America’s relationship with history is changing and, with it, our views of public monuments. Debates are raging in towns and cities across the nation. Some monuments have come down, others defaced. Join us for a virtual conversation with writer Sarah Vowell to explore the national recalibration that’s underway over how America expresses its stories and values in public spaces.
This program is a partnership between Whitman College in Walla Walla, WA and Confluence, a community-supported nonprofit with the mission to connect people to the history, living cultures, and ecology of the Columbia River system through Indigenous voices. In recent years, the Whitman College community has debated the value a statue of the college’s namesake, Marcus Whitman.
Meanwhile, Whitman is organizing an exhibition on Confluence’s art installations, which are designed to connect visitors with the Indigenous side of the Lewis and Clark story. These art landscapes are designed by Maya Lin, the artist who designed the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC, and other memorials across the nation.
Sarah Vowell is the New York Times’ bestselling author of seven nonfiction books on American history and culture. By examining the connections between the American past and present, she offers personal, often humorous accounts of American history as well as current events and politics. Her most recent book, Lafayette in the Somewhat United States, explores both the ideas and the battles of the American Revolution, especially the patriot founders’ alliance with France as personified by the teenage volunteer in George Washington’s army, the Marquis de Lafayette.