Does W&L’s Lee Chapel Contribute To the “Psychological Shackles” on Campus?

According to the members of “The Committee” both the chapel’s Confederate flags and its use by “neo-confederates” have contributed to “both the past and current racial bigotry and discrimination found on our campus.” I don’t for a minute deny that these students perceive the chapel as contributing to the school’s racial climate, but that shouldn’t prevent us from taking a quick look at how the chapel has been utilized. What follows is not meant in any way as an exhaustive list of the range of speakers and subjects that have been discussed in the Lee Chapel, but as a small sample. Continue reading

To Fly or Not Fly the Confederate Flag: It’s All About Context

There seems to be some confusion about my response to yesterday’s story surrounding a list of demands made by students at W&L concerning their school’s relationship with Confederate heritage. Let me assure you that my response is perfectly consistent with positions taken in the past.  Continue reading

No Confederate Flags in Washington & Lee University’s Chapel

Update: Thanks to Stuart W. Sanders, who at one time worked as a docent at the Lee Chapel, for providing some context to this discussion. Update #2: Here is W&L president’s response to “The Committee.”

Statement by "The Committee"
Statement by “The Committee”

I first heard about this story on one of the Southern Heritage Facebook pages, but now a group of black law students at Washington & Lee University, who are demanding that their university distance itself from its Confederate past is gaining some traction [and here]. This push comes on the heels of the steps taken by the city of Lexington to limit the display of the Confederate flag on public property.

The group of students, who call themselves “The Committee” have published a list of demands that includes a formal recognition of MLK Day and an apology from the university for its participation in slavery. They are on shakier ground, in my opinion, with the following two demands. Continue reading

Is This Blog Post About Blogging Scholarship?

This past weekend a panel discussion was held at the annual meeting of the OAH on whether blogging ought to be considered scholarship. I didn’t travel to the OAH this year and even if I did I likely would not have attended this particular session since I don’t work in academia and the question and broader topic is largely irrelevant to me. Still, I do interact on occasion with academics and once in a while I have to deal with their skepticism about blogging. Continue reading

City of Chambersburg Welcomes Confederate Invasion

On July 20, 2014 the city of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania will commemorate the 150th anniversary of the ransoming and burning of the city by Confederate forces. This is not the first time that the city has engaged in such a remembrance. It looks like a tasteful commemoration that will likely both educate and bring together the community in and around Chambersburg.

[Uploaded to YouTube on April 12, 2014]