It should come as no surprise that H.K. Edgerton helped to dedicate a new Confederate Memorial Park in Tampa, Florida this weekend that includes a marker honoring black Confederate soldiers. In the past I have suggested that it is best to understand Edgerton’s presence at these events as a form of entertainment, not entirely unlike the presence of former camp slaves, who attended parades and veterans reunions at the turn of the twentieth century. [click to continue…]
Two recent articles have suggested that push back against Confederate iconography and commemoration is waning since the lowering of the Confederate battle flag in Columbia, South Carolina last summer. A number of states and local communities still recognize April as Confederate History/Heritage Month. This also includes the recognition of Confederate Memorial Day. The media focused a good deal of attention on Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant’s proclamation and subsequent defense of his decision to carry on the practice this past month. [click to continue…]
A number of cities across the country have or are currently engaged in debates about the place of Confederate monuments on public ground. New Orleans recently voted to remove four monuments, but has yet to follow through. Only the University of Texas at Austin has removed Civil War related monuments from campus. Today, the city of Louisville and the University of Louisville announced that a major Confederate monument will be removed immediately from public land adjacent to the campus. [click to continue…]
Chapter three in my current book project, Searching For Black Confederates, focuses a good deal on the roles that former camp slaves played at veterans reunions and parades. We’ve all seen the photographs of former slaves, who took part in these well-attended events, but this is the first time that I have come across an envelope from the United Confederate Veterans that features the loyal camp slave narrative.
I am going to have to look deeper to see if there are other commemorative items from this period, sponsored by the UCV and UDC, that highlight these stories. Today, the Sons of Confederate Veterans and other heritage organizations rely on the internet to propagate these stories, but this ought to be understood as an early example of that same goal.
As much of an achievement as that is, I am even more excited for Brian Matthew Jordan, who was named a finalist for his book, Marching Home: Union Veterans and Their Unending Civil War. It is beautifully written and thought provoking. Last semester I taught it in my research seminar at the American Antiquarian Society and students thoroughly enjoyed it. I suspect that this is going to open many doors for Brian and I look forward to congratulating him in person in Gettysburg this summer.