Discussing Confederate Iconography at Annual Meeting of AASLH


Although it was organized last minute, I thought some of you would like to know that I will be co-moderating a discussion on the ongoing controversy surrounding Confederate iconography at the annual meeting of the American Association for State and Local History in Louisville, Kentucky next month. The other moderator for this discussion will be Bob Beatty, who is the chief operating officer for the AASLH. A few years ago I took part in an AASLH roundtable discussion on the Civil War sesquicentennial and had a wonderful time. [click to continue…]


Do the Archives Matter in the Digital Age?


I am in the process of finalizing my syllabus for the research seminar that I will be teaching his fall at the American Antiquarian Society. You can read the course description here. I finalized the reading list, which will include the following titles:

The seminar is designed to give students the opportunity to research a topic using the rich collections of the AAS. [click to continue…]


What a Slave Census Can Tell Us

Chandler Census

Thought I would end the work week with a little crowd-sourcing related to my Silas Chandler biography. Right now I am analyzing the journey from Virginia to northeast Mississippi that was made by Gilderoy “Roy” Chandler and Louisa Garner, along with fourteen slaves in 1839. One of those slaves was Silas. I am relying a great deal on secondary sources such as Joan Cashin’s A Family Venture: Men and Women on the Southern Frontier and Charles Sydnor’s helpful, but dated book, Slavery in Mississippi to fill in some of the unknowns. [click to continue…]


Sons of Confederate Veterans Kicked Out of Lee Chapel


This week the Stonewall Brigade of the Sons of Confederate Veterans learned that they will not be allowed to use the Lee Chapel on the campus of Washington & Lee University for their annual celebration of Lee-Jackson Day. A spokesman for the school made it very clear as to why:

Hosting the program is no longer an appropriate use of Lee Chapel, W&L spokesmen Brian Eckert said, in light of the “distortion, misstatements and inflammatory language” the school has endured from members of the organization upset with its decision last year to remove Confederate flags from part of the chapel.

“The persistent name-calling, vilification and uncivil attacks in messages to the university, letters to the editors of local newspapers and social media postings have persuaded us that our original intent to make the chapel available would not be appropriate,” Eckert said. “We simply are not going to allow our own facilities to be used as a place from which those attacks can be made.”

[click to continue…]


Kids on the Meaning of the Confederate Flag

This video comes to us from a t-shirt company that caters to customers with a social conscience. You can explore what the company has to offer by clicking through the video if interested. I will leave it to you to decide whether the profanity is appropriate, but the message itself is crystal clear.

On a more serious note, a couple of weeks ago Rob Baker emailed me about the appropriateness of displaying the Confederate flag in the classroom. It was an interesting discussion in the comments section and it led Rob to think carefully about how he is going to utilize it this year. You can read his post here.

[Uploaded to Vimeo on August 12, 2015]


Visualizing Confederate Flag Rallies


The Southern Poverty Law Center has put together a map illustrating where the largest and most frequent Confederate flag rallies have taken place over the summer. According to the article, the largest rallies have taken place in Ocala, Florida, North Carolina and in Charleston Columbia, South Carolina in July. Most of these rallies are relatively small. In fact, if you really think about it an overall number of 23,000 is pretty insignificant.

Confederate Flag Rallies

Many of these rallies took place in reaction to the removal of  a flag or threat thereof, but except in a select few examples they have been completely ineffective in convincing communities to keep their Confederate flags flying. It is certainly easy to exaggerate the significance of these rallies since it only takes a few pick-up trucks or loud motorcycles to attract the attention of local media. [click to continue…]