This week, a 7-foot monument honoring Viola Liuzzo – a local mother and activist killed by KKK members for marching in the civil rights movement – was unveiled at a neighborhood park bearing her name on Detroit’s west side.
The 39-year-old Wayne State University nursing student was killed by the Ku Klux Klan in 1965 after participating in a civil rights march in Alabama as a white woman.
Erin Thompson, author of “Smashing Statues: The Rise and Fall of America’s Public Monuments,” and Jamon Jordan, the City of Detroit’s official historian, joined Detroit Today this morning to discuss the monument’s unveiling, and the meaning historical monuments carry in American society today.
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• Erin Thompson is an art crime professor at the City University of New York. She’s also the author of “Smashing Statues: The Rise and Fall of America’s Public Monuments.” She says Americans are re-evaluating the role monuments play in our society.
“I think today, we’re starting to question again, ‘can any one person really represent all of our aspirations for who we want to be?'” asks Thompson.
• Jamon Jordan is the City of Detroit’s official historian, and founder of Black Scroll Network History and Tours. He says celebrating the life and legacy of Viola Liuzzo is an example of how communities can promote ideals we find important.
“In lifting her up, what we’re saying is that the fight for human rights is not a particular group of people’s fight,” says Jordan. “It is everybody’s fight.”
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