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Remembering Dixie
Remembering Dixie
by Susan T. Falck


 
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Wednesday, September 25, 2019 | Event with Susan T. Falck
signing at 5:00

First edition. Signed.
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Description
 
Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi (pub: September 16, 2019)

A timely examination of the beginnings of heritage tourism and the tensions felt today in one Mississippi community. Nearly seventy years after the Civil War, Natchez, Mississippi, sold itself to Depression-era tourists as a place “Where the Old South Still Lives.” Tourists flocked to view the town’s decaying antebellum mansions, hoopskirted hostesses, and a pageant saturated in sentimental Lost Cause imagery.

In Remembering Dixie: The Battle to Control Historical Memory in Natchez, Mississippi, 1865–1941, Susan T. Falck analyzes how the highly biased, white historical memories of what had been a wealthy southern hub originated from the experiences and hardships of the Civil War. These collective narratives eventually culminated in a heritage tourism enterprise still in business today. Additionally, the book includes new research on the African American community’s robust efforts to build historical tradition, most notably, the ways in which African Americans in Natchez worked to create a distinctive postemancipation identity that challenged the dominant white structure.

Using a wide range of late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century sources—many of which have never been fully mined before—Falck reveals the ways in which black and white Natchezians of all classes, male and female, embraced, reinterpreted, and contested Lost Cause ideology. These memory-making struggles resulted in emotional, internecine conflicts that shaped the cultural character of the community and impacted the national understanding of the Old South and the Confederacy as popular culture.

Natchez remains relevant today as a microcosm for our nation’s modern-day struggles with Lost Cause ideology, Confederate monuments, racism, and white supremacy. Falck reveals how this remarkable story played out in one important southern community over several generations in vivid detail and richly illustrated analysis.

SUSAN T. FALCK is executive director of Rancho Camulos Museum, a National Historic Landmark in Ventura County, California. She taught US history at California State University, Northridge. As an alumnus of the Natchez Courthouse Records Project, she helped process hundreds of nineteenth-century Natchez legal records and contributed research and editorial content to PBS websites on the history of slavery and Jim Crow.

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