How has memory of the American Civil War changed over the past few years in the South? What trends can be discerned and where specifically do we see this playing out? I was thinking about this earlier today as I was reading another story about a local community that has discontinued the tradition of honoring a Confederate holiday – this time, Confederate Memorial Day in Cullman County, Alabama. As many of you know this follows on the heels of Charlottesville’s decision to discontinue recognizing Lee-Jackson Day.
I’ve also been thinking about this in connection with a project that is still in the very early stages that involves turning my last ten years of blogging into a book of essays about recent Civil War memory. Much of what I have posted is about decisions on the state level and in local communities that involve how communities remember this history. Rather than rely on anecdotal evidence I would love to be able to say something more substantial about how Civil War memory has evolved. There are a number of possibilities.
It would be pretty easy to tag/label a Google Map with every decision made during the sesquicentennial that has anything to do with how a local community remembers/commemorates the Civil War. My interest concerns decisions made specifically by local and state governments, including proclamations, decisions about monuments, holidays, etc. Additional maps that include information pulled from census data, including racial/ethnic diversity and socio-economic status concerning specific communities could be added. Historical maps from the Civil War could be overlaid to help draw connections between the past and present.