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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. Continue reading “A Response to Ted Savas”

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. Continue reading “Civil War Road Trip”

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.

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).

Continue reading “New To the Civil War Memory Library, 08/02”

Where Are All the Black People?

Emancipation Day Parade, Richmond, Va
Emancipation Day Parade, Richmond, Va

One question that often comes up when discussing the scope of the current Civil War Sesquicentennial is why so few African Americans appear to be taking part. The question arose this past June at the Civil War Institute and the previous year as well. I’ve also heard it in connection to battlefield commemorations such as the Gettysburg 150. The question itself is packed with assumptions about the kinds of events and activities that define this sesquicentennial.

One thing that folks who worry about this issue most likely need to get over is that African Americans will never flock to battlefields in significant numbers. And whether we like it or not, the reason has everything to do with the Confederate flag. It is packed with meaning (much of it from the civil rights movement) that sends a clear message to the African-American community: You are not welcome here. Continue reading “Where Are All the Black People?”