Interpreting Civil War Monuments: Further Reading

What follows is a short list of books for those of you who have been following the recent removal of monuments in New Orleans, as well as the broader debate, and are looking for suggestions for further reading.

This list includes titles that focus specifically on Civil War monuments, but also more broadly to include other periods in American history that have been memorialized as well as the international context.

This is certainly not intended as an exhaustive list. [click to continue…]

Can We Still Interpret NOLA’s Confederate Monuments?

I know that for some of my historian and public historian friends watching the city of New Orleans take down its Civil War/Reconstruction era monuments was not easy to watch. Our tendency is to treat monuments as artifacts and the broader landscape as an opportunity to learn about how communities remember their collective past. As someone who has used monuments extensively over the years I sympathize with this position. [click to continue…]

Will Richmond Follow New Orleans & Charlottesville?

Update: An extended version of this post is now available at Smithsonian Magazine.

A number of things happened today that has me thinking about Richmond, Virginia and the ongoing debate about Confederate monuments.

First, I had a conversation with a reporter from The Richmond Times-Dispatch about this debate. We talked about a number of things before we got around to the question of whether Richmond will follow other cities in deciding to remove monuments to the Confederacy and Confederate leaders. I suggested that it is unlikely. [click to continue…]

A Loyal Slave Standing at Attention in 1909

I’ve said before that the handful of Facebook pages devoted to pushing the myth of the black Confederate soldier has been an incredible source for primary sources from newspaper articles to images, including the one featured in this post. Of course, the problem is with how administrators and members of these pages interpret these sources. [click to continue…]