Begin Again: James Baldwin's America and Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own by Eddie S. Glaude Jr.:
The controversy over the Confederate statues reflects this complex relationship between history and memory, between what actually happened the kinds of stories we tell about what happened and for what purpose.
After Charlottesville, American historians weighed in on the debate. They showed that the statues were not erected as contemporaneous historical memorials of the Civil War. Most were built many years later, either between the 1890s and the first decades of the twentieth century (when most of the Confederate veterans began to die) or in the 1950s, with the demand for racial equality intensifying. They were monuments to an ideology—physical representations of the superiority of white people and a way of life that reflected that fact. This was the “Lost Cause” erected in public space: the claim that the Civil War wasn’t about slavery but was a heroic and admirable defense of the southern way of life.