Elihu Burritt was known as the "Learned Blacksmith." He lectured throughout New England about the joy of learning, then turned his attention to humanitarian causes for which he is famous: the abolition of slavery, the dignity of the American working man, and the cause...read more
The monument was dedicated on July 17, 1994, in remembrance of the killing of millions of Jews by the Nazis during World War II. It is set upon a base of six black granite Stars of David which represent the six million Jews who perished during the Holocaust. A central...read more
The Pit (Belarusian: Яма) is a monument devoted to the victims of the Holocaust. It is on the site where, on March 2, 1942, the Nazi forces shot about 5,000 prisoners of the nearby Minsk Ghetto. The small polished black granite obelisk was created in 1947 and in 2000...read more
Since May 2015, every Monday morning I have been posting a little essay about a peace or social justice monument. For more than a decade, ever since the peaceCENTER was contracted by a national peace & human rights group to develop a workshop exploring strategies for creating memorials about acts of violence and injustice that did not glorify the bloodshed, we have pondered the relationship between the landscape and civic memory.
“I would rather take care of the stomachs of the living
than the glory of the departed in the form of monuments.”
As we showcase these monuments we hope you will join us in this exploration. For now, we’re concentrating on publicly accessible outdoor works. Some are grassroots and homespun; others, more complicated in their funding and execution. They all have a story to tell and we can learn from all of them.
Memorial to the Six Million in Johannesburg’s Westpark Cemetery pays tribute to the Jewish men, women and children who lost their lives during the Second World War. The monument depicts six bronze fists, each five feet high, bursting out of the ground as a protest...read more
The Bells Monument (or, in Bulgarian, “Камбаните”) is in a park at the base of the Vitosha mountain. An inscription at the monument’s base reads, “Children of the future accept the eternal, fiery call of immortality - Unity, Creativity, Beauty.” When the UN declared...read more
L’arbre de l’espérance sculpture stands at the main entrance to the 26th centennial park in Marseille and was unveiled in 2000 as part of the 2,600 anniversary of the foundation of the city. 350,000 people of all faiths and none, native to Marseille or immigrants...read more
The sculpture sits on Trg Oslobođenje – Libertion Square – in the center of Sarajevo. It consists of a naked male figure reaching toward the sky, pulling the meridians of the earth together. Around him, doves help by lifting further meridians into place. The...read more
The Shaheed Minar (Bengali: শহীদ মিনার Shohid Minar lit. "Martyr Monument") commemorates those killed during the Bengali Language Movement demonstrations of 1952 in what was then East Pakistan. On 21 and 22 February 1952, students from Dhaka University, Dhaka Medical...read more
The Martyred Intellectuals Memorial (Bengali: বুদ্ধিজীবি স্মৃতি সৌধ) was built in memory of the martyred intellectuals of the Bangladesh Liberation War. The cornerstone was laid in 1991. On the night of 14 December 1971, over 200 of East Pakistan's intellectuals...read more
After WW I and the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, Cameroon, a German protectorate, was divided into two regions and put under French and British rule. In January 1960, French Cameroon became independent, British Cameroon, 10 months later. In 1972 the two...read more
The World Peace Prayer fountain sculpture, designed by Hank Kaminsky, was dedicated on New Years Eve 2002. It is a 10' diameter bronze sphere sculpted in a traditional way with the prayer "May Peace Prevail on Earth" in over 100 languages hand sculpted on the surface....read more
This neoclassical sculpture, also known as Angel of the Waters, features an eight-foot bronze angel who stands above four small cherubim representing health, purity, temperance, and peace. The angel herself carries a lily in one hand while the other remains...read more
A fountain called Earth — Planet of Peace (Zem - planeta mieru) is the centerpiece of Hodžovo Námestie (English: Hodžovo Square, in front of the Grassalkovich Palace. It was sculpted by Tibor Bártfay, Pavel Mikšík, and Karol Lacko and installed in 1982.read more
The original concept for the memorial was as a memorial for Vietnam Veterans but was changed to one which honored all those who died or were declared missing in wars fought from 1900 until now. The granite base surrounding the fountain now includes 5,558 names of...read more
The Peace Fountain was sculpted by the Episcopal Cathedral's Artist-in-Residence Greg Wyatt to mark the 200th anniversary of the Diocese of New York in 1985. The 40 foot-high bronze sculpture weaves together several representations of the conflict between good and...read more
late 13c., “a sepulchre,” from Old French monument “grave, tomb, monument,” and directly from Latin monumentum “a monument, memorial structure, statue; votive offering; tomb; memorial record,” literally “something that reminds,” from monere “to admonish, warn, advice,” from PIE *moneyo-, suffixed (causative) form of root *men- (1) “to think.” Sense of “structure or edifice to commemorate a notable person, action, or event” first attested c. 1600.
Ten Questions to Ask at a Historic Site
In his book Lies Across America, Professor James Loewen posed these ten questions to ask at a historic site.
1. When did this location become a historic site? (When was the marker or monument put up? Or the house interpreted?) How did that time differ from ours? From the time of the event or person interpreted?
2. Who sponsored it? representing which participant groups’s point of view? What was their position in the social structure when the event occurred? When the site went “up”?
3. What were the sponsor’s motives? What were their ideological needs and social purposes? What were their values?
4. What is the intended audience for the site? What values were they trying to leave for us, today? What does the site ask us to go and do or think about?
5. Did the sponsors have government support? At what level? Who was ruling the government at the time? What ideological arguments were used to get the government acquiescence?
6. Who is left out? What points of view go largely unheard? How would the story differ if a different group told it? Another political party? Race? Sex? Class? Religious group?
7. Are there problematic (insulting, degrading) words or symbols that would not be used today, or by other groups?
8. How is the site used today? Do traditional rituals continue to connect today’s public to it? Or is it ignored? Why?
9. Is the presentation accurate? What actually happened? What historical sources tell of the event, people, or period commemorated at this site?
10. How does the site fit in with others that treat the same era? Or subject? What other people lived ad events happened then but are not commemorated? Why?
Ready to Kill
by Carl Sandburg (Chicago Poems, 1916)
TEN minutes now I have been looking at this.
I have gone by here before and wondered about it.
This is a bronze memorial of a famous general
Riding horseback with a flag and a sword and a revolver on him.
I want to smash the whole thing into a pile of junk to be hauled away to the scrap yard. 5
I put it straight to you,
After the farmer, the miner, the shop man, the factory hand, the fireman and the teamster,
Have all been remembered with bronze memorials,
Shaping them on the job of getting all of us
Something to eat and something to wear,
When they stack a few silhouettes
Against the sky
Here in the park,
And show the real huskies that are doing the work of the world, and feeding people instead of butchering them,
Then maybe I will stand here
And look easy at this general of the army holding a flag in the air,
And riding like hell on horseback
Ready to kill anybody that gets in his way,
Ready to run the red blood and slush the bowels of men all over the sweet new grass of the prairie.