In the last 30 days, the Helena City Commission removed a fountain from a public park that was presented by the Daughters of the Confederacy in 1914, one of many confederate monuments and statues that have been removed across the country.

The Mansfield Library at the University of Montana will be holding a public forum discussion on the subject on Wednesday, September 13 from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m.

Assistant Professor and Web Services Librarian Jaci Wilkinson explained the purpose of the session.

"The panel is entitled 'When Monuments Fall, White Nationalism and Public Spaces'," Wilkinson said. "I want to continue this conversation here in our campus community about what it means to have confederate monuments in public spaces and why they need to come down and why they need to be properly contextualized, and why it is offensive and wrong to have our nation's history portrayed in such a narrow way. A way that should be offensive to all Americans, but is particularly offensive to people of color in this country."

Wilkinson introduced the panelists who will be guiding the discussion.

"Our panelists are Anya Jabour, she is a Civil War historian who teaches in the history department, Tobin Shearer, who teaches in African American studies, Jennifer Thompson, who teaches in Parks and Rec and tourism, and George Price, who teaches in Native American and African American studies."

Wilkinson explained why there is no one on the panel who supports the retention of such monuments.

"I did not invite any so-called 'white nationalists' or someone who believes the monuments should stay as a 'counterpoint' because I do not think that is a valid counterpoint to this discussion," she said. "Everyone on this panel agrees that white supremacy is a problem in this country  and that, unfortunately, confederate monuments continue these hateful messages to people of color. So, while I encourage anyone of any background to attend, know that that is not a viewpoint that we consider to be a valid counterpoint to the panelists that I have described."

Wilkinson asks that anyone who attends will be respectful of the discussion.

The forum will be held in the East Faculty Office Area on the Main Level of the Mansfield Library. The event is free and open to the public.

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