In 1876, officials in Cortland, New York unveiled a bronze and granite Union soldier monument to commemorate the county’s participation in the American Civil War. Over time, the monument’s meanings and importance changed, and in 2013, Cortland officials began an attempt to move it out of the way for a music stage. This case study illustrates how Union monuments (similarly to Confederate monuments) represented local pride, masculine ideals, racial beliefs, and community values. Over time, however, original purposes faded from memory. By debating whether or not the statue should stay or move, Cortland reimagined the monument’s significance to its past, present, and future.
“A Problem of Visibility”: Remembering and Forgetting the Civil War in Cortland, New York
Evan Faulkenbury is an assistant professor of history at the State University of New York College at Cortland. He recently published his first book, Poll Power: The Voter Education Project and the Movement for the Ballot in the American South (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2019). At SUNY Cortland, he teaches courses on public history and United States history, and he facilitates undergraduate public history internships.
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Evan Faulkenbury; “A Problem of Visibility”: Remembering and Forgetting the Civil War in Cortland, New York. The Public Historian 1 November 2019; 41 (4): 83–99. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/tph.2019.41.4.83
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