Heather Ann Thompson, Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy (Pantheon, 2016). I cannot recommend this book highly enough. I picked it up on the day it was published a little less than two weeks ago and couldn’t put it down. It is a long, but incredibly fast-paced book. Thompson drops her reader into the events that immediately preceded the uprising at Attica and from then on it is just a matter of buckling up for the rest of the ride. This is one of the few history books that left me with a strong sense of “bearing witness” to an important moment in recent American history.
This video was originally posted to YouTube back in 2009, but it still packs a punch. It is perfect for generating a discussion in a high school or college level class on the Civil War that addresses memory.
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If you are a Gettysburg enthusiast of a certain age than you likely have fond memories of the Electric Map, which first served as the centerpiece of the Rosensteel Museum and was later included in the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum. For many visitors it offered a helpful orientation to the three-day battle, but it was dismantled to make way for the new visitor center and placed in storage. I wrote about this decision back in 2008. [click to continue…]
The latest issue of the Journal of the Civil War Era (September 2016) includes Joseph Glatthaar’s Robert Fortenbaugh Memorial Lecture, which compares the cultures in the Army of the Potomac and Army of Northern Virginia. The essay includes a number of helpful graphs, including the one above, which shows that slaveholders were over represented in Lee’s army compared with the rest o the slave states. [click to continue…]
Today the National Park Service celebrates 100 years. Thank you for providing me with hundreds of hours of self reflection about our history and what it means to be a citizen of the United States. Thank you to all my friends who have devoted their careers to preserving our most important historic and natural landmarks and educating the public.
This is a wonderful complement to the previous post on the politics of the black Confederate myth. Today in the Hartford Courant Frank Harris III makes the case that a black man voting for Trump is as unlikely as black men fighting for the Confederacy in March 1865. This certainly plays loose with some of the relevant history, but it is a nice example of how the black Confederate myth still resonates politically.
Listening to Donald Trump make his pitch for African-Americans to support his presidential candidacy lit a fuse that shot me like a cannonball to 1865 in the waning weeks of the Civil War. I landed in the South, where the Confederacy was getting its butt kicked. I shook my head with my black brethren as we heard Confederate leaders had signed a bill on March 13, 1865, authorizing the use of slaves to serve in the Confederate Army as soldiers bearing arms. [click to continue…]