Embracing the Safety of Reconciliation in Petersburg

Here is the link to the commemoration ceremony marking the 150th anniversary of the battle of the Crater. The event was organized by the National Park Service and held on the Crater battlefield this past July 30. A nice size crowd attended the event and I was quite impressed by the number of African Americans who were in the audience. Yes, that fact bears mentioning if you’ve spent enough time at these events. Overall, the speakers did a good job and there were a few highlights for me, but overall the speakers struck a reconciliationist tone that avoided the tough questions that the anniversary of this particular battle raises.  [click to continue…]

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Thanks for the Laughs and the Truth

“The Confederate Flag is just a symbol of states rights… Yeah, and the Swastika is just a Tibetan good luck charm, c’mon now.”

Robin Williams, Live on Broadway (2002)

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Bring On Governor John A. Andrew

I am scrapping the black Confederate book project. I just don’t have it in me to work on it anymore. There is nothing intellectually challenging about it and it only works to frustrate me when I think about some of the characters that I would have to address in the memory section. I’ve got an essay on the subject coming out in the December issue of The Journal of the Civil War Era and I may write up one long essay that covers a large chunk of research for another publication, but that’s it. I want to get my hands dirty again and actually figure something out. It’s on to Massachusetts Governor John A. Andrew. [click to continue…]

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“Passes! Passes For White Folks!”

It’s impossible to deny the influence that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have had on Civil War scholarship. The two most obvious places in which you can see this influence is in the number of new studies on Civil War veterans as well as medical treatment of soldiers. You can also see it in the fast-growing field of guerrilla war studies and the challenges of occupation. [click to continue…]

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“For Every Flag Removed…”

Virginia FlaggersHere’s the problem with this logic. It’s not simply a question of whether or not a Confederate flag is flying on a university campus, public building or roadside lamp. Confederate heritage groups can organize and raise as many flags in response to their removal as they want, but they will never be able to counter what is really being rejected.

It’s not simply the flag, but everything that can legitimately be associated with it from the stated goals of the Confederate nation through the use of the flag as a symbol of “massive resistance” against black civil rights during the 50s and 60s and beyond. In removing the flags the communities in question are taking a stand and making public their values. [click to continue…]

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