Civil (War) Discourse with No Right or Wrong

I think it’s great that a student can sit down with a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and talk about Civil War history and their respective understanding of the controversy surrounding the Silent Sam statue on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus. Unfortunately, the video leaves the viewer with the impression that the statements made by the two are both equally valid.

This simply is not the case.

Although neither participant is a historian, Bill Starnes’s understanding of the war is fundamentally flawed and outdated. He offers up every Lost Cause trope about slavery and race in the book. The only thing he didn’t mention are the thousands of black Confederates that served in the army.

According to the reporter, “there were no threats, no shouted expletives, no angry walk-out. Just a long talk, a handshake and plans to share a cold beer.” That’s wonderful, just make it a point to find something else to talk about.

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 latest 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. Order your copy today.

2 comments… add one
  • Michael C. Lucas Nov 23, 2018 @ 14:36

    So what’s the difference in respect to your opinions regarding the myths that you trope and those you accuse others of? Maybe you should find something else to talk about…Since you didn’t explain the “troping” that concerns you. Why is your bias more valid than anyone else’s? Let’s break it down Kevin? Throw me a bone? Both of the speakers are fundamentally flawed in their historical bias let alone comprehension of the conflicts of interest of the subject, even in the present. A main issue with Public Memory is the over generalizations these two have touched on. Why is it so generalized? How does that progress the discussion?

    • Kevin Levin Nov 23, 2018 @ 14:48

      Perhaps you can remind me of the myths that I am peddling.

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