Between 2011 and 2015, Arkansas commemorated the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War with re-enactments, lectures, placement of historical markers, and a wide variety of other events that were collectively attended by more than 375,000 people. While the sesquicentennial commemoration highlighted the Civil War events that occurred in the state and honored the people who experienced the war in Arkansas, the question of the war’s significance to modern Arkansas remained.
Competing Memories: The Legacy of Arkansas’s Civil War collects the proceedings of the final seminar sponsored by the Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission, which sought to define the lasting impact that the nation’s deadliest conflict had on the state by bringing together some of the state’s leading historians.
In these essays, Thomas A. DeBlack explores the post-war lives of both Union and Confederate soldiers who played prominent roles in Civil War Arkansas. Cherisse Jones-Branch delves into the lives of black Arkansans during the war and Reconstruction. Jeannie Whayne discusses the many ways the Civil War affected the state’s economic development, while Kelly Houston Jones investigates the Civil War’s impact on Arkansas women. Mary Jane Warde examines the devastating effects of the Civil War on Native Americans in Arkansas and the Indian Territory. Elliott West scrutinizes Civil War Arkansas from a continental perspective, and Carl Moneyhon considers the evolution of how we remember the Civil War.
Together, the essays in Competing Memories: The Legacy of Arkansas’s Civil War provide a compelling account of how America’s bloodiest war continues to affect Arkansas and its people today.