Browse Exhibits (2 total)

Monument and Myth: Commemorating Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad

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James L. Gafgen, Harriet Ross Tubman Memorial, 2006, Bristol Park, Bristol, Pennsylvania. Photograph by Renée Ater.

One of the most well-known African Americans of the nineteenth century, Harriet Tubman has been and is memorialized through her name, which adorns numerous schools, roads, bridges, parks, and plaques across the United States. She is equally well represented in sculpture. “Monument and Myth: Commemorating Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad” focuses on how contemporary artists have depicted the famed freedom fighter in three-dimensional form. This digital exhibit also considers how artists and communities have engaged the mythic Tubman to acknowledge the history of slavery, abolition, and freedom in the public spaces of their towns, cities, and states.

The exhibit includes the following sections:

  • a short biography of the historical Harriet Tubman;

  • a brief history of the Underground Railroad and Harriet Tubman's role as conductor;

  • a consideration of the photographic representation of Harriet Tubman and how contemporary sculptors have used these images as source material;

  • maps and a timeline; and

  • an in-depth analysis and interpretation of three monuments to Harriet Tubman.

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Slavery and the Memorial Landscape of Alexandria

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Truths that Rise from the Roots Remembered, 1999, Alexandria, Virginia. Photograph by Renée Ater.

Alexandria, Virignia, has a rich memorial landscape related to its colony and antebellum history. Since 1978, archaeologists have studied the African American presence in the city. More recently, the city has engaged the legacy of slavery through monuments, interpretation, and preservation of historic African American sites. “Slavery and the Memorial Landscape of Alexandria” focuses on three monuments: Truths that Rise from the Roots Remembered (1999); Edmonson Sisters Memorial (2010); and the Contrabands and Freedmen Cemetery Memorial (2013). This exhibit highlights the relationship of these three monuments to the larger history of the African American presence in the city as well as to the continued presence of a Confederate soldier memorial within the modern urban landscape of Alexandria.

The exhibit includes the following sections:

  • a brief history of Alexandria, Virginia;

  • maps and geolocation information;

  • analysis and interpretation of the three monuments in relation to form and space.

  • a consideration of Caspar Buberl’s Appomattox (The Confederate Soldier) as it relates to the memorial landscape of Alexandria, and to the three monuments;

To navigate the map, select the purple markers to reveal the monuments.

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