Last week, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu oversaw the removal of four Confederate monuments. It was just the latest chapter in the contentious battle over the official display of Confederate symbols.
But what is less well-known is the actual history of these symbols after the Civil War — and this history sheds important light on the debate. Confederate symbols have not always been a part of American or Southern life. They largely disappeared after the Civil War. And when they reappeared, it was not because of a newfound appreciation of Southern history.
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