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The long fall into the ash heap of history. When it comes to Confederate monuments, there is no common ground. Polarizing debates over their meaning have intensified into legislative maneuvering to preserve the statues, legal battles to remove them, and rowdy crowds taking matters into their own hands. These conflicts have raged for well over a century—but they’ve never been as intense as they are today. In this eye-opening narrative of the efforts to raise, preserve, protest, and remove Confederate monuments, Karen L. Cox depicts what these statues meant to those who erected them and how a movement arose to force a reckoning. She lucidly shows the forces that drove white southerners to construct beacons of white supremacy, as well as the ways that anti monument sentiment, largely stifled during the Jim Crow era, returned with the civil rights movement and gathered momentum in the decades after the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Monument defenders responded with gerrymandering and “heritage” laws intended to block efforts to remove these statues, but hard as they worked to preserve the Lost Cause vision of southern history, civil rights activists, Black elected officials, and movements of ordinary people fought harder to take the story back. Timely, accessible, and essential, No Common Ground is the story of the seemingly invincible stone sentinels that are just beginning to fall from their pedestals.
Karen L. Cox is an award-winning historian, Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians, and professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. A successful public intellectual, she has written op-eds for the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, TIME, and more. Dr. Cox regularly gives media interviews on the subject of southern history and culture and is the author of four books, including No Common Ground: Confederate Monuments and the Ongoing Fight for Racial Justice (April 2020), Dreaming of Dixie: How the South Was Created in American Popular Culture, and Goat Castle: A True Story of Murder, Race, and the Gothic South.
Ashli Quesinberry Stokes, Ph.D., is a Professor of Communication Studies at UNC Charlotte. Her award-winning research examines advocacy, identity, and activism in the areas of food, health, corporate social responsibility, and public communication. She recently edited City Places, Country Spaces: Rhetorical Explorations of the Urban/Rural Divide (Peter Lang), and co-authored Consuming Identity: The Role of Food in Redefining the South with Wendy Atkins-Sayre. Her research has been featured in academic outlets such as the Southern Communication Journal, Public Relations Inquiry, Journal of Public Interest Communications, and Journal of Public Relations Research and includes four books, while she also contributes to local and national media, such as the Smithsonian/Zocalo Public Square, Academic Minute, and NPR. Recipient of the National Communication Association Public Relations Division PRIDE Award for public relations pedagogy and the Janice Hocker Rushing Early Career Research Award from the Southern States Communication Association, Stokes is a Fulbright Scholar, also receiving external funding from the North Carolina Humanities Council and other agencies to support her research. Stokes teaches courses on Southern foodways, rhetoric, and public advocacy.