Standing With Robert E. Lee in the Defense of White Supremacy in 1987

One of the books that I am currently reading is Patrick Phillips’s Blood at the Root: A Racial Cleansing in America. The book tells the story of the 1912 unsolved murder of a young white woman, followed by the lynching, the execution of two innocent teenage black teenagers, and the forcible removal of Forsyth County, Georgia’s entire black population. Continue reading

New to the Civil War Memory Library, 09/13

William W. Freehling, Becoming Lincoln (University Press of Virginia, 2018).

Joanne B. Freeman, The Field of Blood: Violence in Congress and the Road to Civil War (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2018). [Note: I read Freeman’s book over the summer and can’t recommend it highly enough.]

Jill Lepore, These Truths: A History of the United States (Norton, 2018).

John G. Selby, Meade: The Price of Command, 1863-1865 (Kent State University Press, 2018).

Robert J. Wynstra, At the Forefront of Lee’s Invasion: Retribution, Plunder, and Clashing Cultures on Richard S. Ewell’s Road to Gettysburg (Kent State University Press, 2018).

Who Still Mourns Confederate Dead?

There is one small passage in UNC Chancellor Carol Folt’s recent statement on the future of “Silent Sam” that I found somewhat puzzling. On the other hand, I guess it shouldn’t be surprising to see a statement that acknowledges the different meanings that Americans attach to this particular Confederate monument and others. Continue reading

What Should Happen to Silent Sam

It’s unfortunate that the administration at UNC-Chapel Hill did not take steps to defuse the controversy around their Confederate monument known as “Silent Sam” much earlier. Now they are in a bit of a pickle with students and others having removed the statue last week, followed by smaller demonstrations, and a law that appears to give the university 90 days to return it to campus. Continue reading

It’s Time for The Root To Issue a Correction

At some point the staff at The Root must acknowledge the fact their own website is responsible for advancing the myth of the black Confederate soldier. Their own staff writers appear to be completely unaware of this fact. Yesterday Michael Harriot took the time to respond to reader emails, specifically those written by “white people” who he believes “are born with an extra gland that secretes the ‘let me speak to your manager’ hormone.” Continue reading

NC Committee Endorses Neo-Confederate History

Update: Perhaps “Endorse” is too strong a word for the post’s title, but despite tough questions from two historians on the commission this Lost Cause nonsense was given a level of legitimacy that it does not deserve. We wouldn’t feature debunked scientific theories in such a setting, so why do we tolerate it in history?

Last night North Carolina’s Committee on Confederate Monuments and Memorials held a meeting in Durham to discuss the ongoing controversy. As many of you know last year a Confederate statue in Durham was toppled over and severely damaged beyond repair. I am a big fan of these public meetings as they give residents the opportunity to share their opinions and perspectives, but last night’s gathering was deeply disappointing. Continue reading

The Importance of Avoiding Reductionism When Explaining Confederate Statues

The media coverage of the removal of “Silent Sam” on the UNC–Chapel Hill campus earlier this week has been intense. The coverage has brought the story of this controversy and the history of this specific Confederate statue to a wide audience, but I find one aspect of it to be troubling. Continue reading

Silent Sam Silenced

I went to bed last night anticipating that the Confederate statue on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus known as “Silent Sam” would be pulled down. Last night’s rally took place a little over a week after the one-year anniversary of the Charlottesville white supremacist rally, the white supremacist rally in D.C. led by Richard Spencer and just days after Duke University announced that it would leave the space at their chapel entrance where Robert E. Lee once stood vacant. Continue reading