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Mellon Foundation announces $250M grant to reimagine US monuments

Mellon Foundation announces $250M grant to reimagine US monuments
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The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation announced on Wednesday it will be dedicating a $250 million grant to be spent over the next five years to “transform the way our country’s histories are told in public spaces.

The new endeavor, titled the “Monuments Project,” will seek to bring more context to preexisting monuments, relocate others and fund the creation of new ones depicting people from diverse communities.

“Monuments, memorials, and other commemorative spaces convey both individual narratives and national values,” said Elizabeth Alexander, president of the Mellon Foundation, in a statement. “They shape the histories of who we are and influence ongoing discussion about which people in our society are considered worth celebrating and remembering.” 

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This announcement comes as many local governments have begun to rethink their own monuments and the troubled history of some of those portrayed. After the Black Lives Matter movement was renewed this year, several monuments were removed and acknowledged as having racist connotations. 

The Mellon Foundation noted that a $4 million grant to Monument Lab in Philadelphia will be the first awarded as part of the project.

This new endeavor to contextualize U.S. history may run counter to President TrumpDonald TrumpThe Memo: The Obamas unbound, on race Iran says onus is on US to rejoin nuclear deal on third anniversary of withdrawal Assaults on Roe v Wade increasing MORE’s recent announcement of a new commission to further “patriotic education.” The 1776 Commission will encourage educators “teach our children about the miracle of American history.” The name of the commission appeared to be a direct response to the 1619 Project by The New York Times Magazine, which reexamines U.S. history through the impact of slavery. Trump referred to such endeavors as “ideological poison.”