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Civil War Museum Under Fire For Displaying Items From the Civil War

National Civil War MuseumYou heard that right. The National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania is taking heat from the mayor and others for a new exhibit on firearms sponsored by the National Rifle Association. While the source of the funding has come under scrutiny, the larger concern is the display of weapons, including William Quantrill’s colt revolver.

I spoke at the museum last September and had a chance to hold this specific weapon with the assistance of Wayne Motts, who is the museum’s director. Wayne and the rest of the staff have done a fabulous job promoting Civil War history in the Harrisburg area under conditions that any public historian can appreciate. The permanent exhibit is well executed and offers a comprehensive overview of the war, Reconstruction and memory. Continue reading “Civil War Museum Under Fire For Displaying Items From the Civil War”

Colonial Williamsburg Punts on Super Bowl Ad

Update: Colonial Williamsburg’s website is once again featuring the Super Bowl commercial.

After intense criticism Colonial Williamsburg has removed its Super Bowl ad from its website as well as its social media pages.  [You can still see it here.] A number of criticisms were leveled including its cost, but the one that has been voiced the most concerns the use of footage of the collapse of the World Trade Center in reverse. Continue reading “Colonial Williamsburg Punts on Super Bowl Ad”

Confederate Heritage Groups Reveal True Meaning of Their Flag

Update: The Tallassee Tribune is reporting that the flag will not be placed on property referenced in initial reports.

I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating that Confederate heritage groups like the Sons of Confederate Veterans are their own worst enemies when it comes to promoting their preferred interpretation of the battle flag. News that three such organizations intend to erect a 50-foot flagpole off of I-85 and within eyesight of Alabama State University (a historically black college) in Montgomery undercuts any denial of racist intent.

Despite claims to the contrary, cheers erupted when one group announced the proximity of the flag to the university. Continue reading “Confederate Heritage Groups Reveal True Meaning of Their Flag”

A Reconstruction Reading List

Parsons KlanAsk for a book recommendation on Reconstruction and you are likely to get Eric Foner’s masterful synthesis, Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877.

It’s still a great place to start, but there has been a good deal published about the period over the past few years and much of it takes us beyond the traditional time-line and spatial framework outlined in Foner.

What follows is a list of books that have pushed me in various ways to think anew about the standard list of events during the postwar period and a host of new ones. Of course, this is not intended as an exhaustive list.

Feel free to add suggestions in the comments section below. Continue reading “A Reconstruction Reading List”