Monuments to Absence: Cherokee Removal and the Contest over Southern Memory

Monuments to Absence: Cherokee Removal and the Contest over Southern Memory

by Andrew Denson

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Overview

Monuments to Absence: Cherokee Removal and the Contest over Southern Memory by Andrew Denson

The 1830s forced removal of Cherokees from their southeastern homeland became the most famous event in the Indian history of the American South, an episode taken to exemplify a broader experience of injustice suffered by Native peoples. In this book, Andrew Denson explores the public memory of Cherokee removal through an examination of memorials, historic sites, and tourist attractions dating from the early twentieth century to the present. White southerners, Denson argues, embraced the Trail of Tears as a story of Indian disappearance. Commemorating Cherokee removal affirmed white possession of southern places, while granting them the moral satisfaction of acknowledging past wrongs. During segregation and the struggle over black civil rights, removal memorials reinforced whites' authority to define the South's past and present. Cherokees, however, proved capable of repossessing the removal memory, using it for their own purposes during a time of crucial transformation in tribal politics and U.S. Indian policy. In considering these representations of removal, Denson brings commemoration of the Indian past into the broader discussion of race and memory in the South.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781469630830
Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date: 02/20/2017
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Andrew Denson teaches history at Western Carolina University.

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From the Publisher

An enlightening and powerful study of Cherokee memory and removal, Monuments to Absence tells the complex racial and political story of how we remember the Trail of Tears.--Malinda Lowery, author of Lumbee Indians in the Jim Crow South

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