Restricted Who defines "Southern Heritage?"

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The following five or so posts are content from the book "The Southern Past: A Clash of Race and Memory" by W. Fitzhugh Brundage. These post encompass no more than 6 full paragraphs, from the first chapter. I have split them into separate paragraphs for readability.

The topic is Who defines "Southern History?" This will be seen in the following paragraphs:

In February 2000, the city council of Richmond, Virginia, voted to change the names of two bridges that link the north and south banks of the James River. Since then the J.E.B. Stewart and Thomas J. Stonewall Jackson bridges had carried the names of Samuel Tucker and Curtis Holt, two local notables in the civil rights movement. The council's decision outraged Jerry Baxley of the Southern Party of Virginia. “The southern people are getting tired of being told they’re not important,” he fumed. He rebuked city officials for “taking away our heritage, our symbols."​
Three years later and a thousand miles away, Shelby Foote pondered the definition of southern art at the opening of a new museum in New Orleans. “I'm not aware that there is such a thing as southern art, at least not if you're defining it by technique,” he explained.” “If there's something distinct about it, it’s subject matter and also inner heritage. All Southerners who try to express themselves in art,” he announced, “are very much aware that they are party to a defeat, which is something most other Americans didn't feel until Vietnam.”​
Baxley, a polemical provocateur, and Foote, a noted man of letters and interpreter of all things southern, define “southern” heritage similarly. Both presume that the Confederacy was the crucible of southern identity and that white heritage and southern identity are synonymous. The adjective “southern” apparently does not apply to African-Americans who live south of the Mason-Dixon line. Moreover, by this definition, southerners have been unable interpret the collapse of the confederacy as anything other than a defeat.​
When southern identity is assumed to be interchangeable with white identity, much more than semantics are at stake. White claims to power, status, and collective identity are advanced at the same time that black claims are undercut. Baxley and Foote are hardly unusual in the cultural privilege they are assigned to whites. The logic of their comments rests on a presumption that the heritage of Southern African-Americans merits little recognition and had scant influence on the region’s culture.​
James K Vardaman, an uncommonly zealous white supremacist and Mississippi’s governor, made this claim at the dawn of the 20th Century. “The Negro,” according to him, had never built any monuments “to perpetuate in the memory of posterity the virtues of his ancestors.” Vardaman’s strident claims are unlikely to be widely endorsed today. Yet the substance of his message still informs the commonplace use of “southern,” which implies that Southern heritage is the exclusive property of whites.​

- Alan
 
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From the book "The Southern Past: A Clash of Race and Memory" by W. Fitzhugh Brundage.

Physical space is central to southern historical memory and identity. The public sphere —that figurative social space located between the home and the state—was claimed by white and black southerners as their own and as the appropriate venue to transform their private concerns into issues of general interest.​
As the tangible, physical context for political debate and social action, public space serves as the most important arena for struggles over public power, resources, and values. The ability to occupy, use, and control one's physical surroundings is an essential measure of both personal freedom and collective power.​
Because access to public space entails claims of reciprocity and propinquity with other members of the “public,” it is a fundamental marker of public identity. Historically access to the public sphere has required “social permission.” Involvement is dependent on a sense among participants that they are equally implicated in public affairs and addressed by their discussion. Unwelcome participants can be ignored, thereby transforming the public sphere into a forum for exclusion as often as inclusion. In either case, public space serves to reproduce social relations that define some members of a society as worthy of access to public life and others as unworthy.​

- Alan
 

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From the book "The Southern Past: A Clash of Race and Memory" by W. Fitzhugh Brundage.

Struggles over the control of space have been formative for both black and white Southern culture. The breath and tenacity of the historical memory that occupies public space serves as one measure of who has exerted power there.​
Elites, whether in Russia, India, or the southern United States have been preoccupied with making themselves “the master of memory and forgetfullness.” It is in the contests over over renaming the bridges in Richmond, that we can most clearly see how representations of history have been used as instruments of power.​
The civic landscape of the South looks the way it does because of both persistent inequality etched and erected in public spaces and dogged efforts to revise the same terrain. The enduring presence of white memory in the South’s public spaces and black resistance to it, in short, is a central theme of the southern past.​
From bumper stickers and T-shirts we learned that “The South will rise again,” perhaps tempting us to conclude that some historical memory is impervious to change. But, as Eudora Weltey observes, “memory is a living thing — it too is in transit.”​
The identity of a group goes hand-in-hand with the continuous creation of its sense of the past. No enduring social memory can be static. Whenever a tradition is articulated, it must be given meaning appropriate to the historical context in which it is invoked. Changes in the social and political circumstances of groups propel the evolution of the recalled past.​
Because power is central to the propagation of a version of history, changes in the relative power that poops enjoy invariably has consequences for what and how they remember.​
- Alan
 
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Although the book "The Southern Past: A Clash of Race and Memory" by W. Fitzhugh Brundage focuses on the use of public spaces, that is not the only place where control over memory has been exercised.

Consider the flag of Mississippi; this resembles the third national flag of the Confederacy that was adopted March 4, 1865.

255px-Flag_of_Mississippi.svg.png


Now, consider these facts:
• By 1860, Mississippi had over 430,000 enslaved people while there was just over 350,000 whites. People of African descent were the majority (55%) of the population.

• The end of slavery in the aftermath of the war was surely the most momentous outcome of the war, not just for the formerly enslaved majority, but for whites in the state as well. The 14th and 15th amendments were transformative for the state as well.

• Mississippi had black members of the US Senate and House, as well as many black members in the state legislature.

• Mississippi was one of the four states that provided the most black soldiers to the Union army.

The MS state flag includes an image of the Confederate flag. Questions:

• How, if at all, does this flag represent the black majority of the state during the war?​
• How, if at all, does this flag represent that the black majority of the state was enslaved?​
• How, if at all, does this flag represent the emancipation of black majority of the state?​
• How, if at all, does this flag represent the history of African Americans the state?​
• What does the representation of the state's Civil War era black majority, or lack thereof, in the state flag, say about the power relationships in the state, throughout the course of time?​

These are only rhetorical questions.

- Alan
 
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From the book "The Southern Past: A Clash of Race and Memory" by W. Fitzhugh Brundage.

Scholars have adopted the conceit of “historical memory” to describe the amorphous and varied activities that Southerners and others have employed to recall the past. No longer can we presume the existence of fixed images of the past that we retrieve in tact through acts of memory.​
Instead, older notions of memory as a passive process of storing and retrieving objective recollections of live experiences has recently given way to an understanding of memory as an active, ongoing process of ordering the past.​
Similarly, collective or historical memory is not simply the articulation of some shared subconscious, but rather the products of intentional creation. It consists of those common remembrances that identify “a group, giving it a sense of its past and the defining its aspirations for the future.” Collective remembering forges identity, justifies privilege, and sustains cultural norms. For individuals and groups alike, memory provides a genealogy of social identity.​
Collective memory, then, should not be mistaken for an “objective” record of the past. English dramatist Harold Pinter warns, “The past is what you remember, imagine you remember, convince yourself you remember, or pretend to remember.” Historical memory, in sum, transmits selective knowledge about the past.​
Groups secure broad recognition of their identities by colonizing public spaces with their version of the past. By insinuating their memory into public space, groups exert the cultural authority, express the collective solidarity, and achieve a measure of the permanence that they often crave. To infuse objects and place with commemorative significance is to combat the transitory nature of memories an underscore the connectedness of the past and present. Historical memory thus becomes inextricably bound together with both the public space and culture.​
- Alan
 

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From the book "The Southern Past: A Clash of Race and Memory" by W. Fitzhugh Brundage: "Similarly, collective or historical memory is not simply the articulation of some shared subconscious, but rather the products of intentional creation."

This can be illustrated by reference to some historical documents. This is from the Mississippi Secession Declaration:

A Declaration of the Immediate Causes which Induce and Justify the Secession of the State of Mississippi from the Federal Union.
In the momentous step which our State has taken of dissolving its connection with the government of which we so long formed a part, it is but just that we should declare the prominent reasons which have induced our course.​
Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery-- the greatest material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the product which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of commerce of the earth. These products are peculiar to the climate verging on the tropical regions, and by an imperious law of nature, none but the black race can bear exposure to the tropical sun.​
These products have become necessities of the world, and a blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization. That blow has been long aimed at the institution, and was at the point of reaching its consummation.​
There was no choice left us but submission to the mandates of abolition, or a dissolution of the Union, whose principles had been subverted to work out our ruin. That we do not overstate the dangers to our institution, a reference to a few facts will sufficiently prove.​

In its secession declaration, the state of Mississippi leaves no doubt: the state is leaving the Union because there were "dangers to our institution," that being slavery. The state felt that the election of Lincoln would sooner or later impose "the mandates of abolition" on the state, which in turn imperil "the institution of slavery-- the greatest material interest of the world."

This secession declaration was molded after the Founding Father's Declaration of Independence. It should be a key document in the teaching of history to students in Mississippi at all grade levels.

Yet I have spoken to many Mississippians who are unaware of this declaration, which has astounded me. But then, I am aware of this. This is a pamphlet that was published in 1920 by the the United Confederate Veterans (UCV). It was written by Mildred Lewis Rutherford, who was the historian general of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. The pamphlet reads in part:

a-measuring-rod-warnings-and-rejects-2-gif-gif-gif-gif.gif


I don't know if southerners in Mississippi or anywhere else in the South needed the UCV or UDC to tell them not to buy books that would give credence to the idea that the war had nothing to do with slavery. But if you needed to see a smoking gun that indicated that a control was exerted over the type of history that could transmitted to young people in the South, there it is.

Now, as more southerners have been empowered to weigh in on how the past is to remembered, these older narratives have been contested, are being contested now, and will no doubt be contested in the future.

- Alan
 
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Yet the author of that Mississippi Secession Declaration, L.Q.C. Lamar, was confirmed as an Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court in 1888 by a Republican controlled Senate and some 70 years later was one of the seven men featured in JFK’s renowned book, Profiles in Courage.

Worth thinking about before you and Brundage draw simplistic conclusions about who defines Southern history.
 

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Thank you for presenting these thought-provoking discussions, Alan. The study of historical memory is that has some very polarized reactions from academics. These discussions show why some people do not think that it a particularly valid field of research whilst others see it as an important means of studying history. I find it a fascinating way of approaching a variety of subjects.
 

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Yet the author of that Mississippi Secession Declaration, L.Q.C. Lamar, was confirmed as an Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court in 1888 by a Republican controlled Senate and some 70 years later was one of the seven men featured in JFK’s renowned book, Profiles in Courage.

Worth thinking about before you and Brundage draw simplistic conclusions about who defines Southern history.
I have no idea of how your comments relate to the comments in the book, nor do I see any reason for saying that Brundage is drawing "simplistic conclusions." But if you explain, I will listen.

- Alan
 
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Thank you for presenting these thought-provoking discussions, Alan. The study of historical memory is that has some very polarized reactions from academics. These discussions show why some people do not think that it a particularly valid field of research whilst others see it as an important means of studying history. I find it a fascinating way of approaching a variety of subjects.
From a personal perspective, I do not see the study of historical memory as being about pure history per se, although historians are at the forefront of it. A lot of it is interdisciplinary, with a huge focus on culture, with aspects of culture such as rhetoric, communications, and artistic expression being part of the study.

For me two key insights of historical memory studies ~ which I guess are obvious ~ are: (a) the notion that people with power can, and do, control what is remembered; and (b) the idea that memory is contested in various ways in the culture throughout time.

I saw the impact of this when the movie Glory was released. Like so many people, I was unaware while growing up that black men fought during the war; their memory had faded away. (And I have a relative who was enlisted during the war.) That one movie ignited an almost whole new understanding of the war for many people, black and white. This was a case where "pop culture" (a mass market movie) had a massive influence on what people now knew about the civil war. It was transformative. And it was corrective in that it fixed an amazing oversight in the way the war was taught in schools.

- Alan
 
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Yet the author of that Mississippi Secession Declaration, L.Q.C. Lamar, was confirmed as an Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court in 1888 by a Republican controlled Senate and some 70 years later was one of the seven men featured in JFK’s renowned book, Profiles in Courage.

Worth thinking about before you and Brundage draw simplistic conclusions about who defines Southern history.
Robert, in a very quick view of Lamar's career, I can see nothing that is incompatible with the his writing of the declaration and his subsequent career as a politician. He seems to prove the point that Brundage made.

I do not see his approach or Alan"s comments as being in any way simplistic. Both provide a thoughtful and studied understanding of memory and how it is controlled, in a detailed and instructive way.
 

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Robert, in a very quick view of Lamar's career, I can see nothing that is incompatible with the his writing of the declaration and his subsequent career as a politician. He seems to prove the point that Brundage made.

I do not see his approach or Alan"s comments as being in any way simplistic. Both provide a thoughtful and studied understanding of memory and how it is controlled, in a detailed and instructive way.
The point Brundage attempts to make is there was a concerted effort by certain groups in the post war South to create a White-only history of that region; without that effort the landscape would look very much different. My point is that the White view was without question the preferred one for the entire country, at least up until the Civil Rights era. I realize that’s hard lick for some people to come to terms with but when LQC Lamar was elevated to the SCOTUS just 23 years after the CW by former enemies it clearly showed that the man and his life’s work, and all that meant, were accepted by the majority of Americans. And when in 1957 JFK and co-author Ted Sorensen selected and celebrated him as one of their 7 courageous Americans it demonstrated the same mindset. This is not whataboutism, this is the way it was.
 
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This is a pamphlet that was published in 1920 by the the United Confederate Veterans (UCV). It was written by Mildred Lewis Rutherford, who was the historian general of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. The pamphlet reads in part:

View attachment 300206

- Alan
Brundage and Rutherford use the same type of boat. They just paddle in different directions.

Brundage is from a certain class whose maxims are:
Reject a book that says the South fought for anything other than slavery.
Reject a book that speaks of the slaveholder as anything other than cruel and unjust.
 

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The point Brundage attempts to make is there was a concerted effort by certain groups in the post war South to create a White-only history of that region; without that effort the landscape would look very much different. My point is that the White view was without question the preferred one for the entire country, at least up until the Civil Rights era. I realize that’s hard lick for some people to come to terms with but when LQC Lamar was elevated to the SCOTUS just 23 years after the CW by former enemies it clearly showed that the man and his life’s work, and all that meant, were accepted by the majority of Americans. And when in 1957 JFK and co-author Ted Sorensen selected and celebrated him as one of their 7 courageous Americans it demonstrated the same mindset. This is not whataboutism, this is the way it was.
This is a tu quoque argument. You are not denying that Brundage is correct, you are concerned that he focuses on Southern heritage and not American heritage. But of course, just because there is racism everywhere, it doesn't mean there wasn't racism in the South.

But more to the point, the book focuses on Southern heritage and how southerners construct it. There is a story to tell there, and he tells it well, IMO.

RE: My point is that the White view was without question the preferred one for the entire country, at least up until the Civil Rights era.

(a) It was not the view preferred view for the entire country. African Americans are Americans too, and as the book demonstrates, they did resist, or try to resist, the white-only construction of Southern heritage.

(b) The key point is that the focus of this book is on Southern heritage as defined by Southerners. Southern heritage, or what Southern heritage means to southern people, is not the same as Northern heritage, and what Northern heritage means to northern people.

Or put in another way, Southerners are not Northerners. I think even you would agree that throughout history, Southerners and Northerners are not "the same." His book focuses on the uniqueness of Southern history and its memory. It is not a book about "the country," it is a book about the South.

(c) It is worth noting that throughout time, Northern and Southern whites have had conflicting views of Southern heritage. That is, the notion that there is a single, "white" view of Southern heritage is incorrect.

RE: I realize that’s hard lick for some people to come to terms with but when LQC Lamar was elevated to the SCOTUS just 23 years after the CW by former enemies it clearly showed that the man and his life’s work, and all that meant, were accepted by the majority of Americans. And when in 1957 JFK and co-author Ted Sorensen selected and celebrated him as one of their 7 courageous Americans it demonstrated the same mindset. This is not whataboutism, this is the way it was.

This is irrelevant to the OP. The subject is, who in the South defines Southern heritage?

You say "The point Brundage attempts to make is there was a concerted effort by certain groups in the post war South to create a White-only history of that region; without that effort the landscape would look very much different. My point is that the White view was without question the preferred one for the entire country, at least up until the Civil Rights era."

It seems that you agree with Brundage's thesis that whites in the South did try to create A "White-only," to use your wording, view of Southern heritage. On this, it seems, there is no real controversy.

- Alan
 
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Brundage and Rutherford use the same type of boat. They just paddle in different directions.

Brundage is from a certain class whose maxims are:
Reject a book that says the South fought for anything other than slavery.
Reject a book that speaks of the slaveholder as anything other than cruel and unjust.
This ad hominem attack has nothing to do with what Brundage is talking about in this book. You've done some respectable research and writing on this forum, I think you are better than this kind of "criticism."

- Alan
 
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If we can address this topic in a non-reactionary manner, then perhaps it can help us come to terms with the feelings of those who are now reacting to the plethora of statues to the Civil War. Brundage is not attacking the Southern white memory, he is merely pointing to the way in which it was shaped. If we look at any point in history closely enough, we can see how memory is shaped by the dominant voices of the time, and how those voices change over time. Without launching into modern(ish) politics, we can go back to to the Vietnam war, when dominant voices were protesting the war and the soldiers were treated as pariahs for their involvement. Now we see them as brave men who were doing what they were told to do and are suffering still for doing their duty. Passions fade and memories change. That is the thrust of Brundage's argument, at least as I see it.
 

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The point Brundage attempts to make is there was a concerted effort by certain groups in the post war South to create a White-only history of that region; without that effort the landscape would look very much different.
RE: The point Brundage attempts to make is there was a concerted effort by certain groups in the post war South to create a White-only history of that region;

Not exactly true. The focus is on historical memory, heritage, and how heritage is manifested. This is not the same as a focus on history, but obviously these things all intersect for purposes of study.

RE: ...without that effort the landscape would look very much different.

This is true.
===

It's useful to note, and Brundage does, that the representation of heritage is not static. As noted earlier, he says in his book

The identity of a group goes hand-in-hand with the continuous creation of its sense of the past. No enduring social memory can be static. Whenever a tradition is articulated, it must be given meaning appropriate to the historical context in which it is invoked. Changes in the social and political circumstances of groups propel the evolution of the recalled past.​
Because power is central to the propagation of a version of history, changes in the relative power that groups enjoy invariably has consequences for what and how they remember.

This book was published in 2005, way before many of the current contests over specific objects in the public sphere. He makes these comments about where things were, and where they were going:

Contestation over Southern history for most of the past century and a half seldom took the form of knock-down, drag-out public confrontations... While African-Americans did challenge the competing memory of whites, they usually were unable to provoke any overt white response... Only at the very end of the 20th Century did the contests between whites and blacks over the South's past become volatile and distinctly public. Nonetheless Black and white Southerners have been locked in an ongoing struggle over the past since at least the Civil War period​
During this books lengthy period of development, the cultural landscape in the south has changed with the speed that I had not anticipated...​

Brundage's book is not only descriptive of contests over southern memory going into the beginning of the 21st century; it is predictive in that it anticipates additional and even "corrosive" debates about how southern heritage should be represented in the South itself.

Earlier, I mentioned that Brundage describes how, "in February 2000, the city council of Richmond, Virginia, voted to change the names of two bridges that link the north and south banks of the James River. Since then the J.E.B. Stewart and Thomas J. Stonewall Jackson bridges had carried the names of Samuel Tucker and Curtis Holt, two local notables in the civil rights movement." Decades earlier, doing such a thing was unthinkable among African Americans in the city. But political and demographic changes in Richmond gave them the power to design the commemorative landscape in a way that was unavailable to them previously.

Again: ways of constructing the landscape that were unthinkable previously are now real options. Given that competing views of what southern heritage means and should look like are out there, we can predict that these controversies may get harsher before they become subdued.

- Alan
 
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If we can address this topic in a non-reactionary manner, then perhaps it can help us come to terms with the feelings of those who are now reacting to the plethora of statues to the Civil War. Brundage is not attacking the Southern white memory, he is merely pointing to the way in which it was shaped. If we look at any point in history closely enough, we can see how memory is shaped by the dominant voices of the time, and how those voices change over time. Without launching into modern(ish) politics, we can go back to to the Vietnam war, when dominant voices were protesting the war and the soldiers were treated as pariahs for their involvement. Now we see them as brave men who were doing what they were told to do and are suffering still for doing their duty. Passions fade and memories change. That is the thrust of Brundage's argument, at least as I see it.
It's also important to note that a major emphasis of the book is on how African Americans viewed, constructed, and propagated their own vision of southern heritage. Perhaps 40% or more of the book attends to that subject.

This is important. Much of the focus on "southern heritage" has been on white southern heritage and/or Confederate heritage. The idea that black southerners were constructing their own southern historical memories is something that has not gotten nearly as much attention. So, for example, the book talks about the widespread use of parades and celebrations on various days (such as on the 4th of July, Decoration or Memorial Day, Emancipation Day, and other "holidays") by black southerners to express, teach, and commemorate their heritage.

The book shows that southern heritage is not just about white southerners or Confederates. And it suggests that demographic and political changes in the South will fuel additional changes to the commemorative landscape, changes that will not be without controversy.

- Alan
 
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This is from the Harvard Univ Press site, which describes the book ("The Southern Past: A Clash of Race and Memory" by W. Fitzhugh Brundage) and offers some excerpts of book reviews:
===

About This Book:

Since the Civil War whites and blacks have struggled over the meanings and uses of the Southern past. Indeed, today’s controversies over flying the Confederate flag, renaming schools and streets, and commemorating the Civil War and the civil rights movement are only the latest examples of this ongoing divisive contest over issues of regional identity and heritage. The Southern Past argues that these battles are ultimately about who has the power to determine what we remember of the past, and whether that remembrance will honor all Southerners or only select groups.​
For more than a century after the Civil War, elite white Southerners systematically refined a version of the past that sanctioned their racial privilege and power. In the process, they filled public spaces with museums and monuments that made their version of the past sacrosanct. Yet, even as segregation and racial discrimination worsened, blacks contested the white version of Southern history and demanded inclusion. Streets became sites for elaborate commemorations of emancipation and schools became centers for the study of black history. This counter-memory surged forth, and became a potent inspiration for the civil rights movement and the black struggle to share a common Southern past rather than a divided one.​
W. Fitzhugh Brundage’s searing exploration of how those who have the political power to represent the past simultaneously shape the present and determine the future is a valuable lesson as we confront our national past to meet the challenge of current realities.​
==

Reviews:

Brundage compares the competing views on history and heritage of southern blacks and whites as they struggled to tell the story of the South. What developed was a kind of parallel perspective, with whites controlling public space with commemoration of a proud antebellum South and defeat in the Civil War and with blacks maintaining more private recollections of the horror of slavery and the redemption offered by freedom. Since the 1960s, these competing views have been more public and contentious, resulting in a profound change in the perspective on southern history in all its complexities.”—Vanessa Bush, Booklist
Brundage has written a compelling and vital work of southern history that both synthesizes and moves the discussion of memory forward. All students of southern history will find it valuable.”—W. Scott Poole, Civil War Book Review
“Even in such a vital and increasingly crowded field, The Southern Past stands out as a rare accomplishment…in his detailed account of the various interrelated responses to the ‘relevance of history’ from the Civil War to the recent past, Brundage offers detailed guidance for new negotiations over and with history. In the process, he has told a story that represents scholarship at its most rigorous and hopeful best.”—John Ernest, CLIO
“Historians of the U.S. South have long debated why—and whether—the region stands apart from the rest of the country. Differing from scholars who identify poverty or the legacy of Confederate defeat as the source of Southern distinctiveness, W. Fitzhugh Brundage persuasively argues that the South’s central theme consists of the ‘enduring presence of white memory in the South’s public spaces and black resistance to it.’ By viewing Southern history through the lens of memory, Brundage demonstrates how Southern distinctiveness still matters… This important and lucidly written book will be required reading for all serious students of the U.S. South.”—John W. Quist, The Historian
“In this fascinating book, W. Fitzhugh Brundage chronicles the evolution of historical memories in the South between 1864 and the present… The Southern Past enriches our understanding of southern historical memory, shedding new light on how whites used their interpretation of the past to perpetuate political, economic, and social equalities. Using a wide array of primary documents, Brundage has written a thought-provoking study that should prove useful and accessible to public and academic historians.”—Bruce E. Stewart, North Carolina Historical Review
“As The Southern Past painfully affirms, the definition of just who and what a Southerner is remains cloudy even today… Brundage’s research attests to the enormous extent to which Southern whites reshaped antebellum history to suit their own, reshaped memories of the Old South. In the eyes of white hagiographers, blacks were little more than bit players on the larger stage of Southern history. Slavery became an incidental cause of the Civil War.”—Terry Shulman, The Richmond Times-Dispatch
“[Brundage’s] close analysis brilliantly reveals how Southerners defined themselves—and who did the defining… In perhaps his most rewarding section, Brundage shows how Southern whites built the scaffolding upon which their memories rested. Of particular importance was the creation of state-sponsored archives, the establishment of privately funded museums, the professionalization of the study of history, the growth of heritage tourism and the creation of a variety of historic sites from roadside markers to plantation complexes. Again, white Southerners—acting from positions of power—saw the sites of their memories lovingly restored; black Southerners saw theirs demolished. But with the end of segregation, whites and blacks confronted one another on far more equal ground in battles over the placement of the Confederate battle flag and the singing of ‘Dixie.’”—Ira Berlin, The Washington Post Book World
Fitzhugh Brundage’s The Southern Past is an extraordinarily ambitious and important book, a true achievement by an immensely talented historian. This book should reach a wide audience with its story of how the past has been shaped and reshaped in the South through usable narratives, commodities, curriculums, parades, books, sacred sites, vacant lots, real politics, and heroic icons on both sides of a tragic racial divide. In scope, research, and writerly execution, no one has ever captured the scars and the possibilities of Southern memory quite like this.”—David W. Blight, author of Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory
“History is a powerful weapon. In this stunningly imaginative and finely crafted study of the struggle for the control of the memory of the Southern past, W. Fitzhugh Brundage has provided a critical lens through which we can view some of the most volatile issues of our time. In stark detail, he explains how Southern white memories of gentility and the heroic Confederacy co-existed with, and were finally challenged by, Southern black memories of human bondage and heroic slave resistance. In a most sophisticated analysis Brundage explains how shifting political power has constructed and reconstructed the remembered history of a changing Southern cultural landscape. This is history at its best in service of our society’s efforts to come to terms with notions of Southern heritage, one of the most complex, controversial, and significant issues of our time.”—James Oliver Horton, co-author of Slavery and the Making of America
- Alan
 

leftyhunter

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Yet the author of that Mississippi Secession Declaration, L.Q.C. Lamar, was confirmed as an Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court in 1888 by a Republican controlled Senate and some 70 years later was one of the seven men featured in JFK’s renowned book, Profiles in Courage.

Worth thinking about before you and Brundage draw simplistic conclusions about who defines Southern history.
Of course we should forget that JFK came from a strong family of the Democratic Party. We should forget that FDRs coalition included the South. We should not keep in mind that in order to be a potential Democratic Party Presidential candidate one has to win South primaries. Bashing the Confederacy is not the way to become a future President of the United States.
By the time Lamar became a Supreme Court Justice the ACW was long over. The Republican Party was no linger interested in Civil Rights for African Americans and wanted to be able to compete in Southern States.
Leftyhunter
 
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