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Cities of the Dead: Contesting the Memory of the Civil War in the South, 1865-1914
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Cities of the Dead: Contesting the Memory of the Civil War in the South, 1865-1914 (Hardback)

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Synopsis

Exploring the history of Civil War commemorations from both sides of the color line, William Blair places the development of memorial holidays, Emancipation Day celebrations, and other remembrances in the context of Reconstruction politics and race relations in the South. His grassroots examination of these civic rituals demonstrates that the politics of commemoration remained far more contentious than has been previously acknowledged. Commemorations by ex-Confederates were intended at first to maintain a separate identity from the U.S. government, Blair argues, not as a vehicle for promoting sectional healing. The burial grounds of fallen heroes, known as Cities of the Dead, often became contested ground, especially for Confederate women who were opposed to Reconstruction. And until the turn of the century, African Americans used freedom celebrations to lobby for greater political power and tried to create a national holiday to recognize emancipation. Blair's analysis shows that some festive occasions that we celebrate even today have a divisive and sometimes violent past as various groups with conflicting political agendas attempted to define the meaning of the Civil War.

History & PoliticsHistory: ChronologicalEarly history: c 500 to c 1450-1500History & PoliticsHistory: ChronologicalModern history to 20th century: c 1700 to c 1900History & PoliticsMilitary HistoryAmerican Civil WarHistory & PoliticsRegional & national historyHistory of the Americas Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press Publication Date: 30/11/2004 ISBN-13: 9780807828960  Details: Type: Hardback Format: Books
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William Blair is associate professor of history and director of the Richards Civil War Era Center at the Pennsylvania State University. He is author of Virginia's Private War: Feeding Body and Soul in the Confederacy and editor of the journal Civil War History.

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