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Cities of the dead : contesting the memory of the Civil War in the South, 1865-1914 /
by William A. Blair.
imprint
Chapel Hill : University of North Carolina Press, c2004.
description
xii, 250 p.
ISBN
0807828963 (alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Chapel Hill : University of North Carolina Press, c2004.
isbn
0807828963 (alk. paper)
catalogue key
5296021
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Excerpts
Flap Copy
Blair examines Civil War commemorations of blacks and whites and shows how arguments over how the war would be remembered and memorialized were part of a larger competition over how society would be structured and power exercised.
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2005-07-01:
Blair (Pennsylvania State Univ.) adds to a growing literature on public commemorations with this lucid analysis of how Confederate and Union Memorial Days and African American Emancipation Days were used by various racial, sectional, and political constituencies in the post-emancipation South. By tracing these invented traditions and the strong reactions they provoked over the 50 years following the Civil War, Blair demonstrates that they were not mere festive occasions but key elements of political discourse. After an opening chapter on antebellum commemorative culture, Blair traces the evolution of Freedom Days and Memorial Days from 1865 to 1915, with one chapter paying notable attention to the gendered messages they embodied. A concluding chapter on Arlington National Cemetery neatly illustrates the book's argument about the intersection of sectional and national politics within commemorative culture. The study is limited by its geographical focus (mainly Virginia), the narrow range of commemorations discussed, and the concentration primarily on their political functions. Blair's approach, however, allows him to explore his material deeply and to surpass more broadly defined studies to develop understanding of the complex roles commemorations played at the local and regional levels in struggles for political power. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. Most levels/libraries. M. Kachun Western Michigan University
Reviews
Review Quotes
"A book worth reading, especially for those interested in questions of memory and commemoration." -- American Historical Review
"A book worth reading, especially for those interested in questions of memory and commemoration." --American Historical Review
"A book worth reading, especially for those interested in questions of memory and commemoration." '”American Historical Review
"A book worth reading, especially for those interested in questions of memory and commemoration." —American Historical Review
"[An] excellent study. . . . [Blair] effectively highlights African American political struggle through the creation and use of public commemorative events." -- Journal of African American History
"[An] excellent study. . . . [Blair] effectively highlights African American political struggle through the creation and use of public commemorative events." --Journal of African American History
"[An] excellent study. . . . [Blair] effectively highlights African American political struggle through the creation and use of public commemorative events." '”Journal of African American History
"[An] excellent study. . . . [Blair] effectively highlights African American political struggle through the creation and use of public commemorative events." —Journal of African American History
" Cities of the Dead ranks Blair among a growing group of scholars studying memory and the Civil War. [His] genius lies in his carefully reasoned explanations, of how and why these celebrations carried political meaning in particular historical moments." -- Civil War Book Review
"Cities of the Deadranks Blair among a growing group of scholars studying memory and the Civil War. [His] genius lies in his carefully reasoned explanations, ofhowandwhythese celebrations carried political meaning in particular historical moments." --Civil War Book Review
"Cities of the Deadranks Blair among a growing group of scholars studying memory and the Civil War. [His] genius lies in his carefully reasoned explanations, ofhowandwhythese celebrations carried political meaning in particular historical moments." '”Civil War Book Review
"Cities of the Deadranks Blair among a growing group of scholars studying memory and the Civil War. [His] genius lies in his carefully reasoned explanations, ofhowandwhythese celebrations carried political meaning in particular historical moments." —Civil War Book Review
"Provocative. . . . A sophisticated and nuanced analysis." -- Arkansas Historical Quarterly
"Provocative. . . . A sophisticated and nuanced analysis." --Arkansas Historical Quarterly
"Provocative. . . . A sophisticated and nuanced analysis." '”Arkansas Historical Quarterly
"Provocative. . . . A sophisticated and nuanced analysis." —Arkansas Historical Quarterly
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, July 2005
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Long Description
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.
Main Description
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.
Table of Contents
The commemorative landscape before the Civil Warp. 11
Establishing freedom's celebrations, 1865-1869p. 23
Waging politics through decoration days, 1866-1869p. 49
The politics of manhood and womanhood, 1865-1870p. 77
The era of mixed feelingsp. 106
The rise and decline of political self-help, 1883-1900p. 144
Arlington Sectional Cemeteryp. 171
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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