Interpreting Divisive Historic Monuments with Celebrity Historian Raffi Andonian

Watch our webinar with Celebrity Historian Raffi Andonian, where we explored the controversial history of Confederate monuments in the United States.

Despite ongoing efforts, statues honoring individuals who served the Confederacy, including Jefferson Davis and Alexander Hamilton Stephens, still stand in the U.S. Capitol. Advocates have called for their removal, with several replacements already approved or in progress, such as Johnny Cash replacing Uriah Milton Rose from Arkansas and Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune replacing Edmund Kirby Smith from Florida. Efforts are also underway to replace Robert E. Lee’s statue, removed in 2020 (image below), with a statue of Barabra Rose Johns from Virginia.

Debates surrounding Confederate monuments often raise fundamental questions about our national identity, what values we prioritize, and which historical figures we choose to honor. These monuments represent a particular interpretation of history, often symbolizing complex and painful aspects of our nation’s past, including racism, inequality, and the legacy of the Civil War and slavery.

During our webinar, Raffi Andonian will provided an open-ended framework for understanding and evaluating historic sites, figures, and symbols, encouraging an informed dialogue about the significance of Confederate monuments and what they represent to us.


Raffi Andonian – South Dakota Humanities Council

Raffi Andonian is TV’s “Celebrity Historian” with 100+ guest appearances on ABC-CBS-FOX-NBC stations across the country. He is also the author of three history books, including Creating Space for Conflicted Histories, an Amazon best-seller. He is the producer and host of an AppleTV show, Clio The Muse, which encourages viewers to “challenge the present by inquiring the past.”

Raffi has spoken at Oxford, Cambridge, NASDAQ, humanities councils, and universities across the country. He also teaches at the college level at Harris Stowe State University (HBCU) and for the public through the North Dakota Humanities Council. Raffi began his career at the Gettysburg battlefield, Richmond Civil War sites, the Martin Luther King childhood home, and Los Alamos, NM, where the atomic bomb was created. Today, he leads private tours and an employee engagement program. He serves as President of the St. George Tucker Society, an academic association for the study of the U.S. South.


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