agency in powerful ways.



Journalists who were aware of the tensions between the NYPD and the FDNY explained to readers of newspapers that rifts between the two organizations go back as far as the 1980s when the FDNY began responding to non-fire-related distress calls that were usually handled by the NYPD.  The two organizations’ disagreements over which organization should be protecting the city surfaced during hockey game “brawls,”48 as well as during the 9/11 clean-up. In a portion of the official 9/11 Commission Report one finds this comment: One instance in which the FDNY/NYPD rivalry may have had an impact on the total fatalities was the alleged failure of [the Emergency Service Unit (ESU)] officers descending past at least two firefighters after 9:59  in the North Tower to share their evacuation instructions. It should be noted, however, that at least one firefighter has conceded that he, too, descended past other stationary firefighters without telling them to evacuate. In addition, according to one of the ESU officers and one of the firefighters in the North Tower, at least some FDNY personnel were unwilling to take evacuation orders from police that morning.49

The reportage of these types of incidents prompted then Mayor Rudolph Giuliani to establish the Office of Emergency Management to take control of matters where it is unclear which first response organization should take command.50 At the same time, the 9/11 Commission Report stated was it was “clear that the lead response agency was the F.D.N.Y.” while also adding that “the response operations lacked the kind of integrated communications and unified command contemplated in the directive.”51 Many FDNY officers have harbored resentment when they reminisced about Mr. Giuliani’s interventionism—and this manifested itself he was running for president in 2008. The firefighters’ position was that the former mayor had made some poor organizational decisions that contributed to poor inter-organizational communication (e.g., radio failures) and unnecessary deaths of fire fighters, not to mention the ceding of power to the NYPD.52 In a 2008 video documenting Giuliani’s leadership failures, the General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters’ (IAFF), Harold Schaitberger, said, “Rudy Giuliani has used a horrible event, Sept. 11, 2001, to create a carefully crafted persona …. But the fact is, what Rudy portrays is not a full picture of the decisions made that led, in our view, to the unnecessary deaths of our FDNY members and the attempt to stop the dignified recovery of those lost.”53



Schaitberger’s commentaries illustrate how some in the city recognized the importance of personae and social agency, but it is telling that the FDNY did not dwell on their own organizational shortcomings. Again, as we noted in other chapters, there are going to be times when cities, during times of disasters and perceptual chaotic situations, are going to become involved in all sorts of multidirectional and competitive memory work. To give readers some representative samples of the NYPD’s rhetoric during these volatile times, consider Kelly’s comments with the above noted turf wars in mind: “We know that Al Qaeda wants to come here; this is the one place they want to come to again, New York… This is, I believe, a lesson from 9/11, and that’s why the mayor decided to go forward with it.”54 Remember though, that at this point in time, the NYPD had not yet fully taken over the city the way that it would—it was still battling other police-like organizations such as the FDNY over jurisdictional matters. The FDNY during these early years still had its “own 9/11 card to play” when FDNY Chief Peter Hayden argued it was of utmost importance that the FDNY shared responsibility with NYPD after “having seen and lived the problems we encountered that day firsthand.”55 New Yorkers were supposed to remember that the tacit knowledge that was gained by first-responding fire fighters was something that could not be gained by those who were only watching the handling of the aftermath of the terror attacks from a relatively safe distance. From a Foucauldian vantage point Americans were witnessing a clash of discourse/power/ knowledge formations that had everything to do with material realities and discursive contestations. Matters grew in complexity when Michael Bloomberg—who recently ran for president—became mayor in 2002. In the historical chronologies and public archives of this city he would be remembered for having implemented a new response plan that used the “lessons of 9/11” to advance “bureaucratic goals.”56 Bloomberg’s plans were deceptively simple: given existential necessities grant NYPD near total power throughout the city and turn New York City into what we call a “police city.” This is why Bloomberg intervened in the NYPD and FDNY feud by giving authority to the NYPD as the designated first response command team for any “incident involving hazardous materials,” at least “until terrorism or other criminal activity can be ruled out.”57 In theory, the NYPD was being granted what those who follow Gorgio Agamben would call temporary state of exception powers.58



At this point we ponder if it is possible that New  York’s post-9/11 woundedness provided Bloomberg and the NYPD with just the right kind of political leverage that they needed to implement the police state style governmentality policies that facilitated NYC’s ascendance as a police city. To get an idea of the politicized nature of the rhetorical appeals that Bloomberg used to empower the NYPD note the way that he characterized the NYPD members when he configured them as past victims of more liberal political decisions. “The attacks most often come from those who play no constructive role in keeping our city safe but, rather, view their jobs as pointing fingers from the steps of City Hall,” he said. “Let me begin by saying something you don’t hear often enough,” he went on, “Thank you.” The audience at that time, that included many police chiefs, erupted in boisterous applause.59 One would have thought that the police themselves were preparing to battle al Qaeda or the Taliban on the streets of NYC instead of the streets of cities in Iraq or Afghanistan. Temporal and spatial distance evaporated as the NYPD could now view themselves as essential warfighters in the perpetual war that had to be fought to protect the homeland. It is not surprising that Bloomberg’s massive and discretionary police-­ granting policies were met with so much support from the NYPD and its fraternal order of police. NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly, who worked for both the Pentagon as a lieutenant general and the CIA as a “spymaster,” saw the NYPD as the organization that was leading the War on Terrorism.60 Kelly’s obsessive commitments to the GWOT became emblematic of the “September 12 Era” and served as a model by for rest of the country. The NYPD’s Counterterrorism Bureau, which was “put together practically overnight” in February 2002, served as the national hub for police intelligence throughout the land. Police officials from different parts of the U.S. and abroad “regularly [came] to see” the bureau to “learn.” All of which was part of “Kelly’s vision to remake the NYPD into a force that can effectively respond to the world’s dangerous new realities.”61 The city’s attempt to establish this new normality did not mean that the FDNY and the NYPD set aside their differences. In spite of the mayor’s formation of demarcated boundaries of authority communicative problems remained. In a study conducted by the McKinsey Company at the request of the FDNY and NYPD in 2002—known as McKinsey Report: Increasing FDNY’s Preparedness—both organizations were admonished



to work together to increase effectivity in the future.62 To Charles Jennings, Assistant Professor of Fire Science and Public Administration, New York “police and fire departments are like two 400-pound gorillas. In the past, no one in City Hall has had the political will and sustained interest to force these organizations to work together.”63 The FDNY-NYPD rivalry has, it seems, always shaped the contours and power flows within New York City. Disputes over fire and criminal jurisdictions morphed into much larger turf wars as 9/11 exigencies led to the amplification of disagreements with higher stakes as each organization rushed to fill in the city’s perceived security vacuum. Both organizations, sadly, tended to prioritize having first responder designation after 9/11, and they became reputational entrepreneurs who served their own territorial interests as they sought to repair their own woundedness. We would even go so as far as to suggest that the NYPD and FDNY appropriated securitization rhetorics to boost their own institutional ethos, regardless of whether the post-9/11 “scenarios of risk” have been grounded in counterterrorist realities.64 To be fair to the city of New York, a critical review of mediated coverage of these affairs shows that residents generally embraced this police sentimentality, and New  Yorkers took pride in America’s recognition of their post-9/11 resilience. The NYPD won these territorial disputes by becoming the dominant force within the jurisdictional limits of New York City. This was not just the mayor’s decision, or the NYPD’s decision, but the collective decisions that were made when city residents ratified these decisions through their post-9/11 actions and their behaviors. Altogether, this temporal period that witnessed moves away from laying in the dust toward dealing with insecurity and ambiguity shows that the indeterminacy of 9/11 created opportunities as well as challenges for those who wished to reterritorialize New York City. An ethos of recovery and resilience helped the efforts of those who wanted to see their city framed as a place that would “never again” witness another 9/11. Accepting the exceptional powers of the NYPD became a concrete way of dealing with the lingering impact of national (in)securities, as well as a way of dealing with the circulation of materials on the alleged failures of security authorities before the September 11 attacks.65 With time, as we note in the following section, the transition of Ground Zero’s material space from a catastrophic post-fallout area to an NYPD-­ inspired security assemblage that followed (e.g., closed-circuit televisions,



fences, barricades), helped New York City became the first line of defense in a never-ending GWOT that had ill-defined boundaries and territories.

Monumentalizing Resilience: The Continuation of NYPD’s Fortification of New York City When the National September 11 Memorial opened to the public in September 2011, on the tenth anniversary of the attacks, it was met with mixed reactions from journalists, critics, and tourists. Restricted to family members and invited guests, the very opening of memorial, to many, was a sort of “reckoning,” as the New York Times put it, that showed all the memory-work and mastering of difficult heritages that New Yorkers had poured into the memorial up until that point.66 After years of contentious negotiating between various organizations—such as the Port Authorities of New  York and New Jersey, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, a group of family members called “Take Back the Memorial, the NYPD, and the FDNY67—a decision had to be made about how to “set the record straight” regarding what happened during and after 9/11. Each of the organizations that we referenced above proffered their own interpretations of how best to remember, or rather how best to instrumentalize, “the story” of New  York City’s recovery from a major terrorist attack. New York City’s preferred tale of heroic resilience provided readers and viewers with a coherent, if monolithic story of overcoming adversity and bouncing back from the worst terrorist attack in American history. While the city’s resilience narrative may have overlooked some of the vulnerabilities that led to the attacks, it nonetheless resonated with those who wished to see New York City as the next “shining city on the hill,” as Reagan once said. We now recognize that we are all part of a larger narrative,” John Avon explained, “and while our city may never be the same, we will be better and stronger as a result of all we have experienced. Much has been taken from us, but much remains; and even in the dark, a great deal of light still shines upon the city of New York.”68 This dominant resilience narrative that was circulated by the city of New York tapped into collective US beliefs in American exceptionalism.69 No other country, in theory, had a city like NYC that could rebound in that short amount of time from the traumas that were experienced by those suffering through economic, political, social, and legal dislocations.



Avlon described this transformative discourse this way in 2014: “overnight, and somewhat to our surprise, New York has been embraced as the nation’s symbol of resilience, the indomitable heart of America…. Nothing had prepared the city or the department for this volume of loss.” He was convinced that it was the obligation of the people to act “on behalf of their city” to console and comfort each other during these cataclysmic times. “This was the spirit of a resilient city—outraged, engaged, and unified.”70 These municipal exceptionalist rhetorics reflected national and international reactions to perceived transcontinental threats. As Hamilton Bean, Lisa Keränen, and Margaret Durfy observe in their study of resilience discourses after the 7/7 terrorist attacks in London, resilience has become a dominant interpretative frame for configuring counter-terroristic responsiveness. To those authors, resilience discourses are specifically constitutive of a “cosmopolitan nationalism” that has “evoked the mythos that humans everywhere are potentially able to overcome adversities.” This mythmaking can be found in governmental discourse that inculcates the “values of civil defense” as it beckons listeners to prepare for “unavoidable disasters” that may pose “existential threats.”71 While resilience rhetorics in municipalities, states, and nations can help citizens make sense of what overwise might be incomprehensive events they can also bring fearmongering and contribute to garrison state mentalities.72 Hamilton Bean and his co-authors describe this tension between needed consciousness-raising and excessive reactions in the following way: On one hand, the discourse of resilience may encourage feelings of restraint among citizens and policymakers, thereby curbing reactionary impulses to fight terrorism in ways that are ultimately harmful to national interests. At the same time, however, the discourse of resilience may bolster feelings of resolve that dogmatically perpetuate foreign and domestic policies that are, in fact, worthy of reconsideration.73

Unfortunately, New York’s post-9/11 narrative of resilience has tended to move in the direction of appearing to be on the side of unquestioned dogma rather than reasoned restraint. Although many have claimed that “the story” of New  York has helped them cope with the magnitude of disaster—which is not something we doubt—it must also be recognized that at this stage New York City instrumentalized the resilience narrative to totally securitize not just its body but also the bodies of other cities. In



this way, resilience warranted the continual ascent of security agencies to transform the city into a major local battlefront in the more global war against terrorism. As resilience became a core part of New York’s identity through narratives crafted by the FDNY and NYPD, “security” became a major ideographic term that signaled municipal police prioritizations. To FDNY’s Assistant Chief Joseph Pfeifer, adaptive resilience, defined as the “process by which organizations demonstrate flexibility to adjust their core mission to a new operational reality,” was a central component of how the FDNY wanted to change NYC’s counter-terrorist posture. Writing 15 years after the attacks, Pfeifer noted, Unlike 9/11, when commercial planes were used as massive kinetic-­ incendiary devices and flown into high-rise buildings, tomorrow’s terrorist operatives who appear to be more easily radicalized can use a mix of easily accessible guns, explosives and fire against large soft targets to return terrorist campaigns to a level of sensationalism. It is up to the intelligence community, first responders and the private sector to develop new procedures to prevent, protect from, mitigate and respond to this new vertical threat.74

This fragment needs to be unpacked. First, note the way that Preifer is implying that the absence of other major attacks has simply meant that would-be terrorists might be going after “softer” targets. Second, here there is no discussion of the CIA or the FBI’s involvement with intelligence, but rather the FDNY’s relationships with counter-terrorist intelligence. The use of the term “new vertical threat,” as well as the referencing of “a mix of accessible, guns, explosives, and fire,” was used to make it appear as if firefighters were the real first lines of defense in the war against Al Qaeda. What the Assistant Chief is describing is what others have called the September 12 era, where the FDNY select remembrances of 9/11 threats had a great deal to do with firefighters’ expertise that was growing with each passing day.75 However, in spite of the ways that the NYPD and the FDNY came up with all types of possibilistic and probabilistic scenarios that focused on their own constructive social agency, this could not paper over some of the documentation of the lack of preparedness in the city before 9/11. The 9/11 Commission Report noted that the terrorist attacks had been a consequence of a “failure of imagination,”76 implying that embarrassed FDNY



and NYPD officials were taking belated securitizing counter-terrorist measures. In the September 12 era, New York City, to say the least, has become more imaginative as the city situated itself within novel counter-terrorist horizons. The day after the attacks, for instance, Border Patrol agents were doubled, air-marshals program was recalibrated, and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) was born. Stephen Brill, writing in the Atlantic, notes how “Billions of dollars awaited contractors who promised infallible new technology: bio-threat and radiation detectors in towers to catch border-jumpers, upgraded Coast Guard cutters, biometric identification cards, $1 million baggage-screening machines, new data-collection software.” And “Billions more,” observed Brill, “would go to cities and towns savvy enough to slap a homeland-security label on grant proposals.”77 Even though New York City’s counter-terrorism bill was in the ballpark of $200 million per year, all of this was deemed to be necessitous spending. Mayor Bloomberg’s viewpoint on the matter has been that NYPD Chief Raymond Kelly “should do whatever he considers necessary, and that a way to pay for it will be found later.”78 The idea being, in the words of New Yorker columnist Finnegan, “No counterterrorism program, no amount of homeland-security spending, can eliminate the threat.”79 That spending could, however, provide perceptual evidence of NYC’s securitization efforts. Blending New York’s narrative of resilience with an expansive security geopolitical imagination NYC powers like the NYPD could now work with the FBI on counter-terrorism as they claimed that they could “move into the vacuum and build an aggressive municipal self-defense.”80 Even though the NYPD expressed some resentment against the “feds,” namely, the FBI, for their alleged security failures that led to 9/11, the NYPD found a way to use those feelings, and their newfound governmental support, to become integrally involved in what William Finnegan has called “the terrorism beat.”81 In Foucauldian terms, a new governmentality was taking shape. The NYPD quickly began thinking the unthinkable as members of that organization tried to stay one step ahead of possible future terrorists. In managing its counter-terrorism unit, barricading streets and entire communities, and showing the public that they were on constant watch for biological attacks, the NYPD had an disproportionate say in molding the



city’s personality in this new era of September 12. For instance, consider how the NYPD turned Battery Park into a warzone. To Low et al., who conducted ethnographic studies of the area after 9/11, Battery Park City was “a Dunkirk-like scene of ferries, tugboats, and other vessels evacuating tens of thousands of residents and office workers fleeing the destruction and the smoke.”82 Some of the residents later complained about “tanks in the street” while other were forced to wait “for days behind police barricades” before being allowed to “collect belongings and pick up pets” from their apartments.83 One woman said “there were barricades and police all over the place.”84 Domestic policing had turned into counter-terrorism securitizing in the streets of NYC. The lingering aftereffects of September 12 mentalities also affected the process of rebuilding Ground Zero. Consider some of the compromises that had to take place when those in favor of police designs argued with those who had other architectural plans in mind for the rebuilding of the WTC Site. When architect Daniel Libeskind imagined a rebuilt WTC Tower (Freedom Tower) that would be 1776 feet tall and would have various aesthetic transformative uses of space85—he had to contend with those who worried that some of this planning would do little to deter would-be terrorists. Worries about the securitization of the WTC Tower site forced Libeskind to bow to the will of the NYPD that wanted to see more defensible memorial designs. Some tried to counter this focus on securitization when they expressed concern about Ground Zero’s “fortress-” and “airport-like” qualities. Governor Pataki who, like Libeskind, were more interested in the symbolic, political, and economic significance of rebuilding efforts openly critiqued some of this policing. Pataki even said that “police officials have put excessive emphasis on security for the Freedom Tower, so much so, they are scaring away potential renters like Goldman Sachs.”86 Libeskind tended to agree, albeit for different reasons, averring at one time that “We cannot make the Freedom Tower a tower of fear.”87 Others speaking of the WTC site complained that the NYPD had built the “Berlin Wall” at Ground Zero and believed that New Yorkers and others needed to be reminded that this is “lower Manhattan, not Soviet-era Berlin!”88 Nevertheless, in spite of this commentary on other potential goals, the calls for added security were met with widespread support, and these public warrants turned the fortification of New York into a commemorative



form of resilience. This explains why millions of average Americans and members of police organizations tended to side with the NYPD and Port Authorities’ continuous calls for increased security. Expressed desires for ramped up security drowned out many dissenting voices, and the adoption of these securitizing measures, in the words of John Colgan (a high-­ ranking counterterrorist official in the NYPD) turned the Freedom Tower into the “safest, largest building in the world.”89 Those who refused to accept this siege mentality were ridiculed for not backing the strengthening of counter-terrorist efforts. Ron Rosenbaum of the New York Observer who, after chastising the New York Times for being too concerned about Ground Zero’s over-securitization, said bluntly, “Aren’t there more important things than an elegant look? If you don’t want an armored bunker (which offers little protection from aerial attack anyway), then don’t build it at all.” Citing testimony from 9/11 survivors, he says: “If we have learned anything from the horrific experiences of those trapped in the burning towers on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, it is that the safety and security of any future inhabitants of the site are paramount and must not be sacrificed for the sake of expediency.”90 Some of the actual architectural practices that reflected the influence of this security mania—the idea that, as one NYPD detective put it, “9/11 is never over”91—included making sure that the Freedom Tower was bomb proof, adding a nearby “Vehicular Security Center,” preparedness for chemical attacks, and installing the air intakes “high above ground” to lessen the chance that a terrorist could lob a device in.”92 With its counterterrorism units, millions of dollars from Homeland Security, and their official first responder status from Bloomberg, the NYPD was able to persistently advocate for more security at, and around, Ground Zero, and it could be argued that this all elevated the rhetorical status of the NYPD. When they came up with scenarios of risk that contemplated the impact of truck bombs, cyanide attacks, or future airborne attacks, the NYPD themselves became architects for a newer, more resilient New York City, and this was a characterization that most New Yorkers seemed to have readily embraced. John Martucci—an ironworker from Jersey City involved in the construction process—believed that if it was for security, it was “all for the better.”93 Adam Brodsky intoned that “concessions for security are part of the price of terror. When thugs leveled the World Trade Center, they scared folks away from buildings that tall. So, offices in the Freedom



Tower are to rise only 70 stories, not the 110 of the Twin Towers.” He added—“if our leaders are talking about building low-rise fortresses and keeping them out of harm’s way for 100 years, it’s time to rethink not the Freedom Tower plan—but the war plan.”94 At the very same time that these securitizing and counterterrorist rhetorics were circulating, tensions between NYPD and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) manifested themselves as arguments were heard about who would have jurisdiction in the World Trade Center complex once work was completed. The NYPD’s seemingly takeover was a particularly sensitive topic because of the Port Authority’s historical and “iconic” ties to Ground Zero.95 Not only did 37 of the PANYNJ’s “cops” perish on 9/11 but it was, and still is, co-owners of the site with developer Larry Silverstein. So when New Jersey Governor Chris Christie announced in 2013 that he would ensure that the Port Authority Police, not the NYPD, would be the organization responsible for the Freedom Tower’s security, this produced more rifts between the two organizations and created, in addition to the previous noted NYPD-FDNY feud, another “bitter turf war.”96 When we view these tensions through critical genealogical and post-­ structural lens we find that while New  York City was slowly gaining strength as a resilient city, there were still unresolved issues that impacted how 9/11 would be historicized and commemorated. By 2013–2014 the NYPD must have felt that it was fighting foreign and local foes as it battled the FDNY, PANYNJ, and civilians who objected to the fortification of NYC. The FDNY that watched these struggles was forced to accept its reduced role in protecting the homeland, but the opening of the 9/11 memorial allowed for feelings of nostalgia as supporters of the FDNY could remember a time when fire fighters were the first responders who appeared in media spotlights. Bloomberg’s decisions regarding the empowerment of NYPD could not tarnish the image of the FDNY in the vernacular memories of those who visited the 9/11 Museum. There, in that hallowed ground, the FDNY is remembered with tropes of resilience through dingpolitik objects such as FDNY badges, helmets, and even fire trucks. The abject objects that are in the Museum have the potential to tell tales of individual heroism and collective resilience, and yet, we contend, the way that they are positioned in the memorial also allows them to be sutured into a grander narrative of anti-terrorist municipal preparedness.



During this second period of memory work—were architectural planning went hand in hand with memorialization and other forms of 9/11 monumentalization—the notion of having a garrisoned NYC and a counterterrorist type of NYPD was legitimated and normalized. And Americans loved this naturalization of NYC spaces and places. As Mike Pride rightly observed in Colby Magazine, “After 9/11, Americans fell in love with the New York Police Department. We were all New Yorkers then, with NYPD hats and T-shirts to prove it.”97 “Little did we know,” he added, “that a unit of the NYPD would soon mount a surveillance operation targeting people who had neither committed nor threatened to commit crimes.”98 As we show in the next subsection New York City’s militarization soon became a model for national ways of thinking about the ascendance of various police and military organizations.

American Reactions to the Militarization of New York City While many disagreed about how to memorialize 9/11 at Ground Zero, the belief in the necessity of having even more security was taken-for-­ granted by many of the stakeholders in the debates about memorializing 9/11 events. While there were several occasions where locals complained about the “fortress-like” qualities of Ground Zero—such as the securitization of objects as mundane as trash, and the threatened militarization of neighborhoods99—when push came to shove many living in and around the 9/11 Memorial understood the perceived need for protecting the homeland from terrorists. Stakeholders were willing to talk and write about real estate, architectural propriety, and the remains of the dead, but it would be securitization issues that took up much of the time of those who argued about NYC counter-terrorist memorialization.100 One key sub-theme that resonated with local New  Yorkers or other Americans having to do with militarization and securitization of NYC was the notion that a city’s fortification served as a type of atonement for past municipal failures or police lapses. Resilience, for some, involved moving ahead and accepting “lessons learned” from studies of some of the key vulnerabilities and the culpabilities that led to the attacks.101 As Forest and Johnson argued, these security performances were acts of “atonement” for the security failures that could have, theoretically, prevented the attacks in the first place.102 In their words, the “strict access-control” at the WTC



site provides atonement for security personnel and police as proxies for airport checkpoint screeners. The conscientious application of an airport-­ like security protocol is a chance to symbolically “get it right.”103 The perceived benefits that comes from this type of atonement also explains why Elinor Light could describe the National September 11 Memorial as a place that juxtaposed “images of terror with practices of tourism, consumerism, and rituals of mourning that work viscerally on the bodies of visitors to produce emotional states of unease and anxiety.” At the same time, she adds, “the Memorial works to alleviate this anxiety through the agency produced through practices of consumption and surveillance” that constitute what she calls “the surveilling flâneur, a security-­ conscious consumer subjectivity who is mobilized through the temporal, horizontal, and vertical vectors of the site.”104 After all, those who visited national 9/11 Memorial could accept all of this surveillance as a way of warding off any future terrorist attack that might harm one’s friends or family members. When one visits this memorial one cannot help noticing that this was a place that was surrounded by metal fences and NYPD barricades. Only those who purchased tickets in advance could enter the 9/11 Memorial, and, waiting in line (sometimes for hours at a time), visitors were subject to intense airport-like security checks that took place from in a sterile interrogation-type room. Closed circuit televisions (CCTVs) pervasively surveilled from all angles, and as one of the authors can testify after a visit to this site, visitors feel as though they were placed in subject positions where they had to performatively try to show that they posed no threat to the NYC body politic. After going through a security checkpoint, visitors who visited this memorial walked through a gated entrance point to the memorial that had barbed wire and even more CCTVs towering over visitors. All of this has turned a memorial for the dead of 9/11 into a security apparatus that also turned acts of commemoration into acts of securitized performances.105 To Professor Light, for instance, the memorial “position[s] the surveilling Flâneur as a new habitus for enacting citizen-subjectivity outside the boundaries of the Memorial.”106 Although the security checkpoint and fences that Light discussed in her analysis as surveilling Flâneur were removed in May 2014, armed security officials still survey the memorial landscape, and tank-like vehicles could still be found (especially near the Vehicular Security Complex), and the



security apparatus itself lives large at Ground Zero. If anything, the enactment of the securitized citizen-subject—or what Brad Vivian might call a “habitude”107—has only increased in force with the passage of time. So too has this place’s ability to carry out these performances “outside the boundaries of the Memorial.”108 Hence the localization and the militarization of the war on terrorism. Citizens who visit the memorial get some sense of what extended police powers of those who guard the Memorial. We contend that an agentic way of viewing all of this allows us to see how security performances at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum are symptomatic of New York’s post-9/11 hubris. Having passed through the emotive stages of survivalism and decay, where dust and debris were everywhere, and after having witnessed the battles between the firefighters and the police for municipal supremacy, those who patrolled the memorial could now go on the offensive as they flexed their muscular responses to a now abstract terrorist threats. Again, as we noted above, cityscapes are changing. To Stephen Graham in Cities Under Siege, cities have become wrapped up in a “new military urbanism” which involves the targeting of city spaces and their populations as “targets and threats.”109 Military urbanism uses “militarized techniques of tracking and targeting” that “permanently colonize[s] the city landscape and its spaces of everyday life.”110 In places like NYC the militarization of police and other security forces has everything to do with “organize[d] political self-rule” of its own populations.111 As the local, domestic, urban arm of America’s militarization some of these city organizations have “deeper resources than the federal agencies traditionally responsible for fighting international terrorism.”112 The NYPD at one time had all the support that it needed to control the “story” that would be told about atonement and preventive urban securitization. In an interview with reporter William Finnegan, Police commissioner David Cohen, said, “We’ve got the Feds working for us now,” adding that it was “in a good way it’s not the usual feeding of raw material to the experts.” No wonder the NYPD was double the size of the FBI at that point.113 And that was in 2005. By 2020, the NYPD had built an empire of securitized memory. It is no coincidence, for instance, that Michael Bloomberg is running for president, and part of his campaign can be based on his building up of the NYPD. As we have been suggesting, 9/11 gave New York City the excuse that it needed to rationalize the constant surveillance, lockdown, and control



of those who might, in even tertiary ways, be associated with the city’s foes. For instance, consider Bloomberg’s draconian “stop and frisk” policy, which came under scrutiny during his 2020 bid for presidency. At the Nevada Democratic debate it was mentioned that this policy disproportionately targeted–or perhaps, more accurately “hunted”—persons of color.114 This is just one example of how New York City’s confidence and resilience—bordering on securitized arrogance—has been parlayed through individuals like Bloomberg—has been used to condone the incremental militarization and securitization of not only Ground Zero but NYC itself. Once the police are given massive amounts of police power—especially during times of war—it is not an easy task to reign in this type of discretionary power. Defending the stop and frisk program at a 2015 Aspen Event Bloomberg famously said “the way you get the guns out of the kids’ hands is to throw them up against the walls and frisk them.”115 Though Bloomberg recently apologized for the statement—only because, many suggest, he is running for president—the comments may have hit a sore spot for those who recalled earlier times when talk of police brutality was in the air, dating back to the era of high crime in the 1980s and 1990s. In the days and weeks after 9/11 there were those who tried to argue that countering bin Laden needed to involve the FBI and not the CIA, and treat this as a domestic matter and not a matter of international military concerns, but that was not to be. What happened instead was that the city of New York played a major role in defending itself from terrorists by blurring the lines between civil and military powers as it militarized the city. Again, for critical genealogists, there are precedents for this. Joshua Rothman of The New Yorker suggests that New York’s post-9/11 war on terrorism efforts seemed to reprise the city’s historical narratives that were produced while “fighting crime.” For instance, New York’s memories of the 1990s—a time when it experienced elevated murder rates and a systemic drug problem—is very much a part of the same story that can be told about massive existential threats to cityscapes. When Raymond Kelly took over command of the NYPD, observes Rothman, the NYPD went global with its crime-fighting impulse: It began posting officers abroad, in places like London and Israel, and recruiting native foreign-language speakers from its own ranks and from the city at large…. Today’s challenges are scary in different ways. They are less



local, and less visible. The nineties offer up a reassuring crime story; we don’t yet know how this new story will end.116

While the uncertainties of this new war “against crime” persist, the rhetorical brilliance of using “terrorism” as a policing ideograph is that it has allowed New York City employees to turn inward and target anybody— not just foreign terrorists—for the city’s own strategic purposes. And if publics complained that would only provide more support for police claim that they were fighting what are called hybrid, irregular, or asymmetrical wars in the twenty-first century. Even though the empirical, longitudinal evidence in support of increasing foreign-national terrorist attacks against domestic police is almost nil, the NYPD nevertheless thought of itself as being constantly “under siege” at home and overseas.117 After all, couldn’t the 9/11 attack be viewed as an attempt to destroy the city’s infrastructure and governmental apparatus, that included the police? Weren’t they also victims of terrorism? It mattered not whether the NYPD was fighting the al Qaeda minions throughout the city when they were granted the militaristic keys to the city. With the support of political decision makers such as Bloomberg, the NYPD, and others who saw it as their patriotic duty to turn New York into a type of garrison state, New York used memories of the woundedness of New York to justify police policies that some argue resemble those of more totalitarian states. Again, we want to emphasize that this is not the way that many New  Yorkers viewed these affairs. As it militarized itself New  York City found solidarity with the rest of the country, and many conservatives were glad to see the alliances that were formed between police units and the families of the fallen. The Take Back the Memorial community, for example, welcomed the ramping up of security in and around Ground Zero.118 Not surprisingly, there were also those who recognized this blurring of police and military powers. In an essay entitled “Police Militarization in Decade Following 9/11,” Erik Kain averred that the militarization of cities like NYC had portentous consequences for those whose civil liberties were threatened as well as for those who were troubled by the conflation of the War on Terrorism with the War on Drugs.119 Consider one situation in Pima County, AZ—home of Tucson— described by The Atlantic reporters Arthur Rizer and Joseph Hartman when the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) arm of the local Sherriff’s



Department broke into the home of José Guerena—a former Marine with no criminal background—to search for narcotics. Guerena, who just got off the third shift at a mine, was in bed when the SWAT team arrived. After his wife told him that someone had pointed a gun at her, he grabbed his AR-15 and told his wife and child to hide. Before Guerena could flip the “safety,” he was pummeled with 60 bullets. No narcotics were ever found.120 This tragic story illustrates just some of the costs with the post-9/11 militarization of police throughout the United States (not just New York City). While urban militarization has been underway for many years prior to 9/11—such during the War on Drugs in the 1990s—9/11 “ramped things up” in ways that have turned local urbanscapes into battlefields.121 Kain finds this phenomenon “troubling” because “police aren’t soldiers” and are not trained as such. But many do not seem to mind, so long as cities appear to be “tough on crime.”122 The constitutive crafting of New York’s post-9/11 narrative of securitization has allowed many police departments to blend the War on Drugs with the War on Terrorism and carry out many of the “missions” that they otherwise were unable to do. As Rizer and Hartman put it, all of which is: an effort to remedy their relative inadequacy in dealing with terrorism on U.S. soil, police forces throughout the country have purchased military equipment, adopted military training, and sought to inculcate a “soldier’s mentality” among their ranks. Though the reasons for this increasing militarization of American police forces seem obvious, the dangerous side effects are somewhat less apparent.123

While there are cities like San Francisco that have decidedly scaled back their New Yorkish police militarization tactics we anticipate that the existence of a “perpetual” GWOT means that many cities will, in the future, be put in situations where they must either follow New York’s lead and militarize or risk feeling as though they are getting left behind. Another consequence of New York’s hawkish “policing effect” is that it warrants what Graham calls urbicides—the “annihilation” of urban life and physical environments—in other parts of the world. To Graham, urbicide takes place in contexts where “times of intensifying globalization” create situations where “urban areas are crucial centers of heterogeneous mixing” that become “part of a fundamentalist, transnational war” in cities.124



The cultural capital accumulated after 9/11 means that NYC’s agency is magnified, especially during times when police powers look very much like military powers.

Conclusion This chapter has analyzed some of the rhetorical features of the “monumental wars” that challenged New  Yorkers in the aftermath of 9/11. Through the use of critical genealogical ways of viewing the city’s evolution over the last two decades the authors have argued that this was a municipality that struggled not only to survive the terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers but also worked to try and gain control of some of the “history” and remembrances of the struggles of the firefighters and the police that were some of the first responders after the attacks. We have argued in this portion of the book that that NYC lifted itself out of the debris and dust and rubble in order to put on display the city’s resilience, but that some stakeholders in these debates wished to empower either the firefighters or the police in ways that involved the handing over of powers that are usually reserved for military forces. Here we wish to raise a question that future researchers may want to answer—did most New Yorkers want to see the militarization of their city after 9/11, and were they comfortable with some of the municipal assemblages that were created by those who wished to fortify the city? Did city residents, and American visitors to the National September 11 Memorial and Museum applaud the way these 16 acres had been turned into a massive securitized municipal apparatus? The following chapter continues our analysis of these agentic cities and their “wars” by focusing on confederate monumentality in Charlottesville, VA.

Notes 1. Stephen Brill, “Is America Any Safer?” The Atlantic, last modified September 2016, 2 0 1 6 / 0 8 / t h e - a t l a n t i c s - s e p t e m b e r- i s s u e - f i f t e e n - y e a r s - a f t e r911-1-trillion-dollars-spent-are-we-any-safer/495047/. 2. Jack Rosenthal, “The Way We Live Now: 9-1-02: On Language; 9/11,” The New  York Times, last modified September 1, 2001, https://www.



on-language-9-11.html?rref=collection%2Fbyline%2Fjack-rosenthal&act ion=click&contentCollection=undefined®ion=stream&module=str eam_unit&version=search&contentPlacement=1&pgtype=collection. 3. New York Magazine Staff, “9/11 by the Numbers,” New York Magazine, last modified September 2014, wtc/1year/numbers.htm. 4. Clyde Haberman, “NYC; Twilight Zone for ZIP Code At Ground Zero,” The New York Times, last modified November 14, 2003, paragraphs 1, 8, 5. Ann Wagner, “Recreating Cities as Bodies of Power, Knowledge and Space,” International Journal of Semiotic Law 32 (2019): 527–531. 6. William Langewiesche, American Ground: Unbuilding the World Trade Center (New York, NY: North Point Press, 2002), 75. 7. David Friend, “The Man in the Window,” Vanity Fair, last modified September 1, 2006, friend-excerpt 200609. 8. See Marc Redfield, “Virtual Trauma: The Idiom of 9/11,” Diacritics 37, no. 1 (2007): 69. 9. Julie Salamon, “Art/Architecture; Reliving 9/11: Too Much Too Soon?,” The New  York Times, May 12, 2002, https://www.nytimes. com/2002/05/12/arts/art-architecture-reliving-9-11-too-much-toosoon.html. 10. Jennifer Pollard, “Seen, Seared and Sealed: Trauma and the Visual Presentation of September 11,” Health, Risk & Society 13, no. 1 (2011): 81–101. 11. Barbie Zelizer, About to Die: How News Images Move the Public (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2010). 12. Diana Taylor, The Archive and the Repertoire: Performing Cultural Memory in the Americas (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2003), 342. 13. Rudolph Giuliani, “Giuliani, Go shopping,” ABC, Filmed September 2011. YouTube, 17, Posted July 2, 2008, watch?v=6jx1QZskGFg. 14. George W. Bush, “At O’Hare, President Says ‘Get On Board,” The White House, September 27, 2001, last modified 11 June, 2019, https:// 20010927-1.html. 15. Redfield, “Virtual Trauma.” 16. Taylor, Archive, 244. 17. Redfield, “Virtual Trauma,” 69. 18. Nancy Foner, ed., Wounded City: The Social Impact of 9/11 (New York: Russel Sage Foundation, 2005).



19. Ibid. 20. Cristina Flesher Fominaya and Rosemary Barberet, “The Right to Commemoration and “Ideal Victims”: The Puzzle of Victim Dissatisfaction with State-led Commemoration After 9/11 and 3/11,” Critical Studies on Terrorism 11, no. 2 (2018): 219–242. 21. Ibid., 8. 22. Ibid. 23. Wagner, “Recreating Cities.”; Stephen Graham, Cities Under Siege: The New Military Urbanism (New York: Verso, 2011); Mary Douglas, How Institutions Think (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1986). 24. James Young, The Stages of Memory: Reflections on Memorial Art, Loss and the Spaces Between (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2018). 25. Joshua Gunn, “Mourning Speech: Haunting and the Spectral Voices of Nine-Eleven,” Text and Performance Quarterly 24, no. 2 (2004): 91–114. 26. Michel de Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2011), 93. 27. Johnson, Paul Christopher. “Savage Civil Religion,” Numen 52, no. 3 (2005): 289–324; Kenneth E.  Foote, Shadowed Ground: America’s Landscapes of Violence and Tragedy (University of Texas Press, 2003). 28. See, for example, Mikhail Mikhaı̆lovich Bakhtin, The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays (Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 2010). 29. Marita Sturken, “The Aesthetics of Absence: Rebuilding Ground Zero,” American Ethnologist 31, no. 3 (2004): 311–325. 30. Carolyn Steedman, Dust: The Archive and Cultural History (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2002), 164. 31. Sturken, “The Aesthetics of Absence,” 314. See Marita Sturken, Tourists of History: Memory, Kitsch, and Consumerism from Oklahoma City to Ground Zero (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2007). 32. Patricia Yaeger, “Rubble as Archive, or 9/11 as Dust, Debris, and Bodily Vanishing,” in Trauma at Home: After 9/11 ed. Judith Greenberg (Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska, 2003), 191. 33. Sturken, Tourists of History, 178. 34. Anthony Depalma, “Landfill, Park … Final Resting Place?” The New York Times, last modified June 14, 2004, paragraph 7, https://www.nytimes. com/2004/06/14/nyregion/landfill-park-final-resting-place-plans-forfresh-kills-trouble-9-11-families.html. 35. Lucy R. Lippard, “New York Comes Clean: The Controversial Story of the Fresh Kills Dumpsite,” The Guardian, last modified October 28, 2016, 36. Marita Sturken, Tourists of History, 208. 37. See Darrel Enck-Wanzer, “Trashing the System: Social Movement, Intersectional Rhetoric, and Collective Agency in the Young Lords



Organization’s Garbage Offensive,” Quarterly Journal of Speech 92, no. 2 (2006): 174–201. 38. See Roberto Esposito, Immunitas: The Protection and Negation of Life (Cambridge: Polity, 2011); Martin Arboleda, “The Biopolitical Production of the City: Urban Political Ecology in the Age of Immaterial Labor,” Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 33 (2015): 35–51. 39. See, for example, Puspa Damai, “Messianic-City: Ruins, Refuge, and Hospitality in Derrida,” Discourse 27, no. 2–3 (Fall 2005): 68–94. 40. Susan Edelman, “2,500 Ground Zero Workers Have Cancer,” New York Post, last modified, July 27, 2014, cancers-among-ground-zero-workers-skyrocketing/. 41. Francesca Lyman, “Anger Builds Over EPA’s 9/11 Report,” NBC News, last modified September 11, 2003, id/3076626/ns/health-your_environment/t/anger-builds-over-epasreport/#.V0NmgGZCyi4. 42. Susan Edelman, “Nearly 10K People Have Gotten Cancer from Toxic Dust,” New York Post, last modified August 11, 2018, https://nypost. com/2018/08/11/nearly-10k-people-have-gotten-cancer-from-toxic9-11-dust/. 43. Depalma, City of Dust. 44. Joanna Walters, “Former EPA Head Admits She Was Wrong to Tell New  Yorkers Post-9/11 Air Was Safe,” The Guardian, last modified September 10, 2016, sep/10/epa-head-wrong-911-air-safe-new-york-christine-todd-whitman. 45. Anthony DePalma, “Air Masks at Issue in Claims of 9/11 Illnesses,” The New  York Times, last modified June 5, 2006, https://www.nytimes. com/2006/06/05/nyregion/05masks.html. 46. Ibid. 47. Ibid. 48. Corey Adwar, “Why NYC Cops and Firefighters Keep Getting Into Massive Brawls,” Business Insider, last modified April 21, 2014, paragraph 2, 49. The 9/11 Commission Report: Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (Government Printing Office, 2011), 553–554. 50. John Farmer, “Saving Our Lives and Protecting Their Turf,” The New  York Times, last modified May 15, 2005, https://www.nytimes. com/2005/05/15/opinion/saving-our-lives-and-protecting-theirturf.html. 51. Ibid., paragraph 7.



52. Several other communication errors compromised duties such as different kinds of technologies, and frequencies, of the NYPD, FDNY, and EMS, leading to added confusion about response. For instance, one of the Ground Zero commander’s, Deputy Fire Chief Charles Blaich said the FDNY “lost control of who was going into the buildings” and “rescuers inside the towers failed to receive information from a police helicopter flying above that might have saved lives.” Alan Brown, “One Year Later: World Trade Center Tragedy Prompts Reassessment Response,” EHS Today, last modified October 24, 2002, paragraph 4, https://www. e h s t o d a y. c o m / e m e rg e n c y - m a n a g e m e n t / a r t i c l e / 2 1 9 1 4 6 4 2 / one-year-later-world-trade-center-tragedy-prompts-reassessment-ofresponse. 53. Rachel Kapochunas, “Firefighters’ Union Takes Ax to Giuliani’s 9/11 Acclaim,” The New  York Times, last modified July 12, 2007, https:// a r c h i v e . n y t i m e s . c o m / w w w. n y t i m e s . c o m / c q / 2 0 0 7 / 0 7 / 1 2 / cq_3065.html. 54. Farmer, “Saving Our Lives,” paragraph 2. 55. Ibid., paragraph 3. 56. Ibid., paragraph 1. 57. Ibid., paragraph 2. 58. As we note elsewhere those types of temporary powers have a way of turning into permanent powers. 59. J.  David Goodman, “Critics of Police Would Make New  Yorkers Less Safe, Bloomberg Says,” The New  York Times, last modified April 30, 2013, paragraphs 4, 13, nyregion/bloomberg-says-critics-of-police-would-make-new-yorkersless-safe.html. 60. Craig Horowitz, “The NYPD’s War on Terror,” New York Magazine, last modified January 24, 2003, paragraph 9, news/features/n_8286/. 61. Ibid. 62. Michael R.  Bloomberg, Nicholas Scoppetta and Salvatore J.  Cassano, “Terrorism and Disaster Preparedness Strategy,” Fire Department City of New  York, 2007, tdps/terrorism%20strategy_complete.pdf. 63. Brown, “One Year Later,” paragraph 31. 64. See Brill, “Is America Any Safer?” 65. See Benjamin Forest and Juliet Johnson, “Security and Atonement: Controlling Access to the World Trade Center Memorial, Cultural Geographies 20, no. 3 (2012): 405–411. 66. The New  York Times Staff, “The Reckoning: America and the World a Decade After 9/11,” The New York Times, last modified September 11,



2011, sept-11-reckoning/viewer.html?hp=. 67. Theresa Ann Donofrio, “Ground Zero and Place-Making Authority: The Conservative Metaphors in 9/11 Families’ “Take Back the Memorial” Rhetoric,” Western Journal of Communication 74, no. 2 (2010): 150–169. 68. Ibid. 69. For an example of this kind of post 9/11 rhetoric see Editorial Board, Winston-Salem Journal, “Our View: Remembering 9/11,” WinstonSalem Journal, last modified September 10, 2019, https://www.journaln o w. c o m / o p i n i o n / e d i t o r i a l s / o u r - v i e w - r e m e m b e r i n g / article_66f47918-5e70-5a6d-a018-c31d48347552.html. 70. John Avlon, “The Resilient City: New York After 9/11,” Daily Beast, last modified September 10, 2017, the-resilient-city-new-york-after-911. 71. Hamilton Bean, Lisa Keränen, and Margaret Durfy, “‘This is London’: Cosmopolitan Nationalism and the Discourse of Resilience in the Case of the 7/7 Terrorist Attacks,” Rhetoric and Public Affairs 14, no. 3 (2011): 432; for more on resilience see Bridie McGreavy, “Resilience as Discourse,” Environmental Communication 10, no. 1 (2016): 104–121; Phaedra C.  Pezzullo, “Contaminated Children: Debating the Banality, Precarity, and Futurity of Chemical Safety,” Resilience: A Journal of the Environmental Humanities 1, no. 2 (2014), 72. Nicholas S. Paliewicz, “Bent but Not Broken: Remembering Vulnerability and Resiliency at the National September 11 Memorial Museum,” Southern Communication Journal 82, no. 1 (2017): 1–14. 73. Bean et al., “This Is London,” 429. 74. Joseph Pfeifer, “Adaptive Resilience Emerges From 9/11 and the 15-Years Following,” Homeland and Security Affairs: The Journal of the NPS Center for Homeland Defense and Security, last modified September 2016, 75. Brill, “Is America Any Safer?” 76. 9/11 Commission Report, 336. 77. Brill, “Is America Any Safer?” 78. William Finnegan, “The Terrorism Beat,” The New Yorker, last modified July 18, 2005, paragraph 133, 79. Ibid., paragraph 149. 80. Ibid., paragraph 130. 81. Ibid.



82. Setha M.  Low, Dana H.  Taplin, Mike Lamb, “Battery Park City: An Ethnographic Field Study of the Community Impact of 9/11,” Urban Affairs Review 40, no. 5 (2005): 655–656. 83. Ibid, 659. 84. Ibid., 660. 85. Elizabeth Greenspan, “Daniel Libeskind’s World Trade Center Changer of Heart,” The New  Yorker, last modified August 28, 2013, https:// 86. Fredric U. Dicker, “Pataki Pits Freedom vs. W. Side$tadium,” New York Post, May 9, 2005, last modified June 11, 2019, https://nypost. com/2005/05/09/pataki-pits-freedom-vs-w-side-tadium/. 87. Glenn Collins and David W. Dunlap, “Many Demands on New Tower at Ground Zero,” The New York Times, last modified June 7, 2005, paragraph 14, 88. Larry Celona and Bruce Golding, “WTC Neighbors Rip Fortress Mentality,” New York Post, last modified November 13, 2013, paragraph 1, 89. Ron Rosenbaum, “Ground Zero Hype: Is Giant Skyscraper a Freedom Folly?” The Observer, last modified June 27, 2005, com/search?client=firefox-b-1-d&q=Ground+zero+hype%3A+Is+Giant +Skyscraper+a+Freedom+Folly%3F. 90. Ibid. 91. Finnegan, “The Terrorism Beat.” 92. David Dunlap, “Venting Ideas, Then Hiding Them, Turns Out to Be a Tall Order,” The New  York Times, last modified September 15, 2005, 93. Frankie Edozien and Michael White, “Still Just a Big ‘Zero’-Gov: Tower Redesign will Stick to WTC-Site Plan,” New York Post, last modified May 7, 2005, 94. Adam Brodsky, “Our Only Real Security,” New York Post, last modified May 15, 2005, 95. Judith Miller and Alex Armlovich, “The New  York Police Force That Doesn’t Work,” City Journal, last modified Autumn 2016, paragraph 5, 96. Ibid., paragraph 6.



97. Mike Pride, “Outing the NYPD’s Surveillance of Muslims,” Colby Magazine, last modified Fall 2013, paragraph 1, https://www.colby. edu/magazine/outing-the-nypds-surveillance-of-muslims/. 98. Ibid. 99. David Dunlop, “Residents Suing to Stop ‘Fortresslike’ Plan for World Trade Center,” The New York Times, last modified November 13, 2013, o - s t o p - f o r t r e s s l i k e - s e c u r i t y - p l a n - f o r- w o r l d - t r a d e - c e n t e r. html?ref=nyregion. 100. For more on organizational disputes swirling around Ground Zero, see Lynne B.  Sagalyn, Power at Ground Zero: Politics, Money, and the Remaking of Lower Manhattan (Oxford University Press, 2016). 101. See Bean et al., “This Is London,” 2011. 102. Forest and Johnson, “Security and Atonement.” 103. Ibid., 409. 104. Elinor Light, “Visualizing Homeland: Remembering 9/11 and the Production of the Surveilling Flâneur,” Cultural Studies ↔ Critical Methodologies 16, no. 6 (2016): 538 105. McHendry Jr, George F. “The Re (d) active force of the Transportation Security Administration,” Criticism 57, no. 2 (2015): 211–233; George F.  McHendry Jr, “Thank You for Participating in Security: Engaging Airport Security Checkpoints via Participatory Critical Rhetoric,” Cultural Studies ↔ Critical Methodologies 16, no. 6 (2016): 548–559. 106. Ibid. 107. Bradford Vivian, Commonplace Witnessing: Rhetorical Invention, Historical Remembrance, and Public Culture (Oxford University Press, 2017). 108. Ibid. 109. Graham, Cities Under Siege, xiii. 110. Ibid., xiv. 111. Stefan Kipfer and Kanishka Goonewardena, “Colonization and the New Imperialism: On the Meaning of Urbicide Today,” Theory & Event 10, no. 2 (2007): 3. 112. Finnegan, “The Terrorism Beat,” paragraph 34. 113. Ibid., paragraph 131. 114. Charles M. Blow, “The Notorious Michael R. Bloomberg,” The New York Times, last modified February 12, 2020, paragraph 17, https://www. 115. Philip V. McHarris, “Should Mike Bloomberg’s Stop-and-Frisk Record Disqualify Him?” The Washington Post, last modified February 16, 2020, h t t p s : / / w w w. w a s h i n g t o n p o s t . c o m / o u t l o o k / 2 0 2 0 / 0 2 / 1 6 / should-mike-bloombergs-stop-and-frisk-record-disqualify-him/.



116. Joshua Rothman, “New York City Crime in the Nineties,” The New Yorker, last modified December 5, 2012, paragraph 15, https://www.newyorker. com/books/double-take/new-york-city-crime-in-the-nineties. 117. Brill, “Is America Any Safer?” 118. See Donofrio, “Place-Making Authority.” 119. Erik Kain, “Police Militarization in the Decade Following 9/11,” Forbes, last modified September 12, 2011, 120. Arthur Rizer and Joseph Hartman, “How the War on Terror Has Militarized the Police,” The Atlantic, last modified November 7, 2011, h t t p s : / / w w w. t h e a t l a n t i c . c o m / n a t i o n a l / a r c h i v e / 2 0 1 1 / 1 1 / how-the-war-on-terror-has-militarized-the-police/248047/. 121. See Graham, Cities Under Siege. 122. Kain, “Police Militarization.” 123. Rizer and Hartman, “War on Terror Has Militarized.” 124. Graham, Cities Under Siege, 8.


Civil Lawfare, Remembrances of Lost Causes, and Charlottesville’s Confederate Monument Controversies

Abstract  This chapter studies the monumental wars surrounding the 2017 Unite the Right Rally on the University of Virginia campus in Charlottesville, Virginia, where white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and the alt-right confronted anti-fascists regarding the removal of the Robert E.  Lee and Stonewall Jackson statues. We provide a genealogical analysis of these object-oriented Confederate disputes from the Reconstruction Era to the present. Our argument is that while some had thought Charlottesville was becoming a more multicultural and inclusive city since Reconstruction, Charlottesville could not shed its eugenical, racialized pasts, which was etched into the brick and mortar through surfeit confederate monumentality, protected by law. Ultimately we see the Unite the Right Movement an effect of the transgenerational legacy of racism of Charlottesville itself that is still far from resolved in public spaces, places, and courtrooms. Keywords  Charlottesville • Unite the Right • Confederate monumentality • Eugenical city • Lawfare In the immediate aftermath of the American Civil War, many defeated Southerners, weary but unbowed, refused to accept the symbolic or material realities that came with the Union’s occupation of the South during the Reconstruction years. For several generations Southerners viewed themselves as victims of Northern aggression, represented by countless © The Author(s) 2020 M. A. Hasian Jr., N. S. Paliewicz, Memory and Monument Wars in American Cities, Palgrave Macmillan Memory Studies,




Carpetbaggers and Scalawags, and they did their very best to survive as they reorganized their political, social, and economic lives. Until 1870, few had the financial wherewithal to even think about erecting statues and other monuments to what would be called the “Lost Cause,”1 but all of this would change with the rise of the first Ku Klux Klan, the waning power of the Radical Republicans in Congress, the passage of Jim Crow legislation, and the appearance of Court interpretations of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments. Post-Reconstruction retaliatory measures took the form of formal and informal Jim Crow rules, and these shaped southern remembrances and cityscapes. Soon after Southern homes were rebuilt in towns and rural areas Confederate “public statuary was erected without” any major national debate and “without any public-decision-making process.”2 Many interdisciplinary scholars who have studied the urban politics of the Jim Crow years and the rise of the “new” Southern cities have argued that a revival of interest in Confederate memorialization can be linked to at least two key historical events separated by time—the reconciliation of former civil war soldiers who once fought in gray and blue uniforms after the beginning of the 1898 Spanish-American War,3 and the civil rights era of the 1950s and 1960s. Remembrances of potential civil, political, or “social” civil rights gains by people of color mentioned by civil rights advocates were countered by those who viewed this as “civil disobedience” that interfered with local efforts at maintaining law and order. Charlottesville, like many other Southern towns, was caught up in both the earlier debates about Lost Causes and Post-Reconstruction policies as well as the 1960s turmoil of Southern “massive resistance.”4 Long before it became a twenty-first-century multicultural town Charlottesville was regarded as a space and place where white moderates and reactionaries argued about “separate but equal,” states’ rights, the pace of desegregation, and federal interference in state and local affairs. As Dayna Bowen Matthew argued in early 2019, all forms of both “blatant” and “subtle” forms of racialized violence and residential policies were used by various empowered generations to create structural hurdles for those who wished to change Charlottesville.5 These longitudinal, structural dimensions of this particular cityscape often escape the attention of those who focus on more immediate and recent controversies about such topics as white resentment, Confederate heritage, the rise of the alternative right, or the marching rights of white supremacists. While some today who remember what happened in



Charlottesville, Virginia, during August 2017 can point to the influence of Unite the Right movements, or they can single out the agency of individuals like Richard Spencer, a University of Virginia alum, we argue that a more genealogical way of viewing municipal social agency would put on display Charlottesville’s evolving role transgenerational roles in these disputes over civil and political rights. As we noted in Chap. 1, some of these 2017 Unite the Right battles in Charlottesville with anti-fascist forces are said to have been started over the planned removal of the “Stonewall” Jackson and Robert E. Lee statuary, in actuality many of the symbolic and material features of these twenty-­ first-­ century debates were laid hundreds of years ago in prior monumental wars. If critical rhetoricians and other interdisciplinary scholars interested in cityscapes and memoryscapes turn their attention to the genealogical origins of some of these Charlottesville clashes, they will find twenty-first-­ century white nationalists or white supremacists are not the first social agents who asked this town to commemorate the Lost Cause and then politicized those commemorative practices. After Rutherford B.  Hayes brokered a political deal with Southern politicians that included the removal of Union troops in 1877, this opened the door for the empowerment of Southerners who now, no longer burdened by the presence of thousands of Union troops, could place their stamp on how Southern schoolchildren and others would reminisce about antebellum ways and other nineteenth-century lifestyles. Mourning the Confederate dead became not only a way of honoring the fallen, but a way of responding to those who complained about Jim Crow policies.6 Joshua Arthurs has recently argued that the monuments built “immediately after 1865 were funereal and confined to cemeteries,”7 but there would be those who must have realized that many living in Southern cities would soon have other reasons for erecting these monuments. One prescient nineteenth-century writer who paid attention to the significance of this early post-war Confederate monumentalization was Frederick Douglass, who spent decades preserving his own Unionist memories while he attacked what he viewed as ahistorical readings of abolitionist sacrifices. During one of his public addresses Douglass argued that the Civil War was “was not a fight between rapacious birds and ferocious beasts, a mere display of brute courage and endurance, but it was a war between men [sic] of thought, as well of action, and in dead earnest for something beyond the battlefield.”8 Like many who fought to pass the



13th, the 14th, and 15th Amendments Douglass realized the uphill “reconstruction” battles that would have to be fought in city urban settings following Civil War skirmishes. Douglass was proud of the achievements of the Black soldiers who fought for their freedom during the Civil War, and he realized that future American generations’ remembrances of these years of internal strife would have pragmatic consequences. His own activism for civil rights led to his intervention on many fronts, including his critiques of the first wave of early post-war Confederate monumentalism. As he watched Southerners raise money for the building of these Confederate structures, he could not stand on the sidelines. In 1870, in an article in the New National Era, he called these Confederate statues and other memorials “monuments of folly”: Every monument built in memory of the Confederacy will perpetuate that which it would be more creditable in the actors to desire to have forgotten…. If it is not to reawaken the conflict, by cultivating hatred against the Government, that these monuments are built, there is little or no purpose in their erection. Monuments to the ‘lost cause’ will prove monuments of folly, both in the memories of wicked rebellion which they must necessarily perpetuate, and in the failure to accomplish the particular purpose had in view by those who build them. It is a needless record of stupidity and wrong.9

He would not be the first, nor the last, to complain about the Lost Cause memorialization that was going on across Southern landscapes. Views like Douglass’s, however, did not stand in the way of collective Southern interest in commemorating those who did not die in vain. In the city of Richmond, for instance, just after the end of the Civil war, residents build a ninety-foot pyramid out of massive granite blocks at the local Hollywood Cemetery. Many of these memoryscape disputes and monumental wars are filled with ironies, contradictions, historical contingencies, and vicissitudes, and there is evidence that even Robert E. Lee may have shared some of the consequentialist concerns that animated some of Douglass’s writings. There is evidence that Lee opposed the building of monuments those who he was convinced had sacrificed so much. “I think it wise,” he opined during an 1869 debate about a proposed memorial at Gettysburg, “not to open the sores of war but to follow the examples of those nations who endeavored to obliterate the marks of civil strife, to commit to oblivion



the feelings engendered.”10 Perhaps Lee was thinking of those European nations that had set aside their differences after decades of horrific continental warfare. More than a 150 years later, as other observers intervene in different, but related, Confederate monumental wars Douglass’s words seem to echo through the ages, reminding us that wounded publics and cities leave us with conflicting memories etched in stone. After the loss of three lives during August 2017 confrontations in Charlottesville,11 a law student, Zachary Bray, would opine in his study of state statue statutes that “Douglass’s criticism also applies to the more recent statue statutes enacted to protect these monuments.”12 Bray was referring to a wave of state statuary laws that were being passed for the preservation of Confederate statues and other monuments that had been passed by many state legislatures in the South after 2010. The election of Donald Trump, the rise of far right organizations, and federal court critiques of affirmative action legislation were all part of much larger ideological struggles and memory wars that were taking place diachronically as various empowered Southern towns reacted to the rising power of people of color or changing immigration demographics. The alleged “invasion” by far right forces of Charlottesville in August 2017 created rhetorical situations where many state, regional, national, and international commentators argued about the nature and scope of Unite the Right First Amendment rights that were placed in tension with Charlottesville council members’ race-conscious administrative goals.13 Here, in this chapter, we will be focusing on the agentic roles that the city of Charlottesville has played in some of these transgenerational debates, and we will be highlighting the “civil lawfare” of this disputation. Instead of simply viewing the August 11 and 12 events in isolation, and treating them as atypical incidents that can be easily handled by domestic police, the National Guard, and state courts, it is our position that an agentic, “genealogical” (Foucault, Stoler) way of viewing cityscapes14 and Charlottesville’s historical and contemporary performances—especially in legalistic realms—allows readers to see some of the dialogue and structural features of contemporary violence that may be glossed over when we disaggregate some of these issues. We will argue in this chapter that for more than 150 years the language of “invasion” and “defense” has been used to form dense rhetorical templates that have often deployed over and over again by “besieged” Southern cities, and we will argue that is no coincidence that the city of



Charlottesville, after 2015, portrayed itself as a community that was in dire straits because of restrictive state and federal laws. Charlottesville, at times acted as though it was an institutional body that had to immunize itself against both (1) state legislative protection of Confederate statuary as well as (2) armed members of far right coalitions to march through their streets in the name of free speech and the right of association. A critical genealogical review of hundreds of local and national newspapers, law reviews, journal articles, popular magazines, City council minutes, and court materials reveals how those who clashed in Charlottesville city parks and streets also battled it out in courtrooms. The announced decision to take down the Robert E. Lee and “Stonewall” Jackson statues, and rename the “Emancipation” and “Justice” parks in Charlottesville, led to more than just the arrival of a few hundred far right activists to this college town. Although the civil lawfare features of this disputation are not that well known, some of the major rhetorical fault lines of contentious argumentation are familiar to those who follow the news or who have read about these Confederate statue monumental wars. Southern and US defenders of the preservation of Confederate statuary use a popular refrain—this is about “Heritage, not Hate,” and it is argued that those in favor or removal are misreading the polysemic and polyvalent meanings of these symbols.15 Why not, after all, just leave the old statues in place and allow viewers to see the statues to place whatever interpretative frame that they want on their viewing of the Jackson or Lee statues? Lawyers representing citizens who file cases against the city of Charlottesville argue that old laws and new amendments protect “both the Lee and Jackson statues” within “the geographic limits of the city of Charlottesville” because they are both “Confederate monuments as well as memorials to veterans of the War Between the States.”16 Some of these memoryscape debates inevitably turn into political sparring about identity politics or multiculturalism. At one Charlottesville city council gathering for the study of possible Confederate Statue removals, some argued that this involved political correctness, attempts at public “shaming” of whites, and the suppression of free speech rights.17 All sorts of other aesthetic, cost-related, and heritage-type arguments are advanced by those who oppose the removal of Confederate statuary. When Charlottesville formed a Blue Ribbon Commission on Race, Memorials, and Public Spaces to help decide what to do with the monuments they gathered materials from some African Americans living in the



city who worried that removing the Lee statue might be another “example of hiding their experience” after “decades of suppression of their history.”18 Those who support the Southern cities’ efforts to remove Confederate statuary push back against the claim that this is all about heritage and has nothing to do with hate. One legal critic, Amanda Lineberry, noted how a “window’ of “violence and pain” had been created when so many started to quarrel about state statues and Charlottesville’s attempt to remove the Robert E.  Lee statue.19 Louis Nelson, a professor at the University of Virginia, has argued that during the Jim Crow years, and in 2017, the defense of “white supremacy” at various times turned Charlottesville into a “place of public performance.”20 “White men asserted their presumed authority and public squares became stages of mass intimidation,” explained Lewis, “while streets became sites of domestic terrorism.”21 Critical genealogists studying these city controversies might well ask: Are these Charlottesville statues inherent markers of racialized violence, or are they placeholders for other, relational controversies? Are these “Cville” cityscapes entangled in irresolvable monumental wars?

Local, state, regional, and national polls seem to indicate that the slight majority of those polled are opposed to the removal of statues, but at the present time a growing number of Virginians seem to share the view that the Confederate statues are linked to historical racism and ideologies of white nationalism or white supremacy. Mass-mediated coverage of the events of August 11 and 12, 2017, creates the impression that any violence that is experienced by city residents of Charlottesville has to do with the growing resonance of “Unite the Right” rhetorics that bring together a motley crew of neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and members of the alt-­ right. In theory, the city’s attempts at removing, or recontextualizing objectionable Confederate monuments, will help the state’s mission to provide health, safety, and welfare to the people of Charlottesville and Virginia. This may be a legalistic sounding goal, but in many complex ways today’s cityscape monumental wars in Charlottesville may be harbingers of things to come, in that attempts to defend multiracial agendas may embolden those who are interested in having all Americans across the nation nostalgically revive old Civil War tropes and catalyze “Lost Cause” remembrances.



In order to get some sense of the perspectival and contested nature of these cityscape arguments about the perceived existential dangers facing the city of Charlottesville we begin with a subsection that explains some of the genealogical origins of these arguments that were crafted during the first post-reconstruction years.

Lost Cause Mythologizing During the First Post-­Reconstruction Period, 1877–1900 During the early months and years of the Civil War, the city of Charlottesville was viewed as a place of healing and not a center of violence. While the city saw no direct military action during the entirety of this horrific conflict, it did serve as the home of the war’s largest Confederate hospitals. By the time the war had ended, some 22,000 rebel soldiers had been cared for in Charlottesville hospitals and more than 1000 would be buried in local city cemeteries.22 The burial of so many during the Civil War itself and the post-years helped turn Charlottesville, for a time, into an example of what Karen Till and others call a “wounded city,”23 where bodies and buildings were part of assemblages that reflected some of the dingpolitik and realpolitik costs associated with Southern secessionism. Those who lived in Charlottesville, or traveled to this town visit cemeteries, influenced some of the first attempts to fetch good from evil by making sure that these Confederate losses for the secessionist cause were not in vain. Impoverished farmers and nostalgic Virginian city dwellers reminiscing about the sacrifices of those who had died during various battlefield campaigns. Given the proximity of Virginia to Washington, D.C., as well as the decisions that were made about the move of the Confederate capital to Richmond, it was understandable that rural and urban populations flocked to the banners of Robert E.  Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, and the Virginian towns in this part of the country became major player in crafting, circulating, and preserving the famed mythic epistemes of the “Lost Cause.” In The Myth of the Lost Cause and Civil War Gary Gallagher and Alan Nolan describe some of the characteristics, functions, and structures that were part of Lost Cause ideological formations, and they mention how the embrace of these ideologies seemed to be a way of helping melancholy soldiers and citizens cut their psychic losses and deal with the aftermath of Civil War defeats.24



Instead of dwelling on the thanatopolitical horrors of slavery, or admitting the problematic nature of institutional racism, believers in Lost Cause mythologies circulated more biopolitical ideologies that recharacterized secessionism as a revolutionary, noble, just, and heroic gesture. As many within communication studies have argued, popular rhetorics reveal as well as conceal, and this case Confederate monumentalization hides some of the darker legacies, and many of the racial tensions of this period. The desire to use monuments and memorials and other objects in order to commemorate Lost Cause leaders and ideologies came at great costs. Neither “the trauma of slavery for African Americans nor their heroic, heartbreaking freedom struggle,” noted Jacqueline Dowd Hall, “found a place in the Lost Cause storytelling.”25 The “Lost cause narrative,” Hall elaborated, “also suppressed” many memories—of many disempowered Southern whites who suffered because of their class, of “bloody, unbearable realities of war,” of competing memories that pitted planters against those from the “up-country,” Unionists against Confederates, mill workers against corporations, and “home-front women against war-besotten, broken men.”26 Both material realities and the need to craft more psychologically palatable symbolic universities aided Lost Cause advocates in places like Virginia. In theory, the military and civic leaders who kept the Confederacy together for some four years deserved to be lionized and have their deeds etched in stone because only the Union Federalists’ numerical superiority. Many Southerners wanted to believe that only the inordinate power of Northern industries and banks stood in the way of Confederate victories and accomplished secessionism.27 Virginian cityscapes and memoryscapes reflected these sentiments. For decades cities across the South—and some towns in the North— helped perpetuate the idea that the post-Civil War 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments were passed by a minority of vengeful Radical Republicans who placed immature African Americans in legislative positions, backed by some of the same Reconstruction “Federalist” forces who needed work after Appomattox. Novels, films, textbooks, staged performances, popular magazines, law review articles, court decisions, and other rhetorical fragments became a part of the transgenerational monumental wars that we mentioned in the introduction to this book. Sadly, after the political deals that were made to “end” the first Reconstruction in 1877, an increased number of poor, middle-class, and elite whites gathered under the banner of white supremacy as they used all



types of overt laws, and covert societal practices, to try and disempower and disenfranchise the people of color who might have been aided by courts if they had enforced the letter and spirit of the post-Civil War Amendments. Notions of “liberty of contract” were used to provide corporations with personhood at the very same time that “separate by equal” doctrines were used by courts like Plessy v. Ferguson court to allow for the maintenance of discriminatory railroad and other Southern practices. Monumentalization of discriminatory racialized formations took many forms, and the erection of various Confederate town statuary drastically accelerated after the founding of the United Daughters of the Confederacy in 1894. This organization was made up of activist white women who commemorated Confederate activities by building hundreds of monuments, organizing parades, collecting money for museums, and “other expressions of public memory.”28 Before the end of the nineteenth century the UDC had 138 chapters,29 and it would be some of the sons and daughters of former soldiers and other Southerners who helped with the transgenerational transmission of all sorts of Lost Cause rhetorics. Jacquelyn Dowd Hall explained some of the motivation behind joining the UDC: UDC leaders were determined to assert women’s cultural authority over virtually every representation of the region’s [South’s] past. This they did by lobbying for state archives and museums, national historical sites, and historic highways, compiling genealogies, interviewing former soldiers, writing history textbooks, and erecting monuments, which now moved triumphantly from cemeteries into town centers…. the UDC, with other women’s associations, strove to etch women’s accomplishments into the historical record and to take history to the people, from the nursery, and the fireside to the schoolhouse and the public square.30

From cradle to the grave the UDC wanted to ensure that those who listened to their oratory recognized the need for all this confederate memorialization. These activist efforts resonated with residents of Southern cities. In 1890, when the city of Richmond decided to erect a massive 62-foot statue of Robert E. Lee in Monument Avenue some 10,000 were in attendance.31 Three years later, in Charlottesville, the Ladies Confederate Memorial Association (the predecessor to the Daughters of the Confederacy) arranged for the dedicate of a massive Confederate



Monument and Cemetery. Activists involved in preserving these memoryscapes were focusing on both “an idealization of the past” as well as an “extension of that heroic mythic history into the present,” as the Ladies Confederate Memorial Association honored “the bravery, devotion, and performance of every Confederate soldier and the honor due every Confederate veteran.”32 No wonder that the Ladies Confederate Memorial Association, and the UDC, would be credited with building many of the Confederate statues and memorials that so many twenty-first-century people of color find objectionable.

The Revival of Interest in the KKK and Transmutation of Lost Cause Rhetorics, 1901–1926 Scholars and investigative journalists today recognize that those generations living during after the first Reconstruction provided cities with only the first opportunities to put up Confederate statues and other memorials, and UDC activities were only some of the affairs that contributed to the perpetuation and recirculation of all sorts of “Lost Cause” rhetorics during the first quarter of the twentieth century. At the same time that many African Americans were writing about the rise of the “New Negro” who objected to the absence of efficacious civil rights legislation in urban cities and rural towns, there were those who were promoting their own forms of white supremacist discourse that appeared in all sorts of theological, scientific, and cultural forms. Visual as well as textual mediums could reinforce the idea that the Reconstruction not only failed to help the “New South” but stood in the way of white American “reconciliation.” There were persuasive reasons why interwar audiences flocked to see movies like Birth of a Nation or Gone with the Wind. Historical David Blight has captured the suasory power of these racist figurations that would catalyze the efforts who wanted to etch into stone their cultural creeds: From this combination of Lost Cause voices, a reunited America arose pure, guiltless, and assured that the deep conflicts in its past had been imposed upon it by otherworldly forces. The side that lost was especially assured that its cause was true and good. One of the ideas the reconciliationist Lost Cause instilled deeply into the national culture is that even when Americans



lose, they win. Such was the message, the indomitable spirit, that Margaret Mitchell infused into her character Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind.33

Segregated cities were configured as progressive places that worked to undo the damage of the Reconstruction and post-Reconstruction years. Today, many of the agentic cities that are trying to cope with Confederate statue removal face state legislators or preservationists who are adamant that these edifices had little to do with racist ideologies or historical segregation, but this is belied by the fact that critical scholars digging through municipal, state, or national archives can find evidence of the politicized nature of statue-raising ceremonies in the South during these turbulent years. Take, for example, how the city of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, dealt with proposals to erect a Confederate statue on some of the city’s grounds during the first decade of the twentieth century. In 1908 the United Daughters of the Confederacy, in the name of the UNC students who left campus to fight in “defense of our state,” helped raise funds for what would be called the “Silent Sam” statue. In 1913 the unveiling of this statue would become a major image event, and a local businessman and trustee, by the name of Julian Carr left us this telling textual fragment at the dedication of “Silent Sam”: The present generation, I am persuaded, scarcely takes note of what the Confederate soldier meant to the welfare of the Anglo-Saxon race during the four years immediately succeeding the war, when the facts are that their courage and steadfastness saved the very life of the Anglo-Saxon race in the South. When “the bottom rail was on top” all over the Southern states, and today, as a consequence, the purest strain of the Anglo-Saxon is to be found in the 13 Southern States—Praise God.34

For those who might argue that this is a relatively mild allusion to the inferiority of people of color note the way that Carr continued his peroration by talking to his Chapel Hill listeners about how, after his return from the surrender at Appomattox he had once “horse-whipped a negro [sic] wench until her skirts hung in shreds”—a punishment that Carr meted out after this African American woman had “publicly insulted and maligned a Southern lady.”35 This former Confederate soldier, turned respectable citizen and UNC trustee, was proud of the fact that he performed this public whipping during the Reconstruction years in front of “100 Federal soldiers.”36 Carr’s address melded together eugenical framings of the Civil



War with white racist sentiments with myriad rationales for violent treatment of racial inferiors. Some today who object to the removal of Confederate statues might argue that the open articulation of racist sentiments of earlier ages should not serve as warrants for twenty-first-century removal of “heritage,” but this glosses over the sedimented, transgenerational nature of all of these Lost Cause ideologies that were purposefully cemented into statues, memorials, architecture, and cities. As Joshua Arthurs argued in 2019, it matters at the same time that early twentieth-century social agents were putting up Confederate memorials in front of courthouses, government offices, town squares, and other sites of memory they were witnessing how the “state of Virginia disenfranchised black voters with poll taxes and literacy tests,” while the city of Charlottesville welcomed visits by the KKK and “enacted segregation ordinances.”37 In fascinating ways, some cities in the South during these various periods seemed to be trying to use bricks and mortar as ideological weaponry in the fight against any positive remembrances of radical Republicans, blacks in the U.S. Congress, and activities of reconstruction scalawags and carpetbaggers. As Tony Horowitz noted in his Confederates in the Attic: “Southernness” branded Richmond in another, spookier way. The city was vast cenotaph of session, with tens of thousands of rebel graves, countless monuments, and the remains of Confederate bulwarks, armories, hospitals, prisons, old soldiers’ homes. Confederate history formed such a rich humus beneath modern Richmond that Richmond that the past sprouted in odd, forgotten spots….38

In other words, the city of Richmond had itself became a massive example of Latourian dingpolitik. This was not simply a case where monuments provided some peripheral part of this topography because some cities were so saturated with Confederate monuments that they gained the reputation of being racist themselves in their open embrace of Confederate statuary and the divisive symbolism that haunted these cities. In Charlottesville, during the 1910s and 1920s, the “black Charlottesvillians saw the legal and political recognition of their citizenship slowly recede,” as places like McKee’s Row as characterized as eyesore and health hazard that had to be razed in order to make room for the Stonewall Jackson monument.39 During the same periods where African



Americans were welcoming the formation of a local chapter of the NAACP in 1918 others were writing favorably about KKK involvement in city affairs. To provide readers with just one example of the mainstreaming of all sorts of white supremacist rhetorics during this period note how Dr. Paul Barringer of physiology and former president of the faculty at the University of Virginia was invited to speak at one gathering of the Charlottesville chapter of the Klan in 1922. An approving audience hear of how the “destinies of American shall remain with the white race; they shall never be entrusted to the black, the brown, or the yellow, or to the unclean hands of hybrids or mongrels.”40 It would be a mistake to believe that these were the sentiments of a very few Virginians during these first few decades of the twentieth century. Many readers may be familiar with the press coverage of the sterilization of Carrie Buck and how Virginia legislatures and courts actively promoted eugenical legislation, but we need to recall how some of these same social agents also supervised the passing of Virginia’s Racial Integrity Act. This Act presumed the facticity of the “one drop rule,” and defined true Virginians as those who were 100 percent white. As Professor Nelson has observed, many professors and legislators supported these legalistic rules as well as the informal segregationist measures that created an atmosphere where elite men—Protestant whites born in the South—expected that those “had enjoyed the great benefits of a UVA education had a moral, even patriotic, responsibility to defend the purity of their race.”41 The KKK not only contributed to a local gymnasium fund-raising effort on the UVA campus but also had marches through areas where these racialized performances were meant to intimidate poor African American communities. In 1915, one local newspaper noted that on Halloween of that year a parade of KKK-clad children marched through the black communities living in Vinegar Hill, Charlottesville. The KKK also targeted Jews and immigrants, and they did their very best to join others who might help legitimate their racist causes. It could be argued that at least for a time, the KKK and other white supremacists were trying to turn Charlottesville into an exemplary eugenical city, a progressive example of what happened when whiteness was allowed to flourish when “germplasm” was conserved and segregationist policies were being preserved. After all, was this not a city that was trying to pass laws and regulations that would aid both white and black “races” by having zoning ordinances, maintaining segregated schools, and allowing each race to evolve at its own maturation rate? Was all of this not



contributing to what was called the “Americanization” practices of the US progressive years? Instead of viewing the KKK as the purveyor of some unaccepted or illegitimate promoter of white racist and segregationist rhetorics we need to see how these same sentiments were expressed by all sorts of Americans from all sorts of walks of life during the 1910s and 1920s. Even president Woodrow Wilson, when confronted by black activists about the lack of the enforcement of civil rights legislation, eventually admitted that he believed that Jim Crow policies prevented “friction” between the races, and that if the NAACP or anyone else felt they were being humiliated then this was their misimpression because no offense was intended.42 Lost Cause ideologies that circulated in the South resonated with segregationists, but they gained even more influence when American cities had zoning ordinances, restrictive covenants, vagrancy laws, and other segregationist forms of civil warfare that aided the cause of those who convinced themselves, and others, that their discriminatory practices were a part of what Michel Foucault once called “the order of things.”43

Charlottesville’s Beautification Movements, Eugenics, and the Preservation of Confederate Cityscapes The last decade of the nineteenth century and the first decades of the twentieth century witnessed one of the periods where people of color had to see the apotheosis of many racialized acts of textual, visual, and performative monumentalization, and it would be during these Jim Crow years that University of Virginia’s doctors, other academics, and administrators became involved in everything from the study of residential segregation to eugenics to the literary remembrance of the Lost Cause. Ben Railston, an expert on Charlottesville historicism, argued that of “course all Southern cities practiced racial segregation in a variety of small and large ways throughout the Jim Crow era, but Charlottesville represents an extreme case.”44 Critical scholars who follow Bruno Latour’s ways of writing and talking about network centric theories mention the nods and connections that can be made across time and space between various social and technical formations, and no doubt it would be the efforts, and the statues, and the histories, and memories associated with the work of Paul McIntire that would



become nodes in many of these rhetorical commentaries. As noted in other parts of this chapter McIntire would be revered as a key Virginian for the amount of money and property that he gave to Charlottesville, but we are just now beginning to see some of the cultural and legal strings that were attached to some of his philanthropic activities. For example, when McIntire handed over the deed to Charlottesville of what would be called McIntire Park he did so with the following condition: “Said property shall be held and used in perpetuity by the said City for a public park and playground for the white people of the City of Charlottesville.”45 This most likely was not alarming for a generation that believed in the benefits of “separate but equal” doctrines, and to be fair to Paul McIntire it should be noted that he also donated land that could be used for a public park for Charlottesville’s “coloreds [sic].” However, it should be noted that this land that was set aside for blacks was also once used as a dystopic, thanatopolitical space, used for quarantining the unhealthy residents of the city. When the Lee statue was dedicated in 1924, it featured the Confederate General who commanded the Army of Northern Virginia and his famous horse, Traveller. On dedication day it was estimated that some 10,000 individuals—including some wearing white hoods—gathered in what was then called Lee Park for the unveiling of the Lee statue in downtown Charlottesville. Judge R. T. W. Duke served as the master of ceremonies, and during his public address he remarked that Lee was the “greatest man who ever lived.” The crowd applauded when Mary Lee Walker Lee, General Lee’s three-year old great granddaughter, was given the honors of unveiling the statue. It mattered a great deal that a few days later members of the Ku Klux Klan burned three crosses nearby, and it was alleged that they also set off a series of bombs near the African American St. Salem Gospel Church.46 As readers might imagine, some African American activists could not sit idly by and watch, without commentary, the monumentalization and hagiographic memorialization of Confederate generals like Robert E. Lee. W.E.B.  Du Bois, writing The Crisis in 1928, argued that each year on January 19th Southerners and other Americans were involved in “renewed” efforts to “canonize Robert E. Lee,” and because of his “personal comeliness, his aristocratic birth and his military prowess” their verdict of “greatness and genius” was overlooking the fact that he “led a bloody war to perpetuate slavery.”47 Du Bois ridiculed the New York Times



characterization of Civil War that was fought for states’ rights or nationalism, and he responded to these “Copperhead” ways of thinking by claiming: People do not go to war for abstract theories of government. They fight for property and privilege and that was what Virginia fought for in the Civil War. And Lee followed Virginia. He followed Virginia not because he particularly loved slavery (although he certainly did not hate it), but because he did not have the moral courage to stand against his family and his clan. Lee hesitated and hung his head in shame because he was asked to lead armies against human progress and Christian decency and did not dare refuse. He surrendered not to Grant, but to Negro Emancipation.48

Du Bois did not end his critique with a retrospective analysis of post-Civil War Reconstruction memories of Lee, but instead used the occasion to critique how the Lees, and other Americans in the 1920s, who did little to prevent the “disenfranchisement” of black citizens. Instead, Americans like the Lees were providing “wretchedly inadequate public schools for Negro children,” and they were endorsing the “public treatment of sickness poverty and crime which disgraces civilization.”49 These types of critiques of municipal Lost Cause efforts were ignored by those who were convinced that the preservation of Confederate statuary was progressive and uplifting. Mildred Lewis Rutherford, an Athens, Georgia resident, not only helped raise money for Confederate memorials but traveled across the South in full plantation regalia as she informed US audiences about how slaves had been “the happiest set of people on the face of the globe.” She asserted that they were “well fed, well-clothed, and well-housed,” and that after the Civil war emancipation the arrival of the KKK “was necessary to protect the white woman.”50 These performances during the first decades of the twentieth century allowed countless audiences to get a sense of what it was like to be an antebellum sister or daughter or mother, but this would not the last time that Lost Cause rhetorics would be strategic utilized by residents of Southern cities in their battle with those who sought all sorts of political, civil, and even “social” rights.



Charlottesville’s Participation in The South’s Massive Resistance to 1950s and 1960s Civil Rights Legislation Throughout the South, during the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s, all sorts of Confederate markers, statues, monuments, and other figurations that alluded to the war of “rebellion” themes were placed on courthouse laws, city squares, or nearby parks. For example, the memorializing efforts that began with the 1915 plans for a “Confederate Mount Rushmore” on Stone Mountain, Georgia were now taken up by those post-World War II audiences who were interested in the pragmatic commercialization of the site, the need to have a venue for family gatherings, and the preservation of more Confederate heritage. Charlottesville’s memoryscapes played key roles as Southerners frustrated by the gains of members of American civil rights movements tried to respond to America’s desegregationist efforts. Confederate memorialization preservation efforts were taking place at the same time US Senator Harry Byrd sought signatures for his “Southern Manifesto.” This text was signed by more than 100 Southern congressional leaders in 1956, and it called for what would later be known as “Massive Resistance.” A series of local and state laws were passed with the intent of undermining both the letter and spirit of the Brown v. Board of Education decision, including the cutting off of state funds that resulted in the closing of any public school that tried to end segregationist practices. As staff writers for the Virginia Museum of History and Culture noted, by September 1958 Charlottesville was ready to try and follow federal court orders and integrate. Both the Virginia state court of appeals and the Governor of the State, J. Lindsay Almond, conceded defeat, and a few people of color attended integrated schools after 1959.51 Before the passage of the Civil Rights Act on July 2, 1964, Charlottesville, like many Southern cities, found itself in the middle of heated and emotional debates about states’ rights, the need to follow federal desegregation decisions, and the best ways for municipalities to cope with the societal pressures that were coming from dissenting African Americans and others who wanted to get rid of “whites only” theatres, buses, swimming pools, drinking fountains, or restaurants. Ben Railton, writing a month after the August 2017 scenes of violence in Charlottesville, argued that it was a shame that these events were not “better remembered” by those who wrote media reports that talked as if the white supremacists and



neo-Nazis protestors “are entirely ‘outsiders’ to the city and its community, agitators who came to the place specifically for this particular occasion.” Railton want his readers to take a different, more local and longitudinal view of matters, so that cold see that how the efforts of two of the protest leaders—Richard Spencer and Jason Kessler, graduates of the University of Virginia—were just some of the latest events that were “connected to the city (and its histories of segregation and community) for many years.”52 In 2009, Charlottesville city government officials mulled over the possibility that the town might offer a public apology for the role that the city had played in “Massive Resistance, the failed attempt to keep Virginia public schools segregated after the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision.”53 More recent critiques have noted that perhaps Charlottesville—in spite of seeing manifestations of progressive tendencies and the empowerment of many people of color—was still a city that was monumentalizing and memorializing in ways that involved what writers for the Washington Post called “memory, not monuments.”54 More than few writers were starting to wonder if all of this focus on Confederate statuary links to the older Lost Cause ideologies of the post-Reconstruction years was overlooking the fact that Charlottesville had adopted a different persona before the 1990s.

American Multiculturalism, African American Empowerment, and the Rise of Confederate Memorial Removal Movements, 1990–2016 By the 1990s civil rights legislation, societal social changes, and other material circumstances had led to the creation of a thriving middle class made up of African Americans and other people of color who oftentimes shared the views of social activists like Frederick Douglass or W.E.B. Du Bois or Ida B.  Wells-Barnett. As these social agents became major players in municipal planning across the South and other American regions, and they demanded that some of the most objectionable Confederate statuary be removed, modified, suppled with a different context. No doubt presentist needs and shifting cultural practices alter the ways that so many viewed, and still view, Confederate monumentalism. “Until the latter years of the Obama Administration,” argued Benjamin



Wallace-Wells, many citizens seemed to have forgotten about the Robert E.  Lee and “Stonewall” Jackson statues. Visitors could come and visit neighboring courthouses and churches in Charlottesville without having serious removal conversations.55 Then, during the summer of 2015, a white supremacist by the name of Dylann Roof, who appeared to be joining a Bible group that met in the basement of Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, opened fire and killed nine church members. Journalists—who were already writing about the problematic nature of “post-truth” rhetorics, alt-right alliances with white nationalists, and the suasory power of the internet—now explained that Dylann Roof, on his Web site, had photographs of himself posing near a Confederate flag. Even more damning was this circulated fragment from Roof’s manifesto: I have no choice. I am not in the position to, alone, go into the ghetto and fight. I chose Charleston because it is [the] most historic city in my state, and at one time had the highest ratio of blacks to Whites in the country. We have no skinheads, no real KKK, no one doing anything but talking on the internet. Well someone has to have the bravery to take it to the real world, and I guess that has to be me.56

City demographics was impacted domestic terrorists’ choice of targets. For those on the far right or alt-right the struggles after 2015  in Charlottesville represented the chance to show the world the benefits that might come when University of Virginia students and others heard about talk of the “Great Replacement” or the dangers that were posed by “social justice warrior” creeds—feminism, multiculturalism, pluralism, etc. For members of militia groups these confrontations gave them a chance to carry all the weapons that they were allowed to carry so that they could performative exercise their Second Amendment rights. For anti-fascists forces going out into the streets of Charlottesville to confront members of the KKK showed that at least some city residents were willing to practice what they preached as they wrote and talked about the history of Charlottesville’s racial violence and segregationist practices. At this point we wish to make a key argument that only a relatively few other academics and investigative journalists have made—that it was the very nature of the enduring transgenerational legacy of the city of Charlottesville itself—and not just the potential removal of the Robert E. Lee



and “Stonewall” Jackson statues—that contributed to the recurring violence that came after 2015. We have reached this conclusion after surveying hundreds of textual and visual fragments on the agency of Charlottesville. Many textual fragments that hint at the agentic nature that we are alluded to can be found in some of the documents that were produced for the city of Charlottesville that appeared in the 2016 Blue Ribbon Commission on Race, Memorials, and Public Spaces Report. This report underscored the point that this was city that was evolving, a place that was trying to move away from the “truths and legacies of slavery, Jim Crow, and white supremacy.”57 The nine members of Charlottesville’s Blue Ribbon Commission helped anthropomorphize the city, and treated it as if it had personhood, a municipal identity that looked nothing like the personality of a city that had promoted eugenics, accepted the destruction of places like Vinegar Hill, or ignored the “loss of African-American population” and racial inequities.58 After conducting more than 15 different public hearings at various local gathering places the Blue Ribbon Commission noted that many supported their view that it was time that Charlottesville confront— “directly and honestly the difficult history represented” by many who once accepted discriminatory school regulations, Jim Crow laws, and City Beautiful movements that led to displacement of marginalized populations.59 Their 21st city would not be like the Charlottesville that had been involved in the infliction of what they called a “self-inflicted wound,” where justificatory segregationist and white supremacist narratives had been used to legitimate “destructive racial injustices and racial disparities.”60 The majority of the members of Charlottesville Blue Ribbon Commission on Race, Memorials, and Public Spaces was convinced that the presence of Confederate statuary had contributed to the promotion of what they viewed as false histories as well as the “generational transmission” of racism. Before telling the city’s residents about their recommendations, they had this to say about statues and parks that had been donated by philanthropist Paul G. McIntire: The Lee and Jackson statues embodied the Lost Cause interpretation of the Civil War, which romanticized the Confederate past and suppressed the horrors of slavery and slavery’s role as the fundamental cause of the war while affirming the enduring role of white supremacy. The Lost Cause interpretation was a key element in the ideological justification of the d ­ isfranchisement



of African American voters and the segregation of African Americans in virtually all walks of life, including employment, education, housing, healthcare, and public accommodations.61

In many ways it could be argued that all of this was example of what Michael Rothberg called “competitive” memory formation, where the stories that were told about Lost Causes and white supremacy were incommensurable with Charlottesville’s twenty-first-century multicultural goals. C’ville’s Blue Ribbon Commission went on to argue that simply adding a few plaques to try and recontextualize the Lee and Jackson statues would not suffice. The major revisions that they were proposing would be “done clearly, unambiguously, and on at least the same scale as the statue exists now, such as by lowering, covering, decentering, or otherwise indicating the rejection of Jim Crow-era narratives that dominated when the statue was erected.”62 This underscored the point that the vertical or horizontal spatial placements of some of this statuary—in some of the very spaces and places that were used to get rid of some black neighborhoods in the name of aesthetic beautification—could now serve the cause of restorative justice. The members of this Blue Ribbon commission initially recommended that either 1) the Lee and Jackson statues stay where they were and face have major transformations, or 2) use a “relocate option” that moved the Lee statue out of what used to be called “Lee Park” and place it in another public city park. They concluded that Charlottesville had to “tell the full story” of city’s past, even if this meant changing the “City’s narrative through our public spaces.”63 The city of Charlottesville had already decided, even before the public reception of the Blue Commission’s findings, to engage in removal efforts, and debates about the state or US reception of conclusions like this catalyzed all sorts of debates about memoryscapes and the entangled nature of fraught Confederate preservation or removal efforts. Yale’s David Blight, an expert on Civil War memory-work, was asked by journalists in 2017 to provide his opinion regarding the motivations of those who put up all of this statuary. He intoned that these monuments were put up “because the former Confederacy, the Southern States, was allowed full control not only over its story—its memorialization, but its politics.”64 Blight was sure that most supporters who celebrated the defeat of the Reconstruction after 1877 were not going to publicly and openly say that these memorials were a “monument to white supremacy,” but they were.65



During the first half of 2017 it was clear that Charlottesville and some of the surrounding areas were not sure how they wanted to respond to Council members’ efforts. Eileen Johnson would write that during these “moments of rupture” it seemed as though Charlottesville was a Southern town that was searching “for its identity.”66 Other commentaries had written about the lingering power of “cult of true womanhood” or the influence of the KKK or obsession that so many had with defense of the Confederate flag and other symbols of the Confederacy, but Johnson was more interested in explaining to readers how those who lived in Charlottesville seemed to view themselves in the months before the August tragedies. Writing 93 years after the dedication of the Lee statue Johnson would aver: Charlottesvillians like to think we’ve evolved. We drive Priuses, vote for Democrats, and recently declared ourselves a “Capital of the Resistance” against President Trump. We have an independent film festival, a top-notch university, and a rating as the happiest city in America, according to National Bureau of Economic Research. We’re a liberal’s paradise island surrounded by a sea of rural, red South. Or so we like to think.67

Johnson was writing this a month after Charlottesville vice mayor—Wes Bellamy—had remarked on how the white people in the city were finally being forced to look themselves in the mirror and see how Charlottesville was really a “city of two sides” that needed to take the step of removing statuary that was offensive to the city’s African American residents. Lost in the rush to give credit to civil administrators for some of the revived interest in Confederate statue removal has been some of the participatory efforts of the very young, who have their own ideas regarding civic engagement and deliberative democracies. It could be argued that one of the key catalytic events that helped galvanize interest in Confederate statue removal came from a sixteen year-old, Zyahna Bryant, who sent around a 2016 petition to the Charlottesville city council, asking that the Lee Park be renamed and that the Robert E. Lee statue be removed. She had garnered the attention of more than 700 people who signed her petition that appeared on “” In her letter to an editor Bryant explained her motivation for collecting names for a removal petition: When I think of Robert E. Lee I instantly think of someone fighting in favor of slavery. Thoughts of physical harm, cruelty, and disenfranchisement flood



my mind. As a teenager in Charlottesville that identifies as black, I am offended every time I pass it. I am reminded over and over again of the pain of my ancestors and all of the fighting that they had to go through for us to be where we are now …. I am calling on city council along with my peers and members of the community to remove the Robert E.  Lee statue…. Vinegar Hill is just now beginning to be recognized in the way that it should be. I believe that we should celebrate the things that have been done in this great city to uplift and bring people together, rather than trying to divide them.68

Wes Bellamy invited Bryan to attend a rally at Lee Park in March 2016, and as she faced dozens of liberal activists and a smaller crowd of statue preservationists, she said that in 2016 things had changed that “they are going to change.” At this Bellamy, and Kristin Szakos, another council member, asked the entire City Council to vote that both the Lee statue and the Jackson statue be removed.69 These types of activities helped provide what communication scholars call “vernacular” forums for those who wished to find the evidence and warrants that were needed to explain why the removal of Confederate statuary had anything to do with the city’s obligations to protect the public safety, health, and welfare of its citizens.

Charlottesville, 2017—Mediated Events, Talk of White Supremacy and the Alt-Right, and the “Invasion” of a Major City Given the contentious nature of these Confederate monumental wars it was not surprising that when it looked as though the City of Charlottesville was going to remove the Lee Statue some Virginia residents would push back by suing the city. In March 2017 Frederick W. Payne, the Monument Fund, and several named plaintiffs sued Charlottesville, and in their complaint the plaintiffs noted that in 1918 Paul Goodloe McIntire had deeded to the city land that was known in the early twenty-first century as Lee Park. The deed had stipulated that a statute of General Robert E.  Lee would be erected on that park property, and it was argued that “the City unconditionally accepted the gifts of the property and the statue.”70 The plaintiffs’ lawyers, citing a 1926 Resolution, argued that some of Charlottesville’s decision-makers gladly accepted the McIntire gift and the City Council viewed this as a part of urban beautification efforts. In



language that seemed very distant from the racialized Jim Crow rhetorics that appeared elsewhere, the Charlottesville Resolution had portions that read as follows: “These new parks and play grounds together with the library, the parts and play grounds and statues already given to the City by Mr. McIntire have added to the beauty of the City which is without equal and will stand in perpetual monuments and reminders to future generations of the greatest benefactor in the history of the City.”71 The lawyers for the plaintiffs in the Payne v. City of Charlottesville case created the impression that many different generations of residents expressed their appreciation of McIntire’s efforts. For example, the complaint contained commentary on how in November 1997 “the City” had accepted the offer of more than $43,000 in donated private funds to help with the restoration of the statues of General Lee and General Jackson. Several years later Charlottesville accepted the rededication of the “cleaned and restored Lee Monument in a ceremony at its unveiling.”72 The plaintiff lawyers then used this factual summary to help set the stage for their legal argument, where they argued that section 18.2-137 of the Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended, made it a criminal offense to “unlawfully … remove … any monument or memorial for war veterans …”73 The authors of the complaint then argued that Lee Statue, Lee Park, the Jackson Statue, and Jackson Park were all subject to, and protected by, those Virginia statutes. Other portions of this complaint were used to attack City actions as well as the decisions that were made by City Council members who had voted to remove the Lee statue in February 2017. For instance, it was argued by the plaintiffs’ lawyers in the Payne complaint that “defendants Szakos, Bellamy, and Fenwick acted in a grossly negligent, reckless, willful, wanton, and intentional manner” that subjected them to punitive damages.74 The claimants asked the Court to determine that the Resolutions that had been passed by the members of Charlottesville City Council be viewed—in so far as they had to do with Lee Park, the Lee Monument, Jackson Park, and the Jackson monument—as null and void and in violation of the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia.75 Lawyers for Charlottesville responded to this complaint by arguing that the Lee and Jackson statues were not “war memorials” that fit Virginia statuary provisions but were instead “monuments” to white supremacy and the Lost Cause.76 The mediated coverage of the wrangling in courtrooms over civil warfare was augmented with journalistic commentary on the violence, or



potential violence, that attended the occasional visits of the alt-right and other groups who traveled to Charlottesville. Before August 2017 there had been minor altercations and heated verbal sparring in and around Charlottesville’s confederate statues and other memorials. However, in both scope, and intensity, the August 11 and August 12 confrontations between pro-removal and pro-preservation forces were different. Some “Unite the Right” members were so heavily armed that one Virginian quipped that they were better armed than the national guard that turned out to keep the peace (see Chap. 1). Countless photographs were taken of hundreds of demonstrators carrying flaming tiki torches as they shouted “Jews will not replace us” or “You will not replace us”— phrases that were shorthand ideographs for clusters of far right worries about a potential “white genocide” or Great Replacement incident. We now know that the Unite the Right demonstrators were not the only social agents who had been preparing for months for potential violent clashes. Hundreds of liberal activists, who came from the University of Virginia campus, or who gathered near St. Paul’s Memorial Church, had established safe houses. Some had rehearsed their counter-­demonstrations, and a few were armed.77 Inside the church, speakers like Cornel West were sitting side by side with Charlottesville residents. visitors from the local chapter of Black Lives Matter. National audiences would become familiar with mainstream, global coverage of the clashes that took place during August 11 and 12, 2017, but those who paid attention to city politics realized that all of this was part of an on-going municipal process that was more than any single event. For example, in May 2017, when white nationalist and University of Virginia alum Richard Spencer arrived on the scene, counter demonstrators held a vigil to respond to those who came to support the blocking of the Lee statue removal. “This is Charlottesville,” announced Don Gathers, and he told members of the media: “We’re black, we’re white, we’re Asian, we’re Latino, we’re LGBTQ and this is our town.”78 By June 2017 students at the University of Virginia had joined the chorus of those calling for the taking down of the Lee and Jackson statues, and there were even those who treating Confederate statues as dingpolitik objects that could be causally linked to Charlottesville’s history of discriminatory practices. Sophie Abramowitz, Evan Latterner, and Gillet Rosenblith argued that the statues had become “tools of displacement” that had contributed to the decimation of the “city’s historically successful black communities.79 By this time many Virginians were already aware that



the Charlottesville City Council had voted unanimously to remain the old Lee Park “Emancipation Park,” and academics and journalists learned that local citizens were trying to organize and decide how to help protect Charlottesville from the Ku Klux Klan and Richard Spencer’s alt-right activists. Abramowitz and her co-authors complained that too few realized that the Jackson and Lee statues were put up during periods of Virginian gentrification, when symbols of the Confederacy were intentionally placed in strategic ways “atop black and nonwhite immigrant communities” by the city’s white elites who were “physically buttressing their ever-fragile hold of white supremacy.”80 Commenting on mob violence elsewhere in the Shenandoah Valley, nearby lynchings, and worries about the power of the thriving Charlottesville black neighborhood of Vinegar Hill these authors argued that the Lee statue was put up in order to send “an obvious message” to nearby people of color: “Public space, public institutions, and public success are not for you.”81

Civil Lawfare and Court Involvement in Charlottesville’s Monument Wars, 2017–2020 As noted above, Charlottesville’s decision to remove or recontextualize the Lee and Jackson statuary led to the filing of the Payne case, but these would be just some of the views that would be expressed during heated legal and public debates. For example, Mike Signer, the mayor of Charlottesville, once argued that the Lee statue should “remain as a reminder that many Americans were once treated as property of others,” as “second class-citizens,” but after the deaths of two state troopers (Jay Cullen and Berke Bates) and Heather Heyer, he publicly announced that he was changing his mind and siding with the city. “We can, and we must, respond by denying the Nazis and the KKK and the so called alt-right the totem they seek,” and he now framed these matters as issue that involved not only questions of heritage but public safety as well.82 Unlike those who focused on the facially neutral provisions of Virginia’s state statue provisions, or who gestured toward the need to protect Southern heritage, Signer noted how the memorial had been weaponized: “These Monuments were transformed from equestrian statues into lightning rods.”83 Charlottesville’s mayor elaborated by explaining: That crucial work—for us as a city, as a Commonwealth, and as a country built on the backs of slaves—is what made us a target for forces radiating out



from the alt-right movement and the Donald Trump presidential campaign. These forces tell us that America was already great. That there’s no new truth to be told. That the country’s narrative is fine as it is. But that’s dead wrong. The fact is we have to achieve greatness. We have to work at it…. I realized at Heather’s memorial service that that our Confederate statues’ historical meaning has been changed forever. In other words, it will never be possible again for the Lee statue to only tell the story of what happened here during the Civil War and the Jim Crow era. Its historical meaning now, and forevermore, will be of a magnet for terrorism.84

As far as Signer was concerned, his city—that marketed itself as a “world-­ class city”—was under siege. Domestic terrorists were at the city’s gates. At times the City of Charlottesville, instead of acting as the defendant in some legal cases, went on the offensive so it could preserve its own cityscape. In October 2017 the city of Charlottesville sued Pennsylvania Light foot Militia and other groups to try and prevent large groups of armed militia from coming back to the city and threatening some of the city’s residents.85 The city managed in May 2018 to obtain court orders against 23 defendants to prevent the recurrence of “private paramilitary activity” in Charlottesville.86 It mattered that Defendant Jason Kessler was permanently enjoined from: … returning or soliciting other individuals or groups to return to Charlottesville … as part of a unit of two or more persons acting in concern while armed with a firearm, weapon, shield or any item whose purpose is to inflict bodily harm, or any demonstration, rally protest, or march…87

Those who were bound by the decree also agreed to do their best “good faith” efforts not to sue social media outlets and other communicative venues to advocate the creation of these unites of two or more individuals who might act in concern and arm themselves with the purpose of causing any bodily harm to Charlottesville residents. These efforts by the city of Charlottesville in the Pennsylvania Light Foot Militia case are notable, for several reasons. First, it shows how the city viewed the existential threats that were posed by militias that came to Charlottesville before, during, and after August 2017. Second, the language that was used in the court order illustrated how the city not only worried about the armed presence of these white supremacists, Neo-Nazis and others who arrived with their shields and guns, but also worried about the viral nature of the social media outlets that were contributing to the



growth of these organizations. The courts could now be viewed—in this type of consent decree cases—as bodies that allowed the city to show that it was facing existential dangers that warranted judicial protection. Again, given the polyvalent and polysemic nature of these Confederate statue debates, from a critical perspectival standpoint we should not expect to have any court “settle” the matter by agreeing with Charlottesville’s arguments about the perceptual threats that were posed by Kessler and others who were a part of the “Unite the Right” movements. For several months and years Charlottesville’s struggles with the inherent contradictions, contested historical remembrances, heritage battles, and links to other movements and campaigns garnered the attention of diverse national and international audiences. Legal experts who looked at these Confederate statue issues—including city attorneys, state judges, and local prosecutors—also disagreed about how best to interpret Virginia’s state laws, and whether they allowed for the removal of objectionable Confederate objects. For example, in December 2016 the Virginia Supreme Court would not rehear a challenge to the city of Danville’s decision to remove the Confederate flag from a monument that could be found on the grounds of the Sutherlin Mansion.88 However, at the very times when some city residents started to gain confidence that Virginians were going to recognize Charlottesville right to be multicultural and move away from its Confederate past there would be those who had other plans. In late April 2019 Charlottesville Circuit Judge Richard Moore, who was asked to interpret a variety of state statue statues—including some of the 1950s—ruled that the City of Charlottesville could not supervise the removal of local statues of Generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson. Judge Moore reasoned that there should be no dispute that these Confederate statues fell under the Virginia regulation that allowed for both the erection of these monuments as well as their removal. In a nine-page opinion Judge Moore argued that even city officials or members of the city’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Race, Memorials, and Public Space had referred to the Lee and Jackson edifices as “Confederate statues” and “Confederate monuments,” so it did little good to pretend that they “are something other than what they are.”89 Moore was of the opinion that it was “hard to see” how the statues could serve any other purpose besides serving as Civil War “war” memorials, which meant that they were protected under Virginia’s statue provisions. Under this interpretation of Virginia’s laws, the city could not remove the Lee or



Jackson or any other “war monument” without the permission of the Virginia State Assembly. Those who supported the “Unite the Right” efforts or agreed with those who wanted to “preserve” Virginia’s “heritage” lauded this decision, but there would be those who saw this as backsliding, an indication that too few were willing to envision a different future for the city. Don Gathers, the former chair of Charlottesville’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Race, Memorials and Public Spaces disagreed with Judge Moore’s assessment and argued that this legal decision retraumatized the city. “Just because something is legal,” argued Gathers, “doesn’t mean it’s right or its’ moral,” and he went on argue that all that the judicial reasoning had accomplished in preventing removal was allowing the “vile evilness” that had descended upon them in “August of 2017 to come back.”90 Some of those who wanted to get rid of the Lee and Jackson statues might not have conceded the legitimacy of Moore’s interpretation of Virginia’s state statue statutes, but they nevertheless would agree that too many were trying to avoid confronting the traumas and difficult heritages that Moore was alluding to.

Conclusion In this particular chapter we have shown the agentic nature of Charlottesville, that once served as a peaceful place of healing for Confederate wounded, that evolved into a space and place that allowed Reconstructionists and Post-reconstructionists to defend what they viewed as progressive, racial, and segregationist practices that prevented “friction” between the races. We have also argued that there were historical periods when Charlottesville wanted to become one of the leading eugenical cities in Virginia, a place that allowed race purists to pass their race betterment laws. It was no coincidence that the erection of some statues was accompanied by the razing of some African American communities during beautification movement efforts. We have advanced the claim that during Cold War years, Charlottesville was at the forefront of Virginian efforts to defend states’ rights. Wyatt Gordon refused to forget some of the city’s dissident histories when he commented that twenty-first-century efforts at changing the town’s monumental landscape involved more than “simply tearing down a handful of statues.”91 These acts, he argued, would not help with the more “difficult conversation” of admitting that Virginia was a state that once chose



massive resistance and decided to shut down schools rather than allow for peaceful and needed desegregation. When Gordon turned his attention to the way that Charlottesville’s statuary history should be viewed, he had this to say: The University of Virginia in Charlottesville was once a pioneer of eugenics—the “science” made notorious by the Nazis, which sought to improve populations through controlled breeding and forced sterilization. In fact, Virginia did not repeal its forced sterilization law, which disproportionately affected blacks, until 1974. Removing statues alone won’t remove the lasting legacy of white supremacy in Virginia.92

Here the focus was not on some single of discrimination or any single act of lynching or post-Reconstruction act of disenfranchisement but the evolving transgenerational process of racialization that implicated the city of Charlottesville. As we noted in earlier chapters these twenty-first-century monumental wars that we are all witnessing have all sorts of complex entanglements that involve strategic ways of remembering American histories and contentious memories, and in this chapter we have shown how some of those who were involved in the August 2017 violence, or who bystanders to those events, realized that Charlottesville was once again in the glare of media spotlights. This time, however, commentators were trying to reconcile the city’s fraught Jim Crow past with today’s multicultural efforts. In the coming months and years, we expect that in the same ways that some cities will be attacked or defended as “sanctuary cities” there will be some Southern cities that will have to make key decisions of how to cope with fraught and complex post-Civil war pasts. As Dayna Bowen Matthew insightfully observed in 2019: It is a mistake to distinguish racial violence that occurred in Charlottesville during the 1800s from racial violence that continues to occur in Charlottesville today. The pernicious effect of residential segregation is that it not only isolates groups to allow fantasies of essential biological differences between them to grow, but the isolation produces confirming physical evidence of differences as segregation works to disproportionately allocate resources and opportunities.93

Is it possible that the removal of some cities’ statues will also contribute the unraveling of some of these biological ways of thinking about



differences? Will some of the filings of the civil lawsuits that we mentioned above—like the City of Charlottesville et  al. v. Pennsylvania Light Foot Militia, et al.—contribute to the acceptance of the positions of those who want to avoid seeing cases where declarations of First Amendment Rights and select interpretations of the Second Amendment are used as warrants for future “invasions” of cities? What will be the shape of future Southern cityscapes and memoryscapes?

Notes 1. For representative rhetorical and interdisciplinary studies of various cultural representations of the Lost Cause see Hal W.  Fulmer, The Defiant Legacy: Southern Clergy and a Rhetoric of Redemption for the Reconstruction South (dissertation: Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University, 1985); W. Stuart Towns, Enduring Legacy: Rhetoric and Ritual of the Lost Cause (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2012); David W. Blight, Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2001); Charles Reagan Wilson, Baptized in Blood: The Religion of the Lost Cause, 1865–1920 (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2009). 2. American Historical Association Staff, “Statement on Confederate Monuments,” American Historical Association, August 28, 2017, file:///C:/Users/u0097104/Downloads/AHA%20Statement%20 on%20Confederate%20Monuments%20(1).pdf. 3. See Nina Silber, The Romance of Reunion: Northerners and the South, 1865–1900 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1993). 4. See Matthew D.  Lassiter and Andrew B.  Lewis, eds., The Moderates’ Dilemma: Massive Resistance to School Desegregation in Virginia (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 1998). 5. Dayna Bowen Matthew, “On Charlottesville,” Virginia Law Review 105 (2019): 269–341. 6. For some of the ways that early monumental disputes about Confederate statuary became entangled in Jim Crow disputation see Louis P. Nelson, “Object Lesson: Monuments and Memory in Charlottesville,” Buildings & Landscapes 23, no. 2 (Fall 2018): 17–35. 7. Joshua Arthurs, “The Anatomy of Controversy from Charlottesville to Rome,” Modern Italy 24, no. 2 (2019): 123–138, 127. 8. Frederick Douglass, quoted in David W. Blight, “‘For Something Beyond the Battlefield’: Frederick Douglass and the Struggle for the Memory of the Civil War,” The Journal of American History 75, no. 4 (March 1989): 1156–1178, 1164.



9. Frederick Douglass, “Monuments of Folly,” New National Era, December 1, 1870, 3. 10. Robert E. Lee, quoted in Doug Stafford, “Racism Never Died in Virginia,” Time, last modified August 18, 2017, paragraph 4, https://time. com/4906341/charlottesville-va-home-racism-confederacy/. 11. Benjamin Hart and Chas Danner, “Three Dead and Dozens Injured after Violent White Nationalist Rally in Virginia,” New York Magazine, last modified August 13, 2017, state-of-emergency-in-va-after-white-nationalist-rally.html. 12. Zachary Bray, “Monuments of Folly: How Local Governments Can Challenge Confederate ‘Statue Statutes,” Temple Law Review 91, no. 1 (Fall 2018): 1–54, 10. 13. Richard C. Schragger, “When White Supremacists Invade a City,” Virginia Law Review Online 104 (January 2018): 58–73. 14. For a helpful example of how studies of cities’ traumas and reviews of memoryscapes can inform the ways we think about the power and politics associated with remembrances see Lisa Yoneyama, Hiroshima Traces: Time, Space, and the Dialects of Memory (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999). 15. See, for example, Barrett Holmes Pitner, “‘Heritage Not Hate’? Sorry, White South, They Go Together,” The Daily Beast, last modified May 8, 2015, 16. Robert E. Main, Jr., and S. Braxton Puryear, “Plaintiffs’ Brief: Demurrer,” Frederick W. Payne, et al. v. City of Charlottesville, Case No. CL 17-145, August 1, 2017, 18. 17. Arthurs, “The Anatomy of Controversy,” 128. 18. City of Charlottesville, Blue Ribbon Commission on Race, Memorials, and Public Spaces, Report to City Council, December 19, 2016 (Charlottesville: Blue Ribbon Commission, 2016). 19. Amanda Lineberry, “Payne v. City of Charlottesville and the Dillon’s Rule Rationale for Removal,” Virginia Law Review Online, no. 104 (January 2018): 45–57, 47, note 12. 20. Nelson, “Object Lesson,” 17. 21. Ibid. 22. Ben Railton, “Considering History: Confederate Memorials, Racist Histories, and Charlottesville,” Saturday Evening Post, last modified August 10, 2018, paragraph 3, considering-history-confederate-memorials-racist-histories-charlottesville/. 23. For more on wounded cities see Karen Till, The New Berlin: Memory, Politics, Place (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2005).



24. Gary Gallagher and Alan Nolan, The Myth of the Lost Cause and Civil War (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2000). 25. Jacquelyn Dowd Hall, “‘You Must Remember This’: Autobiography as Social Critique,” Journal of American History 85, no. 2 (September 1998): 439–465, 449. 26. Ibid. 27. Gallagher and Nolan, The Myth of the Lost Cause. 28. Amy Heyse, “Women’s Rhetorical Authority and Collective Memory: The United Daughters of the Confederacy Remember the South,” Women & Language 33, no. 2 (Fall 2010): 31–53, 31. 29. Karen L.  Cox, Women, the Lost Cause, and the New South: The United Daughters of the Confederacy and the Transmission of Confederate Culture, 1894–1919 (dissertation: Hattiesburg, MS: University of Southern Mississippi, 1997); Heyse, “Women’s Rhetorical Authority,” 37. 30. Hall, “’You Must Remember This,’”448–450. 31. Benjamin Wallace-Wells, “The Fight Over Virginia’s Confederate Monuments,” The New Yorker, November 27, 2017, paragraph 6, https:// 32. Railston, “Considering History,” paragraph 3. 33. Blight, Race and Reunion, 283–284. 34. Julian Carr, quoted in Kristina Kilgrove, “Scholars Explain the Racist History of UNC’s Silent Same Statue,” Forbes, paragraphs 4, last modified August 22, 1918, scholars-explain-the-racist-histor y-of-uncs-silent-sam-statue/#39ba2cf6114f. 35. Ibid., paragraph 5. 36. Ibid. 37. Arthurs, “the Anatomy of Controversy,” 127. 38. Tony Horwitz, Confederates in the Attic: Dispatches from the Unfinished Civil War (New York: Vintage, 1999), 242. 39. Nelson, “Object Lesson,” 20. 40. Paul Barringer, quoted in Nelson, “Object Lessons,” 24. 41. Nelson, Object Lessons,” 24. 42. Dick Lehr, “The Racist Legacy of Woodrow Wilson,” The Atlantic, last modified November 27, 2015, archive/2015/11/wilson-legacy-racism/417549/. 43. For a critique of Michel Foucault’s views on various genealogies of race see Kim Su Rasmussen, “Foucault’s Genealogy of Racism,” Theory, Culture & Society 28, no. 5 (2011): 34–51. 44. Railston, “Considering History,” paragraph 6.



45. Ibid., paragraph 5. See also Waldo Jaquith, “Divining Paul Goodloe McIntire’s Intent,”, September 30, 2009, 46. Eileen Johnson, “Moments of Rupture: Confederate Monuments and a Southern Town’s Search for Its Identity,” The Politic, last modified April 12, 2017, paragraph 1, 47. W.E.B. Du Bois, “Postscript,” The Crisis 35, no. 3 (March 1928), quoted in Kevin M.  Levin, “W.E.B.  Dubois On Robert E.  Lee,” Civil War Memory, paragraph 1, last modified May 30, 2017, http://cwmemory. com/2017/05/30/w-e-b-dubois-on-robert-e-lee/. 48. Ibid., paragraph 2. 49. Ibid., paragraph 3. 50. Equal Justice Initiative Staff, “Investigation Finds Millions in Taxpayer Dollars Goes to Confederate Memorials, Equal Justice Initiative, July 14, 2019, paragraph 11, For more on Rutherford’s Lost Cause views see Mildred Lewis Rutherford, Address Delivered by Miss Mildred Lewis Rutherford … Historian General, United Daughters of the Confederacy. Historical Sins of Omission and Commission. San Francisco, Cal., Friday, October 22, 1915, Civic Auditorium Hall (Athens, GA: The McGregor Company, 1915); Sarah H.  Case, “The Historical Ideology of Mildred Lewis Rutherford: A Confederate Historian’s New South Creed,” The Journal of Southern History 68, no. 3 (August 2002): 599–628; Leon Anijar, “This Woman Helped Inspire the South to Put Up All Those Monuments to the Confederacy,” History News Network, October 28, 2017, article/167281. 51. Virginia Museum of History & Culture Staff, “Massive Resistance,” Virginia Museum of History & Culture, n.d., https://www.virginiahistory. org/collections-and-resources/virginia-history-explorer/civil-rightsmovement-virginia/massive. 52. Ben Railton, “Segregated Cville,” The Activist History Review, last modified October 27, 2017, paragraph 6, 2017/10/27/segregated-cville/. 53. Rachana Dixit, “Charlottesville Considers Massive Resistance Apology,” The Daily Progress, last modified September 22, 21009, 54. Julian Maxwell Hayter, “Charlottesville Was About Memory, Not Monuments, The Washington Post, last modified August 10, 2018, https:// charlottesville-was-about-memory-not-monuments/.



55. Wallace-Wells, “The Fight Over Virginia’s” paragraph 9. 56. Dylan Roof, quoted in Chas Danner, “Dylann Roof Made a Website to Explain His Attack,” New York Magazine, last modified June 20, 2015, 57. Don Gathers et  al., Blue Ribbon Commission on Race, Memorials, and Public Spaces Report, 2. 58. Ibid. 59. Ibid., 3. 60. Ibid., 5. 61. Ibid., 7. 62. Ibid., 9. 63. Ibid., 9. 64. David Blight, quoted in Wallace-Wells, “The Fight Over Virginia’s,” paragraph 8. 65. Ibid. 66. Johnson, “Moments of Rupture.” 67. Ibid., paragraph 2. 68. Zyahna Bryant, “Change the name of Lee Park and Remove the Statue,”, n.d., paragraphs 1–5, charlottesville-city-council-change-the-name-of-lee-park-and-remove-thestatue-in-charlottesville-va. 69. Wallace-Wells, “The Fight Over Virginia’s,” paragraph 12. 70. Payne et al. v. City of Charlottesville et al., In the Circuit Court of the City of Charlottesville, Case No. CL 17-, March 2017, 6–7, 71. Ibid., 8. 72. Ibid., 9. 73. Ibid., 10. 74. Ibid., 14. 75. Ibid., 16. 76. Nancy Kenney, “Virginia Judge Rules that Two Confederate Statues in Charlottesville Are War Memorials,” The Art Newspaper, last modified May 1, 2019, paragraph 3, judge-rules-that-two-confederate-statues-in-charlottesville-are-warmemorials. 77. Wallace-Wells, “The Fight Over Virginia’s,” paragraphs 1–2. 78. Don Gathers, quoted in WHSV Newsroom Staff, “3 Arrested at Gathering Denouncing Confederate Torch Protest,”, last modified May 15, 2017, paragraph 4,



79. Sophia Abramowitz, Eva Latterner and Gillet Rosenlith, “Tools of Displacement,” Slate, last modified June 23, 2017, news-and-politics/2017/06/how-charlottesvilles-confederate-statueshelped-decimate-the-citys-historically-successful-black-communities.html. 80. Ibid., paragraphs 3–4. 81. Ibid., paragraph 9. 82. Mike Signer, “These Monuments Were Transformed from Equestrian Statues into Lightning Rods,” The Atlantic, last modified August 18, 2017, paragraphs 1–3, charlottesville-mayors-remarks-regarding-the-robert-e-lee-statue/537366/. 83. Ibid., paragraph 14. 84. Ibid., paragraphs 8, 13. 85. City of Charlottesville et al. v. Pennsylvania Light Foot Militia et al., Case Number 3:2017cv0078, October 27, 2017, U.S. District for the Western District of Virginia. 86. City of Charlottesville et al. v Pennsylvania Light Foot Militia, et al., Case No. 17000560-00, Circuit Court for the City of Charlottesville, May 2018, sites/32/2018/08/All-Consent-Decrees-and-Default-Judgmentswithout-photos.pdf. 87. Ibid., 2. 88. Associated Press Staff, “Virginia Court Wont’ Hear Danville Confederate Flag Appel,” WJLA, last modified October 11, 2016, news/local/virginia-court-wont-hear-danville-confederate-flag-appeal. 89. Richard E. Moore, quoted in Brett Barroughquere, “After Judge’ Ruling, Charlottesville May Be Stuck with Statues of Confederate Generals Lee, Jackson,” Southern Poverty Law Center, past modified May 9, 2019, paragraphs 2–3. after-judges-ruling-charlottesville-may-be-stuck-statues-confederate-generals-lee-jackson. 90. Don Gathers, quoted in CNN Wire Staff, “Virginia Judge Rules Charlottesville Confederate Statues Are War Monuments Protected by State Law,”, last modified April 30, 2019, paragraphs 4–5, 91. Wyatt Gordon, “Opinion: Removing Confederate Statues is Richmond’s Easy Way Out,”, last modified August 29, 2017, paragraph 4, 92. Ibid., paragraph 5. 93. Matthew, “On Charlottesville,” 333.


Montgomery, “Racial Terror” Lynching Remembrances, and Municipal Quests for American Truth and Reconciliation

Abstract  This chapter engages the National Memorial for Peace and Justice and the Legacy Museum in the heart of the former Confederacy: Montgomery, Alabama. Constructed by the Equal Justice Initiative in 2018, these darker places and space of memory are forcing locals to confront their city’s historical role in the horrors of slavery and lynching. Like other transnational cities that have confronted darker genocidal pasts, such as Berlin and Johannesburg, the EJI is activating forgotten memoryscapes for needs in the present by specifically encouraging audiences to consider the ways the legacy of racial terrorism has penetrated the criminal justice system. Keywords  Montgomery, AL • National Memorial for Peace and Justice • Legacy Museum • Equal Justice Initiative • Memoryscapes • Dark tourism • Racial terrorism In the heart of Montgomery, AL, directly in front of the Alabama state capitol, is an 88-foot-tall monument to the former Confederacy. Four statues of figures surround the monument, each one representing a different branch of Confederate military. Atop the epic monument is another, “an allegorical figure representing patriotism.” The monument was built in 1898 and was followed by lengthy celebrations by those glorifying the former South and its “principled fight” in the Civil War. Jefferson Davis © The Author(s) 2020 M. A. Hasian Jr., N. S. Paliewicz, Memory and Monument Wars in American Cities, Palgrave Macmillan Memory Studies,




himself—the first and only president of the former Confederate States of America (CSA)—laid the “cornerstone” of the obelisk 12 years prior. He too, is monumentalized at the capitol ground in the form of a 10-foot statue that rests on an even larger slab of granite. And literally across the street from the state capitol, facing the Confederate monument, is the First White House of the Confederacy, which was moved to its present location in 1921. Ever since that move, that First White House has served as a state museum, that is described by one tourist book as “one of the most thoroughly relished and enjoyable occasions in Alabama history.”1 Every year on Confederate Memorial Day, masses assemble in the space between the Confederate monument and the First Confederate White House to celebrate Alabama’s mythic antebellum past.2 These are just a few of the countless Confederate monumentalities that territorialize Alabamian spaces and places in what is known colloquially as the “Cradle of the Confederacy.” Montgomery is also cradle to another history. Birthplace of the civil rights movement, Montgomery is also a city that has witnessed many struggles for equality. The city, after all, is where Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat in 1955, catalyzing the Montgomery Bus Boycott; and the home of the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. served as pastor. In fact, just blocks away from First White House of the Confederacy one finds other municipal monumentalities reminding all of us of these civil rights legacies—the Civil Rights Memorial, the Dexter Parsonage Museum, and the Rosa Parks Library and Museum. From critical rhetorical vantage points Montgomery is a divided city, and the Confederate monumentalization and civil rights memorialization testify to the complex and contradictory nature of some of Montgomery’s histories and memories that allow diverse audiences to feel nostalgic about Alabama’s antebellum slave-trading pasts or dream of the day when all Americans recontextualize those slave legacies so that they focus on the horrors of what the city’s Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) calls “racial terrorism.” Like the stated and unstated lines of relational demarcation that came from de jure and de facto segregation that physically and symbolically separated whites and blacks during and after the Jim Crow years Montgomery’s very selfhood, in an agentic sense, is torn. With such stark divisions of history, culture, and memory, it is no wonder that Philip Kennecott of the Washington Post said of Montgomery, “there are times when this city feels



like the urban equivalent of a symphony by Charles Ives, a great, clashing, dissonant study in unresolved, competing hymns to the past.”3 Montgomery is perhaps the most unique agentic city we study in this book precisely because of its Janus-faced persona. One side of its face is the Old South, a living carnation of Jefferson Davis’s vision of the Confederate States of America and what we describe below as an Old Alabama Town façade. The other is the anguished face representing the efforts of remembering descendants of slavery who continue to struggle for liberation. W.E.B. Du Bois had his way of describing how people of color coped with these competing personae, something he called this “double consciousness.” In the “Souls of Black Folk” Du Bois describes how persons of color putatively experience a split, or sense of “two-ness,” and a Black person is forced to “see himself through the revelation of the other world…always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on …”4 Montgomery suffers a similar fate with a material double-ness that runs right through its center. With two histories, two sensibilities, two languages, two modes of existences and two very different lines of flight, Montgomery is a living example of how cities can experience Du Bois’s doubled consciousness in the materialities of their spaces and places. It is within this divided rhetorical context—one that is aptly characterized as “separate and unequal”5—that Bryan Stevenson and the Equal Justice Initiative opened the National Memorial for Peace and Justice (NMPJ) (“the Lynching Memorial”) and the Legacy Museum in April, 2018 to create spaces for thinking anew about race, history, and possible futures through the heart of Montgomery’s “woundedness.”6 Only a short walk away from the First Confederate White House, the NMPJ exists today as a counter-monument to remember the more than 4400 lynchings of black individuals who were extra-judiciously murdered throughout the United States.7 The Lynching Memorial’s supplement, the Legacy Museum, is located just a few blocks away from the NMPJ, and it graphically details a select genealogy of “racial terrorism” against persons of color “from slavery to mass incarceration,” as noted in the museum’s subtitle. We argue that the building of the NMPJ and the Legacy Museum are interventionist acts that have been ratified by a city that is doing its best to cope with both its Confederate pasts as well as its civil rights futures, and, as we note below, there are reasons why the EJI’s activism has been



controversial. The EJI asks American audiences to recognize the ways that slavery, lynching, Jim Crow, and mass incarceration are all parts of the same, albeit changing, system of “racial terrorism.” Importantly, this organization uses Montgomery’s architecture of slavery and racism against itself to create “spaces of public dissention” from the iconography of the Old South.8 For instance, within birds-eye-view of the NMPJ, visitors can see the Confederate monument in front of the capitol. And the Legacy Museum exists in a former slave warehouse where countless human beings were stowed like chattel after being bought or sold at Montgomery’s former slave district. Using Confederate monumentality as evidence of the claims made by the EJI at the Legacy Museum and NMPJ about slavery, lynching, and mass incarceration Montgomery becomes a city full of contested spaces and places that are vied over for the soul of the city. Philip Kennecott has argued that the city’s Lynching Memorial and legacy Museum attempt to “create a new language and strategy for recalling the past and its traumas.”9 The crafting of these grammatologies and strategies, in turn, impact Montgomery’s symbolism in both Alabama and in the United States, and transformation of cityscapes and memoryscapes alter the ways we grapple with Confederate legacies and civil rights histories. Unlike other classical or modernist civil rights monuments that were not necessarily used for twenty-first-century social justice activism, the new Montgomery sites of public memory were openly political and reformist in nature. As Jeffrey Lawrence has argued, Montgomery is working on “memorializing the present.”10 Jamil Smith writing for Rolling Stone in April 2018 similarly noted that the EJI and Stevenson built “two bold and unapologetic reminders of the American hatred, torture and murder of black people, and they’ve done it in Alabama” [emphasis in the original].11 Bryan Stevenson, a Harvard educated lawyer who had already gained famed before his formation of the EJI in 1994, worked with supporters to collect some $20  million in private funds that were used to design and build these Montgomery structures. The author of the international bestselling book and major motion picture, Just Mercy, Stevenson, contracted the famous Mass Design Group to carry out the EJI’s consciousness-­ raising efforts. Stevenson’s EJI began as a legal organization that specialized in represented imprisoned and condemned inmates in the South. In theory, the building of the Lynching Memorial and Legacy Museum was going to augment the traditional, perhaps truncated, histories that were



told about civil rights progress with more searching, more “truthful,” and more detailed critiques of America’s complex racialized histories. As he surveyed the monumental memoryscapes of the South Stevenson observed how the “landscape is littered with a kind of glorious story about our ‘romantic past’” that hid the “depravity of human slavery, of bondage, of humiliation and rape and torture and lynchings of people.”12 Stevenson’s, the EJI’s, and Montgomery’s critiquing of one part of that double consciousness that we mentioned above did not go unnoticed. One of Stevenson’s admirers remarked on how Montgomery—the “former cradle of the Confederacy”—was now being characterized by the EJI’s leader as a place that was going to help “create a new America.”13 The place- and space-based arguments at the NMPJ and Legacy Museum about the need for this “new America” appeal to residents of Montgomery who wish to adopt new race-conscious memoryscapes that not only overcome, but cut through, its dominant symbolic ordering defined by the Old South. We argue throughout this chapter that Montgomery is attempting to overcome its narrow Confederate sensibilities by using materialities of place and space to open new memoryscapes that reach multiple, more universal, audiences throughout the country and world. We identify three strategies of universal address: (1) the juxtapositioning of America’s history of slavery and lynching to that of other historical genocides throughout the world; (2) drawing attention to the transgenerational legacy of racism that has powerfully affected the criminal justice system; and (3) creating temporary monuments at the NMPJ for counties locally erect that have had a lynching. In these ways, Montgomery attempts to become a new, transglobal capital that circulates a double-conscious that works against the grain of dominant American white sensibilities. All of these efforts, we contend, contribute to continued discussion of how Montgomery is “burdened with…iconography” and we critique the reactions of many local and national audiences who have visited the NMPJ and Legacy Museum.14 To help readers understand those three strategies that we mentioned above, we begin with an analysis of the Confederate monumentality that is being critiqued by Stevenson, the EJI, and many Montgomery residents.



The Old Alabama Town Façade Those who visit Montgomery may decide to pay visit to a tourist attraction called Old Alabama Town. Within walking distance from the state capitol and the First Confederate White House, Old Alabama Town is a somewhat popular destination that functions as an outdoor living museum of the lives and livelihoods of those that lived in central Alabama during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It features more than 50 historical buildings that have been restored or preserved and guides offer tours to the everyday lifestyles of those that lived in Alabama during that time. In the “Working Block” area visitors can see how common, and namely white, laborers worked with cotton gins, as blacksmiths, and in grist mills. And in the Living Block, visitors may encounter a schoolhouse, church, or carriage house. If visitors come with groups for one of its many “cultural events” they may enjoy music sessions or the annual Alabama Book Festival.15 Old Alabama Town has become a metonymic symbol for the mundaneness of dominant Confederate aesthetic that pervades Montgomery. Seemingly innocuous and quaint, Old Alabama town romanticizes a forlorn past and discernably excludes the experiences of black folks from its imagery, not to mention the brutal system of slavery, Jim Crow, and lynching that held it all together. Hence Old Alabama Town as a façade. Some motivations for creating Old Alabama Town had everything to do with historical desires to protect the Confederate White House. For decades the White House Association and the United Daughters of the Confederacy struggled to restore the aging Confederate White House to its former glories and move it to its present location in front of the state capitol. These efforts created a movement to restore and preserve historic buildings in Montgomery and throughout Alabama. Strategically relocating the Confederate White House created a precedent for moving other structures of “heritage” under the purview of the Landmarks Foundation of Montgomery (1968).16 Seen through the lens of the Old South mythmaking, Old Alabama Town becomes one municipal site of agentic struggle as Montgomery residents now have to decide what to do about Confederate dingpolitik matters of concern that uphold white dominant sensibilities of the antebellum South in the name of “history” and “heritage.” Imbued with Lost Cause ideologies, this nostalgic aesthetic distributes a narrow set of intelligibilities that rest on the erasure of black experiences in the South, and



readers can readily understand why those interested in a different part of Montgomery’s double consciousness would be interested in seeing a more progressive Montgomery memoryscape. A visit to Alabama’s state capitol tells visitors everything they need to know about Montgomery’s predisposition to protect its Old Alabama Town. If visitors walk around the capitol, they not only encounter the 80-foot Confederate monument, the First Confederate White House and the statue of Jefferson Davis, but also places such as the Lurleen B. Wallace Building that provide ample testimony to the transgenerational nature, and potency, of the mythic ideology of white supremacy that swirl around some of these sites of public memory. Recall how Lurleen’s husband, George Wallace, infamously argued for “Segregation Forever!” Visitors to this part of the city will also encounter other monumental objects that all stand as testimonials to Montgomery’s dominant “Lost Cause” municipal personality. For instance, near the Jefferson Davis statue visitors walk by a monument of a “heroic” Confederate individual named Dr. Marion Sims, who, before the end of the Civil War, served as a gynecologist who experimented on enslaved black women without anesthesia. Remembered as “the father of modern gynecology” by some, to others he was “father butcher” who believed black women didn’t feel pain.17 Like Old Alabama Town, all of these Confederate monumentalities that are so bothersome to EJI members and Stevenson’s supporters are protected by state law. Recall the well-known 2017 Alabama Memorial Preservation Act that was passed just two years after the Charleston church shooting. This 2017 Act mandates that cities that are considering the renaming, alteration, or relocation of Confederate buildings or monuments must confer with the state legislature for approval if those monuments have stood for over 40 years. The enforcement of this Alabama Memorial Preservation Act was tested by the nearby city of Birmingham when it placed sheets of plywood around one of its Confederate monuments in Linn Park, prompting the Jefferson Circuit Court to decide the constitutionality of the state’s order. Although the lower court ruled in favor of Birmingham’s claim that the law was “ambiguous” and violated the city’s right to free speech, the Alabama Supreme Court unanimously reversed the decision—a ruling that Alabama Attorney General, Steve Marshall, praised as “the correct conclusion” that was “a victory” for the preservation of “historical monuments.”18 From critical rhetorical vantage points these struggles for city rights against state power in preservationist disputation are yet another facet of



the inherited tensions that exist in Confederate remembrances and civil rights legacies that we referenced earlier in the chapter. State legislatures and courts may appear to be discussing race neutral “heritage” places that need to be preserved, but it is telling how these conversations contextualize Montgomery’s Confederate monumentalism. Governor Kay Ivey, for instance, recently campaigned to prevent what she called the “tear[ing] down of history,”19 and she requested that laws be passed that required all cities in the state be required to consult the Alabama state government before removing any Confederate memorials. This is the same governor, mind you, who refused to accept the NAACP’s request to denounce neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and the KKK in Alabama.20 Deriding national calls for the removal Confederate statues as “politically correct nonsense,” Ivey used what we would call “Lost Cause” sentimentality to target the neighboring city of Birmingham when that city’s residents tried to bring down many of their municipal Confederate statues.21 The materiality of Montgomery’s Confederate pasts is also etched into the city’s architecture in other ways, and critical genealogists need to pay attention to some of this city’s zoning segregationist histories to get a fuller idea it layers of racism. Generational records of housing discrimination through federal loan practices, reviews of “White Flight” practices, and investigations of racialized valuation of property during earlier postbellum years all, for instance, continue to have direct effects on local political economies and very livelihoods. This is a part of economic backdrop that is occasionally referenced by Bryan Stevenson when he mentions economic factors that have influenced the criminalization of poor persons of color in Alabama. Select Confederate monumentalization and instantiation of Lost Cause mythologies can also impact a city’s educational landscapes. Montgomery’s Lee High School—named after Robert E. Lee—is another example of a school that mundanely disavows the identities of many of its students. When black students first began attending the school in 1964, nine years after it opened as an all-white school, the school newspaper, called “Stars and Bars,” published a piece about the namesake of the school that proclaimed it “has become symbolic of everything for which this school stands. Some would say we have hung our banner on a lost cause for which a war was fought. It is more than that. It is a heritage of the land in which we live. It stands for the great men this land has produced, men like Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis.”22 Many children to this day, most of them



black, walk past a statue of Robert E. Lee on a daily basis while on their way to class.23 And then there is Jefferson Davis High School, which was named in 1965. Some students such as Shuntavious Miles are convinced the school was named after Davis to “keep the school white” during a time of integration. “It was a way to intimidate African-American parents and students from coming to these schools,” he said. “It’s baffling to know that people are honoring hate. Jefferson Davis is someone who thought of slavery as a blessing, who despised African American people.” “When I go to receive my diploma in May,” Miles said upon graduating from that school, “it will say Jefferson Davis. No matter where I go in life, that name will be on everything. Jefferson Davis will be there.”24 These presences and absences shape powerful Montgomery sensibilities. As Bryan Stevenson noted in an interview with Terry Gross: When I moved to Montgomery, there were 59 markers and memorials in downtown Montgomery that talked unapologetically about the glory of the Confederacy, that era. Alabama even today still celebrates Jefferson Davis’s birthday as a state holiday. Confederate Memorial Day in Alabama is a state holiday. We do not have Martin Luther King Day in Alabama. We have Martin Luther King/Robert E. Lee Day.25

Critical genealogists who try to unpack some of the historical origins of these municipal disputes could also point out that since the 1930s white families living in Alabama have flourished when they were provided with access to low-interest home loans from federal agencies such as the Federal Housing Administration. Black families were deprived of similar financial opportunities due to explicit and implicit racial biases that left Alabama with immobilized and impoverished residents. Affluent white and impoverished black neighborhoods were further divided, as Azwar Shakeel noted, when President Eisenhower began the Interstate Highways Project in 1965. This project was locally administered by a member of the KKK who used those funds for the building of I-65 and I-85 to divide these neighborhoods even more than they already were.26 The effect of this policy was a downward spiral of poverty and criminalization that helps explains the tensions between black persons and policy authorities in age of Black/Blue Lives Matter. Just one of the more recent incidents that puts on display racial and ethnic divides occurred in February 2016 when a 58-year-old black man named Gregory Gunn was shot dead



by Montgomery police officer Aaron Cody Smith after “chasing, tasing, [and] beating” him after he fled from a “stop-and-frisk” when he was walking home from a card game.27 To Shakeel, this incident was “the nail in the coffin for relationships between the police and community.”28 The presentation of this type of evidence—much of which is presented at the NMPJ and Legacy Museum—shows that Montgomery relationships have been fraught since the time of slavery, and that discriminatory practices did not “end” with the stoppage of detailed recordings of lynchings. Twenty-first-century police encounters like the ones referenced above vividly “illustrat[e] how the criminal justice system carries on a legacy of racism that has resulted in the latest string of tragic shooting.” Like many other surrounding cities, race issues in Montgomery have everything to do with “poverty, crime, policing and the community.”29 These layers of racialization in the materiality of Montgomery demonstrate some of the challenges that Bryan Stevenson and the EJI are up against in their arguments to get Montgomery to come to terms with its “double consciousness.” Montgomery in this way is an example of a what Karen Till has called a “wounded city” that has been in the throes of attempting to come to terms with its darker, more troubled past since the time of slavery.30 The challenge for Montgomery’s “memory-work” is that white histories of Confederate pasts are built into its materialities. But these are also sites for radical potential for a “place-based ethics of care,” or a sort of “folding” of the memory-work that has foreclosed Othered identities.31 As Joshua Inwood and Derek Alderman have recently argued in their analysis of the “memory moments” of the Montgomery Builds urban redevelopment efforts, memory-work involves the reclamation of “space and places” due to the ways “urban spaces … have an affective and material place and impact within people’s lives and connections with the past.” They go on to claim that the “(re)making of space and place” is constitutive of a broader, and what they find a “softer,” form of memory work that recognizes how “ostensibly painful memories are folded back into redevelopment visions that facilitate development while also complicating urban redevelopment projects as well as the efficacy of racial reconciliation.”32 Montgomery it seems is being called upon to take up this material memory-work and accept the” double consciousness” that Du Bois said was both “blessed and burdened to possess.”33 Joining the ranks of members of other more widespread movements, such as Black Lives Matter and #IfTheyGunnedMeDown, Montgomery turns toward double



consciousness as a means for combatting the ways whiteness defines black identities.34 One example of this, as we show below, is the EJI critique of the presumption that black bodies are guilty until proven innocent. Through Stevenson and the EJI, Montgomery itself is taking up a material form of memory-work that asks both Alabama residents and US citizens to acknowledge “forgotten” histories of lynching and racial terror legacies. In so doing, Montgomery is creating new memoryscapes for those who no longer want to see their city portrayed as an Old Alabama Town.35

Embracing Montgomery’s Double Consciousness: How Bryan Stevenson’s EJI, NMPJ, and Legacy Museum Appeal to Universal Audiences for Race-Conscious Futures Bryan Stevenson and the EJI, like millions of other blacks in the South, are forced to speak multiple languages. They, more than most, are well aware of Montgomery’s binary histories and the radical potentiality for opening more race-conscious city memoryscapes. Appealing to specific audiences in Montgomery, however, namely, those who share dominant sensibilities, is no more of an easy task than it was for folks such as Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Frederick Douglass, or Dr. King. In ways not dissimilar from those before him, Stevenson’s EJI appeals to what Chaim Perelman and Lucy Olbrechts-Tyteca have called a “universal audience,” a construct that can be used to try and transform Montgomery’s material landscape to one that is more cognizant of its past and present racialized injustices. To Perelman and Olbrechts-Tyteca, the universal audience is a rhetorical construction of an audience that might not be immediate, but might nevertheless be one constituted of reasonable, cosmopolitan citizens who represented an idealized group of potential listeners. When Montgomery acts as an agentic city that is copy with its Confederate past while it seeks 21st reformation, it at times appeals to a type of reasonable audience, and in the case of EJI activism this means appealing to Alabama residents and US citizens who might be interest in forming American histories and public memories that would help produce more egalitarian memoryscapes. Evidence of this type of universalist argumentation can be found in Bryan Stevenson’s commentaries on recalling



half-forgotten lynching “truths” or the need for American “liberation.” His rhetorical appeals are addressed to a more cosmopolitan implied auditor, an informed cosmopolitan citizen, who recognizes the global significance of America’s past and present crimes against humanity.36 This universalist strategy can be a beneficial technique for motivating change when particular audiences have biases and prejudices that foreclose possibilities of reasonable consent.37 As we note below, the universal audience that Stevenson often conjures up is one that is international and compassionate, a potential community that is willing to grapple with the complex racial terror legacies of fraught American pasts. In order to understand the heuristic value of these implied audiences in municipal contexts, consider how some of Southern audiences were less than enthralled by the attention that Montgomery, and the broader American communities, were lavishing at the EJI lynching sites of memory. Reporters for the United Kingdom’s Guardian, for instance, commented on how some in Alabama who were supposed to be reviewing the “south’s dark side” were “frustrated and angry at its insistence on confronting the past.”38 Richard Bailey, a local historian in Alabama, was convinced that “America in general is not prepared for what they’re going to see here,” but he was nevertheless sure that there “can be no reconciliation without an acknowledgment.”39 These hostilities from local particular audiences help explain the impetus behind finding universal audience constructs who serve as the implied audiences for egalitarian social change beyond the gates of Montgomery’s Old Alabama Town. Our critical review of the texts and contexts of Montgomery’s acts since the time of the formation of the EJI provides us with evidence that these types of universalist appeals are indeed resonating with hundreds of thousands of American and foreign visitors who travel to this city to see the Lynching Memorial and Legacy Museum. For instance, among those who helped mainstream Americans learn about what was happening with Montgomery’s race-conscious memorial renovation was Oprah Winfrey, who used the rhetorical platform of “60 Minutes” to show where slave traders near the Alabama River were selling kidnapped slaves in the old Court square, and where Jefferson Davis occupied the First White House. As Jan Percival Lipscomb would note, Oprah was the one who gave many of us our first look at the “architecturally spectacular new memorial,” introducing to us what became “known as the national lynching memorial.”40



This type of broader framing invited American audiences to adopt the more universality and egalitarian visions that were proffered by EJI advocates. Keith Schneider, writing for The New  York Times in May 2019, argued that the Legacy Museum and Lynching Memorial were a part of the “revitalizing Montgomery” that was embracing its past.”41 Schneider went on to explain to millions of American readers just how some of the city’s “cultural projects” were drawing multitudes of visitors and aiding downtown reconstruction: No other Southern city is arguably tied as closely to the history of race relations in America as Alabama’s capital, considered to be the birthplace of the civil rights movement. Not until recently, though, have the story of suffering and the response from activists translated into economic benefit for the 200-year-old river city. Now, thousands of visitors arrive every day to experience new expressions of racial injustice, represented in a national monument to victims of lynching and an accompanying museum of slavery and mass incarceration. The two projects and the throngs of people who visit them are encouraging a surge of downtown construction. Both attractions were the inspiration of Bryan Stevenson…. They express a contemporary narrative of bigotry that ties slavery, the Civil War, lynching, segregation and civil rights to the current era of street shootings and mass incarcerations of African-America men.42

Throughout 2018 and 2019 a variety of writers and rhetors discussed the importance of the NMPJ and Legacy Museum for both Montgomery’s revitalization as well as America’s willingness to confront some “brutal” legacies. DaNeen Brown, writing for the Washington Post, explained how the opening of this city’s museum and memorial was coming during a time when “Confederate statues and monuments are being removed from public spaces in many cities and towns as the country struggles to come to terms with its history of slavery, Jim Crow laws, lynchings, segregation, and racial oppression.”43 Alexis Okeowo similarly argued that the “memorial to the victims of lynching is a necessary addition” to the Civil War and civil rights landscapes, “if only to remind Alabamians, and other Americans, that the terror it represents will no longer be overlooked.”44 By the fall of 2019, the Alabama Tourism Department had decided to honor both the NMPJ and Legacy Museum with the 2019 Attraction of the Year Award. Among the many accolades that these spaces and places received one finds this words from long-time activist John Lewis after his own visit to these hallowed grounds—“I’ve been deeply moved, and



deeply touched by what I witnessed here … We cannot repeat this part of our history.”45 Cultural critics like Jamil Smith averred that on a “hill in Alabama” one would find that the lynched still haunt us,” and that this new museum and memorial in Montgomery was “exactly the remembrance America needs.”46 Those who keep track of local and national reactions to Montgomery’s recent municipal renovations are surely aware of the contested nature of the EJI’s histories and strategic remembrances. Allyson Hobbs and Nell Freudenberger, writing in July 2018, wondered whether locals were waiting for the tourists to leave so that they could have “time and space for quiet reflection,” although they noted that some insisted that they had “‘moved on’ and do not want to be reminded of these atrocities.”47 By early 2020 newspapers were reporting that some 650,000 people had already visited the memorial and museum,48 and millions were learning about the importance of Stevenson’s book—Just Mercy—and the film adaption of this memoir that would be released on Christmas, 2019. The popular appeal of the NMPJ and the Legacy Museum indicate how Stevenson and the EJI have effectively appealed to larger, more universal audiences who may not share the sensibilities of some members of Montgomery’s particular white audiences who see nothing wrong with preserving the state’s Confederate monumentalization. In what follows we draw out three specific ways that Bryan Stevenson and the EJI construct universal audiences as they try to adopt cosmopolitan and egalitarian standards of reason in their fight for the soul of the city of Montgomery.49 International Audiences One of the claims Bryan Stevenson has persistently made has to do with the need for American cities to follow the lead of towns in South Africa, Poland, or Germany that memorialize their genocidal pasts.50 In spite of the many traditional civil rights statues, monuments, and museums that have been put up since the 1970s, small- and large-town America has yet to confront the realities of its brutal pasts and presences when it comes to race. In a 2018 interview with the Associated Press, Bryan Stevenson told reporters “we don’t have many places in America where we have urged people to look at the history of racial inequality, to look at the history of slavery, of lynching, of segregation.”51 Among other places,52 by comparison, Stevenson noted how in “Berlin there are dozens of markers and



stones placed next to the homes of Jewish families that were abducted.”53 And if visitors went to at places like Auschwitz, he observed, they could not help leaving that place saying, “Never again should we commit this kind of suffering and abuse.”54 This all implied that Montgomery could be turned into a city that rehistoricized—and reterritorialized—the nature and scope of America’s “racial terror” that took place over hundreds of years, where decades of partially recorded lynchings were just a small part of a much larger black Holocaust that contributed to the suffering of millions of people of color. Given the fact that so many polls showed that most Americans were opposed to reparations for slavery pasts, Stevenson and other residents of Montgomery had to be careful how they talked about the “liberation” of America as they alluded to the need for truth and reconciliation, apologies, or other forms of twenty-first-century redress.55 After all, universalist calls for truth and reconciliation in international contexts are often associated with later calls for reparations. In this case, instead of openly discussing the need to have memorials in Southern cities that set in stone reparations agendas the EJI used more circumspect ways of discussing how other international municipalities were dealing with their own dark tourist pasts. For example, Bryan Stevenson has, on several occasions, compared the NMPJ and Legacy Museum to other dark tourist sites such as architect Gunter Demnig’s Stolpersteine (stumbling stones) in Germany—stones placed strategically throughout Germany that memorialize those Jewish persons abducted and murdered during World War II. As visitors to Europe approach these stones they are forced “to contend with the emotional truths of Nazi policy.”56 These cities themselves grab the attention of pedestrians to force them to take into account how that place and space has been affected down its bones by horrific pasts. Could Montgomery’s Lynching Memorial and Legacy Museum be deployed to help “liberate” Americans who refused to revisit grim slavery pasts? Throughout 2018 and 2019 visitors and other observers could not help noticing how it seemed as though the city of Montgomery was joining these other global towns that were interested in keeping alive dark, seemingly forgotten pasts. Stav Ziv, after visiting the Legacy Museum, had this to say about the linkages that could be made across time and geopolitical spaces: In Berlin, you literally stumble onto the history of the Holocaust. It’s paved into the sidewalks as golden Stolpersteine, or stumbling stones, that gleam



bright with that nation’s dark history, spelling out the names of Nazism’s victims. Stroll through the Tiergarten, and you’ll see the Memorial to the Sinti and Roma Victims of National Socialism and the Memorial to Homosexuals Persecuted Under Nazism, and just beyond the park you might find yourself surrounded by a sea of concrete slabs and realize you’ve wandered into the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. Within blocks, you’ll come to the Topography of Terror—built on the grounds where the Reich Security Main Office and other Nazi institutions once stood. Here, the city says, was the epicenter of a regime that terrorized and killed, that dehumanized and destroyed.57

Ziv went on to contrast all of this Berlin consciousness-raising with the conspicuous absence of “physical declarations” that provide “reminders” of slavery in the “American South,” that experienced “convict leasing, lynching, Jim Crow, and segregation.”58 In the same ways that the dingpolitiks of shattered glass and stolen possessions remind many of Kristallnacht (the Night of Broken Glass) and the Nazi passage of anti-Semitic legislation, Gunter Demnig’s Stolpersteine serve as mnemonic devices that help with needed remembrance of specific Nazi raids and abuses. “Thanks to them,” averred one admirer, “no German pedestrian moves through the landscape without acknowledgement of the past.”59 Stolpersteine remind us how dingpolitik memorialization helps with the transforming of cityscapes when some reluctant city residents may not want to master difficult heritage or cope with “darker” contours of memory. In ways not dissimilar from how Maya Lin once used negative space at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial to render a postmodern critique of the Vietnam War, the stumbling stones’ materialities perform the “complex genealogy” of Germany’s memoryscapes in the present and the conjunctural futures.60 The EJI speaks and acts in ways that imply that Montgomery can follow the lead of these other cities that help with genocidal remembrances, and Stevenson’s supporters latched onto these more cosmopolitan, transnational forms of participatory memorialization as material heuristics for potentially coming to terms with America’s genocidal pasts. The EJI wanted their city to become agentic and proactive as they dealt with the linkages that could be made between lynching pasts and contemporary racial realities. “I think we do need truth and reconciliation in



America,” Stevenson said. “But truth and reconciliation are sequential. You can’t get to reconciliation until you first tell the truth.”61 Given the evocative nature of the memoryscapes in Berlin or Kigali, it is no wonder that the EJI draws similar—if more implicit—parallels between past practices and present conditions when the EJI links together half-forgotten American lynching pasts to US carceral presents and futures. Take, for example, how Montgomery’s Legacy Museum has an exhibit section labeled “Kidnapping,” that conveys information about how millions of Africans were abducted from Western Africa and were enslaved so that they could work for decades or centuries on Southern plantations. Visitors to these Montgomery sites of memory are invited to ask: Is this not a form of racial terror behavior that is, or resembles, genocidal behavior? If so, why shouldn’t twenty-first-century audiences provide redress, in the form of acknowledges, apologies, and reparations, in the same way that other global citizens talk about truth and reconciliation in Rwanda or remembrance in Germany? There is no doubt that a few insightful observers recognized the radical nature of the EJI’s “truths,” and these commentators saw how the prior existence of international Holocaust commemoration and symbolic markers of genocides in other trans-global cities influenced how Stevenson and the EJI envisioned the didactic role of the NMPJ and the Legacy Museum in reformulating America’s future remembrances. One journalist, writing in 2019, commented that nearly “every article written about EJI’s memorial and museum—and there have been many—cites other countries’ efforts as sources of inspiration, including sites such as Rwanda’s Kigali Genocide Museum,62 Johannesburg’s Apartheid Museum, and particularly, Peter Eisenman’s Memorial to the Murdered Jews in Berlin.”63 Yet how many of these mainstream articles also mentioned the EJI strategic usages of these genocidal memories in Southern reparations contexts? Critical genealogists, rhetoricians, and others would have to study hundreds of fragmentary comments from Stevenson or other EJI could note how Du Bois  himself once visited Warsaw and was invited by others to compare Southern segregationist legacies with Holocaust pasts. More than 70 years later the EJI was promoting its own reformist messaging by making similar parallels. Comparing Montgomery’s sites of memory with the German Holocaust memoryscapes Stevenson said, “I would not be comfortable traveling to Germany today as an African-American, knowing about that history, unless I knew German society had changed…. We cannot expect people across the world to travel to the American South or feel



comfortable in the American South until we reject this history of racial inequality.”64 As we have been saying throughout this book, these kinds of commemorative actions bring cities such as Montgomery to national and international stages so that others around the world can see how agentic and reformed Southern cities are doing things in the world to help provide redress for descendants of former slaves. This is why The Guardian in the United Kingdom averred that Stevenson was “America’s Mandela,” and an article that mentioned some of the planning of Birmingham lynching sites of memory went on to explain how Stevenson was symbolically situating lynching legacies by talking about other geopolitical issues. During his interview with The Guardian, Stevenson contrasted the respect that was given Holocaust survivor with the silence that greeted suffers of the “terror of lynchings.” Instead of openly discussing these issues like they did overseas, Stephenson argued, “we do the opposite.”65 “We don’t have visuals in this country that give people a perspective on the brutality of slavery,” argued Stevenson, so coming to the Lynching Memorial and the Legacy Museum “will be a challenge for people.”66 Like the Rwanda’s Kigali Genocide Museum, Johannesburg’s Apartheid Museum, and Peter Eisenman’s Memorial to the Murdered Jews in Berlin, the EJI’s NMPJ does more than chronicle archived records of tragic pasts. It appeals to wider audiences to reshape the trajectories of its memoryscapes to come to terms with its past for living more justly in the present. Given its history as the first capital of the Confederacy, its participation in the domestic slave trade, and its segregative practices—all draped in the Old Alabama Town façade—what better place to start than Montgomery, AL? Mass Incarceration Bryan Stevenson and the EJI also use the language of the law to appeal to universal audiences that care about justice. Namely, these rhetors advance arguments that America’s history of racial justice is far from over due to the myriad ways that lynching legacies informed the formation of America’s twenty-first-century criminal justice system. The mass incarceration, disproportionate rates of capital punishment, excessive harshness against juveniles, and police brutalities against persons of color in  local cities throughout the country are all part of the same slavery, lynching, and capital punishment legacies. In a recent interview with Terry Gross on NPR’s



Fresh Air, Stevenson puts these realities in perspective by extending his cosmopolitan view on racism and setting up the stakes of failures to address long-wave racial history: When I was in Germany, one of the most fascinating things to me is, you know, giving a lecture there about the death penalty and having German scholars stand up at the end of the lecture saying, well, of course, we can’t have the death penalty in Germany. They said, it would be unconscionable if we had gas chambers somewhere where we were executing people, given our history. And then I thought about that on my flight back home. And I thought, what would I do if I were living at a time where Germany was executing people in gas chambers? And then what would I do if the people they were executing were disproportionately Jewish? I couldn’t be silent about that. And yet we live at a time in America where we have these execution chambers that are disproportionately being used to execute black people after just coming out of this era where we tolerated lynching. And I just think, until we make the—that connection, until we understand that legacy, we can’t have an informed conversation about what we’re doing.67

Here Stevenson makes a transgenerational historical argument about racial injustice in the United States that ties together past and present injustices that have all become part of the same timeline. Making this long-wave historical argument enables Stevenson to address universal audiences that readily see not only the continuation of injustices in the present but reveals the sheer reprehensibility of continuing to persecute populations that have already suffered from generations of oppression. Importantly for our purposes, the absurd, even burlesque, nature of these current criminal justice practices against persons of color can only be recognized if one accepts the magnitude of past crimes against humanity in the United States and places them on par with genocides in other parts of the world. Those who visit the Legacy Museum are called to accept Stevenson’s standards for legal reasonability that render current mass incarceration practices as “unconscionable” as having a death penalty in Germany that disproportionately effects Jews. For those who visit the Legacy Museum the universalistic audience member begins with an immersion practice of walking through a long-­ wave timeline of racism from slavery to mass incarceration. Housed in a warehouse that once served as the temporary home for imprisoned slaves, the Legacy Museum invokes Montgomery’s enslaved past to help visitors trace the “evolution of racial inequality from slavery to mob violence to



segregation,” including “today’s iterations” of racial terrorism, “mass incarceration and police violence.”68 The Legacy Museum uses Montgomery’s materiality to help universal audiences “follow the brutal story of racial injustice,” and this serves as a metonym for the nation, given how of this injustice has, and continues to occur, in Montgomery and the rest of the state.69 Confederate monumentality, de facto segregation, and black punitiveness are all part of what Stevenson and the EJI have identified as the living legacy of slavery, lynching and Jim Crow. Montgomery in this way is a prototypal example of how this transformation of racism has become part of urban landscapes. Those that visit the museum are interpolated as potential members of the EJI’s universal audiences. Visitors walk down a ramp that “slopes down to five slave pens,” behind “which ghostly holograms in nineteenth century costume tell their stories.”70 The strategic placement of the museum reminds visitors that racial terror abuses involve not just events but structures and processes in situ. Georgette Norman, the former direction of the Rosa Parks Museum, for instance, noted how the kind of argumentation presented at the Legacy Museum—where former warehouses for slavery could be turned into places for critiques of the nation’s carceral practices—are showing how Montgomery has now been viewed as a most “unlikely place for a revolution to start.”71 As Legacy Museum visitors continue their journey, they are presented with some starling statistics that in fascinating ways support some of the assertions that Bryan Stevenson has been making for years when he references the slave trade. For example, one display in this museum mentions how 12  million were kidnapped and subjected to forced labor—something that the Legacy Museum curators note would have been constitutional under the 13th Amendment if done as a “punishment for a crime.” For those who might even want more evidence of the scope of these racial terror abuses Legacy Museum curators note how during the Jim Crow years 6 million fled north to escape persecution during the Great Migration, how 10 million were affected by de facto and de jure segregation policies. To move us to the present the EJI planners at the Legacy Museum comment on how 8 million have been incarcerated in the current age of institutionalized racism. All of this concretizes some of the more abstract arguments about a potential African American holocaust that we discussed previously and



advances that argument by rooting those claims in the materiality of Montgomery’s material landscape. The various assemblages found in the Legacy Museum, that purposely critique the traditional lines that are drawn around lynching pasts, have fascinated many journalists and academics who visit these hallowed grounds. To Jesse Wegman of the New York Times the EJI’s strategies bear the imprint of Bryan Stevenson’s legalistic influence. Stevenson, it is said, is a very good lawyer, and he knows that the most effective way to make your case—particularly to people who see the world very differently from you—is not with outrage and condemnation but with a slow, thorough accumulation of evidence and argument leading to an inevitable conclusion.72

The violent tragedies in the criminal justice system that Stevenson and the EJI are asking universal audiences to recognize are not just the sufferings of those from the bygone eras of slavery, lynching, and Jim Crow. As a contributor to Slate notes, although there are some risks with the “directness of these comparisons” and using “lynching too much as a metaphor,” the Legacy Museum makes the compelling argument that “there are too many parallels between that era of racial terrorism and the current struggles against police brutality and white racial backlash to ignore.”73 Taking hold of Montgomery’s counter-history provides the EJI with a wide berth for new memoryscapes, and at times this has meant that the EJI has critiqued some of the very legal communities that have been praised by neo-liberals whom viewed the activities of Charles Houston, Thurgood Marshall, or Rosa Parks as the models for incremental, non-­ violent civil rights reformation. The Legacy Museum’s darker views of some of these legal histories call attention to the ways that Southern states passed numerous Black Codes—which have for some time been compared to the Nuremburg Laws74—after losing the Civil War. Various EJI reports detail how the state of Alabama—and as the capital of that state, by default, Montgomery—is uniquely affected by continuation of this long-wave view of racism that flows freely through the criminal justice system. To the EJI, “lynching reinforced a narrative of racial difference and a legacy of racial inequality that is readily apparent in our criminal justice system today. Mass incarceration, racially biased capital punishment, excessive sentencing, disproportionate sentencing of racial minorities, and police abuse of people of color reveal problems in American society that were shaped by the terror era.”75



In various reports, the EJI thoroughly details the significance these effects in Alabama. For instance, the state not only has the highest incarceration rates but has the deadliest prisons in America with a homicide rate 600% greater than the national average.76 In addition to prison violence, Alabama prisoners suffer sexual harm, explosive populations, denied treatment for mental illness, and all different kinds of abuse by correctional staff. Many of these prisons are also owned by private corporations that profit off of high incarceration rates ($4 billion in 2017).77 In perhaps the most direct link to the state’s hundreds of lynching, Alabama also has the highest rate of capital punishment in the country. To Jeffrey Toobin of the New Yorker the state is to be a “death-penalty machin[e].”78 Part of what contributes to this is that it is also only of three states that allows judges to overrule jury verdicts and impose the death penalty. Sadly, this has become a routine practice that has allowed judge’s implicit biases against persons of color to flourish, especially in cases involving white victims (75%). The legal decision makers themselves also white, including every single one of the state’s 19 appellate (and state Supreme Court) judges. So too are 41 of 42 elected state district attorneys. This flies in the face of the fact that 27% of the state is comprised of persons of color.79 Montgomery has a unique and unfortunate history of reinforcing its urban racial inequalities through its historic “war on drugs” that has disproportionately affected persons of color through colorblind discourse that boast “tough on crime” rhetorics. In a 1998 circuit court race in Montgomery county, for instance, one candidate circulated a video of her raiding a “crack house” in support of her candidacy.80 This is not to mention all the police shootings of unarmed persons of color in Montgomery, such as Greg Gunn as noted earlier. Echoes of other shootings of persons of color reverberate throughout Montgomery, such as when 22-year-old Rosa Johnson, a black woman whom was also eight months pregnant, was shot by a sniper on an integrated bus in an African American neighborhood. After being transported to the hospital—and being forced to stay there for the duration of her pregnancy—that same bus was targeted by more snipers.81 Some of these municipal issues are obliquely referenced at the Legacy Museum, and at other times academics or lay persons may find these arguments in EJI texts or the messages that are assembled together by Bryan Stevenson’s admirers. This place-based counternarrative on today’s economic disparities that are connected to fraught pasts is summed up by



Stevenson when he said Montgomery “was a city shaped by slavery.”82 Reminding audiences that an astounding “two-thirds of the people who lived here were enslaved,” and that “we had one of the highest lynching rates in the region,” Stevenson averred that no state has arguably been more affected by this practice than Alabama. “Because Alabama has one of the highest incarceration rates in the country, we’re at the heart of this current epidemic. So, I don’t think there’s a community that can claim more appropriateness for telling this history than this one.”83 It need not be mentioned that over 300 persons of color have been lynched in the state of Alabama.84 Stevenson is speaking quite literally when he told National Geographic that “The blood of lynching victims is in this soil.”85 Stevenson and the EJI are also not shy away from linking injustices in the criminal justice system to police brutalities and shootings of persons of color throughout many different cities in the country by white police officers, such as the recent “lynching” of Ahmaud Arbery in nearby Georgia.86 To Stevenson, these “police shootings are symptoms of a larger disease…. Our society applies a presumption of dangerousness and guilt to young black men, and that’s what leads to wrongful arrests and wrongful convictions and wrongful death sentences, not just wrongful shootings. There’s no question that we have a long history of seeing people through this lens of racial difference. It’s a direct line from slavery to the treatment of black suspects today, and we need to acknowledge the shamefulness of that history.”87 Although the EJI is doing what it can to decrease injustices in the CJS by guaranteeing representation for all capital cases and fighting for better representation of juveniles from its Montgomery headquarters, Alabama’s remains a paradigm case for how imbalances in power contribute to continued racial injustice that cannot be separated from the country’s history of lynching. Temporary Monumentality Other powerful arguments for lynching acknowledgments, apologies, reconciliation, and municipal reformation can be found at the NMPJ, where the EJI memorializes the over 4400 victims of lynching throughout the United States who lost their lives between 1877 and 1950, as documented in the EJI’s famous report, Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy



of Racial Terrorism.88 The memorial is at the heart of Montgomery’s efforts to overcome its Old Alabama Town persona, and this counter-­ memorial’s social agency takes center stage when it draws hundreds of thousands of visitors to witness and pay respects to the multigenerational victims of America’s racial terrorism and lynching pasts. Like the Legacy Museum that is located down the street the NMPJ also treats visitors as members of ideal audiences, but critical rhetoricians could argue that the Lynching Memorial does so in more vernacular, participatory ways. The journey through the memorial is a highly emotive experience that certainly advances the EJI’s audience-centric objectives by appealing to cosmopolitan audiences who are willing to acknowledge the severity of these crimes against humanity. After all, this is the place where the EJI’s Community Remembrance Project has stacked duplicates of the 800 counter-monuments located in the memorial that await their potential transport to their respective counties in the United States. We read these monument “doubles” as literal markers of Montgomery’s double consciousness that are being used to propagate the city’s anti-­ lynching messages in counties throughout the United States. Near the entrance to the Lynching Memorial, one finds a concrete sculpture provided by the artist Kwame Akoto-Bamfo, which depicts “six figures in chains and a woman carrying a baby and reaching out to a main who is bound in agony.”89 As the visitor moves toward the central part of the memorial—consisting of the 800 monuments at the epicenter of the 6 acre site—that visitor becomes part of the EJI’s universal audience by subjecting their bodies to the spatial flows of the memorial, which slowly pulls the visitor downward toward bedrock. As they descend, the monuments rise. These audiences begin their tour at eye level, but as soon as they proceed along a designated path they “move in a spiral direction,” encountering monuments rising from “ground level to hang high above, a symbolic representation of the crime of lynching.”90 The spatiality of the memorial re-enacts the horrors of lynching and put the visitors in spectator-like position wherein everybody is performatively rendered an accomplice—a condition that the EJI would argue is necessary for peace and justice throughout the land. With the capitol of Alabama visible in the distance, the dark counter-­ monumentality of these dingpolitik objects “cut” the dominant affective grid of Southern “Lost Cause” ideology by linking that past to genocidal memoryscapes throughout the world. Detractors might argue that this melancholic dwelling, which focuses on the dark horrors of the past, does



little to help with reconciliation. But is forgetful reconciliation the goal? Seeing row after row of Corten steel helps visitors understand the magnitude of the lynching horrors, and some architects are convinced that that these rows recall the grids of concrete slabs that can be found at the Berlin Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe.91 At the base of the National Memorial for Peace and Justice water gently rolls across an inscription, “Thousands of African Americans are unknown victims of racial terror lynchings whose deaths cannot be documented, many whose names will never be known. They are honored here.” The experience of moving through the NMPJ, and possibly locating familiar counties or loved ones, is one way the memorial builds alliances with visitors. One contributor to a California newspaper explained how Montgomery’s EJI activities were linking together more than just Alabama’s municipalities: “The monuments are hung in alphabetical order by state then alphabetical order by county, to make it easier to locate specific geographic locations and individuals. It was distressing, but not surprising, to see my late mother’s home county of Chatham, N.C., represented in the memorial.”92 To others, the experience is transformational. Todd Strange, Montgomery’s mayor, simply echoed the sentiments of many of those living in and around the city: “We’re confronting our past. We’re owning the issues that Bryan is talking about. The Memorial for Peace and Justice is amazing. It’s powerful.”93 There are also visitors who travel to Montgomery who take back home some of the more radical lessons that can be discerned by reading many of the multilayered EJI texts that can be found in either the Lynching Memorial or the Legacy Museum. Laura Thompson Love, a visitor from Maryland, argued that after visiting these grounds she learned that the “same racial discrimination that enabled lynching continues to pervade our society in deep and damaging ways now manifested through police brutality, presumptions of guilt, and the use of mass incarceration as a weapon to silence and control people of color.”94 Montgomery’s EJI at the NMPJ is trying to inaugurate a movement of double consciousness that transcends the grids of intelligibility that force persons of color to see themselves through the lens of the Old South, denying their own history and their very ability to mourn.95 As noted above, duplicates of each of these 800 monuments await those representatives of America’s counties that have chronicles of recorded lynchings, and the pilgrimages of these municipal representatives is characterized as part



of a complex process of “acknowledgment and reconciliation.”96 At this “memory bank” Montgomery’s doubled monuments wait for those potential US allies from other American counties who can perform their own memory-work in different parts of the country.97 Representatives from US counties where lynchings occurred between the post-Civil wars and the 1950s are invited to claim the temporary markers, taken them back home, display them and in this way provide more testimony that helps document the nature and scope of half-forgotten lynching legacies. Sia Sanneh, an EJI senior attorney, presented her organization’s case when she told reporters that she hoped that “over the years the entire landscape of America will change as these markers are claimed.”98 Throughout 2018 and 2019 there were periodic reports of how visitors or country officials were working to encourage US counties to performatively demonstrate their acknowledgment of involvement for systematic lynching that required some expression of contrition. For example, in Montgomery County, Maryland Council Members Hans Riemer, Will Jawando and Craig Rice led county council efforts to extend the work of Montgomery’s EJI.  In one portion of a memo that was distributed in January 2019, a “Remembrance and Reconciliation Commission” had this to say about their own county’s involvement in lynching performances: At least three lynchings took place in Montgomery County: George W. Peck on January 10, 1880; John Diggs on July 24, 1880; and Sidney Randolph on July 4, 1896. John Diggs and Sidney Randolph were both lynched after being abducted from the Montgomery County Jail in Rockville, where the Council Office Building stands today. These lynchings are part of Montgomery County’s troubled history of violence and discrimination against African-Americans. The County was home to thousands of enslaved individuals and the economy benefited from the exploitation of their labor. Following emancipation, segregation was enforced in schools, public facilities, and housing. Covenants and zoning plans were adopted to separate African-Americans and White people, while inadequate and unequal services were provided to African-American neighborhoods and residents.99

This echoed the EJI claims that lynching horrors had “evolved” and did not end during the 1930s’ and 1940s’ federal anti-lynching debates. There were also times when local activists who work with the EJI are interested in putting up historical markers to help remember lynching victims. In Russellville, Kentucky, the site of multiple lynchings, efforts are



underway to put up a marker near the city’s “lynching tree.”100 And in December 2018 EJI workers partnered with members of the Kansas City community so that they could install a historical marker that commemorated the lynching of Levi Harrington in 1882.101 As critical memory scholars have noted studies of memorials and commemoration involve critiques of both presences and absences, and in this particular situation many of those who learn about the EJI’s “pillars” also find out that there their own counties have been involved in forms of cultural amnesia. In 2019 students from Mecklenburg County in North Carolina visited the National Memorial for Peace and Justice and learned that several pillars in the middle of the permanent display recorded the names of McNeely and McDaniel, the two known individuals who were lynched in that county. As Graff noted for Charlotte Magazine, there “are no markers for them in Charlotte [North Carolina].”102 Some of those who visited Montgomery from Denton, Texas told locals about the “unknown” Denton county lynching victims who were commemorated at the EJI’s temporary memorial at the NMPJ.  Ron DeLord, and Shawn Treat, a former University of North Texas professor of Rhetoric, were just a few of those who were looking into journalistic archives to try and find the names of their county’s lynching victims.103 In Tennessee the project manager of Lynching Sites Project for Memphis was working with EJI representatives to try and put up markers for 37 lynching victims in Shelby County.104 All of these efforts were aimed at trying to render visible what had been erased in the annals of American history, especially in places such as Montgomery where Confederate monumentality dominated the cityscape. Part of the Montgomery’s plans for truth and reconciliation involved the beautiful rhetorical strategy of having American visitors from many other counties across America—before and after their visit to Montgomery—find out about known or recently “discovered” lynchings. For example, at the same time that some of the 82 members of the St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in Atlanta talked about how “a spiritual pilgrimage can lay bare old scars,” and the need for “racial reconciliation,” some used a three hour trip delay as an opportunity to collectively study the facts behind the 1899 lynching of Sam Hose, that drew trainloads of Atlanta visitors who watched his burning and mutilation.105 Most of these travelers from St. Bartholomew’s were white, but nevertheless they adopted some of the more radical grammatologies of the EJI as Michelle Hiskey wrote about how Montgomery’s “six-acre memorial” grew out of



the conviction that institutionalized racial inequalities “spurred the exodus of 6 million African-Americans” that “indelibly changed the United States economically, physically, demographically, spiritually.”106 Through these added networks of relations with visitors, county officials, and others Montgomery is becoming the hub, nucleus, and cradle of a movement that transcends grids of intelligibility that deny these constituted communities of their own historical roots. The monuments themselves, as duplicates, can be read as indexicals of Montgomery’s double consciousness. In using these monuments to propagate the possibilities for racial change among different transcontinental universal audiences, Montgomery is also liberating itself from the grips of the Old South by outwardly expanding its newfound consciousness. By 2020 it could be argued that the city of Montgomery was quickly become a cityscape that was helping provide cures to all sorts of race terror amnesias, and the participatory nature of EJI tours will ensure that in the coming years hundreds of thousands will feel that they have some emotional or cognitive investment to putting an end to all sorts of epistemic violence that take place with the lack of acknowledgement of the magnitude of lynching pasts.

Conclusion This chapter has argued that Montgomery is attempting to overcome its monolithic construction of its Confederate past—what have metaphorically described as the Old Alabama Town façade—by coming to terms with its buried history of slavery, lynching, Jim Crow, and mass incarceration of persons of color. With the help of key allies from the EJI, particularly the work of Bryan Stevenson, Montgomery is becoming a radicalized material-semiotic place of remembrance that is exercising what Nicholas Mirzoeff has called its “right to look.”107 By pointing out contradictions, ironies, and incongruities of space and place, Montgomery uses its Confederate monumentality against itself to forge a new identity that transcends the racial hierarchy of its Janus-faced persona. Montgomery’s NMPJ and Legacy Museum have taken Montgomery’s agentic capacity to new levels during historical moments that have witnessed Black/Blue lives matter, lawfare, and racial (in)justice. We have argued that the performativity of these places literally moves, like a rhizome, throughout the nation. As counties throughout the land continue to erect their own memorials in their respective counties—taken from



some of the 800 pieces of the temporary exhibit at the memorial and museum—the agentic capacity of the memorial and Montgomery itself will only expand in scope. This “place-based memory work” is so powerful because Montgomery’s dualistic personality is metonymic of national beliefs about race in our current moment of political division and gridlocked politics.108 When walking through the streets of downtown Montgomery, visiting the memorial or museum, or even going to a Montgomery Biscuits baseball game, it is not difficult to feel the racial, but unspoken, tension that lies just below the surface of idle talk. The same can be said, albeit perhaps to a lesser degree, in the context national conversations—or lack thereof—about race and racism. Montgomery is breaking that silence with a memorial that, by design, is meant to challenge the very architecture of white supremacy in a city where it matters most. EJI workers have already identified at least 800 more lynching victims than were previously recorded, and we hazard the guess that over time more and more Americans will discover the radicalness of this city’s race-conscious projects.109

Notes 1. Victor Luckerson, “Dismantling Dixie: The Summer that the Confederate Monuments Came Crashing Down,” Ringer, last modified August 17, 2017, charlottesville-richmond-montgomery-confederate-monuments. 2. Whose Heritage? Public Symbols of the Confederacy, Southern Poverty Law Center, last modified February 1, 2019, https://www.splcenter. org/20190201/whose-heritage-public-symbols-confederacy. 3. Philip Kennicott, “Competing Monuments in the Cradle of the Confederacy and the Civil Rights Movement,” Washington Post, last modified April 27, 2018, paragraph 1, https://www.washingtonpost. com/entertainment/museums/competing-monuments-in-the-cradleof-the-confederacy-and-the-civil-rights-movement/2018/04/27/093c e940-47f5-11e8-9072-f6d4bc32f223_story.html. 4. W.E.B.  Du Bois, The Oxford WEB Du Bois Reader, edited by Eric J. Sundquist (Oxford, 1999). 5. Bob Herbert, “Separate and Unequal,” The New York Times, last modified March 21, 2011, opinion/22herbert.html.



6. Karen E. Till, “Wounded Cities: Memory-work and a Place-Based Ethics of Care,” Political Geography 31, no. 1 (2012): 3–14. 7. Equal Justice Initiative, “Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terrorism, 3rd edition, report/. 8. See Kendall R. Phillips, “The Spaces of Public Dissension: Reconsidering the Public Sphere,” Communications Monographs 63, no. 3 (1996): 231–248. 9. Kennicott, “Competing Monuments,” paragraph 7. 10. Jeffrey Lawrence, “Memorializing the Present: Montgomery’s New Legacy Museum,” The Los Angeles Review of Books, last modified November 19, 2018, 11. Jamil Smith, “On a Hill in Alabama, the Lynched Haunt Us,” Rolling Stone, last modified May 6, 2018, paragraph 7, 12. Bryan Stevenson, quoted in DaNeen L.  Brown, “Lynch Him!: New Lynching Memorial Confronts the Nation’s Brutal History of Racial Terrorism,” Washington Post, last modified April 24, 2018, paragraph 13, 24/lynch-him-new-lynching-memorial-forces-nation-confrontits-brutal-history-of-racial-terrorism/. 13. Smith, “On a Hill in Alabama,” paragraph 2. 14. James McWilliams, “Bryan Stevenson on What Well-Meaning White People Need to Know About Race,” Pacific Standard, February 6, 2018, paragraph 33, 15. Ben Bernston, “Old Alabama Town,” Encyclopedia of Alabama, last modified May 23, 2011, article/h-2389. 16. Ibid. 17. Brad Harper, “Savior or Butcher? Doctor’s Legacy Under Fire,” Montgomery Advertiser, September 29, 2017, egacy-under-fire/714053001/. 18. Brakkton Booker, “Confederate Monument Law Upheld by Alabama Supreme Court,” NPR, last modified November 27, 2019, paragraph 8,



19. John Sharp, “NAACP Blasts Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey Over Confederate Monument Ad,”, last modified April 19, 2018, paragraph 5, kay_i.html. 20. Ibid. 21. Ibid. 22. Krista Johnson, “Confederate Named High Schools: Some Say No More, Others Say Changing Names Unnecessary,” Montgomery Advertiser, paragraph 20. 23. Joseph Goodman, “Confederate Monuments Offend, But There is Something Much Worse in Alabama,”, last modified May 25, 2017, 24. Johnson, “Confederate Named High Schools,” paragraph 37. 25. Terry Gross, “‘Just Mercy’ Attorney Asks U.S. to Reckon with its Racist Past and Present,” NPR, last modified January 20, 2020, paragraph 41, 26. Azwar Shakeel, “Montgomery, Alabama—Relations and Reforms,” Berkeley Political Review, last modified April 20, 2017, https://bpr. b e r k e l e y. e d u / 2 0 1 7 / 0 4 / 2 0 / m o n t g o m e r y - a l a b a m a - r a c e relations-and-reforms/. 27. Andrew J. Yawn, “Case of Officer Charged with Greg Gunn Murder Sent to Trial,” Montgomery Advertiser, last modified July 26, 2018, paragraph 2, ficer-charged-greg-gunnmurder-sent-trial/836745002/. 28. Shakeel, “Montgomery, Alabama,” paragraph 2. 29. Ibid. 30. Karen E Till, “Wounded Cities: Memory-Work and a Place-Based Ethics of Care,” Political Geography 31, no. 1 (2012): 3–14. 31. Ibid. 32. Joshua Inwood and Derek H. Alderman, “Urban Redevelopment as Soft Memory-Work in Montgomery, Alabama,” Journal of Urban Affairs (2020): 2. 33. In Nora Gross, “# IfTheyGunnedMeDown: The Double Consciousness of Black Youth in Response to Oppressive Media,” Souls 19, no. 4 (2017): 428. 34. Ibid. For more on “scopic regimes,” see Martin Jay, Force Fields: Between Intellectual History and Cultural Critique (Routledge, 2014). 35. Gross, “#IfTheyGunnedMeDown.”



36. Chaim Perelman and Lucie Olbrechts-Tyteca, The New Rhetoric: A Treatise on Argumentation trans. John Wilkinson and Purcell Weaver (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1969), 190, 411–412. 37. See James Crosswhite, “Universality in Rhetoric: Perelman’s Universal Audience,” Philosophy & Rhetoric 22, no. 3 (1989): 157–173. 38. Sam Levin, “Lynching Memorial Leaves Some Quietly Seething: ‘Let Sleeping Dogs Lie,” The Guardian, last modified April 28, 2018, h t t p s : / / w w w. t h e g u a r d i a n . c o m / u s - n e w s / 2 0 1 8 / a p r / 2 8 / lynching-memorial-backlash-montgomery-alabama. 39. Richard Bailey, quoted in Debbie Elliott, “New Lynching Memorial is a Space ‘To Talk about All of that Anguish,” NPR, last modified April 26, 2018, paragraphs 15–17, 604271871/new-lynching-memorial-is-a-space-to-talk-about-all-ofthat-anguish. 40. Jan Percival Lipscomb, “National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Ala., is Reckoning of Post-Civil War Lynchings,” The San Diego Union-Tribune, last modified October 24, 2019, paragraphs 1–2, h t t p s : / / w w w. s a n d i e g o u n i o n t r i b u n e . c o m / l i f e s t y l e / t r a v e l / story/2019-10-24/memorial-honors-thousands-victimized-by-hate. 41. Keith Schneider, “Revitalizing Montgomery as It Embraces Its Past,” The New  York Times, May 21, 2019, https://www.nytimes. com/2019/05/21/business/montgomery-museums-civil-rights.html. 42. Ibid., paragraph 1. 43. Brown, “‘Lynch Him!’ paragraph 9. 44. Alexis Okeowo, “A Devastating, Overdue National Memorial to Lynching Victims,” The New  Yorker, last modified April 26, 2018, paragraph 9, 45. Equal Justice Initiative, “Members of Congress Visit Museum and Memorial,” Equal Justice Initiative, paragraph 4, 46. Smith, “On A Hill in Alabama.” 47. Hobbs and Freudenberg, “A Visit,” paragraph 28. 48. Associated Press Staff, “New Welcome Center Opens for Alabama Lynching Memorial, Museum,”, last modified January 18, 2020, paragraph 6, 49. Edward W.  Said, The World, the Text, and the Critic (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1983).



50. For specific references for lessons learned in Germany see Bryan Stevenson’s Ted Talk, that has been watched by more than five million individuals. Bryan Stevenson, “We Need to Talk About an Injustice,” Ted2012, https://www. 51. Bryan Stevenson, quoted in Kim Chandler, “New Lynching Memorial Evokes Terror of Victims,” AP News, last modified April 23, 2018, paragraph 7. 52. Caleb Gayle, “No Reconciliation without Truth,” The New Republic, April 23, 2018,; PBS Newshour Staff, “Lynching Memorial Aims to Helm U.S. Acknowledge a History of Terror,” PBS Newshour, last modified December 19, 2016, lynching-memorial-aims-help-u-s-acknowledge-history-terror. 53. Bryan Stevenson, quoted in Sales, “What a New Memorial,” Jewish Telegraph Agency, last modified April 26, 2018, paragraph 3, https:// w w w. j t a . o r g / 2 0 1 8 / 0 4 / 2 6 / u n i t e d - s t a t e s / new-memorial-black-lynching-victims-learned-holocaust-commemoration. 54. Ibid. 55. Associate Press Staff, “AP-NORC Poll, Most Americans Oppose Reparations for Slavery,” U.S.  News, last modified October 25, 2019, According to a 2019 Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll less than 30% of Americans support the idea that the U.S. government should pay cash reparations to descendants of former slaves. 56. Josh Capman, “Stolperstein in Roanoke,” The Roanoke Rover, last modified June 6, 2015, paragraph 5, https://roanokerover.wordpress. com/2015/06/06/stolperstein-in-roanoke/. 57. Stav Ziv, “At Alabama’s Legacy Museum, Echoes of Holocaust Remembrance,” Forward, March 26, 2019, paragraph 1, 58. Ibid., paragraph 2. 59. Ibid. 60. Bruno Latour, “From Realpolitik to Dingpolitik or How to Make Things Public,” in Making Things Public: Atmospheres of Democracy, ed. Peter Weibeland and Bruno Latour (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2005), 7. 61. Kriston Capps, “Hanged, Burned, Shot, Drowned, Beaten,” The Atlantic, November 2017, paragraph 7, chive/2017/11/a-national-monument-to-america-sknown-victims-of-lynching/540663/.



62. On the Gigali Genocide Memorial see Amy Sodaro, “The Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre: Building a ‘Lasting Peace,” in Exhibiting Atrocity: Memorial Museums and the Politics of Past Violence (Rutgers University Press, 2018), 84–110. 63. Ziv, “At Alabama’s Legacy Museum,” paragraph 8. 64. Sales, “What a New Memorial,” paragraph 12. 65. Bryan Stephenson, quoted in Tim Adams, “Bryan Stephenson: ‘America’s Mandela’,” The Guardian, last modified February 1, 2015, paragraph 9, h t t p s : / / w w w. t h e g u a r d i a n . c o m / u s - n e w s / 2 0 1 5 / f e b / 0 1 / bryan-stevenson-americas-mandela. 66. Stevenson, quoted in A J.  Yawn, “EJI Lynching Memorial: A Place of Healing in the Heart of Dixie,” Montgomery Advertiser, last modified January 20, 2019, news/local/lynchinglegacy/2018/04/27/how-ejis-lynchingmemorial-heal-legacy-trauma-montgomery-peace-justice-equal-initiative/552798002/. 67. Gross, “‘Just Mercy’ Attorney,” paragraph 33. 68. Lipscomb, “National Memorial for Peace and Justice,” paragraph 15. 69. Schneider, “Revitalizing Montgomery,” paragraph 14. 70. Hobbs and Freudenberg, “A Visit,” paragraph 5. 71. Georgette Norman, quoted in Miller, “Alabama Memorial Confronts,” paragraph 6. 72. Jesse Wegman, “At This Memorial, The Monuments, Bleed.” The New  York Times, last modified April 25, 2018, paragraph 8, https:// 73. Jamelle Bouie, “The Pain We Still Need to Feel,” Slate, last modified May 1, 2018, paragraph 23, 2018/05/a-new-lynching-memorial-confronts-americas-history-of-racial-terrorism.html. 74. Huey L.Perry and Ruth B. White, “The Post-Civil Rights Transformation of the Relationship between Blacks and Jews in the United States,” Phylon (1960-) 47, no. 1 (1986): 51–60. 75. EJI, “Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror,” Equal Justice Initiative, paragraph 7, lynching-in-america/. 76. Equal Justice Initiative, “Alabama’s Prisons are Deadliest in the Nation,” Equal Justice Initiative, last modified December 3, 2018, https://eji. org/news/alabamas-prisons-are-deadliest-in-nation/. 77. EJI, “Private Prison Population Skyrockets,” Equal Justice Initiative, last modified August 8, 2018, For a powerful expose of life in private prisons and their



range of exploitative and violent tendencies see Shane Bauer, American prison: A Reporter’s Undercover Journey into the Business of Punishment (New York: Penguin Books, 2019). 78. Jefffrey Toobin, “The Legacy of Lynching, On Death Row,” New Yorker, last modified August 15, 2016, paragraph 10, https://www.newyorker. com/magazine/2016/08/22/bryan-stevenson-and-the-legacy-oflynching. Between 1927 and 1976, 126 of 153 executed were African American. “Alabama,” Death Penalty Information Center, last modified 2020, 79. Toobin, “The Legacy of Lynching.” 80. Equal Justice Initiative, “The Death Penalty in Alabama: Judge Override,” Equal Justice Initiative, July 2011, 15. 81. “After Boycott Ends, Pregnant Black Woman Shot on Montgomery Bus,” Equal Justice Initiative, 82. Yawn, “EJI Lynching Memorial,” paragraph 15. 83. Ibid. 84. William Thornton, More Than 300 African-Americans Lynched in Alabama in 66 Years,”, last modified April 26, 2018, https:// 85. Bryan Stevenson, quoted in Katie Couric, “The Blood of Lynching Victims is In This Soil,” National Geographic, last modified April 26, 2018, race-lynching-museum-katie-couric-alabama/. 86. Guardian Staff, “Ahmaud Arbery’s Parents Call for Arrests After ‘Modern Lynching in the Middle of the Day,” The Guardian, last modified May 7, 2020, ahmaud-arbery-parents-call-for-arrests-killing-song-daily-jog. See Ersula J.  Ore, Lynching: Violence, Rhetoric, and American Identity (Jackson, MS: Press of Mississippi, 2019). 87. Toobin, “The Legacy of Lynching,” paragraph 11. 88. EJI, “Lynching in America.” 89. Brown, “Lynch Him!” paragraph 19. 90. Lipscomb, “National Memorial for Peace and Justice,” paragraph 6. 91. Patrick Sisson, “New Memorial for Lynching Victims Reaches for Truth and Reconciliation,” Curbed. Last modified April 24, 2018, https:// y-slaver ylynching-museum-eji. 92. Lipscomb, “National Memorial for Peace and Justice,” paragraph 20. 93. Todd Strange, quoted in Schneider, “Revitalizing Montgomery,” paragraph 28.



94. Laura Thompson Love, “A Necessary Education for White Americans,” The Baltimore Sun, last modified October 30, 2019, paragraph 5, https:// 95. See Judith Butler, Precarious Life: The Powers of Mourning and Violence (New York: Verso, 2006); Judith Butler, The Force of Nonviolence: The Ethical in the Political (Verso Books, 2020). 96. Mass Design Group Staff, The National Memorial for Peace and Justice, n.d., paragraphs 4–5, national-memorial-peace-and-justice. 97. Ibid. 98. Sia Sanneh, quoted in Brown, “Lynch Him!” paragraphs 26–27. 99. County Council for Montgomery County, Maryland, “Remembrance and Reconciliation Commission: Background,” Montgomerycountrymd. gov, last modified January 22, 2019, paragraph 2, https://www.montgomer col/2019/20190122/20190122_5C.pdf. 100. Wes Swietek, “Hidden Story: Efforts Underway to Memorialize Logan Lynchings,” Bowling Green Daily News, paragraph 45, last modified August, 11 2018, y-ef for t-under way-to-memorialize-logan-lynchings/ar ticle_ c334691e-221d-5e64-bed3-e43703472f01.html. 101. Equal Justice Initiative Staff, “EJI Partners with Kansas City Community to Install Historical Marker,” Equal Justice Initiative, last modified December 21, 2018, y-ef for t-under way-to-memorialize-logan-lynchings/ar ticle_ c334691e-221d-5e64-bed3-e43703472f01.html. 102. Michael Graff, “Every Voice, Lifted,” Charlotte Magazine, last modified February 12, 2019 paragraph 42, Charlotte-Magazine/March-2019/Every-Voice-Lifted/. 103. Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe, 2018, “Old Newspapers Offer Few Clues to Denton County Lynching,” Denton Record-Chronicle, last modified June 2, 2018, 104. Vanessa Gregory, “A Lynching’s Long Shadow,” The New  York Times, last modified April 25, 2018, paragraph 30, https://www.nytimes. com/2018/04/25/magazine/a-lynchings-long-shadow.html.



105. Michelle Hiskey, “Pilgrimage to New ‘Lynching Memorial’ Fosters Racial Understand,” Episcopal News Service, past modified August 29, 2018, paragraphs 1–8. pilgrimage-to-new-lynching-memorial-fosters-racial-understanding/. 106. Ibid., paragraph 14. 107. Nicholas Mirzoeff, The Right to Look: A Counterhistory of Visuality (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2011). 108. Till, “Wounded Cities.” 109. See Equal Justice Initiative, Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror (EJI: Montgomery, 2015).


The Future Roles of Remembering and Forgetting for Agentic Twenty-First-­ Century Cities

Abstract  In our concluding chapter we discuss possible futures for agentic cities into the twenty-first century across transnational cityscapes. We provide readers with examples of international cities that each highlight differing memoryscapes. For instance, we discuss Cold War legacies and class warfare in Seoul; international and definitional issues in Jerusalem; colonial erasures of indigenous pasts in Toronto; and the indigenous agencies of Shillong, India. Keywords  Competitive memory • Multidirectional memory • Cold War • International city • Colonialism • Indigenous city • Seoul • Jerusalem • Toronto • Shillong Throughout this book we have provided readers with illustrations of the agentic nature of American cities such as New York City, Charlottesville, and Montgomery. We have made the argument that the use of critical genealogical, participatory ethnographic, and other tools helps put on display how US cities evolve and adapt to changing ideological environments. Our chapter on New York City showed how a traumatized city, filled with dust, environmental risks, and fear of rampant terrorism, could view use the building of the September 11 National Memorial and Museum as a way of showing the city’s resilience and ability to securitize. We argued that the city’s evolutionary development helped reinforce the notion that © The Author(s) 2020 M. A. Hasian Jr., N. S. Paliewicz, Memory and Monument Wars in American Cities, Palgrave Macmillan Memory Studies,




this was a city that was an eternally vigilant epicenter for the nation’s homeland. Our chapter on Charlottesville illustrated how a town that once served as one of the hospitals for the Confederacy became filled with Confederate statuary like the “Stonewall” Jackson and Robert E. Lee statues that created all sorts of internal tensions with vocal residents that saw their city becoming more multicultural. City planners intent on asking the state of Virginia to remove these Confederate statues were also willing to treat the “Unite the Right” demonstrators in 2017 as infiltrators of the city who were forgetting about the horrors of slavery as they trumpeted their replacement rhetorics. Our previous chapter showed that the city of Montgomery, once one of the centers of American slave trading, tried to shed its image as it adopted some of the suggestions about race-consciousness made by Bryan Stevenson and the Equal Justice Initiative. Their consciousness-raising efforts, aimed at “setting the record” straight about lynching pasts and mass incarceration presents, are intended to help Montgomery come to terms with its double consciousness and take into consideration the needs for twenty-first-century reparations. In all three of our case studies, we have learned how cities carefully take into consideration the myriad ways that remembrances of the past affect their contemporary images. Their efforts to shape memoryscapes that meet presentist needs are in constant flux. As these cities continue to purvey their municipal ideologies through dingpolitik objects, spaces, and places, they provide critics with more cases studies that allow investigators to follow the ways that cities, as agentic actors, invite generations of Americans to decide which pasts they want to remember and which ones they want to forget. As Henri Lefebvre, Hyun Bang Shin, and other interdisciplinary scholars have noted, oftentimes the urban environments that we build with glass, steel, brick, and other materials are reflections of the class-based interests that shape their social and historical imaginaries.1 We, as communication scholars interested in the agentic nature of city decision-­ making, would add that oftentimes these municipalities have to selectively decide what to remember and forget as they build their metropoles. In an essay in Memory Studies, for instance, Professor Trigg reminds us that some of these spaces and places are sites of trauma that fuse haunting memories with the “temporality of ruins” across shifting topologies.2



During the first decades of the twenty-first century, there have already been clear indications that many American cities have become rhetorical agents that intervene in salient social controversies as they cope with competing state organizations and contentious publics. For example, as the Southern Poverty Law Center noted in 2018, “sanctuary cities” have become entangled in handfuls of legal and administrative contests over whether local law enforcement or the federal government should control interpretations of immigration laws and deportation proceedings.3 Likewise, the city of Ferguson, Missouri, has become embroiled in conflicts about fatal police shootings, physical and digital protests, and the US racial politics.4 As James Osborne has argued, counter-monuments—such as the Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson monuments in Baltimore— illustrate both the fragility and contestability of monumentalism in urban cities throughout the country.5 In these last few pages, we invite readers to think about how they can extend our insights as they consider the agentic nature of many other memoryscapes in US and foreign cities.6 Below, we provide readers with examples that we feel illustrate some of the lingering perennial and emergent tensions that affect the future trajectories of cityscapes and their multidirectional memories. In the following subsections we provide readers with heuristic examples of how future researchers might be interested in investigating: (1) architecture and remembrances in Seoul; (2) international disputes in Jerusalem; (3) the challenges of how to reconceptualize Toronto; and (4) the social agency of Shillong, India.

Seoul, Class Warfare, and Cold War Legacies Beginning in the early 1960s, the Cold War concept of “development” became one of the most discussed words in the lexicons of international politics.7 The few nuclear powers at that time disagreed about a host of topics having to do with democracies or socialist or communist states, but they seemed to agree that something needed to be done to help the status of nations like the Republic of Korea struggling with lingering effects of war. The South Koreans helped themselves, and when General Park Chung-hee seized power after a 1961 coup he promised that he would ease the hardships and suffering and famines as the government devoted its energies to rebuilding the “nation’s self-reliant economy.”8 But this was no easy task given the need to overcome the devastation that was wrought by the Korean War.9



Between the 1960s and the early 1980s, South Korea sought to forget their histories of being colonized by Japan or their impoverished conditions as it witnessed the Park regime carry out a series of Five-Year plans designed to help accelerate processes of industrialization and urbanization. As millions of former peasants moved to Seoul and the area known as the “Seoul Capital Areas” to seek a better life, the city’s rapid growth created conditions for “slums and squatter settlements.”10 For the rest of the twentieth century, South Korea was able to cope with preparedness efforts during tense discussions with North Korea as it dealt with a growing economy that brought wealth and power to cities like Seoul. The famous demonstrations of “Seoul Spring” in 1980 and again in 1987 only underscored the tensions that came with this growth. As Hyun Bang Shin explains, “the average price of land in Korea increased by 2,976 times between 1964 and 2013,” whereas the “price of daily necessities (e.g. rice), grew by only fifty to sixty times.”11 As readers might imagine, divergent communities have expressed varied ideas regarding what to remember about all of this twentieth-century South Korean industrialization and urbanization. Alliances were formed between state officials and the “Chaebols” (privileged elites) who owned large business conglomerations, and they had heated rhetorical exchanges with students, religious groups (especially progressive Christians), intellectuals, and labor leaders who were adamant that places like Seoul needed to prioritize the importance of “Saengjon’gwon” (right to subsistence).12 For a time, Seoul grappled with the issue of how that governmentality that helped turn South Korean city into a major global economic power dealt with tenants’ protests when literally tens of thousands of dwellings were demolished and hundreds of thousands of urban poor were evicted. Democratic movements fighting for concepts like “Jugeo-gwon,” or the right to housing, became slogans for those who battled empowered state-­ chaebols alliances during the 1980s and 1990s.13 By 2019 Hyun Bang Shin could write: The history of the urban’s poor struggle against eviction in [South] Korea can be understood as the history of the subordinate classes challenging the legitimacy of the capitalist accumulation regime that sought to maximize its gains from social unjust urban transformation. The physical struggle was accompanied by ideological struggle. The review of the archival records of pamphlets and protest materials makes it evidence that there is no lack of understanding among the protesters with regard to the exploitative nature



or urban redevelopment based on capturing the rent gaps…. The enactment of the National Basic Housing Rights Act in 2015 can be regarded as the culmination of the efforts made by the progressive urban movements.14

Clearly future researchers who witnessing the changing social agency of Seoul, and who care about cityscapes, will have to be attentive to the class dynamics of this city.

Jerusalem: An International City, King David’s Israeli City, or Capital of an Arab Palestine? For centuries, Jerusalem has been a contested space and place, home to some of the holiest of places for Christians, Jews, and Muslims. As far as most Israelis are concerned, Jerusalem is the ancient City of King David, and their annexation of parts of the city or the building of nearby settlements is simply the “recovery” or “rediscovery” of God-given parts of “Judea” and “Samaria.” Meanwhile, for many Palestinians and other Arabs, Jerusalem is al-­ Quds, and Israelis are simply violating U.N. resolutions by imposing occupational laws and other rules on those living in occupied lands. Palestinians who oppose Israeli “voluntary transfer” plans point out that given that article 49, section 6 of the Fourth Geneva Convention prohibits an occupying power moving its population into territories it occupies, Israel’s belligerent behavior against Palestinians, not to mention its neglect of East Jerusalem residents, violates many international laws and a host of UN resolutions.15 Many Westerners are familiar with the external decisions that have been made about the city of Jerusalem—such as the American acceptance of the Israeli decision to move the capital of Israel to Jerusalem—but few are aware of how the city, and its planners, made strategic dingpolitik decisions about the building of everything from malls and museums over former Arab graveyards, the erection of more walls, to the de facto annexation of East Jerusalem.16 Israeli city planner planners, worried about the demographic features of Palestinian birth rates in East Jerusalem, have been aided by Israeli Defense Ministers and others who form special committees and task forces to help incrementally with the Judaization of Jerusalem. “Under my leadership,” argued Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, “there will be no evacuation of any settlement in all territories west of the Jordan River,” and “Jerusalem



will never be divided.”17 In February 2020 Netanyahu announced that he was moving ahead with plans to construct 5000 new Jewish homes in East Jerusalem, in spite of the fact that his detractors argued that this would derail any hope of having any peace process because this cut off Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem from friends and relatives living on the West Bank.18 Critics also remarked that Netanyahu was effectively doing more than promising the building of more Jewish homes—the spaces and places that he would be doing the building, in East Jerusalem and the Givat HaMatos Neighborhood, where some of the very last spaces of land that might be used by Palestinians to argue for any “hoped-for capital in east Jerusalem” of a future Palestinian state.19 Those Jerusalem city planners who will carry out Netanyahu’s—and many Israelis—plans for turning Har Homa into a “mid-sized city” were essentially weaponizing urban planning, using the building of Jewish homes as way of undermining any notion that Palestinians were indigenous to this region or had any rightful claims to Jerusalem lands.20 Clearly emboldened by the Trump administration’s willingness to support Israeli versions of “peace plans,” Netanyahu talked of connecting together parts of a “unified Jerusalem,” and the “rebuilt Jerusalem,” all the white recognizing that the city planners had accomplished this “in the face of fierce international opposition.” This opposition was not configured by the Israeli Prime Minister as anything that had to do with occupation law or human rights issues of matters that anything to do with Palestinian rights, but rather the steadfastness and resilience of a city that had “surmounted all the obstacles.”21 In early 2020 Israeli Defense Minister Neftali Bennet led a task force that sought to make changes that would allow Israelis to buy lands in what is called “Area C” of the occupied West Bank.

Toronto, Settler Colonial Cities, and Indigenous Memories Throughout this book we have discussed how cities, and their human and nonhuman agencies, have grappled with various mnemonic challenges throughout the United States. But what about memories of cultural displacements that the ascent of many cities has warranted, if not necessitated, for their own agentic expansion? At this stage we must confront our



own logocentrism and selection biases given the ways North American cities have served colonial and imperial causes. As Stephen Graham has argued, urbicide is one of several consequences of twenty-first-century cityscapes, but another, and perhaps more haunting, effect of agentic cities is ethnocide considering the destruction of ethnic communities living in many of contemporary cities before European colonization.22 Selective memories of indigeneity swirl around cities throughout the world, especially North American memoryscapes. Consider how the number of indigenous persons that died during colonial conquest ranges anywhere from 5 to as many as 100 million persons.23 While exact figures of deaths may be contested, memories of cultural and physical genocides are nevertheless etched into the stones of twenty-first-century cityscapes that shaped Western world-making. As Mike Davis observed about the Americas, “Millions died, not outside the ‘modern world system,’ but in the very process of being forcibly incorporated into its economic and political structures. They died in the golden age of Liberal Capitalism.”24 Mythic ideologies of Western progress haunt North American cityscapes. In many cases the very idea of destroying “aboriginal” villages for the establishment of “civilized” cities has led to agentic acts that have splintered cultures, peoples, and identities.25 Consider the lost indigenousness of Toronto, Ontario. Toronto is one of North America’s most agentic cities in terms of cultural capital and geopolitical influence. It is also the largest city in Canada. Before Toronto was incorporated, though, this region flourished with several prominent native tribes such as the Wendats (e.g., Hurons), Tionontati (e.g., Petuns), Senecas, and Mississaugas (e.g., Ojibwa, Chippewa, and Anishinaabeg). Sadly, however, these indigenous pasts have been competitive with Toronto’s post-incorporation agency. Even worse, anniversaries of Toronto’s past are haunting reminders of its forgotten ethnocides. For instance, when Toronto celebrated its 185th incorporation anniversary (1834) in 2019, few were questioning Toronto’s legacy of colonialism and its competitiveness with indigenous pasts. Such forgetfulness, unfortunately, has become standard practice over the years. Consider its semi-centennial colonial celebrations in 1884. The event drew tens of thousands to the streets of Toronto in an open celebration of its British colonial past. In a public speech by Daniel Wilson—who was an archeologist who served as president of the University of Toronto—he extolled Toronto’s “virtuous” history as a victimless narrative of European righteousness through tropes of progress and expansion. Presenting publics



with a view of history absent indigenous pasts he went as far as to use archaeological artifacts to make eugenical claims that rendered indigenous communities “pre-historical” and “unstoried.”26 As Victoria Freeman has argued, Wilson’s monolithic narrative of Toronto’s colonial pasts, presents and futures was visually supported with historical tableaux featured in the semi-centennial parade, which depicted the “creation story” of Toronto as a wild frontier that was civilized by peace-loving York Pioneers. For example, the Mississaugas were depicted as one of the “six nations Indians” in “the Indian wigwam” tableau which featured “picturesque” native American garb including war paint, feathers, and armory.27 Another, entitled “the occupation of the British,” displayed a more commemorative scene of British colonialism of the Mississaugas. Here, the iconic “fair lady” Britannia was seated upon a Roman chair with an “outstretched hand” that was “pressed by the lips of an Indian maiden, who is supposed to be … evidencing her gratitude and appreciation of the beneficent rule that is about to be inaugurated.”28 To Freeman, these tableaux not only erase indigenous histories, hide differences between tribes, legitimate dispossession, but they also appropriate “indigenous imagery” in ways that celebrate Toronto’s colonial and imperial conquests by Europeans.29 While memories and amnesias across cityscapes may very well take multidirectional forms by appropriating a range of hetero- and chrono-topic pasts, cases like Toronto that show how renditions of the past can be turn into zero-sum games where competitive or exclusionary histories, identities, or cultures gesture towards “consummation of empire.” As Freeman observes: Cities have been seen as the “ultimate avatars of … progress, representing the pinnacle of technology, commerce, and cultural sophistication,” at the same time as they have obliterated the Indigenous landscape of the past. Because cities have been hubs of broader networks of power, engines driving regional economies, and places where settler populations and resources were concentrated, cities have been important sites where colonial relations were enacted and have played a major role in the development and diffusion of national, colonial, and imperial ideas and practices.30

If cities, as we have insisted all along, can be considered agentic, then Toronto is one of many examples of cities that have committed ethnocide in order to acquire the level of agency it currently enjoys, and the process



of dispossession is ongoing, including the forgetfulness of a city that pretends that it peacefully occupied lands that did not belong to indigenous communities.

Hybrid Cities, Colonial Nostalgia, and Shillong’s Challenges While there are many more examples of settler-colonial cities that have forgotten their indigenous pasts, or municipalities that have attempted to forget those pasts, there are also cases, where colonial histories have created hybridized indigenous cities where agentic actors battle for self-determination. Consider Shillong, India. Nestled in the foothills of the Himalaya’s, Shillong is one of several tribal cities in India’s far northeastern territory. With a population of approximately 143,000 and a place that serves as the capital of the state of Meghalaya, Shillong is one of five most populated cities in northeastern India—a region known as the “seven sisters” and consists of more than 200 tribes.31 Shillong is a living example of how agentic cities can grapple with imperial nostalgia while maintaining self-­ determinative indigenous practices. Shillong is home to the Khasis—a tribal group unique to the region that has occupied the land at least since the early sixteenth century.32 Like other cities throughout India’s northeastern province, Shillong is protected under the Sixth Schedule of the Indian Constitution, which shields the Khasis (and other tribes) from excessive cultural influences from outside communities that may threaten its political majority and cultural sovereignty. Because of this law, the state of Meghalaya has autonomous councils that decide how to manage their land (e.g., land ownership in Shillong is restricted to indigenous people). While Shillong is an example what we might call an indigenous city, it has not always had the “right to the city,” and its people have not always been the decision-makers who determined how to govern its land, people, or businesses. Memories of British colonial presences, albeit different from Toronto’s memoryscapes, are very much a part of Shillong’s character. Under David Scott’s East India Company, the British temporarily occupied surrounding territory in the early nineteenth century, and this occupation eventually led to the First Anglo-Burmese War.33



Shillong’s history of colonization has shaped the texture of its contemporary cityscape. Even today there are daily activities that remind populations in Shillong of the spatial tensions that exist between indigenous and colonial influences. For instance, consider the iconicity of Shillong’s Golf Link—the first golf course that was built in India under British rule. That golf course exists today as a popular site of recreation, although not in the way many would think. While some use the course to play golf (primarily tourists), most locals use the green space as many in North America would a public park. On most Sundays, many Khasis can be seen enjoying a picnic on the fairways, greens, and tee boxes of the Shillong Golf Link with friends and family members. This re-appropriation of space—what might be called “space jamming”—is one way Shillong has multi-directionally used memories of colonialism in unique expressive ways as an indigenous city.34 Shillong is also a Christian city in a country dominated by Hindus. Due to its historical encounter with Welsh evangelist Thomas Jones in the nineteenth century, many Khasis left behind native religiosities as they adopted Jones’s Presbyterian ways. While Shillong’s turn to Christianity can be read as another example of cultural imperialism, many Khasis today would resent such historical renditions because its historical remembrances of encounters with Scott and Jones are quite distinct. Although kernels of resentment exist against British colonization and Scott, most Khasis remain thankful for the work of Jones, who also was the first to transcribe the orality of Khasi language (Austroasiatic) from Bengali script into Roman.35 This type of hybrid indigenous-colonial memoryscape has, in fascinating ways, posed challenges for those in Shillong who have to deal with decision-makers in larger Indian cities as double minorities (indigenous and Christian). As Rev. B. L. Nongbri explains, Khasis “have often been looked down upon as denationalized or deculturized” by mainland Indians, viz., Hindu nationalists, and scholars reviewing these complex histories. And while many explain their religious conversion as an effect of “colonial patronage” and see Khasis as “victims of inducement,” such “explanations indirectly vie[w] the tribals as … devoid of consciousness” and “passive participants in the whole process of proselytization.” To Nongbri, such views “presuppos[e] that the Khasis were endowed with a consciousness that had informed their actions” and in recognizing conversion was a matter of choice, rather than force, “attributes agency to the people and recognizes them as active participants who influenced and



shaped the events that affected their own history.” Such view “recognizes them as makers of their own history and destiny.”36 The agentic qualities of Shillong are under constant threat by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which has circulated rhetorics of Hindu nationalism throughout India, and oftentimes these changes have taken place at the expense of marginal groups such as the Khasis. Recently, for instance, the BJP led legislature passed the controversial Citizens Amendment Bill (CAB) in December 2019, which grants citizenship to non-Muslim foreign nationals. While many have critiqued this bill for its direct targeting of Muslims, Shillong and other Northeast cities oppose the bill, for different reasons: it will likely enable Hindu migrants from nearby countries such as Bangladesh from infiltrating the region, and with time, allow them to potentially gain political dominance over the Khasis. This possible future is viewed as one of the BJP’s efforts to turn all of India into a Hindu state, in spite of its many cultural, religious, and linguistic differences. One of those differences, for instance, in addition to the various hybridities we have observed, has everything to do with gender, given how the Khasis are a matrilineal society in a Hindu-dominant country that is not only hyper-patriarchal but plainly dangerous for millions of women. No wonder that over 20,000 persons, mostly students belonging to the Khasi Student Union (KSU) protested the bill in defense of Shillong’s indigenous agency. One student said, “The KSU would like to express its stiff opposition and utter resentment to the proposed Bill, which seeks to grant citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Parsees, Christians and Buddhists migrants … This bill is being proposed by the Central government without taking into account all the aspects including the demographic structure of entire Northeast including Meghalaya.”37 While police responded with tear gas, the Central Government implemented a curfew and shut down the internet—which many protesters used as a resource for protesting. Meanwhile, similar protests were also occurring in nearby Guwahati, in the state of Assam, for the same reasons of self-determination against the very real possibility of a Hindu nation-state.38 Shillong is thus an example of an agentic indigenous city that is fighting for its autonomy against outside forces. While some of its shapes and counters have been influenced by memories of British colonialism, Shillong has nevertheless emerged as a rare example of a determined, hybridized, indigenous city.



As noted above, Shillong is also currently under siege from the central government. CAB threatens not only the cultural composition of the city but its very identity. Hence the civic defense of its indigeneity.

Conclusion As both Western and non-Western tribes and civilizations march onward forward into the twenty-first century, and as state and federal governments deal with, or fail to deal with, existential problems such as global climate change, access to resources, and ongoing civil strife, we anticipate that cities will continue to be active participants in social change. Cities will increasingly be viewed as agentic actors—especially by their critics—as they continue to engage in all kinds of cultural or physical wars for survival. The ascendency of agentic cities in the twenty-first century may also be a harbinger of things to come, as witnesses see the imminent rise of new urban-centric governmentalities in a post-Westphalian world.39 What our comparative chapters have displayed are some of the issues of identity-­ formation and memory-work that are created during key moments of social change. In an era where we are potentially witnessing the demise of the traditional nation-state, it should be no surprise that new multicultural global cityscapes will have to decide how to respond to real, and imagined, existential threats.

Notes 1. Henri Lefebvre, Writings on Cities (Oxford: Blackwell, 1996); Hyun Bang Shin, “Urban Movements and the Genealogy of Urban Rights Discourses: The Case of Urban Protesters Against Redevelopment and Displacement in Seoul, South Korea,” Annals of the American Association of Geographers 108, no. 2 (2018): 356–369. 2. Dylan Trigg, “The Place of Trauma: Memory, Hauntings, and the Temporality of Ruins,” Memory Studies 2, no. 1 (January 2009): 87–101. 3. Southern Poverty Law Center Staff, “The Current State of Sanctuary Law,” Southern Poverty Law Center, last modified March 8, 2018, https:// 4. Yarimar Bonilla and Jonathan Kosa, “#Ferguson: Digital Protest, Hashtag Ethnography, and the Racial Politics of Social Media in the United States,” American Ethnologist 42, no. 1 (2018): 4–17.



5. James F.  Osborne, “Counter-Monumentality and the Vulnerability of Memory,” Journal of Social Archaeology, 17, no. 2 (2017): 163–187. 6. Dora Apel, Beautiful Terrible Ruins: Detroit and the Anxiety of Decline (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2015), 58–74. 7. Myun-Sahm Suh, “Two Sacred Tales in the Seoul Metropolis: The Gospels of Prosperity and Development in Modernizing South Korea,” Social Compass 66, no. 4 (2019): 561–578, 563. 8. Park Chung-hee, quoted in Suh, “Two Sacred Tales,” 564. 9. See Hyung A. Kim, Korea’s Development Under Park Chung Hee: Rapid Industrialization, 1961–1979 (London: Routledge, 2004); Kwon, Heonik Kwon, The Other Cold War (New York: Columbia University Press, 2010); Gi-wook Shin, Ethnic Nationalism in Korea: Genealogy, Politics, and Legacy (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2006). 10. Suh, “Two Sacred Tales,” 564. 11. Shin, “Urban Movements,” 360. 12. Ibid., 361. 13. Ibid. 14. Ibid., 365–367. 15. For recent International Criminal Court discussions of the potential international law violations that would take place if Israelis try to annex all of the Jordan Valley See Noa Landau, “ICC Prosecutor ‘Concerned’ About Israeli Proposals to Annex Jordan Valley,” Ha’aretz, last modified December 5, 2019, 16. For a helpful overview of some of the major political issues facing those living in and outside of East Jerusalem, see The International Crisis Group, Reversing Israel’s Deeping Annexation of Occupied East Jerusalem (Jerusalem: The International Crisis Group, 2019), https://www.crisisgr th-africa/easter n-mediter ranean/ israelpalestine/202-reversing-israels-deepening-annexation-occupiedeast-jerusalem. 17. Benjamin Netanyahu, quoted in International Middle East Media Center Staff, “Israel Forms Committee to Boost Colonialist Activities in Occupied West Bank,” International Middle East Media Center News, last modified January 9, 2020, paragraph 11, israel-forms-committee-to-boost-colonialist-activities-in-occupiedwest-bank/. 18. Tina Goldenberg, “Israeli Leader Vows Thousands of New Homes In East Jerusalem,” The Fresno Bee, last modified February 20, 2020, paragraph 1, 19. Ibid., paragraphs 2–3.



20. Arab Palestinians living in the diaspora, Gaza, and the West Bank argue that all of the land that was captured by Israelis during the 1967 War— including East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip—is simply occupied territory that should be the lands that belong to those Palestinians who dream of building a future state. For decades frustrated Palestinians have watched as international communities, including the Arab Gulf states, have done little to stop the incremental annexation of East Jerusalem. 21. Goldenberg, “Israeli Leader.” 22. Stephen Graham, Cities Under Siege: The New Military Urbanism (New York: Verso). 23. Part of the dispute is whether the spread of Western viruses such as influenza, measles, and smallpox count as part of these genocides or ethnogenocides. As Jared Diamond has observed in Guns, Germs, Steel, approximately 90% of Native American populations were wiped out from these viruses. Jared Diamond, Guns, Germs, Steel: A Short History of Everybody for the Last 13,000 Years (Random House, 1998). To David Stannard, author of American Holocaust, nearly 100  million American Indians were killed, which is as many as three times that of those that died from the horrors of the American slave trade. David E.  Stannard, American Holocaust: The Conquest of the New World (Oxford, 1992), 151. 24. Mike Davis, Late Victorian Holocausts: El Nino Famines and the Making of the Third World (New York: Verso, 2017), 9. For more on America’s history of colonial genocide see Andrew Woolford, Jeff Benvenuto and Alexander Laban Hinton, editors, Colonial Genocide in Indigenous North America (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2014). 25. See Donal Carbaugh, “‘Just Listen’: ‘Listening’ and Landscape Among the Blackfeet,” Western Journal of Communication 63, no. 3 (1999): 250–270. Gloria Anzaldua, Borderlands/La Frontera The New Mestiza (San Francisco, CA: Aunt Lute Books, 2012). 26. Victoria Freeman, “‘Toronto Has No History!’ Indigeneity, Settler Colonialism, and Historical Memory in Canada’s Largest City,” Érudit News, vol. 38, no. 2 (2010): 10. 27. Quoted in Freeman, “‘Toronto Has No History!’” 12. 28. Ibid., 13. 29. Ibid. 30. Ibid., 2–3. 31. Bhavini Trikha, “9 North-East Indian Tribes,” Buddy Mantra, last modified September 15, 2016, 32. “Chapter 4: Historical Background of the Region,” 80–100, uckkJ:



33. Mahasweta Dey, “U Tirot Singh & Meghalaya’s Fight for Freedom,” Live History India, last modified June 16, 2019, https://www.livehistoryindia. com/histor y-daily/2019/06/16/u-tirot-singh-meghalayas-fightfor-freedom. 34. Space jamming can be understood as a spatialized version of Harold’s notion of “culture jamming.” See Christine Harold. OurSpace: Resisting the Corporate Control of Culture (Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 2007). 35. See Iaithrang Nongbri, History of the Coming of the Gospel to Ri War Mihngi (Riatsamthia, Shillong: Miss Melarida Wahlang, 2010). 36. Rev. B.  L. Nongbri, “Christianity, Khasi Language and Literature: An Historical Analysis of the Interaction of Christianity with Traditional Culture,” in T.  B. Subba, Joseph Puthenpurakal, and Shaji Joseph Puykunnel, eds., Christianity and Change in Northeast India (New Delhi, India: Concept Publishing, 2006), 177. 37. Northeast Now News Staff, “Thousands Protest in Shillong Seeking ILP; Tear Gas Cells Fired,” Northeast Now, last modified December 13, 2019, 38. Scroll Staff, “Citizen Act Protests: In Shillong, Police Use Tear Gas, BatonCharge Demonstrators,” Scroll, last modified December 13, 2019, 39. Michel Foucault, Security, Territory, Population: Lectures at the Collège De France, 1977–78, Michel Sennellart, ed., Graham Burchell (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009), 248.


A Agency, 2, 7, 8, 11 Arrogance, 25, 46 C Charlottesville, 1, 4–6, 10–15, 59–90 Cityscape, 1, 2, 5–7, 9, 10, 15 Civil lawfare, 59–90 Class, 137–139 Colonialism, 141, 142, 144, 145 Confederate monumentality, 5, 12–14, 98, 100, 101, 103, 116, 123, 124 Criminal justice system, 101, 106, 114, 117, 119 D Dingpolitik, 2, 6, 16n9 Double consciousness, 99, 101, 103, 106–124 Du Bois, W.E.B., 99, 106, 113

E Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), 98–101, 103, 106–125 Eugenical city, 72, 88 F Fire Department New York (FDNY), 23, 24, 26, 31–36, 38, 42 H Hybrid city, 143–146 I Indigenous city, 143–145 Invasion, 63, 82–85, 90 J Jerusalem, 137, 139–140

 Note: Page numbers followed by ‘n’ refer to notes.


© The Author(s) 2020 M. A. Hasian Jr., N. S. Paliewicz, Memory and Monument Wars in American Cities, Palgrave Macmillan Memory Studies,




L Legacy Museum, 12, 99–101, 106–124 Lost Cause, 59–90 Lynching, 97–125 M Memoryscape, 1–10, 13–15, 136, 137, 141, 143, 144 Montgomery, 5, 6, 10–15, 97–125 Multiculturalism, 64, 77–82 N National Memorial for Peace and Justice (NMPJ), 10–15, 99–101, 106–124 National September 11 Memorial and Memorial Museum, 10, 45, 49 New York, 2, 5, 6, 9–15, 21–49 New York Police Department (NYPD), 23, 24, 26, 31–47, 53n52 9/11, 21, 22, 24–30, 32, 33, 35, 36, 38–49

P Police city, 23, 25, 33, 34 R Racial terrorism, 98–100, 116, 117, 120 Resilience, 26, 27, 35–43, 46, 49 S Seoul, 137–139 Shillong, 137, 143–146 Stevenson, Bryan, 99–101, 103–124 T Toronto, 137, 140–143 U Unite the Right, 61, 65, 84, 87, 88 W War on Terrorism, 27, 34, 45–48 White supremacy, 65, 67, 79, 80, 82–85, 89 Wounded city, 25