American Symbols and Their Stories: From the Liberty Bell to Lady Liberty

Edward O’Donnell – Holy Cross College


09/25/2020 4:00 pm



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Throughout the history of the United States, Americans have developed symbols to express their most cherished values, hopes and institutions.  These include familiar ones like the American flag, Statue of Liberty, the Liberty Bell, Uncle Sam, the White House, and the bald eagle. They also include symbols that challenge the establishment to promote social change. Consider the peace sign or the clenched fist of the Black Power movement.  And what about all of those now forgotten symbols that once carried so much significance—like the pineapple (hospitality), beehive (hard work), and the ballot box (democracy)?  In this presentation, Professor O’Donnell will explore the role of symbols in American history and discuss these key questions: Where do these symbols come from?  How have they functioned in society? How and why does their meaning change over time?