restricted access A Tale of Two Civil War Statues: Teaching the Geographies of Memory and Heritage in Norfolk, Virginia

In my teaching, I like to use local examples when possible to illustrate theories and concepts. In this essay, I highlight a case study from Norfolk, Virginia, where I live and teach, which we use in class to help understand the concepts of memory, heritage and landscape. This case concerns two of the city’s adjacent 19th century cemeteries, the Elm-wood and West Point cemeteries. One of the cemeteries is historically white and contains a recently-added white Confederate soldier statue. The other cemetery is historically African American and contains what is believed to be the region’s only statue of a black Union soldier. Through a discussion of these two local statues and cemeteries, we explore how race and power are ‘naturalized’ in the presentation of the region’s history, and investigate the role that memory and heritage play in constructing and contesting issues of race and power on the landscape.