Truth-Telling and Memory-Work in Montgomery’s Co-Constituted Landscapes
Keywords:Memory, race, lynching, memorials
Drawing attention to the latent, hidden, and not fully reconciled historical landscape of trauma, we explore memory work in the contemporary US South, focusing on the ongoing cultural resurgence of Montgomery, Alabama. Self-branded and highlighted by the New York Times as the “Capital of Cool,” we suggest that Montgomery is an analytically valuable site to understand the complex and still under-analyzed intersection of race, memory, and place. Focusing on Montgomery expands our conceptualizations of memory work beyond the typical focus on activists and artists who push progressive narratives. Placing the National Memorial for Peace and Justice within a larger understanding of the city’s memorial landscapes, our paper argues that Montgomery’s conflicted landscape evokes new questions and tensions about memory, racism, and white supremacy and their broader spatial interlockings.
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