Your Heritage Will Still Remain
Racial Identity and Mississippi's Lost Cause
How black and white Mississippians strove to define themselves and restrain each other
Your Heritage Will Still Remain details how Mississippians, black and white, constructed their social identity in the aftermath of the crises that transformed the state beginning with the sectional conflict and ending in the late nineteenth century. Michael J. Goleman focuses primarily on how Mississippians thought of their place: as Americans, as Confederates, or as both. In the midst of secession, white Mississippians held firm to an American identity and easily transformed it into a Confederate identity venerating their version of American heritage. After the war, black Mississippians tried to etch their place within the Union and as part of transformed American society. Yet they continually faced white supremacist hatred and backlash. During Reconstruction, radical transformations within the state forced all Mississippians to embrace, deny, or rethink their standing within the Union.
Tracing the evolution of Mississippians' social identity from 1850 through the end of the century uncovers why white Mississippians felt the need to create the Lost Cause legend. With personal letters, diaries and journals, newspaper editorials, traveler's accounts, memoirs, reminiscences, and personal histories as its sources, Your Heritage Will Still Remain offers insights into the white creation of Mississippi's Lost Cause and into the battle for black social identity. It goes on to show how these cultural hallmarks continue to impact the state even now.
Insightful and accessible- Margaret M. Mulrooney, Journal of Southern History
Your Heritage Will Still Remain wisely puts the development of the Lost Cause in the context of antebellum politics, Confederate nationalism, the battles of Reconstruction and redemption, and most important, of persistent racial divisions. In the process, it offers a fascinating view of how, in the Lost Cause, Mississippi's white conservatives portrayed themselves in opposition to African Americans rather than northerners and thereby sustained their identity as both southerners and Americans--an important and often overlooked insight. In the process, Goleman argues, the Lost Cause created a white, conservative social identity that persists in Mississippi today. His book provides Mississippians and anyone interested in understanding southern identity much to think about.- Gaines Foster, LSU Foundation M. J. Foster Professor of History and author of Ghosts of the Confederacy: Defeat, the Lost Cause, and the Emergence of the New South, 1865-1913
Using Mississippi as his focal point, Michael J. Goleman provides a sagacious analysis of white southern nationalism's formation. Goleman's book is thoroughly researched, well-arranged, carefully written, and readable. Indeed, Goleman's work is an important contribution to many different fields of historical scholarship.- John Kyle Day, associate professor of history, University of Arkansas at Monticello, and author of The Southern Manifesto: Massive Resistance and the Fight to Preserve Segregation