Contesting Commemoration: The 1876 Centennial, Independence Day, and the Reconstruction-Era South
Published by: LSU Press
Imprint: LSU Press
Published: October 2021
Imprint: LSU Press
Page Count: 244 Pages
Dimensions: 139.00 x 215.00
244 Pages, 139.00 x 215.00 mm
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With a careful eye and a well-sharpened pen, Jack Noe illuminates the 1876 Centennial as a fraught, bitterly contested struggle over national identity and reconciliation in a period of ongoing battles over the future of Reconstruction and civil rights. In careful studies of struggles over representation by African Americans and by white Southern dissenters, Noe shows a Centennial as interesting as the political and social transformations swirling around it. A fine contribution to the studies of Civil War memory and Reconstruction. Gregory P. Downs, author of "After Appomattox: Military Occupation and the Ends of War"
Jack Noe?s trenchant account of how southerners engaged with the Fourth of July and the 1876 Centennial exhibition demonstrates the tortuous path toward sectional reconciliation in the postbellum United States. Consistently insightful and engaging, it is essential reading for anyone seeking to learn more about the ways in which the ex-Confederates not only rendered themselves American patriots but also consolidated white supremacy after the upheavals of emancipation and Reconstruction. Robert J. Cook, author of "Civil War Memories: Contesting the Past in the United States since 1865"
The 1876 Centennial came just as Reconstruction?s attempt to create a more just, inclusive vision of the nation was collapsing. Contesting Commemoration is a detailed account of how southern whites were able to return to celebrating the nation?s founding?but only on their terms. It is a compelling study that brings together scholarship on exhibitions, on Reconstruction politics, and on historical memory of the Civil War and Reconstruction, pointing again to the significance of 1876 as a turning point, not just for the South, but for the nation. Bruce E. Baker, author of "What Reconstruction Meant: Historical Memory in the American South"
In this clear, concise, and engaging study, Contesting Commemoration will help readers negotiate the complex Reconstruction era commemorative landscape. Underscoring the intersections of national commemoration and regional, political, and racial identities, Noe contributes a welcome addition to the growing body of scholarship revealing the tenuous nature of post-Civil War reconciliation?as citizens expressed their ?essential Americanism. M. Keith Harris, author of "Across the Bloody Chasm: The Culture of Commemoration among Civil War Veterans"
Contesting Commemoration shines a revealing spotlight on the centennial as an important turning point in the negotiation of a new U.S. nationalism after the Civil War. While white southerners saw July 4, 1876 as an opportunity to strengthen a racially exclusive southern identity, African Americans redoubled their quest for greater inclusion in the national community. This penetrating study has much to teach students of commemoration, post-Civil War reconciliation, and ever-evolving American identities. Paul Quigley, author of "Shifting Grounds: Nationalism and the American South, 1848–1865"
In crisp prose and with telling details, Jack Noe shows African Americans and white Southerners using the 1876 Centennial exhibition for their own political ends. This valuable new book shows the forgotten failures of the celebration of American unity with enduring consequences for the nation as a whole. Anne Sarah Rubin, author of "A Shattered Nation: The Rise and Fall of the Confederacy, 1861–1868"