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First Year Book, ODI to Host Talk With Contractor Who Removed Confederate Memorials

By Laura Cech

A Virginia-based construction firm owner will offer a unique take on the University of Maryland’s First Year Book, “Smashing Statues: The Rise and Fall of America's Public Monuments.”

Amid the national reckoning that followed George Floyd’s murder, Devon Henry and his employees at Team Henry Enterprises have dismantled more than a dozen memorials to Confederate heroes and installed new ones celebrating the contributions of Black people, including the Memorial to Enslaved Laborers at the University of Virginia.

The Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the First Year Book program will host Henry in a virtual conversation at 4 p.m. Oct. 17.

“Smashing Statues” by Erin L. Thompson is a history of the memorials we build and why we build them, and asks us to consider the history behind some of the most revered statues.

“Bringing Devon into the conversation with our First Year Book programming was a natural connection,” said Tait D. Brooks, director of diversity training and education. “He can comprehensively examine the complex issues surrounding public monuments by offering firsthand experience and insights into this historical, cultural and political topic.”

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