New to the Civil War Memory Library, 12/26

Hope all of you are enjoying the Holidays. Here are the final few books to make it into my library this past year. Do yourself a favor and read Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad if you haven’t done so already. It is a remarkable book and a recipient of a National Book Award.

Joseph Beilein, Bushwhackers: Guerrilla Warfare, Manhood, and the Household in Civil War Missouri (Kent State University Press, 2016).

Charles Dew, Apostles of Disunion: Southern Secession Commissioners and the Causes of the Civil War (15th Anniversary edition) (University Press of Virginia, 2015).

Karl Jacoby, The Strange Career of William Ellis: The Texas Slave Who Became a Mexican Millionaire (Norton, 2016).

Carl L. Paulus, The Slaveholding Crisis: Fear of Insurrection and the Coming of the Civil War (Louisiana State University Press, 2017).

Colson Whitehead, The Underground Railroad: A Novel (Doubleday, 2016).

The Return of Earl Ijames’s “Colored Confederates”

Update: Here is the link to the text that Ijames reads from in the video below.

Those of you who have followed this blog and commentary about the myth of the black Confederate soldier are all too familiar with Earl Ijames, who is a curator at the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh. Ijames claims to be an expert on what he refers to as “Confederates of Color.” It is an incredibly confusing and unhelpful reference.  He is a popular speaker and beloved by Sons of Confederate Veterans and the Abbeville Institute. This past summer Ijames addressed the latter at their annual summer institute. [The video below was uploaded to YouTube on 12/21] I have little doubt that the audience enjoyed his presentation, but it should come as no surprise that it is an absolute mess. [click to continue…]

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…]