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Yahoo Tech - Apple MacAug 11, 2020
African Americans have long defied white supremacy and celebrated Black culture in public spaces
From Richmond to New York City to Seattle, anti-racist activists are getting results as Confederate monuments are coming down by the dozens.In Richmond, Virginia, protesters have changed the story of Lee Circle, home to a 130-year-old monument to Confederate General Robert E. Lee. It's now a new community space where graffiti, music and projected images turn the statue of Lee from a monument to white supremacy into a backdrop proclaiming that Black Lives Matter. This isn't a new phenomenon. I'm a historian of celebrations and protests after the Civil War. And in my research, I have found that long before Confederate monuments occupied city squares, African Americans used those same public spaces to celebrate their history. But those African American memorial cultures have often been overshadowed by Confederate monuments that dominate public space and set in stone a white supremacist story of the past. Black celebrationsIn the late 19th and early 20th centuries, African Americans had less power and money than whites did to erect statues to celebrate their past. Instead, they challenged white dominance of public space using holidays, parades, conventions, mass meetings and other events. Black people used public celebrations such as Juneteenth to tell a positive story about their history, debate and set political goals for the community, applaud the role of Black soldiers and workers, and create a legacy and cultural identity for B
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