34 Memorials That Would “Write” a More Accurate History of the United States

For everyone skeptical that there are historical figures worthy of being memorialized instead of Confederate war soldiers and their military and political leaders, here are some quick suggestions of people, organizations or events that deserve memorials, in no particular order:

• The almost 5,000 black people lynched in the United States

• The 4,000,000-plus black people enslaved in the United States

• The tens of millions of Native Americans murdered by European settlers, colonial armies or the U.S. government

• The tens of thousands of Native Americans forcibly relocated from their native lands

• Sitting Bull, Hunkpapa Lakota medicine man, defeater of George Custer

• Crazy Horse , Lakota leader and warrior

• Geronimo , Chiricahua Apache leader and warrior

• Tecumseh & Tenskwatawa , pan-Indian resistance founders

• The Underground Railroad 

• Frederick Douglass , abolitionist, author, publisher of “The North Star”

• Harriet Tubman , abolitionist and army spy for the Union Army

• Lucy Stanton , abolitionist and feminist

• Sojourner Truth, abolitionist, escaped slave

• Martin Luther King, Jr. , Baptist minister, civil rights activist and leader

• Emmett Till , murdered for allegedly whistling at a white woman

• Medgar Evers , civil rights activist

• Malcolm X , Muslim minister, civil rights activist and leader

• The nearly 200,000 black soldiers who served in the Union Army

• The nearly 40,000 black soldiers who died during the Civil War

• The 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment 

• Nat Turner & the Slave Rebellion of 1831 

• David Walker , abolitionist, author of “ Appeal in Four Articles” 

• William Lloyd Garrison , publisher of anti-slavery newspaper “The Liberator” 

• A. Philip Randolph , activist, organizer and leader of the Sleep Car Porters, the first mostly black labor union

• Bayard Rustin , co-founder of Southern Christian Leadership Conference, advisor to Martin Luther King, Jr., organizer of the famous March on Washington, gay rights activist

• Fred Shuttlesworth , Baptist minister, civil rights activist, co-founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference

• The Southern Christian Leadership Conference , the African-American civil rights organization

• Fannie Lou Hamer , civil rights activist and leader, philanthropist

• Angela Davis , civil rights activist, educator, author

• Huey P. Newton Bobby Seal , founders of the Black Panther Party

• The Black Panther Party 

• Fred Hampton , civil rights activist, chairman of the Illinois Black Punter Party

• Harry & Harriette Moore, civil rights activists and teachers

• Thurgood Marshall, Supreme Court Justice

This is a list that I, a white man, put together in an afternoon. I’m sure it could be better, and that more learned black or Native American historians or activists could come up with a more comprehensive list and a far better explanation of why these people, organizations or events deserve to be memorialized. Still, as the bickering goes on about whether statues of white men who fought for slavery as members of the Confederacy deserve to remain standing, it seemed to me to be far better use of our time to point out what the alternatives are to such blindered thinking.

Each person, organization, or event has a link to further explain their contributions to our history as a nation.

This is not meant to shut down conversation, and as I said, I enthusiastically encourage others to peruse, edit and add to this list. I merely wanted to put some names and events out there so that we could see just how many great Americans deserve to be remembered for their acts of courage and love, and for their humanity against overwhelming odds.

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