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Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory by David W. Blight

By David W. Blight

No old occasion has left as deep an imprint on America's collective reminiscence because the Civil warfare. within the war's aftermath, american citizens needed to embody and do away with a nerve-racking prior. David Blight explores the perilous direction of remembering and forgetting, and divulges its tragic expenses to race relatives and America's nationwide reunion. In 1865, faced with a ravaged panorama and a torn the US, the North and South started a sluggish and painful means of reconciliation. the consequent many years witnessed the triumph of a tradition of reunion, which downplayed sectional department and emphasised the heroics of a conflict among noble males of the Blue and the grey. approximately misplaced in nationwide tradition have been the ethical crusades over slavery that ignited the warfare, the presence and participation of African american citizens during the warfare, and the promise of emancipation that emerged from the battle. Race and Reunion is a historical past of ways the team spirit of white the United States used to be bought throughout the expanding segregation of black and white reminiscence of the Civil battle. Blight delves deeply into the moving meanings of loss of life and sacrifice, Reconstruction, the romanticized South of literature, squaddies' memories of conflict, the assumption of the misplaced reason, and the ritual of Memorial Day. He resurrects the diversity of African-American voices and stories of the conflict and the efforts to maintain the emancipationist legacy in the middle of a tradition equipped on its denial. Blight's sweeping narrative of triumph and tragedy, romance and realism, is a compelling story of the politics of reminiscence, of ways a country healed from civil conflict with no justice. via the early 20th century, the issues of race and reunion have been locked in mutual dependence, a painful legacy that keeps to hang-out us this present day. (20001115)

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Another black soldier, Henry C. ” Black men too expected a soldier’s due out of this war—safe ªresides, public recognition, and a place in at least some form of reconciliation between blacks and whites. Indeed, both Wester and Hoyle, like the more famous Douglass before them, were convinced that in equal suffering, if not in natural law, the country might discover the roots of equal rights. In this sense, for black soldiers and their future families, equality was another word for reconciliation.

29 He threw blame for the war’s outbreak, which he welcomed, on all those who had ever threatened America’s uniªed destiny. Whitman loathed Southern “ªreaters” and Northern “abolitionists” with equal disdain. He nursed, wrote letters for, and admired black troops, but only within the narrowly racist conªnes of his views on black capacities, and as a peculiar poetic subject. Whitman’s “real war” did not ultimately include the revolution in black freedom of 1863; his own myriad uses of rebirth metaphors did not encompass black equality.

The task was harrowing: how to make the logic of sectional reconciliation compatible with the logic of emancipation, how to square black freedom and the stirrings of racial equality with a cause (the South’s) that had lost almost everything except its unbroken belief in white supremacy. Such an effort required both remembering and forgetting. During Reconstruction, many Americans increasingly realized that remembering the war, even the hatreds and deaths on a hundred battleªelds—facing all those graves on Memorial Day—became, with time, easier than struggling over the enduring ideas for which those battles had been fought.

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