Tribute Or Tribulation? | KCUR

Tribute Or Tribulation?

In Sedalia, Missouri, Marge Harlan, a retired psychologist and secretary of the local NAACP, built a replica slave cabin. The cabin has been received by the community with mixed reviews.
Credit Faith Bemiss / The Sedalia Democrat

In Sedalia, Missouri, Marge Harlan spent $25,000 of her own money to build a "slave cabin." While she meant the cabin to honor the courage and resilience of African-Americans, many in the community, especially people of color, have found the gesture problematic and offensive.

We ask, how do we commemorate history? What is the best way to remember a conflicted and painful past? And who gets to decide?


  • Marge Harlan, retired psychologist, NAACP secretary, owner at Rose M. Nolen Black History Library
  • Randal Jelks​, professor of African-American studies, University of Kansas
  • Monroe Dodd, KCUR's resident historian