Boston Discovers Its Confederate Heritage

Last week I was interviewed by WGBH’s Adam Reilly for a segment that aired this evening on Greater Boston about the Confederate marker on Georges Island in Boston Harbor. Historian Karen Cox also makes an appearance. I think we make a good team.

I was absolutely thrilled to get the call for this interview since Greater Boston is one of my favorite local news shows. Thanks again to Adam Reilly for this opportunity.

About the author: Thank you for taking the time to read this post. What next? Scroll down and join the discussion in the comments section. Looking for more Civil War content? You can follow me on Twitter. Check out my forthcoming book, Searching For Black Confederates: The Civil War’s Most Persistent Myth, which is the first book-length analysis of the black Confederate myth ever published. Pre-order your copy today.

12 comments… add one
  • Karen L. Cox Jun 8, 2017 @ 16:18

    Thanks for posting. I echoed much of what you said in my interview, but it’s better that it comes from you since you’re living in Boston. Would you mind linking to my author site where you mention my name? (http://karenlcoxauthor.com) Thank you! And yes, this was a good team effort!

    • Kevin Levin Jun 8, 2017 @ 16:19

      No problem.

      We talked for about 20 minutes and I suspect there was a good deal of overlap.

      • Karen L. Cox Jun 8, 2017 @ 16:48

        I swear that you’re going to be able to retire on this CW memory business. It just goes on and on.

        • Kevin Levin Jun 8, 2017 @ 16:51

          Still waiting for my big break. 🙂

          • Karen L. Cox Jun 8, 2017 @ 16:56

            Me, too. Next book?

            • Kevin Levin Jun 8, 2017 @ 16:59

              I think you nailed it with your forthcoming book. As for me, we shall see.

  • Kirk Jun 9, 2017 @ 4:22

    Thank you for posting this! Yes, it should go back to that group that put it up.

    • Mark Snell Jun 9, 2017 @ 6:49

      It’s a fairly benign marker in memory of the prisoners who died on the island; to move it elsewhere would not make much sense from an historical perspective. It would be akin to relocating the Confederate memorials at Gettysburg–some of which were gifts of their respective states’ UDC chapters and are emplaced on terrain held by the Army of Northern Virginia in July 1863–to a central location away from Gettysburg National Military Park.

      • Kevin Levin Jun 9, 2017 @ 6:53

        Hi Mark,

        Like I said during the interview, most Bostonians know nothing about this marker. Boston also has a replica of Thomas Ball’s Freedman’s Memorial located at Park Square. It is tucked away in a little corner and gets very little foot traffic. That said, I find it more problematic given the way it depicts a kneeling slave and Lincoln hovering above.

  • msb Jun 9, 2017 @ 4:45

    Interesting piece! Is the Fort named after Gen. Gouverneur Warren?

    • Kevin Levin Jun 9, 2017 @ 4:47

      No, it was named after Dr. Joseph Warren.

  • Sam Elliott Jun 12, 2017 @ 5:07

    Kevin, very interesting. I am working on a biography of one of the prisoners at Ft. Warren.

    I agree with Mr. Snell that “sending it back” would be senseless, especially since, as you point out in the interview, it is more a memorial than a marker.

    I have to confess it was slightly irritating when the host of the show expressed the thought that it was “good news” that the UDC was no longer in Massachusetts. In my experience, they are mostly old ladies who enjoy socializing during their meetings, although their rituals do have a Lost Cause aspect, albeit more or less benign as it is basically in the name of ancestor veneration. I’m afraid that from certain standpoints purity of thought in the name of tolerance results in a great deal of intolerance.

Now that you've read the post, share your thoughts.