Ivan Chavez

Contested Memory and the Racialization of Monuments in the United States

The status of monuments depicting white colonialism has been highly debated for years, with some historians stating that they should remain while others ask for their removal. Although these monuments have been contested since their creation, the Black Lives Matter movement has become an avenue for immediate change. In response, artists put up contemporary monuments that highlight racial injustice throughout the world. However, within the Black Lives Matter movement, both these contested statues as well as the newly placed, contemporary pieces of art are toppled or destroyed. This research project will look into the context of both these old and contemporary Bay Area monuments/murals, which includes the reason for their placement and the reception upon their placement. Then, it will look into their destruction, and the sentiments tied to these actions. By doing so, this research will find where the United States stands when it comes to racial injustice in the 21st century, based on its attitudes towards monuments, both old and new.

Message to Sponsor

Thank you for your support in funding my research. When I came to Cal, I never imagined myself doing any research due to financial barriers, and I will now be able to do my research without worrying about any constraints. I appreciate your contribution to myself and SURF, and can’t wait to get started in the summer!
  • Major: History
  • Sponsor: CACSSF
  • Mentor: Pablo Gonzalez