Caroline Janney Lectures on the Ladies Memorial Association

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One of the more interesting memory studies from 2008 was Caroline Janney’s Burying the Dead but Not the Past: Ladies’ Memorial Associations and the Lost Cause (University of North Carolina Press).  The book examines the history of the LMAs, the creation of Confederate cemeteries and the early evolution of the Lost Cause.  If you do not have the time to read the book check out Janney’s recent Clinton School of Public Service address.  It covers the broad outline of the book.

2 comments… add one

  • Tony Howard Apr 21, 2009

    I totally agree with your assessment of Janney’s book. I picked it up in the bookstore at Shiloh because it was a good fit for the historiographic essay I was doing in a grad school class. I don’t normally get into women’s history that much, but I found the book fascinating.

  • Sherree Tannen Apr 22, 2009

    Thanks for the link, Kevin. I watched the video. For me, several issues were highlighted. First, why did the federal government refuse to bury the Confederate dead? Do you know? Does Janney cover this in her book? I am certain the ladies of the Confederacy would have found another way to promote the Lost Cause if the Confederate dead had been buried by the government. But if the government had buried the dead, it would have been a respectful and conciliatory gesture, it seems. Not to bury the dead seems punitive. Second, it is interesting, but not surprising, that many of the women who formed these organizations were the wives of men who were either not in combat or who did not die in combat. Also, Janney points out that the women who formed the organizations were from an elite economic class. Thus, the women in the ladies’ organizations did not represent all white women in the South, nor any of the black or Cherokee women, so I cannot relate to them at all. They seem to be in a minority now, and basically irrelevant to modern discourse, unless they are affecting the modern political climate in ways of which I am unaware. When it comes to how they affected our memory of the Civil War; that is a different matter altogether, of course. I understand how the Lost Cause myth and rhetoric were used during the civil rights era. I also understand the consequences of the lingering impact of Lost Cause remembrance of the Civil War on black men and women, and why Janney’s book is important. It is important to white Southerners, too, whose dead ancestors were used as pawns in a political grab for power. Thanks, again. The video was very interesting, informative, and accessible.

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