Date of Award

12-2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Legacy Department

History

Committee Member

Dr. Paul Anderson, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Dr. Rod Andrew

Committee Member

Dr. Vernon Burton

Abstract

This thesis examines the manipulation of the memory of the Hamburg Massacre of 1876. During the massacre, one white Carolinian and six black Carolinians were killed. Forty years later, in 1916, a monument was erected in North Augusta, South Carolina to honor and remember Mckie Meriwether, who was described as the only person killed during the massacre. The monument does not mention the true horrific history of the white terrorism against black Carolinians. After white Carolinians reclaimed power in the state, they were able to alter the memory of the Hamburg Massacre from a horrific to heroic event. By utilizing newspapers from the era, this thesis examines how the memory was manipulated starting from immediate reactions to the massacre in 1876 to the creation of the monument in 1916. The memory was changed through the political rise of the white Carolinians involved, most significantly Matthew Butler and Ben Tillman. Once white Carolinians had control over state politics, they were able to use their influence to overshadow the real horrors of the massacre. The same type of manipulation took place throughout the South and continues to impact southern history and identity.

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