by Nicholas Mitchell, Ph.D.
One cannot travel across Louisiana, or any of the South for that matter, and not run into some reminder of the Confederacy. Maybe it is a county name, a road, a university, or a statue in the city park; ghosts of the Confederacy are ubiquitous. My high school football team played more than its fair share of teams called “the Rebels.” I grew up in the shadows of the memorials to the Confederacy all around me.
The memory and the myth of the Confederacy run deep in the South, far deeper than the foundation of any monument in New Orleans. With the decision to remove the monuments to Liberty Place, Jefferson Davis, P.G.T. Beauregard, and Robert E. Lee from public view, the unquiet ghosts of the Confederacy and the racial divergence in the South’s collective memory have risen again. This current conflict is far larger than a simple clash of historical interpretation. The current monument issue is a clash of civilizations between the old White supremacist America and the emergent intersectional America; and it is happening in one of the cradles of the American concept of race: New Orleans.