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What Can and Can'T Be SaidRace, Uplift, and Monument Building in the Contemporary South$
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Dell Upton

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780300211757

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300211757.001.0001

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What Can And Can’t Be Said

What Can And Can’t Be Said

Beyond Civil Rights

(p.172) Chapter 5 What Can And Can’t Be Said
What Can and Can'T Be Said

Dell Upton

Yale University Press

This chapter describes the African American History Monument in South Carolina as an epitome of the parameters of what can and cannot be said. It begins with an overview of monuments in the South Carolina State House Grounds, most of which celebrate the period between Secession and World War II that witnessed the consolidation of white supremacy. It then considers the planning stages for the African American History Monument, which was designed by Ed Dwight and the historical narrative of which is overlaid with elements of romantic cultural essentialism expressed as an idealized and unitary conception of Africans and African Americans. It also examines two different strategies used to achieve the monument's purpose: one is a historical narrative rooted in the specifics of the black experience in South Carolina; the other is the romanticized pan-Africanism that creates a type of separation, one that locates all that is fundamental to the African American experience in preslavery Africa and in those aspects of African culture that survived in South Carolina.

Keywords:   monuments, African American History Monument, South Carolina, white supremacy, Ed Dwight, Africans, African Americans, pan-Africanism, Africa, African culture

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