Waycross Confederate Monument
Backstory and Context
Officially founded in 1894, nearly 30 years after the Civil War ended, The United Daughters of the Confederacy have since erected over 400 Confederate monuments, memorials, and buildings in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia-- some of which were never considered "Confederate States." An overwhelming majority of these memorials were erected in the early 20th century, as Jim Crow laws were beginning to become popular in the American South and later, as the American Civil Rights Movement gained traction. Growing well beyond their original Confederate borders, the UDC currently has chapters in 32 states (compared to the 13 that made up the Confederate States).
Recent years have sparked controversy over Confederate monuments on a national scale. The UDC released a press statement in 2018 stating that they were "grieved that certain hate groups have taken the Confederate flag and other symbols as their own," and called for white supremacists to cease the use of Confederate symbols. The UDC stated that the "memorial statues and markers have been a part of the Southern landscape for decades," and to many "simply represent a memorial to our forefathers." The United Daughters of the Confederacy believe that the Civil War was fought due to the "disregard, on the part of the States of the North, for the rights of the southern or slave-holding states." As for slavery itself, the most recent statement asserts that "Slaves, for the most part, were faithful and devoted. Most slaves were usually ready and willing to serve their masters.”
Others, such as the Southern Poverty Law Center, refer to this ideology of the Civil War as the narrative of the "lost cause," in which Southern states seek to justify their loss by framing the conflict as a war between depraved and elevated morals. Indeed, this language was even used on an application submitted to the National Register of Historic Places, in an effort to build three Confederate statues in Louisiana. The application asserted that these statues would be historically significant because they represented the "Cult of the Lost Cause."
Press Release, United Daughters of the Confederacy. December 1st 2018. Accessed September 23rd 2020. https://hqudc.org/.
History of the UDC, United Daughters of the Confederacy. Accessed September 23rd 2020. https://hqudc.org/history-of-the-united-daughters-of-the-confederacy/.
Breed, Allen G.. ‘The lost cause’: the women’s group fighting for Confederate monuments, The Guardian. August 10th 2018. Accessed September 23rd 2020. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/aug/10/united-daughters-of-the-confederacy-statues-lawsuit.
Landrieu, Mitch. How I Learned About the “Cult of the Lost Cause”, Smithsonian Magazine. March 12th 2018. Accessed September 23rd 2020. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/how-i-learned-about-cult-lost-cause-180968426/#:~:text=The%20Cult%20of%20the%20Lost%20Cause%20had%20its%20roots%20in,as%20a%20great%20heroic%20epic..
Ware County Confederate Monument, University of North Florida Digital Commons. Accessed September 23rd 2020. https://digitalcommons.unf.edu/historical_architecture_main/3037/#:~:text=The%20Ware%20County%20Confederate%20Monument,June%203%2C%201910%20or%20Oct..