Light in the Darkness: When Monuments Attack
Monuments and memorials are public symbols that tell the stories communities want remembered and uplifted. The last two years have brought a renewed scrutiny and reckoning of these spaces and histories that have led to a wave of removals, renaming, and reexamination. As the nation celebrates and reflects upon the importance of Juneteenth this year – now a day of national observance – join Washington National Cathedral for an evening exploring these spaces and what racialized symbolism and iconography is and how they shape our public history and memory.
The Cathedral is pleased to welcome former mayor of New Orleans, Mitch Landrieu, who removed the city’s Confederate monuments in 2017, with Cathedral Dean Randy Hollerith, Dr. Sarah Lewis from Harvard University, and curator at the National Museum of African American History and Culture Paul Gardullo for a panel discussion moderated by journalist Adelle Banks. National Museum of African History and Culture curator Aaron Bryant will offer a keynote explaining what racialized symbolism is and why there continues to be scrutiny in these spaces.
The evening continues with the final night of the Cathedral’s Juneteenth public lighting exhibit with Reclaiming the Monument, a public art project based out of Richmond, VA whose light projections on Richmond’s Lee Monument in 2020 gained international attention.
Aaron Bryant, Curator, National Museum of African American History & Culture
Dr. Paul Gardullo, Director, Center for the Study of Global Slavery, National Museum of African American History & Culture
The Very Rev. Randy Hollerith, Dean, Washington National Cathedral
Mr. Mitch Landrieu, Former Mayor of New Orleans
Sarah Lewis, Harvard University and The Vision & Justice Project
Moderated by Adelle Banks, Religion News Service
About the Cathedral’s Light in the Darkness Windows Replacement Project
In 2015 then-dean Gary Hall called for the removal of two stained-glass windows in the Cathedral – those to Confederate Generals Robert E. Lee & Stonewall Jackson. What followed was a multi-year process to examine, remove and reimagine these windows. In September 2021, the Cathedral announced that acclaimed artist Kerry James Marshall and poet Elizabeth Alexander had agreed to create new windows and poetry, respectively, for the bay that previously held these two windows. Over the next two years as we await installation of the new windows, the Cathedral is embarking on public programming and education opportunities around the Light in the Darkness Windows Replacement Project. Learn more about the project and activities at cathedral.org/windows.
This event is available in-person and online. Registration is encouraged, but optional.
After the forum, we’ll have food trucks and music on the Cathedral grounds. Bring your friends for this community event!
In partnership with the National Museum of African American History and Culture.