Why Has America Been So Reluctant to ‘Own’ the South?

A Preeminent Historian Explores How a Region Central to U.S. Identity Gets Written Out of the National Narrative

James C. Cobb is Emeritus B. Phinizy Spalding distinguished professor in the history of the American South at the University of Georgia. He has published 13 books and many articles focusing on the interaction of the economy, politics, and culture in the American South. Three of his books—The Selling of the South: The Southern Crusade for Industrial Development 1936-1990, Away Down South: A History of Southern Identity, and The Most Southern Place on Earth: The Mississippi Delta and the Roots of Regional Identity—are considered classics in the field.

In December …

The South Carolina Monument That Symbolizes Clashing Memories of Slavery

In Charleston, Blacks and Whites Have Viewed the Bronze Likeness of Racist Ideologue John C. Calhoun From Radically Different Angles

In the center of Charleston, South Carolina, in a verdant green space that plays host to farmers markets, festivals, and sunbathing undergraduates, stands a monument of John C. Calhoun, the …

The Sarcastic Civil War Diarist Who Chronicled the Confederacy’s Fall

Raised in Plantation Privilege, Mary Boykin Chesnut Was Unprepared for the Trauma of War and Defeat

“February 18, 1861…. I do not allow myself vain regrets or sad foreboding. This Southern Confederacy must be supported now by calm determination and cool brains. We have risked all, …

How the South Recast Defeat as Victory with an Army of Stone Soldiers

Confederate Monuments to Nameless Infantrymen Were Less About Celebrating History Than Reestablishing Social Order

Monuments to Robert E. Lee and other Confederate leaders have long been controversial, but monuments to nameless Confederate soldiers, those lone stone figures in public places, are far more …

With Free State of Jones, Hollywood’s Civil War Comes Closer to History’s

Pop Culture May Finally Be Ready to Surrender the Myth of a Noble, Confederate Lost Cause

The setting is the piney woods of Civil War Jones County, Mississippi. The white farmer Newt Knight leads a band of deserters against Confederate forces. An enslaved woman, Rachel, lends …