Still Fighting the Civil War: The American South and Southern History

Still Fighting the Civil War: The American South and Southern History

Language: English

Pages: 400

ISBN: 0807152153

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

In the updated edition of his sweeping narrative on southern history, David Goldfield brings this extensive study into the present with a timely assessment of the unresolved issues surrounding the Civil War's sesquicentennial commemoration. Traversing a hundred and fifty years of memory, Goldfield confronts the remnants of the American Civil War that survive in the hearts of many of the South's residents and in the national news headlines of battle flags, racial injustice, and religious conflicts. Goldfield candidly discusses how and why white southern men fashioned the myths of the Lost Cause and Redemption out of the Civil War and Reconstruction, and how they shaped a religion to canonize the heroes and deify the events of those fateful years. He also recounts how groups of blacks and white women eventually crafted a different, more inclusive version of southern history and how that new vision competed with more traditional perspectives. The battle for southern history, and for the South, continues—in museums, public spaces, books, state legislatures, and the minds of southerners. Given the region's growing economic power and political influence, understanding this war takes on national significance. Through an analysis of ideas of history and memory, religion, race, and gender, Still Fighting the Civil War provides us with a better understanding of the South and one another.

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simple style that harked back to the early evangelical meetings in the clearings of forests, where eager listeners first heard the gospel of Jesus Christ preached and strove to live their lives accordingly. These Pentecostal or Holiness churches believed in the miraculous as a way of life. Seized by the spirit, they spoke in tongues; a few congregations handled snakes to prove the presence of the Holy Spirit. They believed in faith healing and scorned modern medicine. Rather than disappearing as

University in Nashville and Morehouse College in Atlanta. Fraternal orders and mutual-benefit societies grew out of black churches to aid the larger black community. Like their white counterparts, African American ministers stressed the importance of personal probity. Their outreach work made black churches social as well as religious institutions. During Reconstruction, when blacks clung tightly, if precariously, to political power, several ministers entered the political arena. Richard H. Cain,

institutionalizing behavior that evangelicals espoused; and the religious exclusivity of the evangelicals all caused the Moral Majority to shrink in consequence. Not to be kept down, the southern evangelical spirit soon materialized in another political guise. In 1989 Pat Robertson, a Virginia Beach–based evangelist who had modest success in several Republican presidential primaries in 1988, formed the Christian Coalition. The new organization quickly became a crucial political arm of the

high-school principal in Louisville blurted over the public address system that ‘‘evolution had been overthrown and no longer needed to be taught.’’ The message apparently did not filter down to his teachers. Most teachers have found a way around the faith-based politics of creationists. High-school biology teachers in Alabama use a textbook with the following disclaimer placed there by the state board of education: ‘‘Evolution is a controversial theory some scientists present as scientific

education, prison and sanitary reform, and civic regulations, Ames focused the committee’s work on the eradication of the ‘‘false chivalry’’ of lynching. Ames worked tirelessly during the 1920s, and by 1930 she had built a network sufficiently extensive to establish the Association of Southern Women for the Prevention of Lynching (ASWPL).24 Lynching was a provocative subject in the South, connected as it was to racial and gender traditions derived from the white rendition of the Civil War and

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