For nearly a century, it is likely that stories like my father's taught white southerners the most powerful lessons they learned about the Civil War and Reconstruction. Memories of victimization and outrage were the bedrock of white southern identity, so much so that the cartoon image of a superannuated Rebel shouting "Fergit, hell!" became a serio-comic icon of the War's Centennial. Black southerners had their own set of family stories and memories, radically different but much more painful. Memories have been so powerful and important in regional culture, it was no wonder that "Dixie" proclaimed that "old times there are not forgotten." So here at the War's Sesquicentennial, it is high time we dedicated an issue of Southern Cultures to southern memory, both personal and historical.
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University of North Carolina Press
August 31, 2011
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