224 pp., 5.5 x 8.5, 14 halftones, notes, index
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-6267-1
Published: April 2021
eBook ISBN: 978-1-4696-6268-8
Published: February 2021
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In this eye-opening narrative of the efforts to raise, preserve, protest, and remove Confederate monuments, Karen L. Cox depicts what these statues meant to those who erected them and how a movement arose to force a reckoning. She lucidly shows the forces that drove white southerners to construct beacons of white supremacy, as well as the ways that antimonument sentiment, largely stifled during the Jim Crow era, returned with the civil rights movement and gathered momentum in the decades after the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Monument defenders responded with gerrymandering and "heritage" laws intended to block efforts to remove these statues, but hard as they worked to preserve the Lost Cause vision of southern history, civil rights activists, Black elected officials, and movements of ordinary people fought harder to take the story back. Timely, accessible, and essential, No Common Ground is the story of the seemingly invincible stone sentinels that are just beginning to fall from their pedestals.
About the Author
Karen L. Cox is professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Her other books include Dreaming of Dixie: How the South Was Created in American Popular Culture and Dixie's Daughters: The United Daughters of the Confederacy and the Preservation of Confederate Culture.
For more information about Karen L. Cox, visit the Author Page.
“Engrossing. . . . This clear and thorough account, essential for Southern libraries, is likely to become a standard reference work on its subject. . . . A well-documented history of Confederate monuments and the conflicting views they inspire.”—Kirkus Reviews
“In her superb contribution to the history of the South, Cox targets the massive influence of the United Daughters of the Confederacy on Southerners in the late 1890s and beyond, especially in the area of monument building. . . . An invaluable study of all-too-frequently misplaced genealogical and regional venerations. Highly recommended for U.S., antebellum, Civil War, African American, and Southern historians and scholars, and for all readers.”—Library Journal, starred review
"The definitive history of Confederate monuments and their surrounding controversies…. a masterful public-history analysis.” —Rebecca Brenner Graham, The Society for U.S. Intellectual History
“Essential...Cox, a preeminent scholar of how the South has sought to reimagine and portray itself in the years since the Civil War...tracks the origins and spread of the statues and clears up misconceptions about how these sculptures came to liberally pepper our landscape...It is a robust accounting that links spikes in statue building to periods when White Southerners perceived threats to their control over institutions and wanted to reassert their dominance...To read this book is to be reminded again that the history of Confederate Statues is not ancient, nor even old." —Washington Post
“The title of Karen L. Cox’s book makes her point: there has never been common ground on the meaning of southern Confederate monuments. Her passionate, thorough history shows them not merely as expressions of historical memory, but fundamentally as embodiments of voting rights and voter suppression. A most illuminating book on an issue whose time never disappeared.”—Nell Irvin Painter, author of The History of White People and Southern History across the Color Line
"Karen Cox was delving into the history of the United Daughters of the Confederacy long before the rest of the nation caught up. She can't get enough credit for her pioneering work on southern memory. She is the perfect person to tell the history of battles over Confederate monuments—and now is the perfect moment to set the record straight."—William Sturkey, author of Hattiesburg: An American City in Black and White