Will Washington & Lee’s Response Satisfy The Committee?

It should be no surprise that not everyone approves of the decision made at Washington & Lee University to deal with concerns expressed by a group of students, who call themselves The Committee, over the school’s Confederate past. A good deal of this first wave of outrage comes from the usual suspects, who believe that they alone hold a monopoly on what it means to properly commemorate Robert E. Lee and the Confederate past.

Charges of political correctness and an administration that caved into the demands of a select few abound. Not surprisingly, the decision to remove reproduction flags from the chapel has caused the most outrage among those who are best described as reproduction Confederate heritage advocates. No mention of the fact that the school is going to display the original Confederate flags that once hung in the chapel in the museum section of the building below. Does this really reflect caving into demands? One Virginia blogger worries about a slippery slope: Will the Recumbent Statue of Lee be next? [click to continue…]

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Washington and Lee University’s Civil War (Update)

The president of W&L University has issued a statement about the college’s display of Confederate flags in Lee Chapel and other aspects of its Civil War past. As many of you know this controversy began a couple of months ago after a group of African-American law students issued a statement and list of demands about their school’s relationship to its past.  [click to continue…]

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Thinking About the Shaw Memorial and Civil War Memory

Tomorrow morning I will be spending some time online with a group of 7th and 8th graders, who are attending a Civil War institute that my friend and fellow teacher, Chris Lese, put together in Milwaukee. This guy is doing amazing things in the classroom and I am thrilled to be a part of it. [click to continue…]

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What the Yankees Did To Who?

While in Gettysburg I picked up Stephen Davis’s most recent book, What the Yankees Did to Us: Sherman’s Bombardment and Wrecking of Atlanta (Mercer University Press, 2012). The book has received mixed reviews, but I decided to give it a chance. While the book thus far lacks an analytical edge those of you looking for excruciatingly detailed descriptions of pre-war and wartime Atlanta will be rewarded. It’s not that I don’t appreciate the many anecdotes included in the book, it’s that I also expect a historian to provide a close analysis of these sources. [click to continue…]

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All It Takes is a Hoop Skirt and Uniform

This weekend was my first opportunity to visit Gettysburg on the anniversary of the battle. My wife and I had an incredible weekend with much of it spent on the battlefield. I so enjoyed finally having the opportunity to share this battlefield with her. Both of us were struck by the number of reenactors and impersonators in town on the anniversary weekend. They were everywhere. I saw multiple U.S. Grants at Little Round Top, Cemetery Ridge and our hotel. [click to continue…]

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