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Richmond's Brian Palmer Wins Peabody Award For Investigation Into Spending on Confederate Memorials

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Brian Palmer, the journalist who moved to Richmond while working on a documentary about his own hidden family roots, has won a prestigious Peabody Award in radio and podcasting for his "Monumental Lies" episode, based on an article he co-wrote for the Smithsonian.

Palmer won the award with Seth Freed Wessler and the pair's work found that more than $40 million in state and federal funds have been spent on maintenance and expansion of Confederate monuments and sites over the past decade. The pair visited 50 Confederate sites around the country, mostly the South and Southwest, and filed 175 open records requests to track public spending.

The Peabody site wrote of the podcast (Type Investigations and Reveal, from The Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX):

Exploring the contested history surrounding monuments in the South and the Southwest, this nuanced report adds depth to current debates about how the public should mark troubling chapters of our national history. The investigative teams explore how “Lost Cause ideology” often substitutes for historical accuracy by sending black and white reporters, individually, into Beauvoir, a Mississippi site dedicated to Confederate president Jefferson Davis. Listeners hear what “truths” each get told. The series also addresses how monuments to racist pasts is a national, rather than regional problem, as Southwestern states memorialize moments of settlement and colonization.

Style freelancer David Streever wrote about Palmer just last month in a cover story about his efforts, with his wife Erin Hollaway Palmer, at the East End Cemetery, where he and volunteers of the Friends of East End group have worked to log graves, document headstones and connect descendants with family.

Updated correction: We misspelled Erin Hollaway Palmer's last name. Style regrets the error.

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