Very interesting

post about national memory. Read it. Here’s the money section:

“And here’s why: David Blight argues
that, in the the wake of the Civil War, whites in the North and the
South reunited without grappling with the war’s causes. Getting back to
the business of doing business was easier and more appealing than
sorting out why 620,000 people had died in the nation’s most brutal
conflict. Notherners and southerners arrived at a convenient series of
shared myths about the war: both sides had fought hard, both sides had
fought well, and both sides had fought for just causes. A few skeptics,
notably Frederick Douglass, challenged this emerging conventional
wisdom about the war. But most Americans ignored the naysayers. As a
result, the root rather than proximate causes of the fighting — slavery
and racial inequities — dropped out of contemporary discussions in
service of easy reunion.

Americans, in sum, postponed a national conversation about race.
Reconstruction then failed. The South revived its antebellum social and
economic castes: tying African-Americans to the land, disfranchising
freed people, segregating public facilities. Notherners looked on,
profited, and often participated in similar processes. Only the Civil
Rights movement eventually overturned those entrenched hierarchies.”


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