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In a commissioned lecture at Brooklyn Public Library, Mayor Mitch Landrieu, the New Orleans mayor who removed the city’s Confederate statues, confronts the racism that shapes us and argues for America to reckon with its past.

"There is a difference between remembrance of history and reverence for it." When Mitch Landrieu addressed the people of New Orleans in May 2017 about his decision to take down four Confederate monuments, including the statue of Robert E. Lee, he struck a nerve nationally, and his speech has now been heard or seen by millions across the country. In his first book, In the Shadow of Statues, out this spring, Mayor Landrieu examined his personal journey on race as well as the path he took to making the decision to remove the monuments, tackling the broader history of slavery, race and institutional inequities that still bedevil America, and traced his personal relationship to this history. His father, as state legislator and mayor, was a huge force in the integration of New Orleans in the 1960s and 1970s. Landrieu grew up with a progressive education in one of the nation's most racially divided cities, but even he had to relearn Southern history as it really happened.

His book has been described as unblinking memoir, history, and prescription for finally confronting America's most painful legacy, and the mayor’s Kahn Humanities lecture at Brooklyn Public Library will continue to press the national conversation about race in the age of Donald Trump, at a time when racism is resurgent with seemingly tacit approval from the highest levels of government and when too many Americans have a misplaced nostalgia for a time and place that never existed. Mayor Landrieu will be in conversation with Rob Fields. Fields is the President and Executive Director of Weeksville Heritage Center, a multidisciplinary museum dedicated to preserving the history of the 19th century African American community of Weeksville, Brooklyn, one of America’s many free black communities.

Click here to view this event at our BPL Presents page beginning from 7 PM, April 30, 2020. Please note: this program will be available for 24 hours. For more videos, please follow us on YouTube or Facebook.

The Kahn Humanities Lecture is made possible by The Kahn Endowment for Humanities Programs.

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