A memorial to the English Quaker, abolitionist and activist Joseph Sturge (1793–1859) was unveiled before a crowd of 12,000 people on 4 June 1862 at Five Ways, Birmingham, England, near his former home. Sturge is posed as if he were teaching, with his right hand...read more
Henry Richard is chiefly known as an advocate of peace and international arbitration, having been secretary of the Peace Society for forty years (1848–84). He is less widely known for his other interests, especially his anti-slavery work. The statue was dedicated in...read more
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
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.
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
Located in the middle of the popular Peace Plaza, it stands 12 feet high and is made of a circular tier of 57 life-sized interlocking bronze doves. They symbolize the 50 United States and the 7 major continents of the world. The three doves on top represent past,...read more
The memorial features a stone bench with wrought iron gating around a cobblestone circle. Scattered bronzes of common objects such as shoes, glasses, a teddy bear and a suitcase represent items left behind by those persecuted during the Holocaust. A cobblestone...read more
Located in the Carmelite Quarter, this monument was dedicated in May, 1999. The text reads: "They rendered silent resistance to the the Nazi tyranny. Through personal courage they saved threatened fellow citizens from persecution and death. They put themselves in...read more
Hotel Metropole at Morzinplatz was used as a headquarter for the Gestapo 1938-1945 and on the Morzinplatz there is now a monument commemorating the Austrian victims made from granite from the Mauthausen concentration camp. The memorial was originally a memorial stone...read more
Mahnmal gegen Krieg und Faschismus, a memorial to the civil victims of the Second World War, was unveiled on November 24, 1988. “Tor der Gewalt,” which is generally translated as “Gates of Violence” or “Gates of Power” or sometimes – “Gates of War” is the first part...read more
Dedicated in April, 2003, the memorial, which was designed by Gaeta Springall Arquitectos, is made from 70 pieces of weathered Corten steel, some raw, some with mirrors on their sides. It occupies nearly four acres of the Chapultepec Forest, land formerly controlled...read more
The Living Peace Wall, dedicated in 2015, consists of panels of granite inscribed with the names of advocates for peace, justice and nonviolence. It is crowned with a brass peace sign. The central panel's engraving begins with a quotation from Gandhi: “Nonviolence is...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.