Update: Well, it doesn’t look like Mr. Ijames is willing to share his presentation with me. He did, however, take the time to write me a lengthy letter in which he invited me to take part in one of his future presentations. That’s very kind of him. According to Mr. Ijames he has already shared all of the information he has on “Private Venable”, which is sufficient to accuse me, along with my “unnamed associates”, of “dishonoring” his memory. I assume by “unnamed associates” he means his former colleagues at the NCDAH. Unfortunately, it comes down to is his claim that the vast majority of the research for this presentation was done on his own personal time. What is even more confusing is a string of attached emails between Ijames and a representative of UNC-TV that was included in his personal email to me. Apparently, the two are under some mistaken belief that I based these posts on a recent interview with Ijames. While I came across it on one of my searches I didn’t view it. Finally, in addition to dishonoring the memory of Venable I am also being accused of dishonoring the memory of Weary Clyburn as well as his descendants. Apparently, I may even be hearing from their lawyer. No doubt I will be charged with doing history. My next step will be to send a letter to the director of the NCDAH along with an attached copy of Ijames’s response to my request I understand Ijames’s frustration. He admitted in one of the emails that a Google search of his name lists this blog at the top of the list. That said, this is no way for a public servant to respond to a request from the general public. Well, that’s the latest.
To: Earl Ijames
cc: Dr. Jeffrey J. Crow [Deputy Secretary, North Carolina Office of Archives and History]
Subject: Black Confederates
Dear Mr. Ijames,
I am a high school history teacher and historian who specializes in Civil War history. My current research project focuses on the history of black soldiers in the Civil War. I understand that over the past few years you have done extensive research on the service of black soldiers in the Confederate army and that you have presented your findings to the general public on numerous occasions. Unfortunately, due to my location I am unable to attend these presentations. However, I would like to request that you send me your Powerpoint presentation and/or copies of materials that have been used in your public programs. I understand that your research was done while an employee at the North Carolina Department of Archives and History and that the requested items are part of the public record. Thank you very much for your time and I look forward to reviewing your research.
Kevin M. Levin
Instructor of History and Department Chair
St. Anne’s – Belfield School