The outburst of antiracist protests in the USA in 2020 demonstrates how deeply this society’s present-day problems are rooted in its past. From this perspective, a study of the cultural memory of the time of the Civil War and the abolition of slavery, the key moment in the contemporary American nation formation, is especially relevant and important. The cultural frontier between the North and the South that had appeared as an outcome of differences in US history has not disappeared up to now. By example of the complexity and inconsistency of the historical memory of the Civil War, slavery, and its abolition in the USA manifested in their visual representations, the article documents how through collective memory, history does not just invade modernity but is present in it, particularly in the form of memorials, monuments, museum expositions, and therefore determines the nation’s modernity to a large degree.
[USA, cultural memory, representations of the past, racism and anti-racism, Civil War, abolition of slavery]