USD professor helps edit book on confederate symbols

USD professor helps edit book on confederate symbols A new book by a University of South Dakota political science professor examining the history of confederate symbols in the South has just been published by University Press of Florida.

Professor William D. Richardson, director of the W.O. Farber Center for Civic Leadership and chair of the political science department, is co-editor of Confederate Symbols in the Contemporary South. The 350-page collection of essays examines the history of the debate and role of confederate symbols in the Southern United States.

According to Richardson, the book is especially timely, given current events in the Southern states. The co-editors of the book began the project before the contemporary political debate in Southern states came to the forefront of the national news. Richardson states, "It was happenstance that at the time the book went into publication these issues were passionately on the front pages."

Richardson and fellow editors J. Michael Martinez an attorney and adjunct professor of political science at Kennesaw State University and Ronald McNinch-Su, chair of the Department of Public Administration and Legal Studies at the University of Guam, take an objective approach to the discussion of confederate symbols. The book combines essays by historians, philosophers, lawyers and political scientists. "The goal of the book was to try to get all the perspectives of the controversy and present an objective rather than an ideological treatise on the issue," Richardson said.

Richardson believes that only time will resolve the debate over whether and where these symbols of the confederacy should be displayed. "Putting this book together has given me a greater appreciation of the reasons for the passion of each side of the debate over confederate symbols," he said. "Continuing demographic changes in the South, in which people less passionately attached to either side of the debate are moving into the region, will lead to more pressure for the symbols to be removed."

The book is divided into four sections. The first section considers Southern political thought from the traditional, minority and popular culture perspectives. The second section discusses confederate flags and monuments. The third section explores legal challenges to confederate symbols. The fourth and final section discusses political challenges to confederate symbols.

Richardson hopes that the book will become a reference work covering the full issue of confederate symbols in the South. He believes that students and scholars will be able to gain a broader and deeper understanding of the arguments on either side of the debate over the history of the symbols that is so hotly debated now.

Confederate Symbols is Richardson's fourth book. His last book was Ethics and Character: The Pursuit of Democratic Virtue was published in December 1998 by Carolina Press.

Richardson received a doctorate in political science from the State University at Buffalo and has received numerous awards and honors, including the Blue Key National Honorary Fraternity Distinguished Faculty Award in 1996. He was also co-recipient of the American Society for Public Administration Marshall E. Dimock Award for the best lead article published in the Public Administration Review in 1987.

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