On the Death of Anthony Hervey and the Myth of Black Confederates

Anthony Hervey Funeral

I am very pleased to to share my debut article for The Daily Beast, which went live earlier this morning. For most of you the topic offers very little that is new. It touches on the subject of my current book project on the history of camp servants and the myth of the black Confederate soldier, but it does so by examining why the Sons of Confederate Veterans went into mourning over the death of Anthony Hervey.

The original title for the article was, “The Black Man Who Died To Keep the Confederate Flag Flying,” but the editors decided to go with what I suspect is a less controversial title. Thanks to historian Marc Wortman for making the introductions as well as to Malcolm Jones at The Daily Beast for his timely response and enthusiasm.

[photograph of funeral procession for Anthony Hervey taken by Jonathan Lee Krohn]

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Do Confederate Flags Belong in the Classroom?

US-CRIME-SHOOTING-FLAG

This morning I received the following email:

I’m sure you’ll have an opinion on this. As you probably know, public schools are notorious for decorating the walls of classrooms. Naturally, I have a good bit of Civil War ‘swag.’ In the past, I’ve used the Confederate Flag in those decorations. It’s always in context with other battle flags of the Civil War, North and South. But given the recent events of the Summer, I’m going to scale it back a bit in display and visual interpretation. I was wondering what your thoughts were on it’s display in the classroom.

It’s a great question and one that I suspect others are considering or at least should be considering. I will make this short and sweet. Teachers have a responsibility to create safe classroom environments that are conducive to learning. Right now the Confederate flag is a toxic symbol. That means that it should not be visible in the corner of the classroom alone or even as part of a collection of flags. Beyond that it’s the teacher’s call, but I certainly would not want to risk making students unnecessarily uncomfortable or even intimidated. [click to continue…]

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Virginia Isn’t For Confederate Flags

confederate-flag-virginia-plates-07b5eb7673066a9c

This has been a tough week for folks who reduce the history of the South and Confederate heritage to the display of the flag. Yesterday evening the Danville City Council passed a flag ordinance with a vote of 7 to 2 limiting the flying of flags on city-owned property to the national, state, city and MIA/POW flags. I believe this is what the city of Lexington did as well to bring closure to this issue.

The Department of Motor Vehicles will also begin recalling specialty license plates featuring the Confederate battle flag. [click to continue…]

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Why Even Now It’s Still Wrong To Vandalize Confederate Monuments

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Over the past month I’ve written quite a bit about the ongoing discussion about the place of Confederate iconography – specifically flags and monuments – in local communities. Listening to the viewpoints of people on all sides of this issue and having to consider the actions of others has given me quite a bit to consider. A trip to Europe and exposure to new public history has also added to my curiosity. That I blog about it gives you a front seat to a thought process that may seem confused and even frustrating.

In 2011 I published a brief essay in the Atlantic in response to the vandalizing of the Lee Monument in my old hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia. I’ve linked to it numerous times over the past few weeks to give readers a sense of where I am coming from as a historian of Civil War memory and, more importantly, as an educator. I even reiterated the points made in a recent post. [click to continue…]

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Civil War Memory and the “Anglo-Saxon Civilization” of The New South

ucv1304camp, North Carolina Veterans

Yesterday while reading about the history of the Confederate monument vandalized for a second time in Charlotte, North Carolina I came across the United Confederate Veterans official program for its dedication. The event took place on June 5, 1929. The program is filled with what you might expect. There is a schedule of events, articles about Stonewall Jackson and other prominent Confederate, images of local and national U.C.V. members  as well as words of support from various ladies auxiliary groups. Advertisements for Davidson College, Merrick’s Chocolate and Plexico can also be found. None of this surprised me.

What did surprise me, however, is a full-page feature on “Negro Schools” and “Negro Education in the South.” Why would this be in a U.C.V. program? [click to continue…]

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