One of the projects that I am currently working on is a historiographical piece for the Blackwell Companion to the U.S. Civil War edited by Aaron Sheehan-Dean and published by Wiley-Blackwell. This is going to be released in two volumes, the first includes 34 chapters on “Battles and “Campaigns” with the remaining 30 divided between “Leaders”, “Politics and Society”, and “The Civil War in History”. It looks like a great line-up of contributors, a few of whom stop by Civil War Memory on occasion. This is my second project with Aaron. Some of you may remember that I published a piece in The View from the Ground: Experiences of Civil War Soldiers, which examined the competing memories of Confederate veterans surrounding their experience at the Crater.
Rev. G.V. Clark of Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Austin testifies before the Texas DMV board of directors against a Confederate flag license plate sponsored by the Sons of Confederate Veterans. This is for anyone who believes that they alone or as a group have a monopoly on the meaning of the Confederate flag.
Here is another story concerning the public display of the Confederate flag, this time in the former capital of the Confederacy of Richmond, Virginia. A small, but dedicated group is protesting the removal of a Confederate flag from the grounds of the Confederate War Memorial Chapel, which sits on ground owned by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. The chapel was at one point part of a camp for Confederate veterans, known as Robert E. Lee Camp No. 1, also known as the “Old Soldiers’ Home.” In 1993 permission was given to the Sons of Confederate Veterans by the VMFA to lease the building, which is when, as I understand it, the Confederate flag first went up. In 2010 the lease was renewed with the stipulation that the flag be removed on the grounds of research done by museum staff showing that the flag had never been displayed when the building was in use by Confederate veterans. The following local report adds some context:
Slap on a Confederate t-shirt for school and when the authorities tell you to remove it claim that your right to celebrate your heritage is being violated. The mainstream media will eat it up and there are plenty of people, who will embrace you as the latest member of an oppressed group. Actually, this story about a young New Jersey girl, who was suspended for wearing a sweatshirt with a Confederate flag to school is really a story about an irresponsible mother, who framed the issue this way: “The Indian kids get to wear turbans. The Jewish children can wear yarmulkes. That’s their birth right, their heritage. It’s my daughter’s heritage.” Can’t you just feel that deep attachment to the South oozing forth.
Yes, the girl in question was born in Virginia, but only lived there for one year. She is twelve years old. Are we really suppose to believe that her ties to the South and its history are that strong? Really? The young girl admits that she doesn’t understand the history of the flag and I suspect that if we pressed her we would learn that her knowledge of Southern history is just as shallow. Like I said, this is really a story of an irresponsible mother, who should have known better than to place her daughter in this situation. Now we learn that the girl is receiving death threats. Nice work, mom.
This video was done by a couple of students at D.S. Freeman High School in Richmond, Virginia as part of a school wide discussion centered on whether they should get rid of their “Rebel” mascot. The video offers a nice overview of the school’s history and includes a number of interviews with students and teachers. Well done.