The Transformative Capacity of Commemoration: Comparing Mnemonic Activism in Philadelphia, Mississippi
Dr. Claire Whitlinger, Furman University
View the recording of the event below.
When and how do commemorative events spark subsequent memory activism? This talk will address this critical question by comparing two seemingly similar memory projects with divergent outcomes: the twenty-fifth and fortieth-anniversary commemorations in Philadelphia, Mississippi, the city notorious as the site of the 1964 “Mississippi Burning” murders. Drawing insights from the social psychological literature on intergroup contact will clarify how members of the 2004 commemoration task force developed a distinct collective identity across significant social divides through personal storytelling, a development that encouraged local memory activism beyond the commemoration itself.