Lesson Plan: The Removal of Confederate Statues

How History is Formed

Christy Coleman, CEO of the American Civil War Museum discussed how history, heritage and memory combine to create current interpretations of the past.


After the end of the Civil War, many cities in the South and around the country erected statues honoring leaders of the Confederacy. Recently because of their ties to slavery and seccession, there has been a call for these statues and monuments to be removed or relocated. This lesson looks at how history is interpreted differently by various groups and in different time periods. Specifically, it has students answer the question "What should be done about statues honoring Confederate leaders on public lands?"


  • STEP 1:

    View the following clip and have students answer the following questions.

    Video Clip: How History is Formed (2:04)

    • How do people look to the past to make sense of the world in which they are currently living?

    • How can the interpretation of the past change over time?

    • How does society create people's perception of the past?
  • STEP 2:

    Briefly review the history of the Civil War, Reconstruction and Jim Crow.

    Have the students brainstorm ways the Civil War still impacts the United States today.

  • STEP 3:

    Have the students view each of the clips in the next section. As they are watching, the students will answer the questions on the following handout.

    Handout: Guided Questions- The Removal of Confederate Statues (Google Doc)

  • STEP 4:

    Have students list arguments for each category on the following handout.

    Handout: The Removal of Confederate Statues (Google Doc)

    Students should keep in mind the following question as they complete the handout:

    • What should be done about statues honoring Confederate leaders on public lands?
  • STEP 5:

    Writing Assignment- Using the previous handout, have the students respond to the following essay question.

    • What should be done about statues honoring Confederate leaders on public lands? Provide examples from current events and the video clips.

    Future History Textbooks: Predict with how you think our current events will be viewed in 50 years. Write a except from a history textbook about the events of our current time period. How do you think our time period will be viewed in the future? What current events will be historical? What attitudes and beliefs do you think will be seen as outdated?

    Modern Statue: Draw a picture of a statue of someone who is alive today who you believe should be honored. Include where you would put the statue. After drawing it, share your picture with a partner. Explain who this person is and why you believe this person deserves a statue. The partner will discuss hypothetical reasons why people might object to this person getting a statue.

Additional Resources


  • Civil War
  • Confederacy
  • Jefferson Davis
  • Jim Crow
  • Lost Cause
  • Robert E. Lee
  • Slavery


Civil Rights & Civil LibertiesGeographyU.S. History


Middle SchoolHigh School