Thanks to Al Mackey for posting this short clip of a recent talk in which Professor James I. Robertson responds to a question about the current debate about the display of the Confederate flag. I was surprised and disappointed that Robertson didn’t simply suggest that the battle flag belongs in a museum where it can be properly interpreted. That would have been the right answer. Instead we are treated to a muddled response that attempts to remove the Confederate soldier from discussions of slavery and race. [click to continue…]

Nate Parker’s movie about Nat Turner’s Rebellion, The Birth of a Nation, caused quite a buzz at last month’s Sundance Film Festival. The success of recent Hollywood films such as 12 Years a Slave and Django, as well as the new television series, Mercy Street, point to a growing interest in stories about slavery, many of which are being produced and directed by African Americans.

Today I caught the extended preview for Underground, which was produced by John Legend and airs on WGN America on March 9. [click to continue…]

hannah-mary-tabbs-webTwo important book prizes have recently been announced. First, Martha Hodes’s Mourning Lincoln (Yale University Press) won the Lincoln Prize and Ada Ferrer’s Freedom’s Mirror: Cuba and Haiti in the Age of Revolution (Cambridge University Press) won this year’s Frederick Douglass Prize.

I read and thoroughly enjoyed the former, but have not read the latter.

T.H. Breen, George Washington’s Journey: The President Forges a New Nation (Simon & Schuster, 2016).

Jonathan M. Bryant, Dark Places of the Earth: The Voyage of the Slave Ship Antelope (Liveright, 2015).

Donald S. Frazier, Blood on the Bayou: Vicksburg,Port Hudson,and the Trans-Mississippi (State House Press, 2015).

Kali N. Gross, Hannah Mary Tabbs and the Disembodied Torso: A Tale of Race, Sex, and Violence in America (Oxford University Press, 2016).

Allen Guelzo, Redeeming the Great Emancipator (Harvard University Press, 2016).

Harold Holzer, The Annotated Lincoln (Harvard University Press, 2016).

Update: A member finally pointed out that the individual is a USCT.

I visit a couple of Facebook pages devoted to the black Confederate soldier. These sites are useful for a number of reasons. Most importantly, they provide a space for those individuals who are convinced of their existence to share their ideas over time and often in response to news stories. The other reason I visit is because a number of members post interesting items, such as newspaper clippings and other primary sources, to the wall. I have collected literally hundreds of magazine and newspaper clippings, many of which I am using in my book project.

On occasion, these pages can be very entertaining in a disturbing kind of way. Since anyone can post and/or comment these sites often highlight the sheer ignorance of its members. One rarely sees any attempt at serious interpretation and more often than not what is seen is what is believed. [click to continue…]

Flip LearningI wanted to share with you a brand new survey of the American Civil War authored by Gary Gallagher and Joan Waugh that is suitable for both high school and college history classrooms. Even given the notoriety of its authors the book is likely to fall through the cracks given that it is not being released by a major publisher.

The American War: A History of the Civil War Era is published by Christian Spielvogel, who runs Flip Learning.

Over the past ten years I have used a number of different texts, including Brooks Simpson’s, America’s Civil War, Louis Masur’s, The Civil War: A Concise History and This Terrible War: The Civil War and Its Aftermath by Michael Fellman, Lesley Gordon and Daniel Sutherland. They all work well in different ways. [click to continue…]

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