Sussex Center for American Studies

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Historian helps Americans mark Civil War anniversary

Robert Cook, Professor of American History, will give a series of lectures in Georgia, USA, next week (2-4 April) as part of the state’s official commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War.

Professor Cook has accepted an offer from the Georgia Humanities Council to talk about the infamous centennial commemorations in the 1960s, which were nearly derailed by intense friction caused by conflicting southern white, African-American and national memories of the USA’s bloodiest conflict.

Black leaders such as Martin Luther King drew heavily on Civil War memory to strengthen their cause, most famously at the march on Washington in August 1963 when King delivered his celebrated ‘I have a dream’ speech at the Lincoln Memorial.

Professor Cook will be speaking to public audiences at Mercer University in Macon; Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville; and the Atlanta History Center.

He said: “Americans are currently commemorating the 150th anniversary of a conflict that caused the deaths of around 620,000 combatants. The war spawned hatreds on both sides and continues to cause controversy today.

“I hope audiences will take away an understanding of the constructed and highly politicised nature of historical memory.”

Troubled Commemoration, Professor Cook’s book about the centennial in 1961-65, was published in 2007 by Louisiana State University Press.

Posted on behalf of: American Studies
Last updated: Thursday, 29 March 2012