"Generations and Collective Memory" Revisited: Race

Document technical information

Format pdf
Size 2.4 MB
First found May 22, 2018

Document content analysis

Category Also themed
Language
English
Type
not defined
Concepts
no text concepts found

Persons

John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy

wikipedia, lookup

Emmett Till
Emmett Till

wikipedia, lookup

Jacqueline Scott
Jacqueline Scott

wikipedia, lookup

Organizations

Places

Transcript

"Generations and Collective Memory" Revisited: Race, Region, and Memory of Civil Rights
Author(s): Larry J. Griffin
Source: American Sociological Review, Vol. 69, No. 4 (Aug., 2004), pp. 544-557
Published by: American Sociological Association
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3593064 .
Accessed: 05/10/2011 00:02
Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at .
http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp
JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of
content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms
of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact [email protected]
American Sociological Association is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to
American Sociological Review.
http://www.jstor.org
"Generationsand CollectiveMemory"Revisited:
Race,Region,and Memoryof Civil Rights
LarryJ. Griffin
University of North Carolina
Usingthe spontaneousmemoriesof a nationalsampleofAmericansin 1985, Schuman
and Scott (1989) largely confirmed Mannheim's theory ofgenerational identity by
demonstrating that respondents 'age structured their recall of important national and
world events over the past 50 years. But they did notfind the predicted age patterns for
whites 'recollections of civil rights. I argue that theirfailure was the consequence of
ignoring regional differences in the impact of the Civil Rights movement on whites.
Because the South was the target of and the battlefield for civil rights, "civil rights
memory" shouldbe greaterfor southernwhiteswho experiencedthe movementas
mature teenagers or young adults thanfor their equal-aged peers elsewhere or for
southern whites in different age groups. I also hypothesize that this cohort of southern
whitesshouldattributemorehistoricalimportanceto civil rightsthando others.Both
hypothesesare supportedby analysisof the 1993 GeneralSocial Surveyand Schuman's
and Scott'soriginal1985 data. Thetheoreticalimportof the studyis thatwherehighly
chargedeventshappenshapes consciousnessand memory,suggestingthatMannheim's
idea of the "sociallocation" of generationalidentityformationisplace-specific, as well
as age-dependent.
premisesguideresearchon social,or
(p. 297). The thirdis that collective memories
performsome formof cultureworkfor those in
the present. "Memoryis not knowledge of the
that the past is not past at all-that it, instead,
past," writes Margalit(2002:14, emphasis in
the
persists into the present and thus presages
original) "it is knowledgefrom the past,"and,
future.The second is thatmemoryis elicited by
as such, it is thought to advance and validate
and organized in social contexts. Zerubavel
identities,fuel grievances(andthus define ene(1996), in fact, argues that rememberingis as
mies), and give meaning and narrativecohermuch social as personalandthatmemory itself
ence to individuals and collectivities
is a "social, intersubjective phenomenon"
(Irwin-Zarecka1994; Schwartz 1996; Zelizer
1995).
Beforewe canunderstandhow people deploy
Direct correspondence to Larry J. Griffin,
memory,however,we must know whatpeople
of Sociology,TheUniversityof North rememberand why they rememberthe particDepartment
Carolina,
ChapelHill,N.C.27599-3210(larry.j.grif- ularevents they do. Schumanand Scott (1989)
Howard
Schuman,
PeggyThoits,John pioneereda fruitfulapproachto the studyof [email protected]).
andtheEditorof
reviewers,
Willis,threeanonymous
lective memory that directly elicits recollecASRprovideduseful commentson earlierdrafts. tions of the
past from respondents,concretely
ProfessorSchumanalso graciouslyansweredthe
situatesthem in theirsocialcontexts,andexplicauthor'squestionsaboutthe dataSchumancollecttheorizes their "intersubjectivity."
Using a
edin 1985withPhilipE.Converse
("TheIntersection itly
of
over
1400
1985
sample
probability
of PersonalandNationalHistory")and provided
of
Mannheim's
Americans
to
test
(1952)
theory
data
in
the
notcontained
information
supplemental
the formation of generations, Schuman and
for
Consortium
set archivedat the Inter-university
Vanderbilt
PoliticalandSocialResearch.
University Scottfoundthat"thegenerationalcharactercreated by the events a cohort experiencesduring
providedresearchsupport.
Three
collective, memory.The first, of course, is
REVIEW,2004, VOL. 69 (August544-557)
AMERICANSOCIOLOGICAL
OFCIVILRIGHTS 545
AND MEMORY
RACE,REGION,
its youth"(p. 359) exertsa decisiveinfluenceon
what each generationremembers,andthuspresumablyinfluences its later values and behaviors. Subsequentwork by Schumanand others
has replicated cohort influences on memory
(Schuman, Akiyama, and Kndiuper 1998;
Schuman and Rodgers 2004; Scott and Zac
1993)."Youth"is understoodby bothMannheim
and Schumanand Scott as the period in a person's life stretchingfrom adolescence to early
adulthood,roughly from the mid-teens to the
mid-twenties. These years are so important
because they are constitutive of world views
andpoliticalperspectivesthat,thoughnot inflexible, tend to be carriedforwardas individuals
age. Formative historical events are those
recalled as especially meaningful later in life
because they are associated with crystallization of both personalidentityandknowledgeof
social realities outside of the self. Thus, one's
sense of self is theorizedto be stampedby the
historically significant events and changes
occurringduringthis criticaltime in the development of an individual's identity. Conway
(1997), in fact, suggests that"the originalgeneration-specificself remainsthe self with which
all later selves must be negotiated"(p. 43).
Eventsoccurringbeforeandafterthese formativeyearsarethoughtto be of less personaland
generationalsalience.They are less likely to be
rememberedas "key"happeningsbecausethey
do not coincide with the period in individuals'
lives in which "the taken-for-grantednatural
world of childhood" (Schuman and Scott
1989:361) is disrupted. Even recent events
(despite well-documented "recency" effects)
areless likely to be spontaneouslyremembered,
at least as "primary"nationalor worldchanges,
because of the prior imprinting of formative
events on the world views and sense of self of
those who experienced them during adolescence or early adulthood.Because membersof
a particular generation experience powerful,
self- andcollectivity-definingnationalandinternational events at the same formativetime in
their lives (e.g., the GreatDepression and the
1960s generations),howeverdiversethose experiences, finally, the memory of those events is
sharedby many, if not all, in that generation,
making it a "collective memory"of a particular sort. (See Olick 1999 and Kansteiner2002
for approachesto the study of collective mem-
ory and distinctionsamong types of collective
or social memories.)
Schumanand Scott (1989) ascertainedmemories of historically significant happenings
(ratherthan purely personal ones) by asking
Americansan open-endedquestionabouttheir
spontaneousrecall of one or, if possible, two
"nationalandworldeventsandchangesoverthe
past 50 years-say, from about 1930 right up
until today " (p. 363). They classified the specific memory responses (of Pearl Harbor,the
1969 moon walk, etc.) into over 30 categories,
ranging from John Kennedy'sassassinationto
the Women'smovementto farm problems.For
the most part,they validatedtheirtheory:More
Americans 55 to 69 years of age in 1985making them 10 to 24 years old in 1940-for
example, mentionedthe Second WorldWaras
importantthandid otherage cohorts;those aged
35 to 44, making them 13 to 22 years old in
1963, more frequentlymentionedJFK'sassassination; and respondentsmore than 70 years
old, making them at least 15 years of age in
1930, were more likely to mention the Great
Depression of the 1930s. Other social conditioning influences were also present:Virtually
only women, for example, mentioned the
Women'smovement. One event, however,did
not conform fully to Schumanand Scott'spredictions about recall-the Civil Rights movement.AlthoughAfricanAmericans(49 percent)
mentioned civil rights much more frequently
than did whites (6 percent), and also loosely
exhibited the sort of cohort-specificity suggestedby Mannheim(1952), whitesdidnot:For
them, age seemed not at all to conditionmemories of civil rights. Schuman and Scott were
unusuallycandid aboutthe failure of the theory here,noting that"Itis difficult to explainthe
null age relationshipfor whites. ... Wehaveno
satisfactory interpretation of the puzzling
absence of an age trendin this case " (p.368).
I believe Schuman and Scott's (1989) predictions about the generational character of
"movementmemory"to be largelycorrect,but
their inability to validate them empirically
stems, I hypothesize, from their lack of attention to regionaldynamics,specifically with the
1950s and 1960s blackliberationstruggle'sdifferentialimportanceto, and impact on, whites
in the AmericanSouthas comparedwith those
in the remainderof the nation.The South,more
than any other region in the country,visibly
546
SOCIOLOGICAL
REVIEW
AMERICAN
dominancein electionsfornationaloffice of the
RepublicanParty in the South-thereby altering American political culture. But the successes of the Civil Rights movement in the
1960s neverthelessspelled the demise of white
supremacyin the region, at least as a coercive
state-mandated
regimeof racialcontrol:Simply
put, after years of massive resistance, white
southernerslost much of the privilege due to
their skin color that they had claimed for over
three hundredyears. Barring the almost conscious repressionof the memory of what some
southernwhites might view as a regional and
racial "trauma,"a repressionresultingin willful social forgettingandcollectiveamnesia(e.g.,
Irwin-Zarecka1994:116), the movement and
the civil rights era are unlikely to have been
forgotten,least of all by those who came of age
duringthattime and who thus, first, witnessed
and then, willingly or not, practicedthe transformation of the essential meanings of race,
region,andrightsdueto whatWoodward(1965)
labeledthe "SecondSouthernReconstruction."
Researchhas shownthathistoricaleventsare
implicated in the formation and maintenance
of collective memories if they represent significant long-term changes to people's lives,
make people think aboutthe events at the time
of their happening, are emotionally charged,
and exert collective psychological impact
(Pennebaker and Banasik 1997). Extensive
historical and autobiographicalevidence suggests that between 1955 and 1970, southerners, black and white alike, experienced the
Civil Rights movement in just those ways
(Griffin 1995; Hobson 1999; Raines 1977).
Those residing elsewhere, especially African
Americans, most certainlyknew of the movement and its activities in Dixie (many following the story closely, others supporting or
actively participatingin it), but all southerners
lived those years, and for some, especially
those in their formativeperiod at the time, the
movement remains seared into their con1Oneof themorerecentexamplescomesfroman
sciousness as autobiographic memory (see
editorialpublishedon March22, 2004 in TheNew
1997). Thus, white southerners,when
Conway
YorkTimes,titled"TheGhostof EmmettTill."The
intothe50-year compared with non-southern whites, should
Timeswascallingforaninvestigation
a
African
American exhibit the cohort-specific memories predictoldmurder
of Emmett
Till, young
butnot found,by Schumanand Scott(1989)
lynchedin Mississippiin 1955allegedlyforspeak- ed,
for
the entire sample of whites. Following the
to a whitefemale.His killers,who,
ing improperly
formoney,laterconfessedtheirguiltto ajournalist, same reasoning, the "civil rights" generation
werefoundinnocentin whatcanonlybe described of southernwhites shouldattributegreaterhisas a farcicaltrial.
torical significance to the Civil Rights move-
carries that past conflict on its shoulders.It is
a past continuallyrecreatedand renewed from
within andwithoutin variousmedia, fromdocumentariessuch as Eyes on the Prize and films
such as MississippiBurning,to the hundredsof
newspaperarticles across the nation reflecting
on the horrors of racial segregation and the
salutarylegacy of the Civil Rights movement,
to the recent "truthand reconciliation"-type
trials of perpetratorsof Civil Rights-era assassinations and churchbombings in Mississippi
and Alabama (Griffin 2000).' Indeed,no past
"nationalor world event" bearing directly on
the recent history of the region, and on the
formation of autobiographical memories of
southerners (e.g., see Hobson 1999), more
forcefully and poignantly has stamped the
modern South than the Civil Rights movement. The South, of course, was the battlefield in the struggle for human freedom in the
1950s and 1960s, and southernersof bothraces
were daily on the frontline.Not only is thatpast
in Memphis,
literally memorialized
Birmingham,Atlanta,and elsewhere throughout the region, but the very presence, still, of
desegregatedpublicplaces, integratedschools,
and elected black officials is a living,
inescapable testimony to that history.
White southerners, to be sure, exhausted
every method of resistance to racial justice,
fromoutright(oftenlethal)violence to the establishment of private "segregation academies,"
from threatsof "nullification"and "interposition" (legal maneuversdesigned to evade federal authority)to the wholesale defection from
the Democratic Party to the party of Lincoln
(Black and Black 1987). Some forms of white
counter-mobilizationhave become institutionalized inside (and outside) the region-the
resegregationof the public schools, for example, and the recent and near-completepolitical
OFCIVILRIGHTS 547
RACE,REGION,ANDMEMORY
ment than should whites outside the region or
older or younger southernwhites.
Using Schuman and Scott's 1985 data and
data on 1,606 Americans from the 1993
General Social Survey (GSS), I explore these
expectations. I examine the age patterningof
regional differencesin "civil rights recall"and
in judgments of the relative historical importance of events dating back to the 1930s. Both
of the surveys I use have unique advantages.
Only the 1985 data elicited respondents' reasons for their recollections or asked explicitly about the historical significance of events.
The 1993 data,on the otherhand,permitmore
statisticalcontrolsand finer geographicbreakdowns, and only these datacontaininformation
on the region in which respondentslived during their formativeyears. The latter is crucial:
Mannheim's(1952) theory of generation formationand Schumanand Scott's(1989) extension of it to generationalmemory both predict
that historically significant events will be
imprintedon generations during their formative years. Given my argument,informationon
the region in which respondents lived during
their adolescence is necessary for a rigorous
test of my hypotheses about the spatialization
of memory. I begin the analysis with the 1993
GSS.
EVENTS
MEMORABLE
Whites' spontaneously mentioned memories
(in the 1993 GSS) of historicalevents are presented in Table 1 by (census-defined)region of
residence at age 16. The census South includes
the 11 states of the former Confederacy,plus
Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, Oklahoma,
WestVirginia,andWashington,D.C.2Generally,
whites sharethe same set of memoriesof national and world events, regardlessof the region in
which they lived at age 16. Suchdifferencesthat
do exist arebest understoodas quantitativevariationson eventrecall,ratherthanas qualitatively
2 The 1993GSS event-recall
questionis worded
almostidenticallyto Schumanand Scott's(1989)
question,and up to four eventsor changeswere
Fromthe GSScumulative
ascertained.
codebook,I
countas civilrightsrecallcodenumbers32 ("Civil
Rights/RacialIssues;Desegregation/Affirmative
Action"),34 ("CivilRights [NegativeMentions
or Assassinationof
Only])",and43 ("Leadership
Dr.MartinLutherKing").I followthesamemeasurement
Schuman's
and
protocolwhenlateranalyzing
Scott's1985data.FollowingSchuman
andScott,the
percentageof respondents
recallingspecificevents
is calculatedusingas the base thoserecallingany
event(includingpersonalones).
EventsandChanges
atAge 16in
of WhitesRecallingHistorical
Table1. Percentage
byRegionof Residence
1993 (GSS)
EventorChange
Endof communism
WorldWarII
War
Vietnam
Spaceexploration
JFKassassination
Nuclear
war
West
Foreign
% (n)
% (n)
39.5 (15) 34.7 (74)
31.6 (12) 28.6 (61)
5.3 (2) 16.0 (34)
15.8 (6) 20.2 (43)
10.5 (4) 11.7 (25)
2.6 (1)
1.9 (4)
Transportation/communication 5.3 (2)
GreatDepression
CivilRightsmovement
Computers
Terrorism
Moraldecline
Women'smovement
N in Region
5.3 (2)
5.3 (2)
7.9
2.6
2.6
0
(3)
(1)
(1)
(0)
(38)
5.6 (12)
6.1 (13)
10.8 (23)
5.2
.5
2.8
8.5
(11)
(1)
(6)
(18)
(213)
North
Central
% (n)
34.3(143)
22.5 (94)
14.4 (60)
18.0 (75)
12.5 (52)
1.9 (8)
Northeast
% (n)
38.0 (95)
21.2 (53)
10.4 (26)
16.0 (40)
17.2 (43)
1.6 (4)
South
% (n)
32.4(113)
21.8 (76)
9.7 (34)
16.0 (56)
10.9 (38)
1.7 (6)
5.3 (22)
8.0 (20)
7.2 (25)
3.4
1.0
6.0
6.5
(14)
(4)
(25)
(27)
2.8 (7)
0
(0)
4.8 (12)
7.2 (18)
5.2
.6
8.3
6.3
(417)
(250)
5.8 (24) 3.2 (8) 3.4 (12)
10.3 (43) 12.8 (32) 12.3 (43)
(18)
(2)
(29)
(22)
X2
2.4
6.0
9.0
2.1
5.9
.3
.04
.07
.08
.04
.07
.01
2.6
.05
4.5
2.8
.06
.05
4.6
4.8
8.7
4.0
.06
.06
.08
.06
(349)
thantheN foreachregion)becauseupto four
than100(andNs sumto greater
sumto greater
Note:Percentages
arenot
exclusive.
eventrecallthusis notmutually
choiceswerepermitted
Regionaldifferences
perrespondent;
test).JFK= JohnE Kennedy
significant
(p< .05;two-tailed
statistically
548
AMERICAN
SOCIOLOGICAL
REVIEW
differentmemories. On the whole, then, southern whites share the memories of most white
Americans,recallingspecific eventswith about
the same frequency.(This is true as well for
other events or changes not listed in Table 1e.g., Nixon/Watergate,the KoreanWar,etc.) At
least as assessed in the GSS data (and in
Schumanand Scott's[1989] 1985 dataas well),
thereareno differingregionalmemoriesamong
whites (see also, Rosenzweig and Thelen
[1998:117] for a similar inferencewith different data). Black-white dissimilarities, on the
otherhand,are persistentand profoundin both
the 1993 GSS and 1985 Schuman and Scott
data, indicating yet again a racially cleaved
nation:54 percentofAfricanAmericansrecalled
the Civil Rights movementin 1993, while only
4 percent of black respondentsspontaneously
mentionedWorldWarII, and fewer than 5 percent recalled Vietnam. Moreover,because the
question permitted respondents to choose as
many as four importantevents, there is no necessary trade-off between (say) World War II
and civil rights.
That so few whites in either survey spontaneously recalled the Civil Rights movement
mightsuggestthatgraduallyunfolding,decadeslong social change that is difficult to date precisely, such as civil rights (Schuman and
Rodgers 2004), might be less memorablethan
sudden,dramaticevents which are encapsulated in (and more clearly defined by) a shorter
time frame, such as World War II or John
Kennedy'sassassination.In its simplest form,
this reasoning,offered by severalreviewers,is
plausiblebut nonetheless inconsistentwith the
remarkably large percentage of blacks who
regarded civil rights as a highly memorable
issue. I suspect that groups who fought for, or
otherwise instigated, the change in question
(e.g., AfricanAmericansfor civil rights), or are
its direct beneficiaries, recall it with greater
frequency than do those for whom gradual
change has less, if still considerable,structural
and psychological impact (Pennebaker and
Banasik 1997).3
3In theirsurveyofAmericansin 1994,Rosenzweig
andThelen(1998:151) foundsimilarracialdivisions
in memory.They asked respondentsto identify the
"eventor periodin the past [that]has most affected"
them. Less than 7 percentof whites named,cumula-
The lack of significantregionaleffectson the
civil rightsmemoryof whites in Table1 is irrelevantto a generationalargument.Whatmatters
is how age structuresmemory among whites,
not the generalfrequencyof recollections, and
if I am correctin my reasoning,civil rights-era
white southernersof formativeage shouldspontaneously mention the Civil Rights movement
more often than whites reared elsewhere or
older or youngersouthernwhites. Determining
the "correct"age at which civil rights imprinted itself on youth is difficult, as Schumanand
Scott (1989:363) noted,becausethe civil rights
era is ambiguouslydated:Therewas no single
event that decisively defined the years of legal
and extra-legalactivities by the movementand
its (mostlysouthern)white opponents.Schuman
and Scott use two legal landmarksas the beginning and endpointsof the movement:the 1954
Supreme Court Brown school desegregation
decision,andthe 1965VotingRightsAct, which
encapsulate the most dramatic events of the
movement.But such a strategy,thoughreasonable, likely underestimatesthe persistenceand
longevityof themovement,particularlyso in the
South. Civil rights demonstrationscontinued
in the region after the Voting Rights Act; the
Open Housing Act (barringracial discrimination in housing) was not enactedinto law until
1968, the yearMartinLutherKing Jr.was killed
in Memphis in a struggle that was as much
about civil rights as labor'srights;and massive
school desegregation of southern schools
occurredonly afterRichardNixon threatenedto
withholdfederaleducationfundsin 1970-1971.
The "civil rights era,"in fact, lasted at least a
decade anda half (Graham1990).A moreplausible dating of the period, as it was actually
experienced in the region, is roughly 1954 to
1970.4
tively, civil rights, slavery,or MartinLutherKing's
assassination; more than 38 percent of African
Americansdid so (again,cumulatively).Conversely,
almost 30 percentof whites cumulativelymentioned
WorldWarII, Vietnam,or the FirstGulf War;fewer
than 13 percentof blacks did so.
4 In a revision of Schuman and Scott (1989),
Schuman and Rodgers (2004:20) argue that civil
rights recall is not susceptibleto age effects because
the referent("civilrights")lacks clearbeginningand
ending dates. With more precise information,how-
RACE, REGION,AND MEMORYOF CIVILRIGHTS
Assuming thatMannheim's(1952) estimate
is roughlyaccurate-that the most impressionable age group is approximately17 to 25 years
old-southern whites who were somewhere
betweentheirearlyfortiesandtheirmid-sixties
in 1993 were in their formativeyears between
1954 and 1970, andtheirautobiographical
memories of that time should be the sharpest.The
oldest individuals in this group would have
experiencedthe beginnings of the Civil Rights
movement-the SupremeCourt'sBrowndecision, andthe Montgomerybus boycott-in their
early-to-mid-twenties,andthe youngestwould
have lived throughthe tail end of the Second
Reconstructionas matureteenagers, especially school desegregationin the late 1960s and
early 1970s. So I expect southernwhites aged
42 to 64 in 1993 to mention civil rights more
often than other-aged whites from the region
and more often than whites of the same age
from otherregions.
Relatively few whites from any regionrecall
civil rights (Table 1), but the age structuringof
memory in the Southis entirelyconsistentwith
Schumanand Scott's(1989) expectations(Table
2).5Recalldifferssignificantlyby regionfortwo
of the threeage cohorts,but most important,of
course,arethe memoriesof the theoreticallyrel-
549
evant cohort, ages 42 to 64. Only white southernersliving in the region at age 16 exhibitthe
curvilinear memory pattern predicted by
Schumanand Scott, with those 42 to 64 years
of age mentioning the movement more (17.7
percent)than eithertheir same-agedpeerswho
lived elsewhere during their formative years
(5.5 percentto 14 percent)or younger or older
whites in the region (8.8 percent to 9.7 percent).6
The civil-rights cohort of southern whites
ranks civil rights the second most memorable
historicalevent amongthose in Table1 (behind
only the end of Communism);the same cohort
of non-southernwhites,on the otherhand,ranks
civil rights sixth (dataon request).Curvilinear
cohort effects also characterizewhites' civil
rights recollections in each of the three major
sub-regionsin the South(Table3), indicatingthe
geographicalpervasivenessof civil rightsmemory. (Given the small numberof cases in each
sub-region,the age patterningis not statistically significant; aggregated for the South as a
whole, they are [see Table2].) Finally,recall of
othereventsby this groupof southernwhites is
quite similarto thatof non-southernwhites for
virtually all other highly mentioned events
(Kennedy'sassassinationis the sole exception;
dataavailableon request),indicatingthatthere
is nothing peculiar about these middle-aged
white southerners.The only event forwhich we
ever,memoriesof theCivilRightsmovementorthe
see regionaldifferencesof the sortpredictedis
civil rightseraarebothdatableanddistinguishable for civil
rights.
from"civilrights"moregenerally.
Butsomerespondifferencesin cohortrecallpersist,
Regional
dents'recallof "civilrights,"
andso on
"integration,"
and
are
often
significant, when I control for
mayreferto eventsfallingoutsidethecivilrightsera.
education
and
gender in logistic regression
If so, age effectsarediminishedin my analysis.
equations.
(The
simple college/non-college
reviewer
suggestedthatAfrican
5 An anonymous
Americansmightexhibitthe same region-cohort dichotomy outperformsalternativelinear and
interaction
observedforwhites.Theydonot.Among non-linear specifications of education.) Most
blacksresidingin theSouthat age 16,recallof civil
cohorts in both regions spontaneously recall
the movementsignificantlyless frequentlythan
rightsis mostfrequentforthe youngestcohort(55
percent)andthe percentagedecreaseswiththeage
of the cohort(e.g., 41 percentof the oldestcohort
mentioncivilrights).BlacksfromtheMidwest(but
6 The statisticsin the last two rows of Table2
fromno othernon-southern
region),on the other
thegenerational
assessthesignificanceof agewithinregion;thosein
hand,approximate
specificitypredictedby SchumanandScott(1989).None of the
thelasttwocolumnsassessthesignificance
of region
withinagecategory.Thesignificantagepatternsfor
regionalorageeffectsforblacksarestatistically
significant.Clearly,thegenerational
andregionalconwho,duringtheirformative
respondents
years,lived
in theWesternandNorthCentralstatesareinconditioning of African Americans' recollections
deservesseriousstudy,notas an ancillaryquestion sistentwith the "generations
andmemory"theory
but as a motivatingone. RosenzweigandThelen becauserecallis highestamongtheyoungestcohort,
a grouptooyoungto haveexperienced
themovement
(1998:147-76)offervaluableempiricalinsightson
thisandsimilarissues.
in theirformativeyears.
55o
REVIEW
AMERICAN
SOCIOLOGICAL
Table 2. Percentageof WhitesRecallingCivil Rightsby Residenceat Age 16 in 1993(GSS)
West
% (n)
15.5 (18)
5.5 (4)
4.2 (1)
5.9*
Age Group(yr)
18to41
42 to 64
65 andolder
x2
(.17
North
Central
Northeast
% (n)
%
(n)
14.7 (28)
10.1 (14)
1.2 (1)
11.7*
.17
16.5 (17)
14.0 (13)
3.8 (2)
5.2
.15
Non-South
South
(total)
% (n)
% (n)
15.4 (63)
9.7 (15)
10.2 (31) 17.7 (20)
2.5 (4)
8.8 (7)
20.1*
5.0*
.15
.12
x2
3.1 .07
4.4t .10
4.9? .14
t South/non-Southdifferenceis significant(p < .05; two-tailedtest).
* Age patternis statisticallysignificant(p < .05; one-tailedtest for South).
do white southernersaged 42 to 64 (Table 4,
Equation 1).
Exploringfurthermemory's"intersubjectivity", andwhat Schwartz(1996) calls its "social
frames,"I also control(in Equation2, Table4)
for the possible effects on civil rights memory
of the politicalliberalismandethnicityof whites
(Europeanversus non-European)in the 1993
GSS. Both factorslikely connotethe politics of
civil rights memory-that is, how memory is
"made and remadeto serve changing societal
interests and needs" in the present (Schwartz
1996:909). I expect political liberals to recall
civil rights more frequentlythan moderatesor
conservativesbecauseliberalshaveoftenjoined
African Americans to institutionalize public
memory of the movement (Polletta 1998) and
because the southernblack freedom struggle
itself has become iconic in progressivecircles,
both as a spur to other collective actions
(McAdam 1988) and as the standardagainst
which other social movements are judged in
terms of the righteousness of the cause, the
efficacy and purity of the strategies, and the
success of the struggle (e.g., see King 1992).
Thus, as they grapple with racial and other
political issues in the present, white liberals,
more than moderatesor conservatives,should
deploy civil rights memory as an important
interpretive,meaning-makingsocial frame(see
Schwartz 1996:911). Likewise, I suspect that
whites (as judged by GSS interviewers)who
express identification with a non-European
as Native
ancestry or nationality-such
Americansor Latinas/Latinos-to be morelikely than those of Europeanancestry to see the
parallels between their own present-day circumstances and the hardshipsand successful
actions of southern blacks (e.g., see Waters
1990). In drawingon the movement to frame
theircurrentplight andpossibilities, then,they
should also rememberit more frequently.
Both of these expectationsare confirmedby
the results of the logistic regressionanalysisin
Equation2 of Table4. More importantfor my
purposes, though, is that the regional specificity of the age-patterningof civil rightsrecall
is againobserved.Evenwhen factorstappingthe
Table3. Percentageof SouthernWhitesRecallingCivil Rightsby Sub-Regionof ResidenceatAge 16 in 1993
(GSS)
Age Group(yr)
18 to 41
42 to 64
65 andolder
x2
S.13
a
SouthAtlantica
n
%
11.9
17.5
6.3
(8)
(10)
(2)
2.4
East SouthCentralb
n
%
2.8
12.5
5.0
(1)
(3)
(1)
2.4
.17
WestSouthCentralc
%
11.5
21.9
14.3
n
(6)
(7)
(4)
x2
2.6
.8
1.7
1.7
.12
Delaware;Florida;Georgia;Maryland;NorthCarolina;SouthCarolina;Virginia;Washington,DC;West
Virginia.
bAlabama,Kentucky,
Mississippi,Tennessee.
cArkansas,Louisiana,Oklahoma,Texas.
.13
.09
.15
ANDMEMORY
OFCIVIL
RIGHTS 551
RACE,
REGION,
Table4. LogisticRegressionResultsfor Whites'CivilRightsRecallin 1993(GSS)
Equation2
Equation1
Variables
P
Any college
Female
.67*
.16
Political liberal
European ethnicity
--
Exp (B)
1.96
1.17
-
7 Additional statistical controls and sub-sample
analyzesdid not appreciablyaltermy results.Whites
aged 42 to 64 who were rearedin the South but living in the North recalled civil rights appreciably
more frequentlythan did those rearedin and living
in the South(26 percentto 15 percent).The latterdisplayed the expected curvilinearage pattern,but the
pattern was more pronounced for the former.
Southerners,black and white alike, have a rich history of voluntary and involuntary exile from the
South, so this finding-though not reaching statistical significance at conventionallevels- deserves
more attention.
.51*
-.82*
Cohort
Non-Southregionby age
< 42
-.29
.75
42 to 64
-.71*
.49
.12
65 andolder
-2.11*
Southregionby age
< 42
-.69*
.50
42 to 64
Omittedcategory
.48
65 andolder
-.75
.065
NagelkerkeR2
1,261
Respondents(N)
*p < .05 (cohortdifferencestestedwith one-tailedtest).
politics, social framing,andcognition(i.e., education) of memory are controlled, no other
cohort of whites, North or South,mentionsthe
movement as an importantnational or world
eventas oftenas does the southern"civilrights"
generation.7(Thesmallnumberof positivecases
rendersthe effects of the oldest cohorts in both
regionssignificantatp < .1 ratherthanp < .05.)
Using the regressionestimatesin Equation2,
calculated
the adjustedregionallyspecific preI
dicted probabilitiesof recalling civil rightsfor
two groups of whites: politically conservative
females of Europeanancestrywith no college
education, and politically liberal females of
Europeanancestry with at least some college
education. (Given the null effect of gender in
Table4, the patternsfor males shouldbe virtu-
P
.53*
.05
-.36
-.81*
-2.07*
Exp (B)
1.69
1.05
1.66
.44
.70
.45
.13
-.94*
.39
Omittedcategory
-.70
.50
.079
1,117
ally indistinguishablefrom those for women.)
From the first set of predicted probabilities
(which, given the values of the covariates,yield
generallylow probabilities[Table4]), we see not
only that white southernersaged 42 to 64 are
appreciablymore likely than other whites to
recall the Civil Rights movement,but that only
white southernersexhibit the curvilinearage
patternpredictedby Schumanand Scott(1989);
white northernersclearlydo not (Figure1). The
second set of predictedprobabilities,which are
higher owing to the recall-enhancingvalues of
the covariates,are more dramaticstill (Figure
2). The predictedprobabilityfor the civil rights
generation of southern whites in Figure 2 is
.32, substantiallyhigher than any other cohort
of whites fromeitherregion.8The recollections
capturedby this statisticreducesthe racialgap
in civil rights memory (55 percent of equalaged blacks mentioned the movement) and
demonstratesthat, controllingfor a numberof
confounding influences, civil rights recall is
greatestfor those who residedin the Southduring young adulthood.
8 Use of differentvalues of the covariateswould,
of course, change the South/non-Southpredicted
probability differentials, but would neither invert
them nor subvertthe curvilinearcohort effects for
white southerners.
552
SOCIOLOGICAL
AMERICAN
REVIEW
0.12
0.10
0.08
inSouth,Age 16
. .Lived
ILI 0.04
LivedinNon-South,
Age 16
0.02
0.00
18-41
4-4-64
6 +
(Age in 1993)
Source:1993GeneralSocialSurvey.
Figure 1. PredictedProbabilitiesof RecallingCivil Rights:ConservativeWhiteFemalesof EuropeanAncestry
with No CollegeEducation,1993
I turn now to an analysis of Schuman and
Scott's 1985 data.Region here refers to region
of residencein 1985, not to region of residence
during the respondents'formativeyears. (See
Schumanand Scott [1989] for specifics of data
collection and measurement.) Because these
datawere collected in 1985, eight years earlier
than the 1993 GSS, the theoretically relevant
cohortwouldbe aged 34 to 56 (the 1993 cohort
was aged 42 to 64). I find the same age patterning(thoughdampened)in 1985 (Table5) as
I did in 1993: Significantly more white southernersin the theoreticallyrelevantcohort,34 to
56 years of age (11 percent), mentioned the
movementas eithertheir first or second spon-
taneous recollection than did their same-aged
peers residing elsewhere (3 percentto 6.2 percent) or younger or older whites in the region
(about 5 percent). Controls for gender, education, andotherfactorsdid not affectthese inferences (dataavailableon request).Even with an
imperfectproxy for region of residenceduring
one's formativeyears, then, I continueto find
9In the 1993GSS,22 percentof whitesouthernersdidnotliveintheregionatage 16,andelevenpercentof whiteswholivedin theSouthatage 16lived
in theNorthatthetimeof thesurvey.Use of current
0.35
0.30
0.25
c
LivedinSouth,Age 16
0.20
o.15
Livedin Non-South,
Age 16
0.10
0.05
18-41
42-64
65+
(Age in 1993)
Source:1993GeneralSocialSurvey.
Figure 2. PredictedProbabilitiesof RecallingCivilRights:LiberalWhiteFemalesof EuropeanAncestrywith at
1993
LeastSomeCollegeEducation,
OFCIVILRIGHTS 553
AND MEMORY
RACE,REGION,
Table5. Percentageof WhitesRecallingCivil Rightsby Regionof CurrentResidencein 1985
West
Age Group(yr)
18 to 33
34 to 56
57 andolder
x2
(D
% (n)
5.2 (4)
4.0 (4)
3.8 (3)
.2
.03
North
Central
%
(n)
9.5 (10)
3.0 (4)
5.5 (4)
4.6
.12
Northeast
% (n)
2.3 (1)
6.2 (5)
6.3 (4)
1.1
.08
Non-South
South
(total)
% (n)
% (n)
5.3 (5)
6.6 (15)
4.1 (13) 11.0 (15)
5.0 (4)
5.1 (11)
3.7
1.7
.11
.05
x2
(
.2 .03
7.8 .13"
.0 .00
of PersonalandNationalHistory"(1985).
Note: Datasource:SchumanandConverse,"Intersection
* South/Non-South
differenceis significant(p < .05).
the hypothesized pattern only for southern
whiteswho likelyexperiencedthe civil rightsera
as adolescents or young adults.9(The age patternfor white southernersis, owing to the small
numberof cases, significantatp < .1 with a onetailed test.)
In additionto askingrespondentsto recallhistorical events or changes, Schuman and Scott
(1989) askedthem,in anotheropen-endedquestion, to statebrieflywhy they rememberedthese
events or changes. Responses were often surprisingly rich, permittingan interpretationof
what the events and their consequences meant
to theAmericanssurveyed.(Thesedatawerenot
used in their 1989 publication.)Reasonsranged
fromthe terse (e.g., "integration")to the expansive, indicatingthatsome respondentshadgiven
real thoughtto the historicalweight of the Civil
Rightsmovement.Most werepositive in nature,
almost all pertainedto the successes and the
legacy of the movementratherthanto its struggles and hardships,and several acknowledged
its personalmoralsignificance.A few examples
from southernwhites follow.
Everyonehas a betterchanceof betteringthemselves,equaljobs,bettereducation.
Everyonehas
an equalopportunityto do whatthey wantto.
age42)
(Malerespondent,
cerMadeusallrealizethatwewerevictimizing
tain people who lived in this country.... It made
me realizeit wasn'ta Christianthingto do ...
youshoulddoto otherswhatyouwantthemto do
to you. It made me look at myself and repent.
(Male respondent,age 30)
region of residence as a proxy for region of residence at age 16 in the 1985 data, then, does entail
errorwhich likely attenuatesthe effect of southern
in Table5.
upbringing
I neverarguedordisagreedwith[segregation],
like
it wasn'tright.I wouldn'twantto see anything
thatagain... it allcentersonmorality... (Female
age 62)
respondent,
[It]was a movementfornotjust races,butfor
womenand for everyone,whetherit was race,
age 42)
age,or sex. (Malerespondent,
Several southern whites remembered the
movement quite negatively and forthrightly
expressed their displeasure at the changes it
broughtto region and nation:
The blacksget morethanwe do now ... They
havemorerightsbecausetheir[sic]blackandthey
getwhattheywant... Dadlosthisjobbecauseof
thembeingminorities.
age32)
(Femalerespondent,
a downfallof country.Blacks
I'm prejudiced,
askingtoo much ... 100%againstmixedmarriages... I get alongwithblacksfine ... I don't
That'stheonlythingthatburns
likethedemanding.
me up.(Malerespondent,
age47)
Generally,white southernerswere morelikely to emphasize the movement's benefits for
blacks or society as a whole (e.g., greatertolerance generally), and northernwhites tended
to give factual,morallyneutralreasonsfor civil
rights recall. I found no interpretableage differences in memory content.
EVENTS
MOSTIMPORTANT
Schuman and Scott (1989) also asked their
respondentsin 1985 abouttheir perceptionsof
the "mostsignificant"event/change:"Whichof
the followingsix eventsor changesfromthepast
do you think is the most importantfor how the
worldis today... ?"A follow-upquestionasked
about the next most importantevent. (These
datatoo werenot used in their1989publication.)
Six forced-choice alternativeswere given for
both queries: World War II, the Civil Rights
554
SOCIOLOGICAL
AMERICAN
REVIEW
Movement,the GreatDepression,the Women's
Movement,the inventionof the computer,and
Watergate/resignation of President Nixon.
Although forced-choice questions generate
more focused responses than do open-ended
questions, they have the disadvantageof limiting answers to categories determined by the
investigatorratherthanby therespondent.Often,
the two formatsgeneratesubstantivelydifferent
data and inferences (Schuman and Rodgers
2004). Historicalimportance,too, is not equivalent to recollections of past happenings or
social changes, nor, in these data, are the two
stronglyrelated.Attributionsof the significance
of events are thus less useful for exploringthe
generationalcharacterof memory.Nonetheless,
there may be generationalcomponentsto perceptions of importance:Havingexperiencedan
event or lived throughan historic change during one's formative years may accentuate a
sense of the historical weight of the event.
Hence, I expect these age-bound attributional
processes to be especially prominent among
whites in the South for the reasons I have discussed above.
Table 6 presents white respondents'understandings of the importanceof the six events
queriedby region of currentresidence. (Again,
I combinefirstand secondchoices; first-choice
responses produce similar results by region.)
Regional distinctions are small and nonpatterned. Assuming a "generations"interpretation of historical importance as well as of
memory per se, I would not expect southern
whites generally to be more sensitive to civil
rightsthanwhites elsewhere,and we see thatis
the case:A thirdor so of whites fromall regions
name civil rights as either the first or second
most importantevent.(Again,racialdifferences
are large:Morethanhalf of AfricanAmericans
grant civil rights historical importance, and
fewerthan20 percentname WorldWarII. Data
not shown.)
As was the case with recollections,however,
my interestis in regional differencesin cohort
effects, andI expect to see white southernersin
theirmid-thirtiesto mid-fiftiesin 1985morefrequently naming civil rights as one of the two
most importanthistoricalevents amongthe six
choices. Disaggregatingthe non-Southinto its
three constitutive census-defined regions and
categorizingage into the three cohorts used in
Table5, we see the 34- to 56-year-oldcohortof
whitesin boththe SouthandtheNortheastname
civil rights more frequently (see Table 7).10
(Because none of the controls exerted statistically significanteffects in the logisticregression
analysis, the unadjusteddatain Table7 are sufficient for my purposes.) The former finding,
pertaining to southern whites, was expected;
the latter,for whites in the Northeast,was not.
One possibility for the lattereffect centers on
the confluence of changes in the goals, strategies, and geographiclocus of black insurgency
andwhitecounter-mobilization
in the late 1960s
'OUsingnineratherthanthreeagecohorts,I found
similarregionaldifferences.Forsouthernwhites,
attributed
of civilrightspeakedat50persignificance
centforthe35-39 agecohort(withindividuals
aged
15 to 19 in 1965,perhapsthemostdecisiveage for
theretention
of memoryof publicevents[Holmesand
the50-54age
Conway1999]),remained
highthrough
cohort,and fell off thereafter.The percentageof
southern
whitesinthe35-39 agecohortnamingcivil
rights (50 percent) exceeded that of African
Americansin thesameage cohort(47 percent).
Table6. MostImportantEventsandChanges:Percentageof Whitesby Regionof CurrentResidencein 1985
Eventor Change
West
% (n)
North
Central
% (n)
Northeast
% (n)
Non-South
(total)
% (n)
South
% (n)
x2
WorldWarII
.1 .01
47.2(126) 42.6(141) 43.3 (87) 44.3(354) 43.2(143)
Civil Rights
36.0 (96) 32.3(107)
33.3 (67) 33.8(270) 36.0(119)
.5 .02
GreatDepression
21.7 (58) 29.3 (97) 24.9 (50) 25.7(205) 25.1 (83)
.0 .01
Women'sMovement
20.2 (54) 24.2 (80) 27.4 (55) 23.7(189) 24.2 (80)
.0 .00
53.9 (144) 52.6 (174) 52.7(106) 53.1(424) 51.4(170)
.3 .02
Computers
16.1 (43) 14.8 (49) 15.4 (31) 15.4(123) 13.9 (46)
.4 .02
Nixon/Watergate
Note: Datasource:SchumanandConverse,"Intersection
of PersonalandNationalHistory"(1985). Regional
differencesarenot statisticallysignificant(p < .05;two-tailedtest).
OFCIVILRIGHTS 555
RACE,REGION,ANDMEMORY
Table7. Civil Rightsas Firstor SecondMost ImportantEvent:Percentageof Whitesby Regionof Current
Residencein 1985
Age Group(yr)
18to33
34 to 56
57 andolder
X2
(.04
West
% (n)
36.1 (30)
33.7 (35)
38.8 (31)
.5
North
Central
% (n)
35.1 (39)
30.4 (41)
32.9 (27)
.6
.04
Non-South
South
(total)
% (n)
% (n)
% (n)
21.3 (10) 32.8 (79) 29.4 (30)
42.4 (36) 34.8(112) 43.2 (63)
31.3 (21) 34.5 (79) 31.3 (26)
6.3
.2
6.0
.02
.18*
.13*
Northeast
X2
.4
3.2
.3
.03
.08 t
.03
Note: Datasource:SchumanandConverse,"Intersection
of PersonalandNationalHistory"(1985).
differenceis significant(p < .05; one-tailedtest).
t South/non-South
* Age patternis statisticallysignificant(p < .05; two-tailedtest).
and early 1970s. By 1965 civil rights activities
had spreadnorthward:1967 witnessed massive
urbanriots in Newark,New Jersey (as well as
other cities in the North); 1968, the Poor
People's March on Washington and the prolonged,raciallychargedconflict over controlof
the public schools in Ocean Hill (Brooklyn,
New York); 1969, the introductionof Nixon's
controversial"PhiladelphiaPlan"to desegregate
the nation's construction industry;and 1974,
court-mandatedschool busingin Boston, which
spurredenormouswhite resistance.Whites in
the Northeastcertainlywould have been aware
of these and similarevents,andthose who came
of age thereandthen may have had this regional history (as well what happened further
south)-a history now possibly of personal
interest and consequence-in mind when
assessing the importof events. For non-southern whites as a whole, however,age is irrelevant
(Table7), andthe South/non-Southgap, as predicted, is significant only for the 34- to 56year-oldcohort(Table7, row 2). Finally,I again
found little systematic evidence that southern
whites in this cohortunderstoodthe importance
of the remainingfive eventsanydifferentlythan
did theirpeers residing elsewhere.11
in this age groupgavesig1 Whitesoutherners
lesshistorical
nificantly
weighttoWatergate
bya marof
gin equalto thatof theirheightenedappreciation
theimportance
of civilrights.Onlywhitesfromthe
Northeast
displayed
predictable
agepatternsforcivil
event.
remembered
rightsas thefirstmostimportant
Thereis no effect, however,of "non-south"as a
wholeon firstchoice.
CONCLUSION
The past seems especiallysalient,as bothmemory and as historical significance, to people
whose identitiesandsocial awarenesswerecrystallized during and because of sweeping historical events. Where events happen also
influences memory,perhapsas much as when
they occurin a person'slife, becauseplace conditionsthe personalrelevanceof events,such as
the Civil Rights movement, that are intensely
spatialized.That memory is spatializedis further validated by Scott and Zac (1993), who
reportedthat Britons, in 1990, though exhibiting the cohort-specificitypredictedby Schuman
and Scott (1989), were generallymore likely to
spontaneously remember World War II than
wereAmericansin Schumanand Scott'sdataby
a margin of 16 percent. Given that the British
experienced that war much more personally
than did Americans-the bombingsof English
cities, evacuations,preparationsfor a German
landing on British soil, and so on-these differences are to be expected. (Schuman,
Akiyama, and Kndiuper[1998] provide further
evidence of the spatializationof memory.)Place
mattersas a locus of action, consciousness,and
identity (Ayers et al. 1996; Gieryn 2000), and
we see now that it also mediates memory and
of historicalimportin the United
understandings
States.Oncehistoricalandgeographicalcontext
is factoredinto Schumanand Scott'sexposition
of the generational characterof memory by
considering regional differences, their theory
tracksthe memories and attributionsof whites
who, duringtheirformativeyears,experienced
dailythe Civil Rightsmovement'simpacton the
556
AMERICAN
SOCIOLOGICAL
REVIEW
morallyessentialtransformationsof the South's
race relationsand racial structures.
The small numbers of whites who spontaneously recalled civil rights in 1985 or 1993
reducethe statisticalsignificanceof some of the
regional differences in cohort effects and render my inferenceson memory only suggestive.
Withhighernumbersof whites identifyingcivil
rights as historically significant in 1985, my
conclusions here are firmer. Each inference,
however,is strengthenedby the other:Using two
very differentindicators(andquestionformats),
I find that a higher percentageof white southernersof formativeage spontaneouslyrecalled
civil rightsthandid otherwhites (in 1993), and
whitesof criticalage likelyresidingin the South
in 1985, again at higherpercentagesthanmost
other whites, believed civil rights to be one of
the two more importantevents in the country's
recent history.
My analysis also suggests the workings of
memory processes other than the autobiographicalor generational,suggesting thatcivil
rights memory, at any rate, may have become
institutionalizedin public memory,permitting
those who came of age afterthe dramatichapthe movepeningsof 1954-1970 to "remember"
ment at surprisinglyhigh rates. The findings
reported here hint, too, at the importance of
regionsotherthantheAmericanSouthin structuring the awareness and significance of the
past-in the case of civil rights,the Northeastsuggesting that regional dynamics generally
deserve more prominence in social research
(Ayerset al. 1996; Reed 1982; Zelinsky 1992).
But it is the South'spast, in particularits racial
past, that continues in memory, as well as
throughthe workingsof othermechanismssuch
as representationand racial norms, to stand
somewhatapartfromtheAmericanmainstream
(see Griffin 1995, 2000; Schumanet al. 1997).
Mannheim's(1952) idea of the "social location"of generationalidentityformationappears
to be place-specific as well as age-dependent,
and the primarysocial location of civil rights
battles and successes was the South. Region,
along with race, gender, age, and other social
factors,mattersin the constructionof collective
memories, and the real questionis not whether
it (or place, more generally)or somethingelse
has causal primacy,but how, conjoined, they
produce-as race, region, and age do in these
data-what is rememberedand thought to be
historicallyimportant.
Whatpeople actuallydo with these andother
memories, however, is largely unknown.
Relatively little researchin collective memory
has delved into how memory,once debatedand
codified in museums,memorials,films, national holidays, and other memory sites, has been
received by those putativelyusing memory to
constructmeaningaboutthemselves,theirtimes,
and their communities. "Memoryconsumers"
(Kansteiner2002: 180) thus too often remain
unanalyzed,andso how memoryactuallyshapes
or does not shape consciousness and actionthatis, whatpeople actuallydo with memoryin
time present-is left unaddressed. (For an
importantexception,see SchumanandRieger's
[1992] analysisof the impactof historicalanalogies on attitudestowardthe first Gulf War.)The
reasons southernwhites gave for remembering
civil rightsin Schumanand Scott's(1989) data,
for example,suggest severaldifferentways that
recollections of the past might framepresentday political and cultural understandingsof,
and struggles about, race: Some point to the
politics of racial resentment("The blacks get
more than we do now ... I don't like the
demanding."); others point to a politics of
benign neglect because, to some, the region's
racialwrongshavenow beenrighted("Everyone
has an equal opportunityto do what they want
to.");andstill othersindicatea politics of racial
reconciliation("Itmade me look at myself and
repent.")
Sociologists have only begun to addressthe
communalsignificance of collective memories
or of the subtleties of memory displacement
and resurrection(Schumanand Rodgers2004)
and collective amnesia (Irwin-Zarecka1994).
The next step is to link the social determination
of memory to its consumptionand use, unraveling how (if at all) recollections, celebrations,
and commemorationsof the past frameunderstandings of the present, galvanize action or
legitimateinaction,and conditionmoralityand
cognition in time present.
Larry J. Griffin is the John Shelton Reed
Distinguished
Professorof Sociology,Professorof
History,andFellowat theCenterfortheStudyof the
American
Southat theUniversity
ofNorthCarolinaChapelHill.His interestsincludecollectivememory, collectiveand social identity,and the intersection
of race, rights, and region. He is currentlyengaged
in two researchprojects, the impact of civil rights
memoryonpresent-dayracialattitudesandactions,
anda studyof therecent"atonement"
trailsofByron
RACE, REGION,AND MEMORYOF CIVILRIGHTS
De La Beckwith, Bobby Frank Cherry, and other
whiteperpetratorsof Civil Rights-erakillings in the
South.
REFERENCES
Ayers,EdwardL., PatriciaNelson Limerick,Stephen
Nissenbaum,andPeterS. Onuf. 1996.All Overthe
Map: RethinkingAmerican Regions. Baltimore,
MD: Johns HopkinsUniversityPress.
Black, Earl and Merle Black. 1987. Politics and
Society in the South. Cambridge,MA: Harvard
UniversityPress.
Conway, Martin A. 1997. "The Inventory of
Experience:Memory and Identity."Pp. 21-45 in
Collective Memory of Political Events: Social
Psychological Perspectives, edited by J. W.
Pennebaker,D. Paez, and B. Rim&.Mahwah,NJ:
LawrenceErlbaum.
Gieryn, Thomas E 2000. "A Space for Place in
Sociology." Annual Review of Sociology
26:463-96.
Graham,Hugh. 1990. The CivilRightsEra: Origins
and Developmentof National Policy. New York:
Oxford UniversityPress.
Griffin, Larry J. 1995. "Why Was the South a
Problemto America?"Pp. 10-32 in TheSouthas
an AmericanProblem,edited by L. J. Griffin and
D. H. Doyle. Athens, GA: University of Georgia
Press.
. 2000. "SouthernDistinctiveness,YetAgain,
-or WhyAmericaStill Needs the South."Southern
Cultures6:47-72.
Hobson, Fred. 1999. But Now I See: The White
Southern Racial Conversion Narrative. Baton
Rouge, LA: LouisianaState UniversityPress.
Holmes, Alison and Martin A. Conway. 1999.
"GenerationIdentityandthe ReminiscenceBump:
Memory for Public and PrivateEvents."Journal
ofAdult Development6:21-34.
Irwin-Zarecka, Iwona. 1994. Frames of
Remembrance: The Dynamics of Collective
Memory.New Brunswick,NJ: Transaction.
Kansteiner, Wulf. 2002. "Finding Meaning in
Memory:A MethodologicalCritiqueof Collective
MemoryStudies."Historyand Theory41:179-97.
King, RichardH. 1992. Civil Rights and the Idea of
Freedom.New York:OxfordUniversityPress.
Mannheim, Karl. 1952. "The Problems of
Generations." Pp. 276-322 in Essays in the
Sociology of Knowledge, by K. Mannheim.
London, England:Routledge and Kegan Paul.
Margalit, Avishai. 2002. The Ethics of Memory.
Cambridge,MA: HarvardUniversityPress.
McAdam,Doug. 1988.FreedomSummer.NewYork:
Oxford UniversityPress.
Olick, Jeffrey.1999. "CollectiveMemory:The Two
Cultures."Sociological Inquiry3:333-48.
Pennebaker,J. W.and Becky L. Banasik. 1997. "On
the Creation and Maintenance of Collective
557
Memory:Historyas Social Psychology."Pp. 3-20
in Collective Memoryof Political Events: Social
Psychological Perspectives, edited by J. W.
Pennebaker,D. Paez, and B. Rim6. Mahwah,NJ:
LawrenceErlbaum.
Polleta,Francesca.1998. "LegaciesandLiabilitiesof
an InsurgencePast:RememberingMartinLuther
King on the House and Senate Floor." Social
Science History 22:479-512.
Raines, Howell. 1977.My Soul is Rested:Movement
Days in the Deep SouthRemembered.New York:
G. P. Putnam.
Reed, John Shelton. 1982. One South: An Ethnic
Approachto Regional Culture.BatonRouge, LA:
Louisiana StateUniversity Press.
Rosenzweig, Roy and David Thelen. 1998. The
Presence of the Past: Popular Uses of History in
American Life. New York:ColumbiaUniversity
Press.
Schuman, Howard,Hiroko Akiyama, and Bdirbel
Kniiuper.1998. "CollectiveMemoriesof Germans
and Japanese About the Past Half-Century."
Memory6: 427-54.
Schuman, Howard and Cheryl Rieger. 1992.
"HistoricalAnalogies, GenerationalEffects, and
Attitudes TowardWar."American Sociological
Review 57: 315-26.
Schuman, Howardand Willard L. Rodgers. 2004.
"Cohorts,Chronology,andCollectiveMemories."
Public OpinionQuarterly68:217-54.
Schuman, Howard and Jacqueline Scott. 1989.
"GenerationsandCollectiveMemories."American
Sociological Review 54:359-81.
Schuman,Howard,CharlotteSteeh,LawrenceBobo,
and Maria Kyrsan. 1997. Racial Attitudes in
America: Trendsand Interpretations.Revised ed.
Cambridge,MA: HarvardUniversityPress.
Schwartz, Barry. 1996. "Memory as a Cultural
System: Abraham Lincoln in World War II."
AmericanSociological Review 61:908-27.
Scott, Jacquelineand Lilian Zac. 1993. "Collective
Memoriesin Britainandthe UnitedStates."Public
Opinion Quarterly57: 315-31.
Waters, Mary C. 1990. Ethnic Options: Choosing
Identitiesin America.Berkeley,CA: Universityof
CaliforniaPress.
Woodward, C. Vann. 1965. "From the First
Reconstructionto the Second."Pp. 1-14 in The
South Today, edited by W. Morris. New York:
Harperand Row.
Zelinsky, Wilbur.1992. The CulturalGeographyof
the UnitedStates:A RevisedEdition.UpperSaddle
River,NJ: PrenticeHall.
Zelizer, Barbie. 1995. "Readingagainst the Grain:
The Shape of Memory Studies."CriticalStudies
in Mass Communication7:214-39.
Zerubavel,Eviatar.1996. "Social Memories: Steps
to a Sociology of the Past."QualitativeSociology
19:283-99.

Similar documents

×

Report this document