It’s a good question and one that I’ve touched on here at Civil War Memory. Our battlefield monuments fit into a broader celebratory landscape that is pervasive throughout our memory of the Civil War. Gettysburg is a place where we can feel good about ourselves as Americans and our history. It is almost impossible for me to imagine a monument such as the one at Verdun at Gettysburg and I believe it to be a barrier to fully understanding what our civil war was about.
Unfortunately, the following image, which I took during a visit to the Gettysburg Visitor Center, more accurately reflects our attitude toward how Americans chose to make war on one another.
only, you wouldn’t know that by reading the marker.
The 48-inch by 29-inch marker reads: “In Memory of Union County’s Confederate Pensioners of Color,” then lists their names: Wilson Ashcraft; Ned Byrd; Wary Clyburn; Wyatt Cunningham; George Cureton; Hamp Cuthbertson; Mose Fraser; Lewis McGill; Aaron Perry; and Jeff Sanders.
And it includes this wording: “In Honor Of Courage & Service By All African Americans During The War Between The States (1861-65).”
How embarrassing for the people of this community. More here
When I left the classroom last year I was still wedded to the traditional history textbook. I supplemented my text with a wide range of digital tools and resources, but the text itself had not changed. My experience with e-textbooks has been very limited until now. For the next four months I will be working on an exciting e-history project providing supplemental materials for a text focused on the Civil War and Reconstruction. The text itself is being written by two very well known and talented historians. Some of the things I will be working on include:
- Review chapters and suggest themes and content for digital animations (e.g., maps) and video content (e.g., bio of Lincoln).
- Write copy for videos and animations (up to two 2-3 minute videos and one animation per chapter).
- Create assignments or “tasks” (we are calling all digital assets tasks that students have to complete before moving on in their textbook) for each of the chapters.
- Write copy for 1-2 “mini-challenges” (e.g., poll question, 4-6 reading comprehension quiz questions) for each chapter.
- Write definitions for glossary terms (5-10 per chapter).
Some of what I am doing is geared to connecting the text to a history simulation that allows students to role play real historical characters. I should be able to share more details about this project in the coming months.
For now I am hoping that those of you with more experience in this area might be able to suggest examples of best practices. What should I look at to get a feel for what’s been done already in the field of e-texts? What do you want to see as supplemental resources for an e-history textbook? Thanks.
Like many of you I was saddened and outraged to hear that the Shaw Memorial here in Boston had been vandalized. The alleged perpetrator is a 38 yr. old black woman from nearby Quincy. While she admitted to having an interpretive issue with the memorial, following her arraignment yesterday it was learned that she will undergo a psychiatric evaluation. I decided to write a little something for my column at the Atlantic, which you can now read, but before doing so I posted some questions about the possible racial implications of this act on my personal Facebook page.
Thanks to Brooks Simpson, Harry Smeltzer, James Percoco, Donald Shaffer, and John Rudy for sharing their thoughts. The thread went on for some time and it gave me quite a bit to think about. Brooks is right that the thread is a good example of the “usefulness of social media in advancing historical discussion.”
Click here for the rest of my posts at the Atlantic.
It’s been a while since I last updated my list of books received as review copies and those purchased. As always, thanks to those of you who have gone through my affiliate account with Amazon to purchase items. Thanks to you I rarely have to shell out my own money for new titles. This list reflects a good deal of reading outside of Civil War history.
George Bernard, Civil War Talks: Further Reminiscences of George S. Bernard and His Fellow Veterans (University Press of Virginia, 2012).
James Downs, Sick from Freedom: African-American Illness and Suffering during the Civil War and Reconstruction (Oxford University Press, 2012).
Amanda Foreman, A World on Fire: Britain’s Crucial Role in the American Civil War (Random House, 2011).
Ronald P. Formisano, Boston Against Busing: Race, Class, and Ethnicity in the 1960s and 1970s (University of North Carolina Press, 2003).
Gary W. Gallagher and Rachel Shelden, eds. A Political Nation: New Directions in Mid-Nineteenth-Century American Political History (University Press of Virginia, 2012).
James Green, Death in the Haymarket: A Story of Chicago, the First Labor Movement and the Bombing that Divided Gilded Age America (Pantheon, 2006).
Jill Lepore, The Mansion of Happiness: A History of Life and Death (Knopf, 2012).
Peter D. Norton, Fighting Traffic: The Dawn of the Motor Age in the American City (MIT Press, 2011).
Richard Slotkin, The Long Road To Antietam: How the Civil War Became a Revolution (Liveright, 2012).
Jill Ogline Titus, Brown’s Battleground: Students, Segregationists, and the Struggle for Justice in Prince Edward County, Virginia (University of North Carolina Press, 2012).