University of New Orleans historian Mary Niall Mitchell will participate in a panel discussion entitled "Monumental Decisions: Confederate Memorials in the 21st Century." The event, hosted by Louisiana Cultural Vistas magazine, will take place Thursday, July 23, at 6 p.m. at Turners' Hall, 938 Lafayette St. in the Central Business District. Mitchell, an associate professor of history, has been a prominent voice in the recent debate over Confederate monuments. Her views have been widely sought after from the print, radio and television news media.
Communities across the South are contemplating their own Confederate monuments in the wake of nine South Carolina murders allegedly committed by a shooter who celebrated the Confederate battle flag. Locally, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu has called on the New Orleans City Council to begin the process for removal of several Civil War monuments under the authority of a public nuisance ordinance. Mitchell has been a strong supporter of community involvement in decisions about the treatment of monuments and cautions against "airbrushing" over historical events. In a guest column for The New Orleans Advocate, Mitchell advocated "reimagin(ing) these symbols of the Confederacy in a public way to reflect the totality of the Civil War and its place in the city's history."
Mitchell will be joined on the panel by Justin Nystrom, assistant professor and director of Loyola University's Documentary and Oral History Studio; Greg Osborn, library associate for the New Orleans Public Library; Rosanne Adderley, associate professor of history at Tulane University; and moderator David Johnson, editor of Louisiana Cultural Vistas.