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For Instructors

From Left to Right: Ms. October Kamara, Dr. Tiffany Momon, Dr. Woody Register (all of the Roberson Project, Sewanee), Dr. Nashieli Marcano (Furman), and Dr. Selena Doss (WKU) at the Monumental Opportunities Teach-In at Atlanta History Center (April 2023)

This resource page provides diverse information that is useful to instructors and library professionals who are considering ways to add their campus memorials to the LSLdb. It includes information about 1) courses that have embedded the creation of items for the LSLdb into their syllabi; and 2) instructional tools and guides for researching and creating memorial items and entries of persons who have been memorialized. For an annotated bibliography of useful books, articles, and websites, please go here.


Over the last decade a growing number of colleges and universities have launched investigations into their campus memorials and monuments that celebrate the lives of persons who were enslavers, served the Confederacy, or promulgated the agenda of the Lost Cause. In some cases, institutions already have catalogued information that can be added to the LSLdb. In others, though, where investigations have yet to begin or are incomplete, exercises that generate information about memorials into teaching and course syllabi can produce items for the LSLdb and provide a rich and rewarding learning experience for students. The following examples are from colleges and universities that participated in the LSLdb’s pilot year (2022-2023).

Blacks in the Civil War and Reconstruction | Selena Doss, Western Kentucky University, Spring 2023

This course examines Black experiences during the Civil War and Reconstruction era.  It attempts to understand the meaning of these events regarding both national and Black history.  Topics such as Black soldiers, emancipation, postwar labor struggles, political challenges, and the experiences of women will be explored

Locating Slavery’s Legacies at Sewanee | Woody Register, University of the South, Fall 2022

An intensive “first-year experience” course for beginning college students that incorporated archival research, LSLdb item creation, and a conference poster presentation.

The Civil War and Reconstruction | Jonathan Jones, Virginia Military Institute, Fall 2022

This course examines the shifting narrative around the Civil War and Reconstruction with an emphasis on their true impacts on slavery, race, and the development of the Lost Cause– including the cultural war still happening around the legacy of the American Civil war today.

Research Tools

Throughout our pilot year, we worked with our pilot partners to create research and teaching tools to help them embed the database into their courses. Those tools includes worksheets that replicated the templates used to add items, a google sheet that allowed streamlined data entry, and the data dictionary used to create the metadata for the items within the database.

Data Dictionary and Controlled Vocabulary

The Data Dictionary is the basic instructional guide for adding any information to the LSLdb. It defines and describes the different categories of memorial items and memorialized persons. It also provides precise instructions for adding information
— whether about a memorial or the person who is memorialized — to the database.

Its most important feature is a “controlled vocabulary” (CV). The LSLdb’s CV is unique to it. It features a preset formula that determines the words and phrases and the arrangement of words and phrases that all database entries follow. For instance, a person’s name always is added with the last or family name followed by the first or given name. The consistent use of words and word order — the controlled vocabulary — allows the database to consistently organize and index content and then accurately retrieve information by browsing or searching. When information about memorials on Campus X follows the same pattern and order as those on Campus Y, a user can make the wider regional comparisons among the items in the database. For instance, users of the database can search and find memorials to the Confederate general Robert E. Lee on all the campuses where they appear.

Memorial Template Guide

This guide assists researchers in gathering basic factual information to use in adding a memorial to the Locating Slavery’s Legacies database (LSLdb). The LSLdb provides a record of memorials to the figures or events identified as proponents or opponents of slavery, secession and the Confederacy, the Lost Cause, and Civil Rights movements. This form will guide your research into the memorial’s history in preparation for adding this information to the database. This form is to be used alongside the data dictionary which includes the LSLdb’s controlled vocabularies and template instructions. Where indicated, you may refer to the definitions in the dictionary for clarification of terms.

Completion of this form will yield greater insight into the memorial’s contextual relation to the legacies of American slavery, including the mythology of the Lost Cause and public rituals and symbols that supported Jim Crow social hierarchies and white racial supremacy in the United States after the Civil War and emancipation. Your research will likely yield more information than you will need for the data entry, but this extensive knowledge and understanding are the necessary foundation for an accurate and insightful contribution to the LSLdb. This is a fillable PDF, so you can download and print it if you would like to fill the guide in by hand or you can download and type into the form and save the PDF with your changes.