Yesterday Henry Louis Gates published an extensive piece on the process that led to the recruitment of African-American soldiers during the Civil War at The Root. It’s well worth reading. As I was perusing the piece I wondered whether Gates would use the occasion to discuss the controversy surrounding black Confederate soldiers. [click to continue…]
Yesterday I learned that Scott Hartwig, Supervisory Historian at Gettysburg National Military Park, will retire from the National Park Service at the end of this week. Unfortunately, I only had the opportunity to chat with Scott in person on a few occasions over the past few years. On the other hand, few NPS historians have taught me more about a broad range of topics related to public history and the challenges related to interpreting our nation’s Civil War battlefields. Scott’s list of accomplishments is extensive, from his most recent study of the Antietam Campaign to his work on developing interpretation and exhibits at Gettysburg’s new Visitor Center.
He is a talented historian, educator, and most importantly, a trusted custodian of some of our nation’s most significant treasures. His impact at Gettysburg and elsewhere will surely be felt for decades to come.
I trust that Scott won’t stray too far from the battlefield and a public that values his voice. Hopefully, retirement will give him the time to focus on research and new ways to engage the general public’s appetite for good history. No doubt, he deserves it.
I know I speak for everyone when I say thank you for all that you’ve done on behalf of the American people.
Last week I pointed out what I interpreted as a racist comment from a prominent member of the Virginia Flaggers. A few days ago they offered the following response, which included a photograph of an African-American man carrying a Confederate flag in front of the Museum of the Confederacy.
I certainly don’t want to be known for casually accusing people of being racist, but I fail to see how this photograph assuages concerns. The Richmond community – who the Flaggers claim to be improving through their efforts – deserve a response to these types of statements. What exactly did the statement mean? How would this specific Flagger explain it to the individual in front of the MOC and the rest of Richmond’s black community?
Who are the Virginia Flaggers?
Last month Gary Gallagher was honored with American Council of Trustees and Alumni’s 2013 Merrill Award for his contribution to liberal arts education. Here is his acceptance speech. Congratulations, Gary.
Richmond, Virginia is an ideal location for a slavery museum. The project would give Gov. Robert McDonnell the opportunity to leave office with a solid legacy of promoting Richmond’s rich heritage and history. It would also serve as the perfect bookend to McDonnell’s earlier misstep and thoughtful turnaround in connection with his Confederate History Month proclamation back in 2010. [see here, here, and here]
THREE MONTHS after he took office in 2010, Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell plunged headlong into a public relations debacle of his own making by omitting any mention of slavery from a proclamation he issued during Confederate History Month. After some ham-handed damage control, he apologized for airbrushing history, amended the proclamation to refer to the “abomination of slavery” and said he would be a “champion for racial reconciliation” as the state prepared to commemorate the Civil War’s 150th anniversary.
Mr. McDonnell, a Republican, has gone some distance to make good on that promise. Recently, he announced that his final budget, to be submitted to the General Assembly before he leaves office next month, would include $11 million for the construction of a museum and other sites to commemorate slavery, all in Richmond.
[Read the rest of the Post's Editorial]