The Power of Public Monuments & Why They Matter

WED, JAN 9, 2019 (1:53:42)

The Shaw 54th Memorial on the Boston Common has been called “one of the monuments that changed America.” More than 120 years ago the bronze sculpture was placed strategically on Boston Common opposite the Massachusetts State House and dedicated to “the group of men who were among the first African Americans to fight in [the Civil] war.” As plans get underway to restore the memorial, four organizations—the National Parks Service, the City of Boston, Friends of the Public Garden, and the Museum of African American History— convened citizens together for a conversation to deepen dialogue about race, freedom, and justice and raise awareness of the significance of the memorial and the story it tells. About the Renewal of the Shaw 54th Regiment Memorial The Shaw 54th Regiment Memorial is at the heart of a powerful narrative that unfolds along Boston’s Black History Trail. The sculpture and its foundation requires significant upgrades to assure its longevity. A new partnership has been established to undertake a complete $2.8 million restoration of the Memorial to stabilize the monument. The work is scheduled to begin in the summer of 2019. Image: Wikicommons

+ BIO: Derrick Z. Jackson

Derrick Z. Jackson is a UCS Fellow in climate and energy and the Center for Science and Democracy. His posts for UCS and ESPN’s The Undefeated won a 2018 first prize in online commentary from the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. As a 2016 Shorenstein Fellow at Harvard University”s Kennedy School of Government, he published a paper on the failed national media coverage of the Flint Water Crisis. He is co-author and photographer of “Project Puffin: The Improbable Quest to Bring a Beloved Seabird Back to Egg Rock,” published by Yale University Press (2015). Formerly of the Boston Globe and Newsday, Jackson is a Pulitzer Prize finalist, a 10-time award winner from the National Association of Black Journalists, a 2-time winner from the Education Writers Association, a commentary winner from the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association and co-winner of Columbia University’s Meyer Berger Award. In photography, he is a 2-time finalist in Outdoor Photographer’s The American Landscape contest and a 2018 semifinalist in Nature’s Best Photography Windland Smith Rice Awards. A native of Milwaukee, Wis., and a graduate of the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, Jackson was a Nieman Fellow in Journalism at Harvard University. He holds three honorary degrees and the UW-Milwaukee Distinguished Alumni Community Service award.

+ BIO: DeRay Mckesson

DeRay Mckesson is a civil rights activist and author focused primarily on issues of innovation, equity and justice. Born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, he graduated from Bowdoin College and holds honorary doctorates from The New School and Maryland Institute College of Art. Mckesson has advocated for issues related to children, youth, and families since he was a teen. As a leading voice in the Black Lives Matter Movement and a co-founder of,, and Mckesson has worked to connect individuals with knowledge and tools, and provide citizens and policy makers with commonsense policies to ensure equity. He was named one of the World’s Greatest Leaders by Fortune Magazine in 2015 and as one of the 30 Most Influential People On The Internet by Time Magazine in 2016. Follow him on Twitter at @deray.

+ BIO: Renée Ater

Renée Ater taught in the Department of Art History and Archaeology at the University of Maryland from September 2000 to July 2017 an Associate Professor Emerita of American Art. She holds a B.A. in art history from Oberlin College (1987); a M.A. in art history from the University of Maryland (1993); and Ph.D. in art history from the University of Maryland (2000). Her research and writing have largely focused on the intersection of race, monument building, and national identity. Her current research project is _Contemporary Monuments to the Slave Past: Race, Memorialization, Public Space, and Civic Engagement_. In this planned digital publication, she investigates how people visualize, interpret, and engage the slave past through contemporary monuments created for public spaces. Her research is predicated on the idea that the memorialization of slavery is plural and multi-vocal, and is rooted in the interwoven nature of the social, the historical, and the spatial. Image:

+ BIO: F. Sheffield Hale

F. Sheffield Hale is President and CEO of the Atlanta History Center. Prior to joining the Atlanta History Center in 2012 he served as Chief Counsel of the American Cancer Society, Inc. and was a Partner practicing corporate law in the firm of Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP. Mr. Hale serves as a Trustee of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Fox Theatre, Inc., Buckhead Coalition, Midtown Alliance, and Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau. He is a Past Chair of the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation, the Atlanta History Center, St. Jude’s Recovery Center, Inc., and the State of Georgia’s Judicial Nominating Commission. Mr. Hale received his B.A. in History from the University of Georgia summa cum laude in 1982, and received his J.D. in 1985 from the University of Virginia School of Law. He is a member of the American Law Institute.

Museum of African American History