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In Retrospect and Prospect: Monuments, Iconography, & the Black Freedom Struggle

There is vigorous ongoing debate in the Humanities regarding who is honored and memorialized in the form of monuments and effigies by society. Overall awareness of Black history and the lives of Black Americans remains poor; many narratives (both textual and visual) reinforce a sterile version of history, focused on White perspectives. These dominant perspectives obscure the experiences and contributions of Black people. Public spaces like parks and national monuments have an important role to play as well. Recent movements, such as Black Lives Matter (BLM), have forced Americans to reckon with the country’s whitewashed history and its problematic monuments. The push to remove statues honoring Confederate leaders has accelerated in response to nationwide protests about police brutality and civil rights. In this provocative and eye opening talk, Dr. Kimble will explore these visual narratives that have been impacting the Black Freedom Struggle.

Lionel Kimble is an Associate Professor of History at Chicago State University. He received his PhD from the University of Iowa and primarily focuses focus on African American labor politics in Chicago during the New Deal and World War II. His first book, A New Deal for Bronzeville: Housing, Employment, and Civil Rights in Black Chicago, 1935-1955 was published by Southern Illinois University Press. Aside from his teaching and research, Kimble is the Vice President for Programs for the Association for the Study of African American Life and History.