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Civil War Monuments and the Militarization of America$
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Thomas J. Brown

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781469653747

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469653747.001.0001

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Toward a New Iconoclasm

Toward a New Iconoclasm

(p.283) Epilogue Toward a New Iconoclasm
Civil War Monuments and the Militarization of America

Thomas J. Brown

University of North Carolina Press

The epilogue sketches the influence of Civil War monuments on the most influential American war memorials during the period from the 1940s to the 1980s, when the public monument had declined dramatically from the prestige of the cultural form between the 1860s and 1930s. As memorials regained in popularity during the 1980s, the advances of the civil rights movement inspired many monuments to African American soldiers; white backlash led to fresh Confederate monuments. Racial violence and digital media placed Civil War monuments at the center of a return to iconoclasm in American memorial culture in the 2010s. The epilogue traces the “tagging” of monuments with graffiti and the coalescence of a movement to take down Confederate monuments in conjunction with the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement. The emphasis on Civil War monuments in protests centered on the militarization of law enforcement recognized the extent to which these memorials had contributed to a racialized militarization of American culture.

Keywords:   Black Lives Matter, civil rights movement, digital media, graffiti, racial violence

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