Revolution NJ will advance the role that history plays in public discourse, community engagement, education, tourism, and scholarship in New Jersey. Through a series of initiatives that explore the history of the American Revolution, its context, and its legacy, Revolution NJ will galvanize diverse audiences statewide into embracing the enduring value and relevance of history.
"Monuments render the ghosts of the past inescapable; monuments can be literal concrete burdens, stony facades reminding us of violence and oppression." Indeed, most twentieth-century monuments only tell a singular historical narrative of 'permanence' that silence the perspectives, histories, and livelihoods of others. Hilary Morgan V. Leathem unpacks the strategies that marginalized communities have mobilized to unsettle, unfix, and even 'kill' oppressive monuments from Chile, Paraguay, Mexico, and Ireland.
In recent years, efforts to identify and preserve American historic landmarks reflecting a wider vision of the past have begun to expand understanding of our diverse history. Harada House National Historic Landmark in Riverside, California, is one of those places. The purchase of the house in 1915 by Japanese immigrants Jukichi and Ken Harada led to the first Japanese American challenge to the California Alien Land Law of 1913. Its use in the late 1940s as a small refuge for homeless Japanese Americans returning from the forced removal of World War Two added to its significance. This excerpt from The House on Lemon Street: Japanese Pioneers and the American Dream by Mark Rawitsch (University Press of Colorado, 2012) sets the stage for the story of an American family facing great odds to triumph over prejudice and inch ever closer to realizing their own American Dream.
"Arrest All 4." "Abolish the Police." "All Black Lives Matter."
These are only some of the slogans and chants that have emerged on walls, streets, and signage in cities and towns across America—documented through photography, circulated over social media. But what are the potential perils of converting the Black Lives Matter from an "iconoclastic movement into an icon of its own?" Charles Athanasopoulos explores the emergence of public iconography in the age of protest, and the threat of 'white-washing' the abolitionist roots of Black Lives Matter in order to sustain a mythology of American progress.
"As we continue to pull down physical statues, [...] what values need to be established and abolished to rectify a history of monumental neglect and honor a history of monumental existence?" Dixon Li offers an account of Black women's sculpture and Black women's labor—from Edmonia Lewis to Simone Leigh—to offer a different understanding of 'the monumental' in our ongoing public debate around monuments.
Nicholas Hoffman argues that monuments are impermanent, and thus require dynamic modes of historical interpretation that account for the shifts in social and cultural attitudes. As such, acts and markers of commemoration require community involvement in order to reflect multiple cultural histories of St. Louis.