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Monuments to AbsenceCherokee Removal and the Contest over Southern Memory$
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Andrew Denson

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781469630830

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469630830.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.northcarolina.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of North Carolina Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NCSO for personal use.date: 13 October 2019

The Capital

The Capital

Remembering Cherokee Removal in Civil Rights–Era Georgia

(p.111) 4 The Capital
Monuments to Absence

Andrew Denson

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter describes the expansion of removal commemoration in the post-World War Two decades, focusing particular attention on Georgia's reconstruction of New Echota, the capital of the Cherokee Nation. While the project began as a local effort to promote heritage tourism, state officials applied a loftier theme to the commemoration, describing the site as an apology for Georgia's part in removal. The chapter examines the New Echota project in the context of the South's civil rights-era politics and as an example of American Cold War culture. It argues that the commemoration of the Trail of Tears offered white southerners a politically safe way to contemplate their region's history of racial oppression. The New Echota project included very little Cherokee participation, a feature that suggests the organizers assumed modern Cherokees were mostly irrelevant to their work in Georgia. The New Echota project required Cherokees to act as witnesses to commemorative acts conducted by non-Indians. It did not require them to participate as authors of those commemorations.

Keywords:   Georgia, Cherokee, Trail of Tears, Civil Rights Movement, Cold War, Commemoration, Historical memory

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