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No Common Ground: Confederate Monuments and the Ongoing Fight for Racial Justice

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When it comes to Confederate monuments, there is no common ground. Polarizing debates over their meaning have intensified into legislative maneuvering to preserve the statues, legal battles to remove them, and rowdy crowds taking matters into their own hands. These conflicts have raged for well over a century--but they've never been as intense as they are today. In this ey When it comes to Confederate monuments, there is no common ground. Polarizing debates over their meaning have intensified into legislative maneuvering to preserve the statues, legal battles to remove them, and rowdy crowds taking matters into their own hands. These conflicts have raged for well over a century--but they've never been as intense as they are today. In this eye-opening narrative of the efforts to raise, preserve, protest, and remove Confederate monuments, Karen L. Cox depicts what these statues meant to those who erected them and how a movement arose to force a reckoning. She lucidly shows the forces that drove white southerners to construct beacons of white supremacy, as well as the ways that antimonument sentiment, largely stifled during the Jim Crow era, returned with the civil rights movement and gathered momentum in the decades after the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Monument defenders responded with gerrymandering and heritage laws intended to block efforts to remove these statues, but hard as they worked to preserve the Lost Cause vision of southern history, civil rights activists, Black elected officials, and movements of ordinary people fought harder to take the story back. Timely, accessible, and essential, No Common Ground is the story of the seemingly invincible stone sentinels that are just beginning to fall from their pedestals.


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When it comes to Confederate monuments, there is no common ground. Polarizing debates over their meaning have intensified into legislative maneuvering to preserve the statues, legal battles to remove them, and rowdy crowds taking matters into their own hands. These conflicts have raged for well over a century--but they've never been as intense as they are today. In this ey When it comes to Confederate monuments, there is no common ground. Polarizing debates over their meaning have intensified into legislative maneuvering to preserve the statues, legal battles to remove them, and rowdy crowds taking matters into their own hands. These conflicts have raged for well over a century--but they've never been as intense as they are today. In this eye-opening narrative of the efforts to raise, preserve, protest, and remove Confederate monuments, Karen L. Cox depicts what these statues meant to those who erected them and how a movement arose to force a reckoning. She lucidly shows the forces that drove white southerners to construct beacons of white supremacy, as well as the ways that antimonument sentiment, largely stifled during the Jim Crow era, returned with the civil rights movement and gathered momentum in the decades after the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Monument defenders responded with gerrymandering and heritage laws intended to block efforts to remove these statues, but hard as they worked to preserve the Lost Cause vision of southern history, civil rights activists, Black elected officials, and movements of ordinary people fought harder to take the story back. Timely, accessible, and essential, No Common Ground is the story of the seemingly invincible stone sentinels that are just beginning to fall from their pedestals.

46 review for No Common Ground: Confederate Monuments and the Ongoing Fight for Racial Justice

  1. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca Graham

    No Common Ground by Karen L. Cox is the definitive history of Confederate monuments and their surrounding controversies. Cox traces the origins of these monuments, which aim to preserve Confederate power, white supremacy, and the “lost cause” narrative. She builds from their origins through the present, as diverse activists mobilize to resist the “lost cause” myth and its monuments. No Common Ground offers a masterful public-history analysis. Cox unpacks the motives and stories behind these publ No Common Ground by Karen L. Cox is the definitive history of Confederate monuments and their surrounding controversies. Cox traces the origins of these monuments, which aim to preserve Confederate power, white supremacy, and the “lost cause” narrative. She builds from their origins through the present, as diverse activists mobilize to resist the “lost cause” myth and its monuments. No Common Ground offers a masterful public-history analysis. Cox unpacks the motives and stories behind these public displays of a violent historical narrative with a focus on its intended audiences. Confederate monuments idolize a fictitious antebellum utopia and inflict white supremacist terror. Cox adds that related studies in other disciplines such as sociology, as well as microhistories of individual monuments, ought to build on her scholarship.

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