Request the Monuments Database
The weekly “Monday’s Monument” feature on this website is being fed from a database we are compiling that currently contains 200+ monuments. If you’d like a copy of the database, drop us a line.
Peace & Justice Monuments
Since May, 2015, every Monday morning the peaceCENTER has been posting a little essay about a peace or social justice monument. For more than a decade, ever since the peaceCENTER was contracted by a national peace & human rights group to develop a workshop exploring strategies for creating memorials about acts of violence and injustice that did not glorify the bloodshed, we have pondered the relationship between the landscape and civic memory.
“I would rather take care of the stomachs of the living than the glory of the departed in the form of monuments.”
As we showcase these monuments we hope you will join us in this exploration. For now, we’re concentrating on publicly accessible outdoor works (indoor art, museums and historic sites may come later . . . ) Some are grassroots and homespun; others, more complicated in their funding and execution. They all have a story to tell and we can learn from all of them.
The Ave Quiromantica is a bronze sculpture located on Calle Bolsa, Malaga, Andalusia, Spain. It is half pigeon and half an open hand, the whole sculpture resting on a marble base. It was based on a sketch done by the poet Rafael Perez Estrada, to whom the monument is...read more
In 1910 the Nordic Peace Congress in Stockholm decided that a peace monument should be raised on the border between Sweden and Norway to celebrate 100 year of peace between the countries. The building of the peace monument was finished in 1914. The design of the Peace...read more
The Head of the UN Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), Sandra Honoré, unveiled a peace sculpture in the country's capital Port-au-Prince on September 28, 2017. The installation, which will remain at the National Police Academy, is called ‘Ann Chwazi Lapè’ (meaning ‘Let's...read more
The Peace Candle of the World, also known as the Scappoose Peace Candle, is an approximately 50-foot-tall structure, built in 1971 outside what was then the Brock Candles Inc. factory, which burned down in 1990. The land was formerly a dairy farm; the candle was...read more
Stand Up, Speak Out was created in 1999 with the support of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Long Island Chapter, Students Against Drunk Driving, and the Nassau County Traffic Safety Board. It received national attention due to its original placement at the Nassau...read more
The Monument to World Peace is located near the entrance to the Santos Dumont Airport in Rio de Janeiro, the site of the 1992 Global Forum, a conference of non-governmental organizations held during the 1992 Earth Summit (formally known as the United Nations...read more
Just after midnight on September 18th, 1961 a plane carrying UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld and fifteen others crashed, killing all aboard, outside of Ndola in what was then Rhodesia. The small plane was on the way to the Congo Republic to negotiate a...read more
Pax, a monument to Aristide Briand, is to the left of the front gate of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the Quai d'Orsay. It is by Paul Landowski and was dedicated in 1937.The central relief shows peace sheltering a family; the robed figures represent the nations...read more
The Irish Famine Memorial along the Riverway, was dedicated on November 17, 2007. A bronze statue of three Irish figures anchors one end of the site, with a walkway incorporating memorial bricks and flagstones leading to the memorial wall. There, a narrative plaque...read more
This sculpture, Together for Peace and Justice by Xavier de Fraissinette, is in the Parc de la Tête-d'Or in Lyon. It was given to the city to commemorate the G7 conference which was held there in June, 1996. The seven figures represent the G7 nations (Canada, France,...read more
The Sphere was commissioned by the owner of the World Trade Center, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, in 1966. Sculptor Fritz Koenig started work in 1967 in his barn in Bavaria, while the WTC was in the planning stages, and finished it four years later in...read more
Established on January 12, 2017, one of President Obama's last acts as president, Freedom Riders National Monument shares stories of people and places that gained national attention in the fight against the injustices of Jim Crow laws and eventually led to regulations...read more
The Slave Memorial in Zanzibar, Tanzania, recalls how slaves were once held in underground chambers until sold in the nearby slave market. Swedish sculptor Clara Sornas produced the work in 1998. The chains are real historical artifacts. The slave trade shifted to...read more
Dedicated in November 2017, the Slave Trade Marker, located in a small park where the waters of the Delaware River once flowed, is a cast-iron sign proclaiming in large gold letters the weight of America’s original sin: “Enslaved Africans Once Sold Here.” More than...read more
The Unsung Founders Memorial at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is located in McCorkle Place, one of the University’s quads. The memorial is a black granite tabletop supported by 300 bronze figurines and surrounded by 5 black stone seats. The...read more
Ten Questions to Ask at a Historic Site
In his book Lies Across America, Professor James Loewen posed these ten questions to ask at a historic site.
1. When did this location become a historic site? (When was the marker or monument put up? Or the house interpreted?) How did that time differ from ours? From the time of the event or person interpreted?
2. Who sponsored it? representing which participant groups’s point of view? What was their position in the social structure when the event occurred? When the site went “up”?
3. What were the sponsor’s motives? What were their ideological needs and social purposes? What were their values?
4. What is the intended audience for the site? What values were they trying to leave for us, today? What does the site ask us to go and do or think about?
5. Did the sponsors have government support? At what level? Who was ruling the government at the time? What ideological arguments were used to get the government acquiescence?
6. Who is left out? What points of view go largely unheard? How would the story differ if a different group told it? Another political party? Race? Sex? Class? Religious group?
7. Are there problematic (insulting, degrading) words or symbols that would not be used today, or by other groups?
8. How is the site used today? Do traditional rituals continue to connect today’s public to it? Or is it ignored? Why?
9. Is the presentation accurate? What actually happened? What historical sources tell of the event, people, or period commemorated at this site?
10. How does the site fit in with others that treat the same era? Or subject? What other people lived ad events happened then but are not commemorated? Why?
Travel across the United States in a 1965 Airstream Trailer as filmmaker Tom Trinley visits historic sites and monuments unveiling the many sides of history not told on the landscape or in history books. On-camera appearances by Howard Zinn, James Loewen, Lonnie Bunch and Adam “Fortunate Eagle” Nordwall. Inspired by “Lies My Teacher Told Me” and “A Peoples’ History of the United States.”
At the Un-National Monument along the Canadian Border
By William E. Stafford
This is the field where the battle did not happen,
where the unknown soldier did not die.
This is the field where grass joined hands,
where no monument stands,
and the only heroic thing is the sky.
Birds fly here without any sound,
unfolding their wings across the open.
No people killed—or were killed—on this ground
hallowed by neglect and an air so tame
that people celebrate it by forgetting its name.
Of princes, shall outlive this powerful rhyme;
But you shall shine more bright in these contents
Than unswept stone besmear’d with sluttish time.
When wasteful war shall statues overturn,
And broils root out the work of masonry,
Nor Mars his sword nor war’s quick fire shall burn
The living record of your memory.
–William Shakespeare, from Sonnet 55
Listen to this song!
And we find it really hard to say we’re sorry
So the shadow of injustice still remains
We build monuments to those who died in battle
But we seldom speak of those who died in chains