Statement of Purpose
The purpose of this project is to recontextualize Monument Avenue by placing it within the
history that created this public space in order to illustrate how time and recent history have
reshaped the ideologies embedded within this public statuary. We will examine why the five men
commemorated on the avenue were deemed worthy of immortalization, and how the physical
design of each statue, unique from the others, personifies the admirable attributes of these
southern heroes. After identifying who and why, we will analyze the history of the idea of
Monument Avenue and how that idea has changed in conjunction with a changing public
perception of "the idea of the South."
It is our finding that as the geographical distance between Americans and America's
most beautiful avenue increases, identification with the statuary as a symbol of regional identity
and aa "a state of mind," gives way to the appreciation of the avenue, not for its commemoration
of the confederate cause, but rather for its aesthetic beauty. Indeed, the significance of
Monument Avenue is variable across time and space.
How to use this site:
In order to best appreciate the argument within this site, we suggest that for your initial
visit you follow the order laid out in table of contents. By first gaining a proficient knowledge
of the historical context of the avenue's erection--the men behind the myth, the avenue's
chronological construction, the selection of
each statue's artist, and the symbolic language implicit in the physical design of this Confederate
shrine--you will better understand the implications of the struggle to preserve the avenue's
southern authenticity by rejecting additions, such as Arthur Ashe's statue, to the boulevard.
This controversy, discussed in the final analysis, illuminates how Monument Avenue's loyalty to
the Confederate cause has
become problematic for many Americans in the 1990s.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
The Men Behind the Myth: Who's Who Among Confederatre
Construction after Reconstruction: the Chronology of
Monument Avenue's Erection
A Look at Monument Avenue Today
Arthur Ashe: A Monumental Man?
Monument Avenue in the 1990s: A Walk of Fame or a Walk of