With the Confederate monument debate front and center in the United States today, and the wounds still raw from this weekend's violent protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, many are asking questions about white supremacy and the rise of the "alt-right." To begin to find answers, it's important to look to the past.
Margaret Storey, a DePaul University history professor, holds a doctorate in history from Emory University in Atlanta and is an expert on the American South, slavery, Reconstruction, segregation, Confederate memory, and the general question of white supremacy in the memory around the Civil War and Jim Crow.
“Confederate monuments were erected at key moments in the history of violent white supremacist resistance to civil rights for African Americans," said Storey. "By linking Jim Crow's racist hierarchies to a mythic Confederate past, the monuments worked to frame segregation and racist oppression as historical and therefore, unassailable. In our current moment, they should be objects of study, not veneration; they are artifacts of our country’s history of racial injustice and belong in museums or libraries, not the public square.”