Below is a press release from the Mississippi Department of Archives and History:
On April 28, 2021, Claire Whitlinger presented “Commemorating Racial Violence in Philadelphia, Mississippi” as part of the History Is Lunch series.
Philadelphia became notorious for civil rights-era violence in the wake of the national publicity surrounding the Mississippi Burning murders in 1964. Whitlinger, author of the book Remembrance and Repair: Commemorating Racial Violence in Philadelphia, Mississippi, will examine commemorations held on the 25th and 40th anniversaries of the killings.
“Philadelphia has become a beacon in Mississippi’s racial reckoning,” said Whitlinger. “I’m interested in exploring how commemorations can facilitate social change.”
The events at the 40th anniversary provided a springboard for the trial of former Klan leader Edgar Ray Killen for his role in the murders, the 2006 passage of Mississippi’s Civil Rights/Human Rights education bill, and the initiation of the Mississippi Truth Project.
Hunter College professor Thomas DeGloma wrote that Whitlinger’s book “will become a benchmark for scholars interested in collective memory and commemoration, race, social movements, and various issues related to national and local community politics. Claire Whitlinger weaves a convincing analysis into a compelling story in each chapter. This well-conceived, sophisticated, and stimulating book will help scholars and students alike understand the complex dynamics of commemorating difficult and silenced pasts.”
Claire Whitlinger earned her BA in sociology from the George Washington University and her MA and PhD in sociology from the University of Michigan. She teaches courses on collective memory, social movements, race and ethnicity, qualitative methods, and intergroup dialogue. Whitlinger is the creator and co-founder of Furman’s Intergroup Dialogue Program and the 2019 recipient of Furman University’s Meritorious Diversity & Inclusion Award for faculty. Her research has been featured in Sociological Forum, Mobilization, and most recently, PBS's American Experience.