“An illuminating, nuanced, and powerful portrayal of how Southern whites have managed to ignore the degree to which racism has shaped their history, instead seeing the 1940s and 50s as decades of peace and harmony.” –William H. Chafe, Alice Mary Baldwin Professor of History, Duke University

“Lavelle expertly analyzes how older white Southerners construct a ‘non-racial’ narrative of their experiences during the Jim Crow era and the Civil Rights Movement. We see that history is reconstructed, not only by historians, but in the memories of those who lived through it. Whitewashing the South is an important contribution to our understanding of whiteness and race in the U.S.” –Woody Doane, University of Hartford

“In this groundbreaking study, Kristen Lavelle adds to recent research on whiteness by exploring how older Southern whites make sense of the segregated world of their childhood. The study enhances our understandings of current whiteness by capturing the memories of a group whose perspective is often taken for granted but rarely analyzed systematically. Lavelle graciously and respectfully exposes the denial and memory distortions that allow her respondents to construct both an individual and a group ‘white moral identity.’ She shows how, in many ways, the denial evident in these life stories is ‘normal.’ By taking this approach, Lavelle invites the reader to consider how given a similar social context, we would all struggle to find ways to believe in the goodness of ourselves and our communities. While the book is a significant contribution due to its empirical findings alone, it is equally rife with theoretical insights of value to the broader study of race and ethnicity.” –Karyn McKinney, Associate Professor of Sociology and Women’s Studies, Penn State Altoona