States’ Rights v. Civil Rights

May 10, 2013 to November 10, 2013
Virginia Civil War Commission Historical Marker Booklet

Office of the President, Davis Young Paschall Papers, UA 2.15, Series 1, Box 12, Folder 15

Conceived as a demonstration of American Cold War consensus, the Civil War centennial, 1961-1965, revealed how divided the country remained one hundred years after Fort Sumter. Several states organized impressive centennial observances, with none on so grand a scale or as widely recognized as Virginia’s. While the Virginia celebration attracted little controversy and many tourists, at the national level the commercialized “brothers’ war” commemoration struck many as a diversion from the key issue of slavery. African Americans’ ongoing struggle for civil rights nearly one hundred years after abolition contrasted sharply with a celebration that glorified the Confederacy and for the most part ignored African Americans. And when the Centennial Commission scheduled their national assembly at a segregated hotel in Charleston, South Carolina, the papered-over cracks in the American consensus broke open for the world to see.

Images of the exhibit are available from Swem Library on Flickr.


Curator: David Pratt, American Studies Graduate Student Apprentice; Exhibit design and installation: Jennie Davy, Burger Archives Specialist, with assistance from Ashley Irizarry, History Graduate Student Apprentice, and Andrew Cavell, Undergraduate Student Assistant.