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white male domination of women and freedpeople persisted through the transition from the Old South to die New Soudi. One of the book's most interesting sections considers the postwar commemorative efforts of elite women and men who established organizations for exConfederates and worked to create public monuments and rituals by which to pass on their version ofthe Civil War. Mobilizing historical interpretations to suit present-day concerns, Augusta's Ladies Memorial Association and die Confederate Survivors' Association reinterpreted the Civil War as the heroic effort ofmen to protect their women and children from northern aggression, thus valorizing men's role in the conflict as a defense of their home, with no mention of the defense of slavery. "What persisted" in the public telling of die war, according to Whites, "was a white male identity that could survive even amid die new social realities , in which slaves were emancipated and white men were no longer able to 'protect' their own women and children as diey had in die past." Participants in this memorial movement, who established organizations and created public monuments that continue to dot the southern landscape, prevailed in controlling the narrative of the war for decades afterward. This narrative persists even today, in the proliferation ofConfederate memorial groups and war reenactors. Confederate sympathizers, thus, can celebrate their heritage free from guilt over the fact and issues of slavery and secure a moral, ifnot a military, victory. Caste and Class The Black Experience in Arkansas, 1880—1920 By Fon Louise Gordon University of Georgia Press, 1995 185 pp. Cloth, $3 5 Reviewed by Sarah Wilkerson-Freeman, assistant professor of history at Arkansas State University. Her work focuses on southern women's political cultures and she is currendy writing a book on North Carolina women and the transformation ofAmerican politics. It is now more than forty years since lines of Arkansas National Guardsmen, under orders from Governor Orval Faubus, blocked nine black students from entering and attending classes at Litde Rock's Central High School. When the 101st Airborne, sent by President Eisenhower, mounted their bayonets and es88 Reviews corted the black students past crowds of screaming and spitting white segregationists , that image of little Rock, as an armed camp and epicenter of racial hatred and injustice, entered die collective memory of the nation. For many students ofsoudiern history and culture, this image dominates the understanding of racial segregation in Arkansas, but Fon Louise Gordon reminds us diat the history ofJim Crow in the state involved more than tensions between blacks and whites: it also reflected tensions and differences between and among classes of African Americans. While much of the story of the rise ofJim Crow is very familiar to southern historians, Gordon's work places Arkansas, a state often neglected in soudiern studies, widiin the history of the "strange career" ofracial segregation. For African Americans who became discouraged widi the shrinking opportunities in the Deep South and soutiieastern states, Arkansas represented a land of possibility "destined to be," as Bishop Henry M. Turner wrote in 1889, "the great Negro state ofthe country. . . . This is the state for colored men who wish to live by their merits." The response of blacks in North and South Carolina, Mississippi, and Louisiana to such glowing reports of life in Arkansas contributed to die phenomenal increase in the state's black population, which tripled between 1 870 and 1 890. But die immigrants' hopes were, for the most part, short-lived, as legislators moved quickly to institute Jim Crow laws and undercut the efforts of the expanding black citizenry to exercise political power. Gordon devotes her first three chapters to the rise and fall ofblack political influence and the simultaneous emergence of a black middle class in the decades following 1 880. She emphasizes two reasons why the rise ofblack populist forces in Arkansas, such as the Colored Farmers' Alliance and Cooperative Union, led to the eventual decline of black political influence in the state. Not only did populism threaten the two major parties, but it also created political dissent among African Americans because the black middle class feared die loss of Republican patronage. Gordon argues that fulfilling the agenda ofblack populists would have...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-1488
Print ISSN
1068-8218
Pages
pp. 88-91
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-04
Open Access
No
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