From Responsible Consumers to Producers of Online Content

I could not be more pleased with the reception to my latest piece at Smithsonian on spotting fake news and its implications for how we teach history. It has been shared over 50,000 times on Facebook and other social media platforms and it led to an interview with The Washington Post for a related story. With all the attention on spotting fake news and problematic websites it is important to remember that we are only addressing half of the problem. [click to continue…]

Barton Myers Delivers Fredericksburg Keynote Address

Yesterday my friend and fellow historian, Barton Myers of Washington and Lee University, delivered the keynote address as part of the 154th anniversary of the battle of Fredericksburg. I delivered this address back in 2008. The National Park Service does a phenomenal job each year commemorating the battle and Professor Myers was certainly an appropriate choice for this year’s keynote speaker. [click to continue…]

What Did They Call Steve Perry (Eberhart)?

Update: It looks like the individual responsible for this Facebook post does not appreciate my corrections nor does it appear she fully grasp how little she knows about the individual. Apparently, she believes that Perry and Eberhart are two different people. You can’t make this stuff up.

I picked up this little screenshot from one of the Facebook pages devoted to spreading the myth of the black Confederate. This is Steve Perry, who actually went by Steve Eberhart when attending Confederate Veterans’ reunions. Eberhart functioned as something akin to a stage name. He is the subject of chapter 3 of my black Confederates book and he is absolutely fascinating.

This screenshot and commentary is just another example of the presentism that advocates fall victim to as well as their basic ignorance surrounding the relevant wartime and postwar history when attempting to interpret the lives of camp slaves. So far I have yet to find a single reference to Perry as a “Confederate” or anything else that suggests that white Southerners viewed him or any other former camp slave as a soldier. [click to continue…]

The Decline of Civil War Round Tables

Update: I thought this editorial about the Augusta Civil War Round Table in Georgia was worth reading in light of the post and discussion below.

My good friend John Hennessy posted some thoughts earlier today about his recent experiences presenting in front of Civil War Round Tables. While John references the decline in membership and graying of those who have remained, he rightfully resists concluding that it reflects a lack of interest in history among young people or society in general. There is little evidence to justify such a conclusion. [click to continue…]