Sororities as Confederate Monuments

24 Pages Posted: 6 Apr 2020 Last revised: 18 Jun 2020

See all articles by Stephen Clowney

Stephen Clowney

University of Arkansas - School of Law

Date Written: January 1, 2020


In this Essay, I argue that sorority houses are a type of Confederate memorial. I make two claims. First, sororities have clearly announced their allegiance to the Old South through their architecture. Most sororities have constructed their buildings to mimic the design of antebellum plantations. The white columns, wide porches, and decorative pediments normalize an unthinking romanticism toward antebellum slave society—a culture that immiserated the South’s black inhabitants. Second, beyond the architecture, the institutions themselves should be regarded as monuments to the Confederacy because they remain profoundly segregated and perpetuate the caste-based racial division of campus. Data gathered for this study will demonstrate that many sororities still have no black members and almost all remain ethnic enclaves for White students. In the final section of the paper, I outline three realistic suggestions for reform. Universities could do much to dilute the taint of the Confederacy that hangs over the sororities.

Keywords: Sororities, Property, Segregation, Greek System, Universities, Architecture, Antebellum

JEL Classification: K11, R14,

Suggested Citation

Clowney, Stephen, Sororities as Confederate Monuments (January 1, 2020). Kentucky Law Journal, Vol. 105, 2020, Available at SSRN:

Stephen Clowney (Contact Author)

University of Arkansas - School of Law ( email )

260 Waterman Hall
Fayetteville, AR 72701
United States

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