Why Paternalism is Meaningless on the Plantation

It’s disheartening to hear people who continue to insist on distinctions between good and bad slaveowners. I’ve never understood such arguments. It’s the commodification of the individual itself along with the possibility and reality of sale of so many that renders the institution by definition as evil.  What takes place between master and slave on any individual plantation/farm matters none in forming such an assessment. Continue reading

The Problem With Baptist’s “The Half Has Never Been Told”

I think I am beginning to get a grip on what some people find troubling about Edward Baptist’s new book, The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism. Before saying anything I should point out that my understanding of the historiography of slavery is limited. I’ve read a number of important titles, but given the amount of scholarly output in the field over the past few decades I haven’t penetrated too far below the surface. Continue reading

The Lovett School in Atlanta Remembers the Civil War

Even if you just have just a few minutes check out this wonderful dramatic reading focused on the Civil War in Georgia performed by students a The Lovett School in Atlanta. This is one of the best student productions that I’ve seen in quite some time and serves as a useful model to connect an entire school community to its past. Well done.

[Uploaded to Vimeo on September 5, 2014]

A Lee Who Supports W&L’s Decision to Remove Confederate Flags

Update: The Virginia Flaggers never fail to disappoint. Their response to this story is oh so predictable. And they wonder why no one takes them seriously.

In his convocation address yesterday at Washington & Lee University, President Ken Ruscio reflected on his decision to remove Confederate flags from inside Lee Chapel. At one point Ruscio shared a letter he received from an Alumnus of the Class of 1949. Continue reading