No Common Ground: Confederate Monuments and the Ongoing Fight for Racial Justice

Univ. of North Carolina. Apr. 2021. 224p. ISBN 9781469662671. $24. SOC SCI
In her superb contribution to the history of the South, Cox (Dixie’s Daughters) targets the massive influence of the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) on Southerners in the late 1890s and beyond, especially in the area of monument building. According to the author, members were motivated not just to honor their veteran ancestors, but to vindicate them as well. Cox maintains that the UDC spent millions of dollars on statue projects, and that much of the money was appropriated from state and local governments. She argues that, while funding monuments and memorials and lobbying for their placement were critical aspects of the UDC’s work in the early 20th century, its agenda looked toward the future as much as it commemorated the past. According to Cox, UDC advocates sought to ensure that future generations of white Southerners would hold up their Confederate ancestors as heroes and would themselves defend the same principles for which their forerunners fought, including an all-out defense of states’ rights.
VERDICT This is 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.
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