Author ORCID Identifier

Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Fine Arts


Art and Visual Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Anna Brzyski


The release of the Monument Avenue Commission Report in July, 2018 was the culmination of over one year of research and collaboration with community members of Richmond, Virginia on how the city should approach the contentious history of Monument Avenue’s five Confederate centerpieces. What the monuments have symbolized within the predominately rich, white neighborhood and outside of its confines has been a matter of debate ever since they were unveiled, but the recent publicity accorded to Confederate monuments has led to considerations by historians, city leaders, and the public regarding recontextualization of Confederate monuments.

Recontextualization of the monuments should not only consider the city’s current constituency, but also the lives, testimonies, and representations of Richmond’s African- American residents as the monuments were built. A comparative case study of photographs from various institutional archives in Richmond, Virginia, depicting late- nineteenth and early twentieth-century scenes from the city’s history reveals that while Monument Avenue and its Confederate celebrations benefitted the city’s upper-class white constituency, its messages extended far beyond Richmond and its Confederate veterans. By bringing to light images and testimonies from the archive that highlight African-American presence, a counter-narrative emerges detailing the construction of power in post-Reconstruction Richmond through Monument Avenue.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)