Unfortunately, you wouldn’t know this from those folks who proclaim themselves defenders of “Southern Heritage.” Many of these people are preoccupied with silly battles surrounding the display of the Confederate flag. Anyone who follows this nauseating debate can see that the pro-flag forces are on the losingside of history. Whether they are willing to acknowledge it or not, the majority of Americans do not want to see the Confederate flag in public spaces and supported with public dollars. As the title of the post suggests, however, there is reason to celebrate.
Wall Mural, Coster Avenue, Depicting Hays' and Avery's Brigades' attack on Coster's Brigade (Painting by Mark Dunkelman and Johan Bjurman)
Tomorrow I have the honor of presenting a talk to the Rhode Island Civil War Round Table as part of their annual gala dinner. Historian Mark Dunkelman was kind enough to invite me. Hopefully, most of you are familiar with Mark’s scholarship. He is the author of Brothers One And All: Esprit De Corps in a Civil War Regiment, which I think is one of the finest regimental studies ever written. His next book, Marching With Sherman: Through Georgia and the Carolinas With the 154th New York will also be published by LSU Press. Mark was kind enough to invite me to his house to spend a few hours exploring his extensive collection of 154th New York artifacts. That is going to be a real treat.
Wide Awake Films collaborated with the Virginia Historical Society to produce a four-minute visual experience of images, maps, footage and 3D animations that, together, convey an answer to the question: “Why Did the Civil War Happen?” This project is one of three pieces produced by Wide Awake Films for Virginia Historical Society’s “An American Turning Point” museum exhibit. The exhibit is currently open and will tour throughout the State of Virginia during the Civil War Sesquicentennial.
When I was in the sixth grade I sat behind one of the meanest girls in my math class. I tried to be very careful not to upset her and I did my best to be nice to her. Nothing worked. Our desks had racks below the seats for books and other belongings, but one day I placed my feet on hers and inadvertently began to shake it. Before I knew what was happening this girl turned around in her seat and lunged at me with a finely sharpened pencil. I reacted by placing my right hand in the path of the pencil to protect myself. All I remember is jumping up from my seat and running around the class with a pencil stuck in my hand. The school nurse extracted it, but you can still see the lead in my right hand. Eventually we met up again after college and I learned that she had a huge crush on me that year.
With that in mind I give you the latest example of a poll that my biggest fan, Connie Chastain, set up at her blog. [You can find her blog on your own.] Some of you have already voted, which I greatly appreciate. I had trouble narrowing it down so I took the easy way out by voting, “All of the above.” I would prefer a poll without that option only because I am interested to know who I hate the most out of this list.
Who does Kevin Levin love bashing the most?
~Antebellum Southern white slaveowners
~All whites of the Confederacy
~The Southern Heritage Preservation FB Group
~All of the above
I can’t think of a better example of the dramatic shift that has taken place in recent years in our understanding of slavery’s central place in our collective memory of the Civil War.
Fort Monroe offers the National Park Service a unique opportunity to think carefully about how they are going to establish a relationship with the surrounding communities, including Hampton. As I learned in my study of the Crater it has not always been easy for the National Park Service to break down barriers, specifically within the black community. I hope the NPS places this high on its list of priorities when it begins the process of staffing the facility. The best way to begin this process is to work closely with area public schools as well as Hampton University, which has a rich history of its own going back to the Civil War era. Get the kids involved from the beginning and give them a stake in how the site is interpreted.
The 150th anniversary of one of the most fascinating Civil War battles is fast approaching. Learn about what happened on that bloody day and how the battle has been remembered. Get your signed and discounted copy direct from the author.
"Levin is both superb scholar and public historian, showing us a piece of the real war that does now get into the books, as well as into site interpretation.” –David W. Blight, Yale University