Note to our readers: We are no longer giving away free PDFs of Dixie’s Daughters: The United Daughters of the Confederacy and the Preservation of Confederate Culture by Karen L. Cox and Recalling Deeds Immortal: Florida Monuments to the Civil War by William B. Lees and Frederick P. Gaske. If you would like to order copies of the print editions, visit upress.ufl.edu. You will receive discount prices on the print editions of these two books through November 17 with discount code FACTS.
White nationalist propaganda—especially of the kind disseminated by the National Policy Institute and its president—has been masked with the rhetoric of “preserving Southern culture” or “remembering our history.” This rhetoric has been used in the debate surrounding the removal of Confederate monuments across the country. UPF encourages readers to understand the true history behind these statues, the differences between remembering history and memorializing slavery, and the rise of this particular brand of “Southern culture.”
“Almost none of the [Confederate] monuments were put up right after the Civil War,” UPF author Karen L. Cox stresses in a recent Washington Post op-ed: “The monuments were put up as explicit symbols of white supremacy.” In her book, Dixie’s Daughters, Cox explains how the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) erected monuments to “transform military defeat into a political and cultural victory, where states’ rights and white supremacy remained intact.” The UDC “believed they could vindicate their Confederate ancestors,” Cox argues.
In Recalling Deeds Immortal, authors William B. Lees and Frederick P. Gaske outline the precise details surrounding the installation of several Confederate monuments in Florida. They note that while the first was built in 1871, “the UDC continued to erect monuments in Florida at a steady pace through the Civil War Centennial of 1961–65.” They also discuss the Lost Cause narrative the monuments convey, explaining its “recasting [of] the Civil War as a constitutional contest in which the South fought to protect states’ rights.”
UPF is a member of the Association of American University Presses, whose executive director Peter Berkery and president Nicole Mitchell note in Publishers Weekly, “In today’s political climate—in which ‘fake news’ and ‘alternative facts’ are believed and spread by so many people—valuing expertise and knowledge can feel like a radical stance.”
UPF is proud to publish works of high-quality scholarship that help today’s readers separate truth from misrepresentation in order to better understand current events. Here are five of our books that help illuminate the true history behind Confederate monuments and the deep roots of white supremacy.
This history of the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC), an organization founded in 1894 to vindicate the Confederate generation and honor the Lost Cause, shows why myths surrounding the Confederacy continue to endure. Karen Cox describes how the members of the UDC built monuments, monitored history for “truthfulness,” and sought to educate coming generations of white southerners about an idyllic past and a just cause—states’ rights. Soldiers’ and widows’ homes, perpetuation of the mythology of the antebellum South, and pro-southern textbooks in the region’s white public schools were all integral to their mission of creating the New South in the image of the Old.
Recalling Deeds Immortal: Florida Monuments to the Civil War
By William B. Lees and Frederick P. Gaske
Most monuments built in Florida honor the Confederacy, praising the valor of Southern soldiers and often extolling the righteousness of their “Lost Cause.” At the same time, a fascinating minority of Union monuments also exists in the state—and these bear notably muted messages. Recalling Deeds Immortal shows how the creation of these bronze and stone monuments created new social battlegrounds as, over the years, groups competed to control the messages behind the memorialization of fallen soldiers and veterans.
Destination Dixie: Tourism and Southern History
Edited by Karen L. Cox
From battlegrounds to birthplaces, and sites in between, heritage tourism has always been part of how the South attracts visitors—and defines itself. This volume shows that the narrative of southern history told at these sites is often complicated by race, influenced by local politics, and shaped by competing memories. Included are essays on the meanings of New Orleans cemeteries; Stone Mountain, Georgia; historic Charleston, South Carolina; Yorktown National Battlefield; Selma, Alabama, as locus of the civil rights movement; and the homes of Mark Twain, Margaret Mitchell, and other notables.
The Invisible Empire: The Ku Klux Klan in Florida
By Michael Newton
In vivid, comprehensive, and often grim detail, The Invisible Empire charts 130 years of Ku Klux Klan activity in Florida, one of the Klan’s most violent and enduring realms. Beginning with the chaotic days of Reconstruction, when Klansmen killed more than 150 victims in a single county, this important history describes the organization’s influence on Florida politics and its links to modern law enforcement. In addition to recounting tales of violence, Newton addresses the critical question of how the hooded night riders continue to survive—a bitter, marginalized extremist movement that is still marching in what is arguably the Deep South’s most progressive and ethnically diverse state.
The Denmark Vesey Affair: A Documentary History
Edited by Douglas R. Egerton and Robert L. Paquette
In 1822, thirty-four slaves and their leader, a free black man named Denmark Vesey, were tried and executed for “attempting to raise an insurrection” in Charleston, South Carolina. In this volume, Douglas Egerton and Robert Paquette annotate and interpret a vast collection of contemporary documents that illuminate this complicated saga. This is the definitive account of a landmark event that spurred the South to secession and holds symbolic meaning today—as evidenced by the 2015 shooting that took place in Emanuel AME Church, a church Vesey had attended.
Visit our website to browse more books from University Press of Florida.