New Book Project for Public Historians

R&LI don’t believe I have said much of anything about it on this site, but in addition to my book project on the myth of the Black Confederate soldier I have also been working on a proposal for a collection of essays on interpreting the Civil War at museums and historic sites. The idea was bring together public historians to explore how they interpreted the Civil War for the general public during the 150th. I also wanted to offer concrete ideas on how public historians can address the ongoing debates about Confederate iconography, which I believe has been woefully lacking.

The idea grew out of last year’s meeting of the AASLH in Louisville, where I took part in a panel discussion on this ongoing debate. While perusing the exhibit hall I came across the Rowan & Littlefield table and their “Interpreting History” series, which is published in partnership with AASLH. I was surprised that there was no book on the Civil War and brought it to the attention of Bob Beatty, who gave me the green light to kickstart a proposal. [click to continue…]

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If Donald Trump Had Delivered the Gettysburg Address

This little gem comes to us from The Angry Staff Officer blog. It was re-posted on George Takei’s Facebook page. All I can say is enjoy.

It was a long time ago – I don’t think anyone can even remember, but I can remember, I have a great memory, I’ve got the best memory ever. These guys, they made the most special thing, really, really special. Where everyone was free and everything was great, just the way I’ve made America, I really, really mean that.

Now we’ve got these people – I don’t like these people, let me tell you, they’re really awful, they said, “Hey Trump, you’ve got small hands,” and so I went after them, I really did, I sued them, and what did they do? They decided they wanted a fight and I said, “Okay, we’ll see who’s still here in a few years,” and see, we’re still here, on this battlefield. It’s a yuge battlefield, and it’s really, really, great, it’s so special. See, we’ve built this cemetery, so how big it is? It’s so special. And these guys – we’ve got the best guys – they tell me, “Hey Donald, give us someone who can lead us and we’ll beat these rebels,” and so I made things happen – it’s what I do – and boom, look, we’ve got this big, big win. These guys died winning, and I’m sure that makes their families just so, so happy, all this winning. It’s really great that we can be here to make this place special because of all the winning they did. [click to continue…]

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Benjamin Butler on the Big Stage

The decision on the part of Benjamin Butler to declare slaves as contraband of war at Fort Monroe, Virginia in the spring of 1861 received a good deal of attention during the sesquicentennial and is now interpreted by the National Park Service. Historians now refer to the actions of three Virginia slaves, which prompted Butler’s decision, as a key moment in the story of wartime emancipation.

Now Richard Strand has turned this story into what appears to be an entertaining and even educational theatrical play. Check out this preview.

Click here for more information.

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New to the Civil War Memory Library, 03/26

Bone RoomsI am very excited to see that Stephen Sears is slated to release a new book early next year. It is titled, Lincoln’s Lieutenants: The High Command of the Army of the Potomac. Sears has always been one of my favorite Civil War writers.

Matthew Desmond, Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City (Crown, 2016).

Bridget Ford, Bonds of Union: Religion, Race, and Politics in a Civil War Borderland (University of North Carolina Press, 2016).

Samuel J. Redman, Bone Rooms: From Scientific Racism to Human Prehistory in Museums (Harvard University Press, 2016).

Steven E. Woodworth and Charles Grear eds., The Tennessee Campaign of 1864 (Southern Illinois University Press, 2016).

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A Very Small Army of Black Rebels

One of the topics that I take up in the final chapter of my book about Confederate camp slaves and the Myth of the Black Confederate Soldier is the presence of a very small number of African Americans in social circles that subscribe to this myth. I have written extensively about H.K. Edgerton as well as Karen Cooper and Anthony Hervey.

Add to this group one Andrew Duncomb, who is the subject of a forthcoming documentary directed by Christopher Stoudt. [click to continue…]

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