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Between Remembrance and RepairCommemorating Racial Violence in Philadelphia, Mississippi$
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Claire Whitlinger

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781469656335

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469656335.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.northcarolina.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of North Carolina Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NCSO for personal use.date: 19 September 2021

From Countermemory to Collective Memory

From Countermemory to Collective Memory

(p.36) 2 From Countermemory to Collective Memory
Between Remembrance and Repair

Claire Whitlinger

University of North Carolina Press

Chapter 2 considers how Philadelphia, Mississippi’s long-silenced countermemory becomes “official” collective memory, transforming cultural representation in the public sphere. By comparing two instances of silence breaking, the twenty-fifth and fortieth anniversary commemorations—both interracial community-wide events unique for having punctuated Philadelphia’s prevailing conspiracy of silence on the murders—this chapter argues that commemorability and mnemonic capacity are necessary but insufficient factors for silence breaking commemorations to emerge. The analysis then reveals two additional criteria—external pressure and interest convergence—suggesting that commemorating silenced pasts is arguably more challenging than commemorating merely difficult pasts.

Keywords:   collective memory, commemorability, commemoration, conspiracy of silence, countermemory, external pressure, interest convergence, mnemonic capacity, Philadelphia, Mississippi, public sphere

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