Down Along with That Devil’s Bones: A Reckoning with Monuments, Memory, and the Legacy of White Supremacy

Connor Towne O’Neill. Algonquin, $26.95 (272p) ISBN 978-1-61620-910-0
White Lies podcast producer O’Neill debuts with an eloquent and provocative examination of the links between protests over Confederate monuments in the South and the resurgence of white supremacy. In 2012, a statue of Confederate general and Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard Nathan Bedford Forrest was stolen from a cemetery in Selma, Ala. Three years later, “The Friends of Forrest” succeeded in having the statue replaced, provoking protests from local civil rights groups. O’Neill, who discovered the controversy after moving to Alabama from Pennsylvania and researching the unsolved murder of a civil rights protestor in 1965, interviews members of neo-Confederate organizations; Selma’s first African-American mayor, James Perkins Jr., who oversaw the initial installation of the Forrest statue in the Old Live Oak Cemetery in 2001; and protesters seeking to have Forrest’s name removed from other memorials and buildings in Tennessee and Alabama. He also movingly documents recent acts of racist violence, including the 2015 Charleston church shooting and the 2017 killing of a woman protesting a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va. O’Neill writes with grace and genuine curiosity, allowing people on all sides of the issue to speak for themselves. This inquiry into the legacy of American slavery is equally distressing and illuminating. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 05/18/2020
Release date: 10/01/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
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