Squidbillies: My South Will Rise Again

Rusty and Early learn about the fevered sexual past between Granny and Robert E. Lee.

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Upcoming Talks

This morning I signed on to give a presentation at the Civil War Trust’s National Teacher Institute, which will take place in Charleston, South Carolina between July 12-15.  This is my third year working with Nicole Osier and Garry Adelman and I couldn’t be more excited.  If you are a k-12 history teacher, who has a particular interest in the Civil War you should attend.  This year I am going to talk about how to introduce students to the study of Civil War monuments.

For those of you who live in upstate New York I will speaking at Genessee Community College on March 6 about the battle of the Crater and historical memory.  Finally, although it’s not a public talk I can’t tell you how excited I was yesterday to receive an invitation to join David Blight and Brian Jordan in their Civil War Memory seminar at Yale at the end of March.

My summer speaking schedule is beginning to fill up, but please feel free to contact me to set up a talk, book signing or teacher workshop.

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How the Men of ‘Glory’ Stood Up To the U.S. Government

Denzel Washington tears up his pay voucher in Glory

Head on over to the Atlantic for my most recent essay on the legacy of our Civil War’s African American soldiers and the movie, Glory.  The essay brings together a couple of posts that I recently did on how I teach the movie and how I utilize the history of the pay crisis try to give students a different perspective on the significance of what these men accomplished during the war [see here and here].  You can check out all of my Atlantic essays here.

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The Irony of Confederate Flagging

I am not going to address any legal questions surrounding this little standoff.  While I do believe it was the intention of this “flagger” to confront the security guard, what he unintentionally did was give the rest of us a front row seat to many layers of irony.

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Celebrating a Certain Kind of “Black Confederate”

Impressed Slaves Working on Fortifications

[Cross-Posted at the Atlantic]

One of the things that jumps out at you when you look closely at the profile of the African Americans celebrated by the Sons of Confederate Veterans as “black Confederate soldiers” is that they were all body servants.  The best examples include Aaron Perry, Weary Clyburn, and Silas Chandler.

  • They “followed” their masters to war
  • Identified closely with the Confederate cause
  • Rescued their master on the battlefield (dead or wounded) and brought body home
  • Were awarded pensions for their “service”
  • Remained life long friends with their former owners

I’ve suggested before that this narrative owes its popularity to its close connection to the mythology surrounding the loyal slave that took hold even before the war.  What is interesting, however, is that body servants were not representative of how the Confederacy utilized slave labor during the war.  In fact, we know that the number of slaves brought into the army with their masters as servants dropped by the middle of the war for a number of reasons.

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