150th Anniversary of the Memphis Massacre

Today is the anniversary of the racial violence that engulfed the city of Memphis, Tennessee between May 1 – 3, 1866. The violence followed shortly after a shooting altercation between recently mustered out black Union soldiers and a white policeman. The violence can be tracked along racial and ethnic lines. There are a number of events taking place in Memphis to mark the anniversary, including what promises to be an excellent symposium at the University of Memphis later this month. A new historical marker was also recently dedicated. [click to continue…]


H.K. Edgerton, Neo-Confederates & the Limits of Black Political Action


It should come as no surprise that H.K. Edgerton helped to dedicate a new Confederate Memorial Park in Tampa, Florida this weekend that includes a marker honoring black Confederate soldiers. In the past I have suggested that it is best to understand Edgerton’s presence at these events as a form of entertainment, not entirely unlike the presence of former camp slaves, who attended parades and veterans reunions at the turn of the twentieth century. [click to continue…]


A Recap of Confederate Heritage Month 2016


Confederate Monument and Flag, Columbia, SC

Two recent articles have suggested that push back against Confederate iconography and commemoration is waning since the lowering of the Confederate battle flag in Columbia, South Carolina last summer. A number of states and local communities still recognize April as Confederate History/Heritage Month. This also includes the recognition of Confederate Memorial Day. The media focused a good deal of attention on Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant’s proclamation and subsequent defense of his decision to carry on the practice this past month. [click to continue…]


Louisville To Remove Confederate Monument

A number of cities across the country have or are currently engaged in debates about the place of Confederate monuments on public ground. New Orleans recently voted to remove four monuments, but has yet to follow through. Only the University of Texas at Austin has removed Civil War related monuments from campus. Today, the city of Louisville and the University of Louisville announced that a major Confederate monument will be removed immediately from public land adjacent to the campus. [click to continue…]


U.S. Postal Service Spreads Myth of Loyal Slave

Chapter three in my current book project, Searching For Black Confederates, focuses a good deal on the roles that former camp slaves played at veterans reunions and parades. We’ve all seen the photographs of former slaves, who took part in these well-attended events, but this is the first time that I have come across an envelope from the United Confederate Veterans that features the loyal camp slave narrative.


I am going to have to look deeper to see if there are other commemorative items from this period, sponsored by the UCV and UDC, that highlight these stories. Today, the Sons of Confederate Veterans and other heritage organizations rely on the internet to propagate these stories, but this ought to be understood as an early example of that same goal.