Primary Sources Related to the Lee Monument on Monument Avenue

Lesson Plan: Learn about the beginning of Monument Avenue through examining letters, maps, and newspaper articles from when the Lee Monument was created. These primary source documents, from the time period, allow us to see the monument from a variety of perspectives.

Grade Level

High, Middle


VS.1, VS.8, USII, USII.3, USII.4, CE.1, VUS.1, VUS.7, GOVT.1, GOVT.3, GOVT.9

Time Period

1871-1899: Post Reconstruction


Jim Crow, The Lost Cause Myth

Resource Type

Lesson Plan
A group of people around the Lee Monument that is covered by a veil.
Lee Monument Unveiling, May 1890, Cook Collection 4635, The Valentine.

Essential Questions

  • How do monuments get their meaning? How does that meaning change over time? 
  • Who gets to create monuments? Whose voices are being heard or lifted up by monuments and whose voices are missing or suppressed? 
  • What is missing from Richmond, Virginia’s current monumental landscape?  


Monument Avenue’s Beginnings Lesson Plan (pdf)

Monument Avenue’s Beginnings Primary Source Packet (zip)