Thinking About My Next Book Project

Some people prefer to outline their book projects, but me, I prefer a visual road map. As you can see, a great many things will go boom in the course of the book.  Yeah, it’s a slow day.

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Looking Beyond the High Ground

Much of my research and commentary on the evolution of battlefield interpretation within the National Park Service has referenced the 2000 Rally on the High Ground Conference as a watershed moment.  Without being too overly simplistic the working assumption has been that the most significant changes to NPS interpretation has been in reaction to Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr’s. legislation and accompanying symposium which brought together NPS staff and academic historians in Washington D.C. The conference examined ways in which the NPS could implement Jackson’s legislation which called for the broadening of battlefield interpretation to include the cause of the war, the role of slavery during the war, as well as other topics.  This push for a broader interpretive context as well as Jackson’s involvement has been met with suspicion by segments of the general public who tend to view his involvement as political which in turn has colored the NPS’s subsequent actions as overtly political.

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H.K. Edgerton Entertains the Old White South One Last Time

Not too long ago I suggested that H.K. Edgerton’s performance is geared to and best received by white Southerners, who find vindication in his narrative of slavery as a benign institution and the peaceful co-existence of the races during the antebellum period and through the war into Reconstruction and beyond.   Today I learned that H.K. is going to retrace his steps on this 10th anniversary of his famous trek across the South.

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Yankee History Teachers Go South

In February 2011 a group of teachers, accompanied by Dr. John Stauffer of Harvard University, flew from Boston to Memphis, TN and from there traveled by bus through the South visiting sites of historic importance to the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement, seeking a better understanding of each period and of the relationship between them.

This video was filmed at a conference held in May, 2011 at Burlington High School in Massachusetts. You’ll see what looks like a science fair, but is actually a “lesson fair” where the participants shared lessons they created and taught after the trip. Each traveler also created a digital story responding to the prompt, “How has this trip shaped my understanding of my role as an educator?” These were shown at the conference and three teachers joined Dr. Stauffer for a panel discussion.

Phil Gay of Tufts University, who is a partner and advisory board member of Making Freedom, interviewed the teachers during the conference, and created this video to document the impact of the study tour.

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Speaking in Newburyport, MA on Wednesday Evening

For those of you who live in the greater Boston area and are looking to get out for a few hours tomorrow evening I would love to see you in Newburyport.  More specifically, in nearby Salisbury [East Parish United Methodist Church, 8 Lafayette Rd. (Rt. 1)].  I will be giving a talk to the Merrimac Civil War Round Table on the battle of the Crater.  My talk will focus specifically on how Confederates responded to the presence of United States Colored Troops on the battlefield and in the letters and diaries written in the immediate aftermath.  The meeting begins at 7:30pm.

I will have books on hand at a discounted price and will be happy to personalize a copy for you.  Hope to see you.  If you can’t make tomorrow evening’s presentation you can catch me on October 26 at the Civil War Round Table of Greater Boston in Waltham.

Earlier today my friend Keith Harris posted a review of my book at Cosmic America.  There is really no reason to read beyond the first two sentences:

Let’s get straight to the point here. Kevin Levin’s new book, Remembering the Battle of the Crater: War as Murder,  is an exceptionally solid work.

In all seriousness, I appreciate Keith taking the time to read my book.  He makes a couple of really important points about where my book fits into the broader field of Civil War memory studies, which I am going to respond to very soon.

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