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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. Blair examines Civil War commemorations in postbellum Virginia, focusing on the sharply different remembrances and celebrations that developed among whites and blacks. Blair places these commemorations in the context of Reconstruction politics and race relations across the South and the nation. He argues that black commemorations, despite their vibrancy in the years immediately after the war, were pushed aside over time by holidays and memorials that catered to the political and racial needs of whites as whites moved to consolidate their primacy in the post-Reconstruction era. 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. 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

  1. Cover
  2. p. 1
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  1. Title Page, Copyright
  2. pp. 2-7
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. vii-9
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  1. Preface
  2. pp. ix-xii
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  1. Introduction
  2. pp. 1-10
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  1. CHAPTER 1. The Commemorative Landscape before the Civil War
  2. pp. 11-22
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  1. CHAPTER 2. Establishing Freedom’s Celebrations, 1865–1869
  2. pp. 23-48
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  1. CHAPTER 3. Waging Politics through Decoration Days, 1866–1869
  2. pp. 49-76
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  1. CHAPTER 4. The Politics of Manhood and Womanhood, 1865–1870
  2. pp. 77-105
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  1. CHAPTER 5. The Era of Mixed Feelings
  2. pp. 106-143
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  1. CHAPTER 6. The Rise and Decline of Political Self-Help, 1883–1900
  2. pp. 144-170
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  1. CHAPTER 7. Arlington Sectional Cemetery
  2. pp. 171-207
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 209-226
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  1. Bibliography
  2. pp. 227-236
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 237-250
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Additional Information

ISBN
9781469603582
Related ISBN
9780807828960
MARC Record
OCLC
62157959
Pages
264
Launched on MUSE
2014-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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