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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

UPF Offers Select Free Ebooks in Preparation for White NationalistEvent in Gainesville, Florida

From: University Press of Florida
Sent: ‎10/‎17/‎2017 11:42 AM
Subject: UPF Offers Select Free Ebooks in Preparation for White NationalistEvent in Gainesville, Florida

University Press of Florida Offers Select Free Ebooks in Preparation for White Nationalist Event in Gainesville, Florida
As Gainesville prepares for a white nationalist event featuring the president of the National Policy Institute (NPI), the University Press of Florida (UPF) would like to remind its community--and the nation--to recognize the importance of facts in understanding history. As part of its scholarly mission and in an effort to combat hate with facts, UPF will be giving away free PDFs of Dixie's Daughters: The United Daughters of the Confederacy and the Preservation of Confederate Culture by Karen L. Cox and Recalling Deeds Immortal: Florida Monuments to the Civil War by William B. Lees and Frederick P. Gaske.

The NPI president, who will speak at this week's event at the Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, was part of the Unite the Right rally that turned deadly in Charlottesville this August. He marched with white supremacists to protest the city's decision to remove a statue of Confederate Robert E. Lee. The issue hits close to home in Gainesville, where a Confederate monument was removed from the city's downtown recently.

As white nationalist propaganda--especially of the kind disseminated by the NPI--has been masked with the rhetoric of "preserving Southern culture" or "remembering our history," UPF encourages the community to understand the true history behind these statues, the differences between remembering history and memorializing slavery, and the rise of this particular brand of "Southern culture." 

"Almost none of the [Confederate] monuments were put up right after the Civil War," UPF author Karen L. Cox stresses in a recent Washington Post op-ed: "The monuments were put up as explicit symbols of white supremacy." In her book, Dixie's Daughters, Cox explains how the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) erected monuments to "transform military defeat into a political and cultural victory, where states' rights and white supremacy remained intact." The UDC "believed they could vindicate their Confederate ancestors," Cox argues.

In Recalling Deeds Immortal, authors William B. Lees and Frederick P. Gaske outline the precise details surrounding the installation of several Confederate monuments in Florida. They note that while the first was built in 1871, "the UDC continued to erect monuments in Florida at a steady pace through the Civil War Centennial of 1961-65." They also discuss the Lost Cause narrative the monuments convey, explaining its "recasting [of] the Civil War as a constitutional contest in which the South fought to protect states' rights."

To receive a free PDF of both books, readers should visit UPF will be supplying the free PDFs through Friday, October 20th.

Linda Bathgate, UPF's editor-in-chief and deputy director, says, "UPF fully supports the First Amendment and the right to speak freely; 'unpopular' speech was integral to the founding of this country. However, we cannot abide the hateful rhetoric and pervasive intolerance of the white supremacist movement. We encourage discourse for unity, understanding, knowledge, and acceptance, and we will do our part to promote speech that represents these values."

UPF is a member of the Association of American University Presses, whose executive director Peter Berkery and president Nicole Mitchell note in Publishers Weekly, "In today's political climate--in which 'fake news' and 'alternative facts' are believed and spread by so many people--valuing expertise and knowledge can feel like a radical stance." The president of the University of Florida, Kent Fuchs, echoed this sentiment in reminding students, faculty, and staff to challenge the NPI's message of hate and racism. "Speak up for your values and the values of our university."
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