Museum Archipelago

77. Trump Asks, “Who's Next?” Lyra Monteiro Answers, Washington’s Next!

March 16th, 2020  •  14 mins 37 secs  •  Download (10.6 MB)  •  Link with Timestamp

RSS Feed

The statue of George Washington in New York City's Union Square commemorates him on a particular day—November 25th, 1783—the date when the defeated British Army left Manhattan after the American Revolutionary War. The statue celebrates the idea that Washington brought freedom to the country, but professor of history at Rutgers University-Newark Dr. Lyra D. Monteiro researched how many people of African descent that Washington was enslaving on that same date: 271.

Representing these people formed the heart of Washington's Next!, a participatory commemorative experience focused around that statue. In this episode, Monteiro describes how a tweet from President Trump was the inspiration for the name, how passersby reacted to the project, and the subtle ways that public monuments have power.