Lay My Burden Of Southern History Down

Vol. 7, No.4: Winter 2007

Return to issue

Lay My Burden Of Southern History Down

by John Shelton Reed
Southern Cultures, Vol. 7, No. 4: Winter 2001

"Southerners are at least as likely to agree as to disagree that 'it's important to remember our history, but the Civil War doesn't mean much to me personally.'"

The Confederate heritage appears to be of waning importance in the South, or—perhaps more accurately put—of importance to a dwindling number of southerners. In 1994 the Southern Focus Poll asked residents of the South and other Americans, “Did you have any ancestors living in the United States in 1860?” If the answer was yes, respondents were asked, “Did any of your family fight in the Civil War?” If the answer to that question was yes, they were asked, “Which side did they fight for—for the Confederacy, for the Union, or did members of your family fight on both sides?”