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."

Thesis

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 Heroes
  • 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 Shame?