The Face of Public History

The group of teachers that I have been working with over the past seven days has experienced the best in Civil War site interpretation from Nashville to Washington, D.C. At the same time, however this trip has reminded me of just how important it is that our public historians reflect the gender and racial profiles of their audiences.

This group of teachers is overwhelmingly white and female. Throughout Tennessee and Virginia our guides were almost all white and male. Let me stress that site interpretation was sophisticated and clearly based on the latest scholarship. Eric Jacobson did a fabulous job of interpreting the Carter family and the battle of Franklin that touched on gender and slavery and NPS Ranger, Christopher Young at Chickamauga, led one of the best battlefield tours that I’ve ever experienced. [click to continue…]

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Report from the Road

Having a great time on my 10-day Civil War trek through Tennessee, Virginia and Maryland. Yesterday our trip was covered by the Chattanooga News. Thanks to Sean Phipps for spending some time with the group.

I also learned through the grapevine that my friends with the Virginia Flaggers Facebook Page have taken an interest as well. The comments are hilarious. 🙂

That’s it for now.

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A Response to Ted Savas

I feel a need to respond to this before I head out tomorrow. Back in February I shared the jacket description for Stephen Hood’s new book about John Bell Hood. I suggested that it was just a bit over the top given the claims that the author makes about previous Hood scholars. The book would somehow show that previous scholars ‘ignored or suppressed facts sympathetic to Hood.’ In other words, these scholars were engaged in nothing less than a hatchet job. [click to continue…]

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Civil War Road Trip

Chickamuagua by Tom Redman“I am following the river down the highway to the cradle of the Civil War.”

Tomorrow I fly to Nashville to help lead a group of history teachers on a 10-day Civil War road trip to Washington, D.C. The trip is funded by the Teaching American History program and organized by the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition at Yale. It promises to be an exciting and educational experience for all involved. I was asked to help out as a historian/guide. My main responsibility is to talk with the teachers at the end of the day, help them to synthesize what they learned, and how it might apply to the classroom. Once in Virginia I will be more involved with leading some of the tours. [click to continue…]

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New Summer Fashions from Dixie Outfitters

Dixie OutifittersUpdate: Brooks Simpson provides additional analysis.

Check out the new summer t-shirt line from Dixie Outfitters. The company has already created custom t-shirts in response to the popularity of H.K. Edgerton and the Virginia Flaggers. Now it is coming out with a new shirt for the members of the Southern Heritage Preservation Group or as Brooks Simpson calls it: “the gift that keeps on giving.” The only thing missing from this shirt is some of the group’s greatest hits from their comment threads.

I love that the shirt seems to include the states of Kentucky and Missouri in the Confederacy as well as what became the state of West Virginia. Remember, it’s about heritage, not history.

This has me thinking. Perhaps I should come up with a t-shirt design for the Civil War Memory community. Hmmm…I wonder what it would look like.

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New To the Civil War Memory Library, 08/02

W. Caleb McDanielMy reading has been all over the place this summer, though much of it has been centered on the history of the Holocaust and Germany, which I will teach for the first time this year. I’ve also decided as a new transplant to Boston that it is time to look more closely at the abolitionist movement.

Joseph Ellis, Revolutionary Summer: The Birth of American Independence, (Knopf, 2013).

Julie Roy Jeffrey, Abolitionists Remember: Antislavery Autobiographies and the Unfinished Work of Emancipation, (University of North Carolina Press, 2008).

Barbara Krauthamer, Black Slaves, Indian Masters: Slavery, Emancipation, and Citizenship in the Native American South, (University of North Carolina Press, 2013).

W. Caleb McDaniel, The Problem of Democracy in the Age of Slavery: Garrisonian Abolitionists and Transatlantic Reform, (Louisiana State University Press, 2013).

Joanne Pope Melish, Disowning Slavery: Gradual Emancipation and “Race” in New England, 1780-1860, (Cornell University Press, 1998).

Henry McNeal Turner, Freedom’s Witness: The Civil War Correspondence of Henry McNeal Turner, (reprint, University of West Virginia Press, 2013).

Bruce Watson, Bread and Roses: Mills, Migrants, and the Struggle for the American Dream, (Penguin 2005).

[click to continue…]

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