Engendered in Stone
The Role of Race and Gender in the Construction and Removal of Confederate Monuments in Tampa, Florida
This article recounts the 2017 struggle of the Black women-led group “Take ‘Em Down Hillsborough” to remove a Confederate monument in downtown Tampa, Florida. The article contextualizes the struggle historically and regionally back to the Jim Crow era. Concurrently, it examines efforts by white and Black women’s organizations in the U.S. South, and in Tampa, Florida in particular, to intervene in racial formations via the remaking of cultural landscapes and places of historical memory. Around the turn of the 20th century, white women’s civic groups were central to the erection of Confederate monuments to shore up white nationalist masculinity in the defeated South through the promulgation of a “Lost Cause” narrative and symbols. Simultaneously, Black women organized to contest these forgeries of public memory – and white supremacy more broadly – by engaging in a range of interconnected activities of community development, electoral organizing, placemaking, and public memory work. This study examines the historical and contemporary struggles over and around Confederate monuments in and beyond Tampa through the optics of Black Geographies, attending to continuities in Black feminist modes of organizing. The article highlights the historical grounding in Tampa of Black women organizers’ conceptions and practices of intersectionality and coalition-building, and their refusal of the false binary between symbolic and material struggles.
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Copyright (c) 2022 Samantha L Bowden, MPS, Stephen McFarland, PhD, M Martin Bosman, PhD
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