“An immensely welcome longitudinal study of the intersection of race, place, and historical memory in Wilmington, North Carolina. Richly researched, beautifully written, and deeply analytical, Mulrooney’s study is a tour de force.”—John David Smith, editor of Interpreting American History: Reconstruction
“With clear and compelling prose, Mulrooney dives beneath the seemingly calm waters of a ‘progressive city’ to find evidence that racialized violence and memory-making were foundational to southern settlement and development rather than a mere aberration.”—Derek H. Alderman, coauthor of Civil Rights Memorials and the Geography of Memory
A revealing work of public history that shows how communities remember their pasts in different ways to fit specific narratives, Race, Place, and Memory charts the ebb and flow of racial tension in Wilmington, North Carolina, from the 1730s to the present day.
Margaret Mulrooney argues that while the port city has long celebrated its white colonial revolutionary origins, it has ignored the revolutionary acts of its African American citizens who also demanded freedom—first from slavery and later from Jim Crow discrimination. Lingering beneath the surface of daily life, she shows, are collective memories of violence and alienation that were exacerbated by the Wilmington Race Riot of 1898 and racial conflicts that occurred in the city throughout the twentieth century. Critically evaluating the riot’s centennial commemoration, which she helped organize, Mulrooney makes a case for public history projects that recognize the history-making authority of all community members and prompt us to reconsider the memories we inherit.
Margaret M. Mulrooney, professor of history and associate vice provost of university programs at James Madison University, is the author of Black Powder, White Lace: The du Pont Irish and Cultural Identity in Nineteenth-Century America.
A volume in the series Cultural Heritage Studies, edited by Paul A. Shackel
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