Date of Award

Summer 8-2021

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Chair

Susannah J. Ural

Committee Chair School


Committee Member 2

Andrew P. Haley

Committee Member 2 School


Committee Member 3

Rebecca Tuuri

Committee Member 3 School



This thesis is meant to advance scholars understanding of the processes by which various groups silenced the memory of Civil War white dissent in Mississippi. It analyzes three case studies: F. A. P. Barnard’s 1860 trial for abolitionism, the transformation of community memory which surrounded Newt Knight in the early twentieth century, and Mississippi’s interaction with the Civil War through popular culture. These examples will reveal the cultural and discursive systems that have existed in the state for more than a century. This work argues that Mississippians silenced the memory of racial dissent throughout the state’s history because it conflicted with the cultural norms of the region. From “Southern honor” in the nineteenth century to the rise of the new right in the 1970s, most white Mississippians refused to remember themselves as anything other than loyal Southerners. This study builds on the scholarship of Bertram Wyatt-Brown, Grace Elizabeth Hale, and Caroline Janney among others in order to explore the cultural and economic systems of the South. These efforts were so successful that Mississippians repressed the memory of dissent for many decades, wiping the reality from the public narrative. Whether it was for personal preservation, memorial sanitization, or national reconciliation, Mississippians chose to forget those who dissented against Southern norms. Instead, they championed a sanitized, shining, ahistorical Confederate past.