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tv   History Bookshelf Karen Cox No Common Ground  CSPAN  August 25, 2021 4:58pm-6:02pm EDT

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shot at the grand prize of $5000. enter for the competition will begin to be received wednesday september 8. for competition rules and more information on how to get started, visit our website at ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ welcome back a house divided
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abraham lincoln with us, doctor karen, the author of no common ground in the ongoing fight for racial justice. doctor cox, to the show. >> it great to be with you, which it was in person but glad to be here. >> thank you very much and we also wish you were here in person because so much fun to have a conversation even like this, face-to-face is just so much more fun to interact we will have most times again, we are coming to the end of this current unpleasantness. we are here to talk about karen's new book but before we
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do that, i wish to send out greetings and salutations to those of you who may be watching this conversation on c-span book but tv. we are recording this event on april 12, 2021 which is the date of release. ... if you're watching this live on the facebook feed we are going to put a link in the comments so
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you can go in there and order the book. order the book, we have special timed and dated bookplates that karen was kind enough to find for us, and thank you karen, that are only available if you order on the day of the release. we have other signed book places if you order it later but if you order today you'll get a signed and dated bookplate which will create and affect a limited edition. it's a limited edition karen signed and dated. so folks at home feel free to get out there and ordered the book so we can afford to put these programs on for you and introduce you to authors -- on house divided. a little bit on our guest today.
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dr. karen cox is professor of history at university of north carolina charlotte and the honor -- author of -- and she writes about, she does write in public about the monument controversy and she does a lot of free credit parents is on the media about that and has been thinking a lot about the controversy of confederate monuments as it has recently come about. so karen, without me answering a question for you tell the customers, tell the audience why "no common ground," why did you want to write about this, now? >> that's a terrific question. i'd didn't want to write about the controversy to be honest
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initially mainly because i had been thinking about it since 2017 and i've been on the road a lot and finally the pressure kept building and i noticed the controversy wasn't going away. one of the things that i found myself doing on a regular basis when i would talk to the media try to explain the history of the statues. so i was hesitant but i finally, i just knew i had low conversation with myself and looked at myself in the mirror and i said you know you are going to write this book so i think even though i had a hesitancy in writing about it over certain period of time about the history of the monument that would take me up to the first world war what i do know that first world war up to
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current events surrounding these monuments but i learned a lot by writing this book. and i realized that there was so much more to the story of confederate monuments than just the jim crow era story that we often hear about. so i really end up enjoying writing this. it was a little stressful at times and it was on a time schedule but i did enjoy it and i feel good about the book. >> good, good. for those of you who are thinking about tying the book let me just chime in. i think i can say this without even having to ask you a question. there's a difference between a book and a work of history in the book that is a work of activism that participates in an active way in a modern political
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cover and for any of you who are thinking about buying "no common ground" you need to understand that this is the work of history. dr. cox is a professor of history and its omission of the book, having read it, to help you understand the context in which some of the modern conflict is happening but the book is not going to show you what to do in your neighborhood. that does not seem to be the goal of the book. i don't know but i want to chime in on that. it's a history book not a book that contributes to eight. >> it is a history book. it starts in 1865 in texas all the way up to last summer and last summer is still history.
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it's a very brief history and a very contemporary history but it's an -- history nonetheless and i think it's really important for people to understand why things unfold and have been unfolding in the last five or six years since the charleston massacre, why that's been unfolding and why people should understand that what seems like only a recent phenomenon is a phenomenon that goes all the way back to the 19th century when the first monuments were being built so it's a book that helps people who are reading the book to help them understand the history of the statue, understand the way people felt about it over time and to also provide context for recent events especially since the charleston massacre of.
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>> i think it's a very important way to think about the book. it's a history book and as you say last summer's history. and from historians perspective we understand it in that context. now you are a historian of the south. the books you have written are about the south and so can you tell us what in your personal experience made you want to study the history of the south? >> the simple answer is that i grew up in the south. it was all around me. whenever i was an undergraduate history major what i wanted to write about was what existed in the state of north carolina. i grew up in greensboro.
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my master thesis was about female academies but they were actually buildings. i was very interested in local history and since this time you know my interest in this has been to look at things that were happening in the locales wherever i lived. i visited the united daughters of the confederacy in the late 80s, 1980s because i was working for a museum of history. there had been a confederate women's home there. my colleague had salvaged some lumber from that home and made vintage from it and came to me one day and said would you research the psalm and tell me what it's about because when i make these benches i like to give it a history behind it.
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that is what brought me down the rabbit hole and learning about dixies daughters. what we learned locally tells us a lot about what's going on regionally and nationally. >> there's a saying that all politics is local and from my experience all history is local. >> i agree with that, i agree with that very much and this is something about the whole monument issue for people to understand is that monuments are very much local objects. they have their own individual history and people really want to know about their local monument they can read a book like mine that provides broader context but then they can go to their local library, maybe their local newspaper and learn more about the monuments in their communities.
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>> all right, let's jump into the book and it's my own personal historical reference is for the older the history the better so i hope we don't spend the entire time talking about 1865 through 1900 but that's my favorite period. first to dive into the story of the confederate monuments. what are the most important money and -- aspects of this book is the role that women played in the civil war in the south. can you tell us about how white women of the south became the curators of the memory of the confederates? >> well men coming home from war having suffered a terrible defeat in the south, women took
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up the work of memorializing it. they had been, women during the war had been members of soldiers aid society and the soldiers aid society manifested itself as ladies memorial associations after the civil war and it initially was it period of grieving so the first monument went into cemeteries and women were responsible for recovering bodies from battlefields like gettysburg and returning them back to the south where they could have a proper burial in the confederate cemetery. but it was not -- men especially in the early decades after the civil war for the first decade and a half at least i couldn't even imagine memorializing themselves in some ways are
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their fallen comrade so women took this up as an extension of their role as wives and mothers and their communities. and so they also i think as years went on and they continued in the memorialization process they built the leader served -- leadership skills and develop public speaking skills. so it became something that they could do outside of the home that has the protection of their role of the traditional gender role. they are not trying to buck the gender system of the south. but at the same time that's exactly what they were doing in their roles as leaders of this movement. so while it began as the ladies memorial association it then extended by the 1890s to the
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united daughters of the confederacy and new generation of women, white women of the south joined the memorial association in doing this. i keep thinking you know, i've often said the edc was an opportunity for southern women to have a career. they might not be a will to go out into the workplace and witness, especially women of the middle and upper class because they might not have done that but they had a career in the edc and they could apply their education and be active in their community and do all the things i mentioned, fund-raising in speaking and they would even be political lobbyists. that's exactly what they were, fund-raisers and just amazing fund-raisers. it's a combination of the way in which the war changed and led them to become more public women
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but with the caveat that they are in the south so it's very much geared towards confederate memorialization and at least on the surface it's not challenging traditional gender roles. >> right and i'm going to occasionally share things that we have at the bookshop and usually is i try to sell it to you but some of the things we are going to share don't necessarily have a lot of value although they are extraordinary and valuable so i'm not really pitching this to you. i can give you one chance to talk about one particular edc person and that is ms. rutherford. do you think the people that are interested in confederate
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monuments would want to know that there's a project going on and their people behind this project and their these pamphlets pamphlets they keep passing out better teaching, are pitching in teaching a privilege version of the civil war and when i say privileged i mean it privileges the confederate memory of the war although a lost cause. even though it's a monument to have a real project behind it and that is to tell our story. >> exactly. mildred rutherford was like a one-woman pr machine for the edc. she wrote all these scrapbooks about the experience aspects of the confederate and wrote lesson plans that could be used in
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public schools. she went on speaking tours dressed in the style of the 18 50's. she was really living as a representative of the old south in some ways and the old south and the confederacy. she really felt it was important that history could provide a sense of the confederate cause and so her work would supplement the work of those women who were really focused and primarily focused on the monuments themselves. so they are all working together. the monument was part of what the edc did on the history component all of these things are working together to support what the edc was doing. their agenda is far-reaching and monuments are part of the bid so is that history and that history is something that also gets told
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during the monument unveilings. >> let's talk about one monument unveiling and of course there are thousands of monuments but the first one that really gets some ink in your book is the dedication of the monument of georgia which is one of the early ones and so can you fill us in and give us a representative example and tell us how that paves the way for the one that came after it? >> i think what's interesting about these monuments is that it's really one of the earliest that comes out after reconstruction wants federal troops have left the region and they have left georgia.
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they began organizing an effort to place a monument on a main thoroughfare in augusta georgia so this was -- they began that in 1877 and i think it's 1878 or 79 when the unveiling takes place. what's interesting about this is it's become more ceremonial and celebratory. it moves beyond moves beyond the wreath and now they will be focused in on the celebration of the confederacy and that's what makes the monument a little different. what you are saying is some of the rituals of monument unveiling that are evident right away. there would be all kinds of ceremonies just relating to the cornerstone of the monuments even before the fund-raising had been completed in a couple of years later the monument itself
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would be unveiled and all this ritual is asian around having parades in military style parades everyone encouraged to decorate their homes with confederate radel flags as well as the united states flag and children are involved and it's one of the first that incorporates a small statue of robert e. lee and what i saw as the rise of it but early on. >> let's follow that up with something that sticks in a lot of peoples brains when they hear you say that. you just say that these dedications in the ceremonies were considered by the uvc and a way to represent patriotism in
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the united states. >> augusta monument is. uvc but you are correct there was the sense that first of all we are going to honor the confederacy and the confederate soldiers and the confederate military leaders but where are also going to say they are making the argument that they were really traders of the nation. they were very much patriots and defenders of the constitution especially the 10th amendment because that was their argument all along. so they don't see that there's a disconnect between having loyalty to the confederacy and loyalty to the united states. >> okay. and this does bring us up to what has to be, and you are the talked about robert e. lee but probably the first confederate monument a lot of people think of is the one featured on your
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dust jacket and that is the robert e. lee monument in richmond. and if you'll bear with me for a second in order to make the point that these monuments of just spring up out of the ground and people put them there and they mean something to people and the people tell us what they are thinking. if you'll bear with me i will take a minute to read a little bit of the dedicatory speech about robert e. lee and what he's telling us that monument represents in 1890 and anderson says in a speech that must have been about 90 minutes long let this monument each to generations yet unborn let it stand not as a record of civil strife by the perpetual protest
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against whatever is low and sordid inner public and private objects. but it stand as a memorial to personal order and knightly valor of far-reaching military genius of heroic constancy for which no misfortune of duty let it stand for reproof as are people shall think above the standards of their fathers. maybe it's the first time you are thinking about that but overall what is archer anderson telling us that we are supposed to think about that? >> well he and many other speakers of the day in unveiling the speeches first of all they wanted to connect that history
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and they want the children to learn that history which is one of the first parts of that quote that says somehow this memorial is there to teach a lesson and then there's also an element and it's kind of a long piece so i will do my best here. i think one of the things about the leave monument particularly this one in richmond and there are several monuments of robert e. lee but the one in richmond, it's about reestablishing southern masculinity in a lot of ways and leave represents that for them. it's like his masculinity for them is untarnished and the monument doesn't just represent lee would also then confederate soldiers and to basically hold their heads high and not to be
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thinking about the -- but their own heroism. and this is the thing that many of these confederate soldiers or former veterans who spoke at these unveilings were trying to do. they were trying to reclaim their masculinity several decades removed from defeat and it sounds like a low historical amnesia bound up in this monument that is asking people to move on but to think about it in a way that is reflecting on that is a moment of heroism and that this is a just cause and reclaiming masculinity. >> they are determined even then
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to prove they were right. >> exactly. there was never this concession of guilt in any way or that they were wrong. it's always the lost causes the just cause and for many of them they believed it was a sacred cause in god was on their side. they turn it into that as well so if god is on their side there's no way that this could have been wrong. >> the next thing i want to get onto here and its the second chapter of your book but i do want to tell anybody who's thinking about getting this book while this book has a lot of great stuff if it did one thing it was one of the things you did in chapter 2 which was demonstrate that there was never a time when everybody except that these stories about these
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monuments so the purpose of this conversation about the lee monument can kenny take a few minutes to introduce us to a man named john mitchell and editor of the newspaper in richmond there and tell us why we need to hear john mitchell's opinion that he stated at that time? >> i wish i was reading from that. john mitchell was the editor of the african-american newspapers and he was very much a critic of what was going on. on the one hand he said well we understand that people want to memorialize their leaders but on the other hand they are taking it a bit too far and he was also concerned and he was raising a red flag here that what he saw
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going on at the same time this monument was being unveiled was that he very much understood that it was a move away from the progress that was brought by a reconstruction, the 13th, 14th and 15th amendment but especially the 15th amendment which was the right for african-american men to vote. it provided for that and he was really concerned and he was right there was a movement afoot to disenfranchised black man and he saw it coming and part of that was response to the lee unveiling. he this in the paper they also responses from other black newspaper editors around the region of what they saw happening there and they were horrified.
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they looked at that and what was happening there in richmond and said you know these men were traders to the nation. they fought against the united states. they took up arms against the u.s. and so how was it that these men can be celebrated not only for taking up arms against the united states but also for fighting a war that would perpetuate? they recognized what was happening in richmond in 1990. >> right and one of the things that you see happening throughout this book it helps us understand that the monuments don't just sit there and they were put up by people who just walked away but also it's very
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tempting right now when we are in the middle of a controversy to think that they have always been there and therefore they vice been accepted for this book tells us know, no they were not. there's never been a day when these monuments did not have somebody saying wait a minute i have an opinion about this too. >> exactly. >> by 1928 certainly lost cause memory had done a lot to infiltrate or dominate what people thought about the civil war and the monuments were part of that. i want to share briefly something because i think it's a hoot. here are a number of men, giles cook and tyler ryan ended number
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of very important white southern men in 1928 trying to tell the state of virginia that they must repeal a resolution of respect. brian tyler is not a shouting red-faced ignorant kind of man. he's one of the most important intellectual thinkers of the 20s in the south. it seems to me part of the creation of these monuments at that time now so i guess we'll talk about the 20s and 30s, it's totally away from memorial is asian. it is a fight for victory, a
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victory for white supremacy at that time. i don't know if you feel the same way and he's not part of your book. >> in many ways the confederate monuments that were placed on the southern landscape do this period they were being placed on the grounds of local courthouses in the state state capitol. this is where justice is supposed to be served where laws are made and the kinds of laws that are being made are legalizing segregation. lynchings take place on the lawns of courthouses across the south adjacent to the confederate monuments. confederate monuments are absolutely represent a big culture of of white supremacy across the south. while women are behind the
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movement to place them on the courthouse lawn and they are being supported and they are supporting the legal match in nations of white supremacy that are taking place so yes they are altogether and i think it's really important that we point out that white women of the south are just as violent in their thinking about race as the men in their lives. they made not be there or they might there -- be there at the courthouse lynching on the white house lawn but they certainly endorse these things and it's the way i feel about confederate monuments is confederate monuments provide the cultural underpinnings of the white supremacy that's being legalized across the south.
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>> do you see that as a change of the original purpose of monuments or is it more like an evolution? >> i think what's going on is in the beginning in the 1890s you have to think about the backdrop for these confederate monuments. the back drop in the 1890s as an increase in racial violence in epidemic of lynchings and it does franchising of lack male voters all dashed blackmail voters in this decade into the 20th century. so do you want me to repeat that last part? this is the backdrop.
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it's hard to separate the monument from what is taking place in the same period. >> that makes a lot of sense. these monuments or any monuments are a conversation. >> they are being used by udc members to teach children. they don't just stand there. i actually interviewed women in the late 80s that were in the children of the confederacy when the early udc was in this movement and they were telling me not only about the portraits of their military leaders and heroes that were in the classroom but the fact that their leaders would take them down to their local confederate monument to impart some history around that and this is the
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thing about confederate monuments. there are those sorts of things were the children are brought there to be taught lessons about the lost cause the confederacy and the war wasn't about at all in these sorts of things. those things are happening and monuments are ritualized every year. every confederate memorial day there's another ritual and there are more speeches so that goes on for a few generations and what you will see and might look is by the time you get to the 1950s and you have the civil rights movement the rhetoric of confederate memorial day speeches talks about communism or anti-communism and that's obviously a reaction to this overwrites movement. >> yes.
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and you must be anticipating where you want to go with this because those monuments or already up by the 1950s, by 1955 when emmett till was murdered in mississippi so if you can continue to explore this idea how did this overwrites movement change the conversation of the monument between those who were in power and white supremacist south and those who are having that power brought upon them. >> i think what you discover is during the civil rights movement first of all a lot of civil rights leaders were very upset about confederate iconography in general and very often it's a
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battle flag. the battle flag is used by segregationist as a tool of intimidation where is confederate monuments are stationary. but the ways in which white children are still being taught these ideas of the lost cause are being talked about a civil rights leaders in d.c. that really pick up around the civil war centennial 1961 to 65 which also happens to be the most heated period of the civil rights movement and so one of the things i write about or what changes that the civil rights act and the voting rights act of 1965. it's then you begin to see black
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voters are going to elects people who better represent them around the issue of confederate iconography and in one of these cases i talk about the march and the ways in which the merit is march which was about registering voters and what he called the march against fear to washington. it was from memphis to jackson mississippi and they would go into communities with the purposed of registering voters and it was there they coalesced around confederate monument and those statues are in the center of town or on courthouse lawns. which is also where people might go register to vote at the courthouse. and so it's the confrontation of the confederate monument and
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they declaration of the state that confederate monuments it on and had dominant -- dominated for so long. once you see that happening and by the 1970s he began to see individuals who are civil rights veterans who are being elected to the local city council for the first time and they begin to challenge their representative of governments now and they are going to challenge these monuments on the courthouse lawn >> this takes us to a great topic. one of the people that you talk about is harvey -- they are in charlottesville -- charlotte. >> gas charlotte. charlottesville is the need to mistake it for.
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harvey gantt for people who may not remember he was the first black student to integrate the university and he moved to charlotte in the 70s and he was elected to the city council in the mid-70s and the 197-7112 years after the civil war there was a local guy in the group that wanted to put it that confederate monument on the grounds of city hall in charlotte and most of the time these things would have gone without question and even though the monument did end up on the grounds of city hall harvey gantt was one of the earliest members of the city council in the years after the voting rights act passed and called this into question. and he has such a grasp of
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history and what that history meant to him. he was brought up in charleston south carolina and he was surrounded by the confederacy in charleston, south carolina. and the history that he learned in the lack public schools in charleston that he grew up with was a history was more factual than the lost cause and he felt it was very important that he speak up and a representative of the black community and say these monuments if the confederacy had won our ancestors would have continued to be and he didn't feel the confederate monument being placed on the grounds of city hall in 1977 with was truly representative of the new south. charlotte which was the mantle of the new city he said this is not the way you do it.
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>> so harvey gantt is one of the more interesting characters that you introduce in this book and part of the reason is many of us think that these things are controversial or previously have been controversial they always were but someone coming out against them if people are willing to listen. >> right and i should mention to he became charlotte's first lack mayor. and he will ran a strong campaign against jesse helms for u.s. senate in 1990. he didn't win that but the fact that he was successful scared some people. >> right. for purposes of our conversation
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, an important voice in the debate. now, gosh i'm looking at my next question you kind of already answered it but the time of the sobel wore centennial has all sorts of controversies and problems involving back and you don't necessarily dive into all of that except how the confederate monuments play a big role in some of the problems of the civil war centennial but did you see more of a pushback from the people who want to put up more monuments and wanted to defend this privilege confederate access to common
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ground at the time of the centennial and after that or did things change? >> first of all during the period of the civil war centennial and the civil rights movement they notice these things are there but they are very much focused on getting the civil rights act passed in the voting rights act passed and so the civil war centennial at least in the south was basically a lost cause and the ways in which it was commemorated. use on new monuments that were not an explosion of monuments. there were probably 20 new monuments in the 1950s and another 20 in the 1960s but they might spend a lot of money on them.
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$150,000 by the state of alabama for a new monument in the vicksburg military park so there is not so much pushback at that point but there's a lot of pushback on confederate iconography primarily the flag but it's really that post-civil rights, post-centennial were you begin to get the push and pull that starts to take place throughout the region. >> okay. in some sense you are starting to tell us about here we start talking about the phrase common ground. that's a lot of what we are talking about here, common ground but there are also these monuments and other places that
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are common space and not all of them are the town square. are these confederate monuments also being wrought into the controversy? >> when we think about, i think what you might be referring who are the battlefields in the national parks? for some people those are controversial but with the national park service to at least have people, historians there who contextualize the monuments that are there. you have -- every decade since the civil war there have been new confederate monuments built and even up to the next decade which is interesting all by itself. but i think what you are saying
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is again these things exist in other places and they might exist in a local park. so those should be common ground with city parks and even a long monument avenue in richmond before anything was removed was supposed to be a public space and that is a shared space but it's not really. i was visiting a friend last november and she said you know she never felt comfortable in those spaces and she's african-american and she just didn't feel comfortable in those spaces so it's not common ground. it's not shared.
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it isn't shared and some people are okay with that. they say that's fine, we don't need you anyway but not in the cityscape. not in cities that are talking about dating models of diversity for people. those are two things and they are really looking at the ways in which their city might be marked by confederate street names and the like so i think that some cities like even the one i live and in charlotte have been reckoning with that but what do we do with the confederate memorial landscape? >> right and i'm not going to ask you to answer that question. i tell people it's a history book but we have just a few
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minutes left but i will wants to talk about the most recent history because that may be the reason why they pulled it back in to write this. >> it is the reason. >> give us some perspective on how this controversy changed again after the massacre in charleston. >> this is the thing. what we see is this pattern. there is eyes than racial violence and i don't want to ignore that history but in the most recent history where there has been terrible tragedy racial violence in charleston and dylann roof with the confederate
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flag laid across his shoulder basically what has happened is that what has been a regional conversation and controversy became a national one. it was exacerbated by what happened in charlottesville and once again a terrible tragedy. people were killed or there was violence in charlottesville and last summer we have a policeman killed george floyd and is currently on trial for it but in the south the reaction to what they saw in minneapolis was to turn on the confederate monument because confederate monuments represent to them more vape plurality of southerners, not
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just african-americans systemic racism and white supremacy and police brutality they were born out of those two things. and now we are seeing these statues are mired in the politics of divisiveness that exist and have existed in this building for the last several years and it's become a national issue, not just a regional but a national issue and that's probably why we are having, why we are still having this conversation. lastly i would just say the ways in which the south has responded and that is why it legislatures and the gop that dominate southern legislatures throughout the region their response to all
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of this was to pass monument laws are something they call heritage protection act which means that they are doubling down on preserving these statues and what that does is. a situation such as they have taken away local control so a community that might want to remove a monument can't do it the cousin of state law and so rather than protect the monument they physically invited vandalism of these monuments. they can't get them moved so out of frustration people will turn on them and vandalize them. >> if nothing else it demonstrates something that certainly is challenged my thinking is that these monuments
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are permanent and they are there all the time. packets -- and certainly a lot of community seemed seem to be now having to reckon with the fact that they thought was permanent and never going anywhere or are the attitude of their voters would change and that change frequently and violently and i want to use the term carefully because by only in the down came the monument. it was not permanent at all. >> they are permanent and they don't have to be at permanent. they aren't really reflective of communities in the 21st century. they are really a reflection of the jim crow era and the white supremacy in which they were
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built. there are people and while this is a divisive issue my experience in speaking to community organizations and including churches, some of my audience are people that are religious people who are thinking through are thinking through their mind is still open to understanding and learning the history and figuring this out for themselves. it's not my goal to tell them what to do. my goal is to give them the information and let them grapple with that because people need to grapple with it. >> and it never does not pretend to give prescriptions but it does share looking at here dust jacket and this is the last thing i wanted to talk about is the topic is something really
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strange and unforeseen happened last summer on monument avenue. i certainly didn't see what we were looking at their being what would happen in a confederate monument controversy. but it wasn't until i saw this happen and i'm so glad you chose this image for your dust jacket. there are many ways we can wrestle with these monuments and they are common ground therefore they are -- as people contest. >> i want to just point out for folks that while there was some vandalism and there was spray-painting etc. was the
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image on the cover of protest are to help people rethink these monuments in the context of our own times but what also happened after period of time what happened around the grounds of the lee monument people were having barbecues and took up basketball games and they were registering voters so they reclaim the space in a very positive way. this often gets overlooked because it may be the spray-painting but there are ways in which people can express their disagreement with these monuments that you see in your community. this is just one example but a very powerful example i think. >> right, i agree it's very powerful. we can't talk about everything
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karen and i know you wouldn't want to because they are so much more in this hook than just a few things that we talked about today but all history is local in this book, "no common ground" will help us to understand how the history of confederate monuments comes from local communities and people need to make decisions now and we always need to make decisions about this common ground of what we need to do about the confederate monuments. this provides you with excellent context to understand the history of these monuments before we get into someone else taking up the prescription of what we are going to do with it. is there anything else you want
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to tell us about the book before we finish? >> i'm just glad its publication day. i'm very happy about that. i think there will be some surprises in there and i think it is an accessible read and someone tweeted that their mother said i'm learning a lot from this book and i said that's the best review i can get. you handed out to their parents or grandparents may learn something from it. >> even though you have a lot of work to do to talk about this book and let's say the book itself what are you looking forward to doing now that you have wrestled with this particular topic? >> you know ahead completed research for completely different book that i had to set aside end up look hopefully i will get to some of that this summer and organize that
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material. it's a tragedy that took place in mississippi in april of 1940. it's a club fire and is still one of the deadliest fires in history but what makes it unique is that all the victims were african-american. so the story that i want to tell gets into an understanding of the jim crow period and the city in the south but also the connection to chicago. there was a band from chicago playing that night and there were lots of migrants who lived in chicago that were directly affected by this tragedy and there were some memorialization that happened not only in the landscape would also through. >> i'm sitting in chicago so any
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book that tells me more about the great migration and that migrant trail is very interesting to me and other people here. and you found another reason to write about it. >> it's a little town when i wrote that i fell in love with and it's a fascinating place. i like all the connections and those they said it's a local story but it has regional and national connections. >> okay, well thank you again karen and this is dr. karen cox and the book is "no common ground" confederate monuments and the ongoing fight for racial justice. the book is available at the
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abraham lincoln bookshop. there's a link or you can get it. it's just $24 will ship it to you with a special date for publication sign a plate which is today, the 12th of april, 2021. >> good evening everyone. i am the historical societies president ceo and i'm thrilled to welcome you to tonight's virtual program america's


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