Update: Sorry to see that the staff at the Stones River National Battlefield chose to remove the post featured below from their Facebook page. That’s disappointing given the many perspectives shared in the comments section.

I fully support the recent decision to remove gift items featuring the Confederate flag in National Park Service stores. In fact, I believe this policy should be extended to include a ban on Confederate flags from park ground except in situations that are strictly controlled by the NPS for the sake of public education. Of course, there are First Amendment concerns, but the events of this summer have clearly demonstrated that the many meanings attached to the Confederate flag extend beyond its role as a soldiers flag in a war that took place 150 years ago. Park visitors ought to feel safe when visiting Civil War sites and that simply cannot be guaranteed given the violence that has taken place around the Confederate flag this summer and throughout its history stretching back to the 1940s. [click to continue…]

Jonathan Lee Krohn is posting some wonderful photographs on his Twitter feed at Stone Mountain, Georgia, where a Confederate flag rally is underway. It looks like everyone is having a good time. As to what exactly is being commemorated…well…that has yet to be determined.


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My knowledge of the Confederate army is confined mainly to the Army of Northern Virginia. As I sketch out my cultural biography of Silas Chandler, however, I am running into my limited understanding of the Army of Tennessee. Silas’s master, Andrew Chandler, served in Co. F of the 44th Mississippi Infantry up to the battle of Chickamauga in 1863. He then served Andrew’s brother in the 9th Mississippi Cavalry Regiment, which accompanied Jefferson Davis after he abandoned Richmond in April 1865. That’s another story.

Silas and Andrew were together for some of the major battles such as Shiloh in which the latter was taken prisoner and Chickamauga, where Andrew was wounded. According to stories Silas supposedly convinced a doctor in Atlanta not to amputate his owner’s leg and used coins stitched in his jacket to pay for passage for the two to return home to Mississippi. [click to continue…]

I’ve said before that if I could do it all over again I would have pursued a career in public history and worked at a historic site. The deepest connections with- and opportunities to encourage careful thinking about the past has the best chance of taking hold on site. Having left the high school history classroom this past spring I am hoping to join a historic site in the Boston area in some capacity.

This morning I traveled to The Royall House and Slave Quarters in Medford, which is just a few miles north of downtown Boston. I’ve known about this site for some time, having read recent news coverage of their efforts on the interpretive front and in a very good book about the Royall family and slavery in New England by C.S. Manegold. I was met by Gracelaw Simmons, a longtime volunteer, who took me around the the Royall home and slave quarters, which is the only surviving structure of its kind in the northeast. [click to continue…]

Miss RebelFestCongratulations to Taneka Lewis, who has been crowned Miss RebelFest 2015. Beyond this I don’t really know what else to say.

Perhaps I should just let the organizers speak for themselves:

On behalf of the Carolina Rebels Motorcycle Club – Sumter Chapter, we would like to congratulate the newly crowned Miss Rebelfest 2015, Taneka Lewis. Taneka was chosen Miss Rebelfest by the attendees of this year’s event. We look forward to having her as Miss Rebelfest for the upcoming year. Her strong spirit, along with her contagious personality, not to mention, she’s easy on the eyes, should make for a fun and exciting year! In a society that has labeled the confederate flag and the flag’s supporters a symbol of racism and divide; we feel we must also address what will eventually be ask sooner or later: Why is a organization that is called the Carolina Rebels which supports the Confederate flag as a symbol of Southern heritage, have an African American woman as their representative? Well, that is easy. Ms. Lewis was not denied nor was she chosen on her skin color. She was chosen by the many in attendance simply because she best resonated with them. She won with 80 percent of the votes. We are very excited and proud to introduce you to our new reigning Miss Rebelfest 2015, Taneka Lewis!

Taneka’s coronation will…oh why bother.

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