Cyclorama: An Atlanta Monument

An Atlanta Monument

Cyclorama (detail), courtesy of the Kenan Research Center at the Atlanta History Center.

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Cyclorama: An Atlanta Monument

An Atlanta Monument

by Daniel Judt
Southern Cultures, Vol. 23, No. 2: Summer 2017

“If the Cyclorama becomes an artifact for students and historians and ceases to be a monument in which Atlantans invest memory and meaning, it will be . . . one example of how we might retire a monument to the Confederacy, without erasing the history that the monument carries.”

On May 1, 1886, Jefferson Davis visited Atlanta for the last time. He had agreed to speak at the unveiling of a statue of the late Georgia senator Benjamin Harvey Hill. The former president of the Confederacy looked gaunt and frail. He sat on stage during the ceremony, and one might imagine that the crowd of fifty thousand watched his every fidget. “We hope on that day to hear the real, old fashion rebel yell, having never heard it,” wrote the DeKalb Chronicle‘s editors. “We reckon it will offend no one, but if so, let it offend.” And sure enough, when Davis rose, the crowd roared, Yee-Haw! or, perhaps, Yay-Hoo! Davis gave a short speech praising the late senator, and then the crowd dispersed.

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