Margo Jefferson likens Confederate Monuments to Architectural Terrorism

Cultural critic Margo Jefferson has likened Confederate monuments to “architectural terrorism” and says she has “no doubt” they ought to be removed.

“These statues were tactics, public monuments as threats and reminders that the system is in place, and forms of, you might say, architectural terrorism,” the Pulitzer Prize-winner said at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. “This is something we’ve seen all over the world, right? Statues of oppressors being taken down, blasted, etc. I know it’s a relief.”

Jefferson acknowledged there were various means of “handling” the issue, which has sparked violent clashes in the United States, but did not “doubt for a minute” that they were “ugly symbols” which had been intended “to wound and threaten” African-Americans. “So that has to be acknowledged,” she said. “There are a lot of ways to acknowledge it, but in terms of what you do with them yeah, [they] gotta go.”

Jefferson was in discussion with event chair Celeste-Marie Bernier about her new memoir, Negroland, which explores the challenge of reconciling feminism with black power. Asked if she thought the US would ever eradicate racism, she replied: “In any of our lifetimes, no, we will not achieve that, we will continue to be fighting for it…we do live within this larger reality and, you know, I don’t know when that will disappear – history goes back as much as it goes forward.”

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