The Rise and Fall of Monument Avenue

Dublin Core


The Rise and Fall of Monument Avenue


This collection is on the history of Monument Avenue. Rather than focusing on each individual monument, this collection aims to present a holistic view of Monument Avenue's development and history. Monument Avenue is located in Richmond, Virginia and is an area embued with controversy due to its former status as the capital of the Confederacy.  

Richmond, Virgina is just 100 miles south of Washington DC. Following the secession of Virginia and the fall of Fort Sumter at the start of the Civil War, Richmond was designated the capitol of the Confederacy in 1861. The Civil War ended when the city fell to Union forces in April 1865 which signaled the end of the Confederate government as well as Robert E. Lee surrending his army at Appomattox Courthouse shortly after. While most government records were destoyed during the turmoil of evacuation along with a subsequent fire, the city has since become home to various monuments and museums remembering the Confederacy.

Beggining with the dedication of the Robert E. Lee statue in 1890, and four additional monuments in the following decades, Monument Avenue quickly developed into the symbolic center of Richmond's Confederate past. Both beloved and despised by different communities of Richmond's diverse population, the battle over Monument Avenue's future continues as citizens debate the meaning and legacy of the Confederacy.


Yuan Chiang, Art Hernandez, Melanie Vigil, Steven Mang, Monique Garcia, Sean Ghafourian, Max Bezanilla, and Kareem Khaled.




HIST 402A Fall 2020, Fall 2021, and Fall 2023


Richmond, Virginia

Collection Items

4. Monument Removal 2020-2021
On May 25th, 2020, George Floyd was killed by former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin while under arrest for allegedly passing off a counterfeit twenty dollar bill at a convenience store. When the video of this white police officer killing…

3. The Impact of Charlottesville on Monument Avenue
On August 12, 2017, the “Unite the Right” rally was held by white supremacists and white nationalists in Charlottesville, Virginia to protest the removal of a Confederate statue of Robert E. Lee. Counter protests ensued and the protest culminated in…

2. Monument Avenue in the Civil Rights Era and After
The practice of memorializing Virginia’s central role in the American Civil War emphasized Lost Cause ideology while simultaneously avoiding the issues of racism and the ongoing harm to the descendants of the formerly enslaved population of the…

1. The Construction of Monument Avenue
During the post-Civil War era, conservative Democrats in the South attempted to revive the fading passions for the Lost Cause. Robert E. Lee’s nephew, Fitzhugh Lee, led the charge to create the Lee Monument Association in 1886. In May 1890 the…

5. Relocation and Recontextualization
Following the removal of the monument of Robert E. Lee in 2021, the city of Richmond wrestled with the question of what to do with the now decommissioned statues of Confederate figureheads. Disassembly and storage of these monuments in late 2020 fell…
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