We are in a unique moment. The quiet whispers about the history of the Confederacy and its memorialization have exploded into a national conversation.
We are in a moment when previous arguments from historians and activists about the need to free the history of Confederate monuments from the clutches of time’s proclivity for revision are receiving new and more public hearings. Many scholar-activists forward that we should not allow the passage of time to elide or reinterpret when and why the nation constructed statues and monuments honoring soldiers fighting to preserve the norms, values and institutions of the Old South. In Begin Again (2020), Eddie Glaude Jr., Princeton’s Professor of African American Studies, poignantly wrote that the “Confederate monuments question makes plain that the history we tell ourselves is a key battleground for the country’s future” (pp. 70-71). If Dr. Glaude is correct, the current national conversation about Confederate memorialization will inform the next phase in our nation’s struggle to understand our shared history and the situatedness of our relationships, practices, and policies.
With the debate about Confederate memorials reaching a fever pitch and precipitating in the spontaneous removal of some monuments, we hope to engage the public in a discussion about this “key battleground” that will inform all of our futures.
On behalf of the debate programs at Emory University and Vanderbilt University, in partnership with the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, you are invited to take part in an Intercolllegiate Advocacy and Dialogue Competition: An Exploration of Confederate Memorialization in the Southern United States. The competition provides students an opportunity to explore the history of Confederate monuments and their influence on contemporary social and political culture such as race relations, cultural identity, and policy formulation.
The Competition Will Unfold in Three Parts:
October 2, 2020
Letter to the Editor – A writing component encouraging students to research the history of Confederate monuments in their state and draft a “Letter to the Editor” to a newspaper of their choice. The letter should explore the history of Confederate memorialization and address how their communities should respond to the current social-political moment as the nation publicly struggles to understand and contextualize the valorization of the Confederacy 155 years after the Civil War.
October 22, 2020
Evening of Dialogue – A virtual public event, featuring student representatives from colleges and universities in dialogue with educational, civic, and community leaders.
This event will be facilitated by Nicole Moore, Director of Education for the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, and will be moderated by Caroline Randall-Williams, Writer-in-Residence of Medicine, Health, and Society at Vanderbilt University, who will also serve as the evening’s guest speaker. Additional invited guests include Enku Gelaye, Vice President and Dean of Campus Life for Emory University. Click here to register.
We would like to thank all of our participants, educators, adjudicators, speakers, and guests who helped make the first Intercollegiate Advocacy & Dialogue Competition (IADC) a success. We look forward to furthering this dialogue in our classrooms and communities. For more information on upcoming IADC programming and competitions, please return to this page, and follow us on social media.