The Lost Cause is Not Fake History

The video below featuring historian Eric Foner accompanied a recent piece on CNN’s website that offered some observations about the attempt to distance race from the 2016 election and the Lost Cause narrative of the Civil War. The article itself is not very helpful. The author attempts to make way too many points across too broad a period of time. None of them is explored in sufficient detail. More below on this. [click to continue…]

28 comments

New to the Civil War Memory Library, 12/26

Hope all of you are enjoying the Holidays. Here are the final few books to make it into my library this past year. Do yourself a favor and read Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad if you haven’t done so already. It is a remarkable book and a recipient of a National Book Award.

Joseph Beilein, Bushwhackers: Guerrilla Warfare, Manhood, and the Household in Civil War Missouri (Kent State University Press, 2016).

Charles Dew, Apostles of Disunion: Southern Secession Commissioners and the Causes of the Civil War (15th Anniversary edition) (University Press of Virginia, 2015).

Karl Jacoby, The Strange Career of William Ellis: The Texas Slave Who Became a Mexican Millionaire (Norton, 2016).

Carl L. Paulus, The Slaveholding Crisis: Fear of Insurrection and the Coming of the Civil War (Louisiana State University Press, 2017).

Colson Whitehead, The Underground Railroad: A Novel (Doubleday, 2016).

0 comments

The Return of Earl Ijames’s “Colored Confederates”

Update: Here is the link to the text that Ijames reads from in the video below.

Those of you who have followed this blog and commentary about the myth of the black Confederate soldier are all too familiar with Earl Ijames, who is a curator at the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh. Ijames claims to be an expert on what he refers to as “Confederates of Color.” It is an incredibly confusing and unhelpful reference.  He is a popular speaker and beloved by Sons of Confederate Veterans and the Abbeville Institute. This past summer Ijames addressed the latter at their annual summer institute. [The video below was uploaded to YouTube on 12/21] I have little doubt that the audience enjoyed his presentation, but it should come as no surprise that it is an absolute mess. [click to continue…]

22 comments

Your Choice For Best Books of 2016

I recently shared a couple of my favorite Civil War books from this past year. What about you? What did you read this past year that you would like to recommend to others? Of course, I am primarily interested in the Civil War era, but feel free to share whatever you like.

Finally, what future releases are you looking forward to reading?

27 comments

Col. Ty Seidule’s Follow-Up Assault on the Lost Cause

Yesterday Prager University re-posted a video on its YouTube page on the Civil War and slavery featuring West Point historian Colonel Ty Seidule. Many of you will remember that this short video quickly went viral following its original posting back in August 2015.

Here it is for those of you who missed it.

With a few minor quibbles I still think the video holds up pretty well.

15 comments

“By Taking Down That Flag We Express God’s Grace”

Earlier today a jury convicted Dylann Roof of the murder of nine churchgoers that took place at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston, South Carolina on June 17, 2015. The same jury will decide early next year whether Mr. Roof deserves the death penalty for his actions. [click to continue…]

14 comments

From Responsible Consumers to Producers of Online Content

I could not be more pleased with the reception to my latest piece at Smithsonian on spotting fake news and its implications for how we teach history. It has been shared over 50,000 times on Facebook and other social media platforms and it led to an interview with The Washington Post for a related story. With all the attention on spotting fake news and problematic websites it is important to remember that we are only addressing half of the problem. [click to continue…]

1 comment

Barton Myers Delivers Fredericksburg Keynote Address

Yesterday my friend and fellow historian, Barton Myers of Washington and Lee University, delivered the keynote address as part of the 154th anniversary of the battle of Fredericksburg. I delivered this address back in 2008. The National Park Service does a phenomenal job each year commemorating the battle and Professor Myers was certainly an appropriate choice for this year’s keynote speaker. [click to continue…]

0 comments

What Did They Call Steve Perry (Eberhart)?

Update: It looks like the individual responsible for this Facebook post does not appreciate my corrections nor does it appear she fully grasp how little she knows about the individual. Apparently, she believes that Perry and Eberhart are two different people. You can’t make this stuff up.

I picked up this little screenshot from one of the Facebook pages devoted to spreading the myth of the black Confederate. This is Steve Perry, who actually went by Steve Eberhart when attending Confederate Veterans’ reunions. Eberhart functioned as something akin to a stage name. He is the subject of chapter 3 of my black Confederates book and he is absolutely fascinating.

This screenshot and commentary is just another example of the presentism that advocates fall victim to as well as their basic ignorance surrounding the relevant wartime and postwar history when attempting to interpret the lives of camp slaves. So far I have yet to find a single reference to Perry as a “Confederate” or anything else that suggests that white Southerners viewed him or any other former camp slave as a soldier. [click to continue…]

20 comments

Sam Wineburg on Fake History and Digital Media Literacy

I couldn’t be more pleased with the reception to my article on fake history and its implications for how we teach history, which was published yesterday at Smithsonian. My hope is that the article not only gets history teachers talking, but leads to action. As I suggested in the piece, there is a great deal on the line. [click to continue…]

6 comments