C-SPAN on Reconstruction

C-SPAN has done a great job focusing on Reconstruction over the past few years. Many of these talks have already been posted at the Civil War Memory Facebook page, but I thought it would be helpful to feature them in one place. This is not an exhaustive list, but it does reflect the scope of what has been covered thus far. Enjoy.

Talks and Panel Discussions

Classroom Lectures in History


Protect Virginia’s Confederate Monuments, Veto HB 587


A bill [HB 587] has reached Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe’s desk that would make it illegal for local communities to remove Confederate memorials. It is my hope that the governor will veto this bill.

I say this not because I advocate the removal or relocation of monuments to any individual or event in American history. As I have stated all along, I believe it is up to local communities to make these decisions about what and how to commemorate and remember their collective stories. As we have already seen, these discussions will sometimes include an alteration to the local commemorative landscape, calendar, etc. [click to continue…]


Webinar on Confederate Iconography, March 28

Alabama Soldiers' MonumentOn March 28 I will take part in a webinar sponsored by the American Association for State and Local History on the ongoing controversy surrounding Confederate monuments and iconography. This grew out of a panel on the same topic that I took part in back in September at the AASLH’s annual meeting in Knoxville.

This webinar is free for AASLH members and $40 for non-members. Other participants include Bob Beatty, Stan Deaton, and Sheffield Hale.

While I suspect that the direction of the discussion will be geared to the challenges facing public historians working at various historic sites and institutions, it should be of interest to anyone who has been thinking about questions concerning how we remember the Civil War in public spaces.

I am very much looking forward to the discussion.


You Just Might Be a Racist If…

The video below was uploaded just this morning. I have no idea where it was filmed. In fact, it doesn’t really matter whether it was filmed in Mississippi or Maine.

I have little patience for the discussion of whether every display of the Confederate flag on private property reflects a racist intent or message. Given the history of the Confederate battle flag, from the Civil War to today, apart from a few exceptions there is little reason to give anyone the benefit of the doubt.

At this point in time you own that past if you feel strongly enough to display this flag in a place where it can be viewed by the public as opposed to inside your home.

I am at a loss as to what might be said to convince this individual that her neighbors are not imparting a racist message with the display of the flag. She knows exactly what it means.


Mississippi’s Meaningless Confederate Heritage Proclamation


Over the past two days I have received three requests from media outlets to comment on Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant’s designation of April as Confederate Heritage Month. Given the amount of coverage received, you would have thought that this was the first time such a proclamation had been issued. This year’s proclamation is receiving more attention in light of the shooting in Charleston this past summer as well as the steps universities and localities in Mississippi have taken to remove the state flag, which still includes the Confederate battle flag in its design.

This is certainly not the first proclamation ever issued, but it fits neatly into the recent trend on the part of more and more Mississippians who no longer believe the Confederacy is worth celebrating. We see this most clearly in the push to change the design of the state flag. [click to continue…]


The Confederate Battle Flag Was Not “Stolen From the South”


Thanks to Al Mackey for posting this short clip of a recent talk in which Professor James I. Robertson responds to a question about the current debate about the display of the Confederate flag. I was surprised and disappointed that Robertson didn’t simply suggest that the battle flag belongs in a museum where it can be properly interpreted. That would have been the right answer. Instead we are treated to a muddled response that attempts to remove the Confederate soldier from discussions of slavery and race. [click to continue…]