Politics & Government

Monumental Lies: Update

Civil War-era myths are kept alive at Confederate monuments with stories of “benevolent slave owners” and enslaved people “contented with their lot.”
Brian Palmer/The Investigative Fund
Local public school students listen to a presentation of Civil War-era weapons and equipment during a field trip to Beauvoir in October 2017.

The Civil War ended more than 150 years ago, but the Confederacy didn’t completely die with it. Monuments, shrines and museums are found throughout the South. We teamed up with Type Investigations to visit dozens of them and found that for devoted followers, they inspire a disturbing – and distorted – view of history: Confederate generals as heroes. Slaves who were happy to work for them. That twisted history is also shared with schoolchildren on class trips. And you won’t believe who’s funding these sites to keep them running.

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Plus, the story of New Mexico’s great monument controversy. In 1998, the state was set to celebrate its cuarto centenario: the 400th anniversary of the state’s colonization by the Spanish. But a dramatic act of vandalism would turn the making of a monument in Albuquerque into a fight over history the city didn’t expect.

This show has been updated with new reporting, based on a show that originally was broadcast Dec. 8, 2018.

Reported by: The story on Confederate monuments was reported by Brian Palmer and Seth Freed Wessler. The story on the Oñate statue was reported by Stan Alcorn.
Produced by: The story on Confederate monuments was produced by Fernanda Camarena and Najib Aminy. The story on the Oñate statue was produced by Stan Alcorn.
Lead producer: Najib Aminy
Edited by: Kevin Sullivan. The story on the Oñate statue was edited by Jen Chien.
Production manager: Najib Aminy
Production assistance: Amy Mostafa
Sound design and music by: Jim Briggs and Fernando Arruda
Mixing: Jim Briggs and Fernando Arruda
Special thanks to our partner on this show, Type Investigations.
Executive producer: Kevin Sullivan
Host: Al Letson
Other: Research assistance from Jasper Craven, Erin Hollaway Palmer, Richard Salame of Type Investigations.

About the reporters

Brian Palmer

Brian Palmer

Brian Palmer is a visual journalist based in Richmond, Virginia.

Seth Freed Wessler

Seth Freed Wessler

Seth Freed Wessler is an independent investigative reporter and a fellow at Type Investigations.

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