Earlier today I shared some thoughts about the ongoing controversy surrounding the appointment of Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell as the new president of the College of Charleston. As you already know, the controversy surrounding this choice has to do with his close identification with the Confederate flag and Confederate heritage generally. This past July McConnell was invited to speak at the 150th anniversary of the assault at Battery Wagner, which highlights the story of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. It’s well worth reading. Thanks to Brent Everitt of the National Park Service for passing this along. Continue reading
We’ve all done it. At one point or another in driving home the scale of death during the Civil War we’ve taken the number representing the percentage of Americans who died and applied it to our current population. When doing so we arrive at a number somewhere around 7 million. This is suppose to help our students/audience appreciate what Americans experienced in the 1860s. Continue reading
Update: Just in case you are curious as to what is in my Civil War library (2009 edition). #2 Just heard via Twitter from Josh Glasstetter of the SPLC that McConnell sold The South Was Right by the Kennedy Brothers and had a close relationship with Maurice Bessinger.
A few weeks ago South Carolina Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell was named as the next president of the College of Charleston. It’s difficult to gauge the media’s coverage of the school community’s response since the nature of the story has tended to pit the media against McConnell and any story about the memory of the Civil War in Charleston is bound to push certain people over the edge. That said, there does seem to be a relatively large group, including students, faculty, donors and even board members that is set against McConnell taking the reins of this school. It will be interesting to see whether McConnell can survive the pressure. Continue reading
This past January historian Ken Noe shared his thoughts about the Civil War centennial and the current state of the sesquicentennial at the Alabama State Archives in Montgomery, Alabama. Ken’s edited collection of essays on Alabama’s Civil War was recently published by the University of Alabama Press.
At one point in the talk Ken suggests that an oral history project focused on Americans who lived through the centennial is needed. I couldn’t agree more. It’s a great idea for a project.
I go into the classroom every day with the goal of trying to bring the past alive and to help my students pull meaning and lessons for their own lives. It’s not an easy task and I would be kidding myself if I thought that I succeeded in regard to every student that has ever entered my classroom or even a significant majority. I’ve reconciled myself to thinking about it in terms of degrees of success. I’ve never believed that we come hardwired to embrace and appreciate the importance of the past. It’s something that must be encouraged over time and with great care.
I was reminded of this as I was perusing my favorite Facebook pages instead of grading papers. In this post a prominent voice in the Virginia Flaggers whines incessantly that the governor of Virginia has yet to issue a Confederate History Month proclamation. There is still time and my money is on that it will eventually be published – thought it’s content will likely fall short of what it expected by certain circles. Continue reading