A Monumental Controversy: On the ‘Black Mammy’ Monument and Public Commemorations

Mary Church Terrell wanted to create a new American society in which young black women could grow up expecting to vote and be full citizens, to be free from sexual assaults or constant aspersions on their sexual purity, as well as to be free of the equally pernicious but opposite stereotype of black women as asexual ‘Mammies’ who cared for white women’s children.

Lecture Description

Monuments display power and shape our understanding of American history. In 1923, the United Daughters of the Confederacy convinced lawmakers in the U.S. Senate to pass a bill to create a “monument to the faithful colored mammies of the south.” This talk explores what this monument meant to black women, including the civil rights activist and feminist, Mary Church Terrell, and how they successfully fought against it.


African American Public History and Memory

ALL TOPICS & TITLES: Go back to all topics and titles.

More Distinguished Lectureship Program Resources