Photo by Monivette Cordeiro
A protest by Confederate supporters outside Orlando City Hall in 2017.
In anticipation of white supremacist Richard Spencer's speech at the University of Florida Thursday, the Gainesville-based University Press of Florida is offering free PDF versions of books in "an effort to combat hate with facts."
UPF has been the official publisher of Florida's state university system since 1945 and has released over 2,500 volumes. In a statement, UPF says it will be giving away free online copies 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 Wa
r by William B. Lees and Frederick P. Gaske
Both books focus on Confederate monuments and the effort by groups like the United Daughters of the Confederacy to perpetuate the myth
of the "Lost Cause" of the Civil War – states' rights instead of slavery.
"While southern women had long been leaders in efforts to memorialize the Confederacy, UDC members made the Lost Cause a movement about vindication as well as memorialization," according to a summary for Cox's book. "They erected monuments, monitored history for 'truthfulness,' and sought to educate coming generations of white southerners about an idyllic past and a just cause – states' rights. … UDC members aspired to transform military defeat into a political and cultural victory, in which states' rights and white supremacy remained intact."
Aside from advocating for white supremacy and the creation of a white ethnic state, Spencer and other white supremacists have taken to protesting
the removal of Confederate monuments, claiming that it's an effort to replace white people and destroy their heritage. But as some have argued, Confederate statues are not just about painting a revisionist myth of the losing side in the Civil War – they also helped terrorize black people who were now free and remind them of who was still in control.
"As a university press book publisher, one of our goals is to provide facts that help today's readers separate truth from misrepresentation in order to better understand current events," UPF says in a statement. "We do so by publishing works of high-quality scholarship such as these."
UPF will be offering the free PDFs through Friday, Oct. 20. Download your copies here