I’ve spent the better part of the past few weeks reading as much as I can about Robert Gould Shaw and taking extensive notes. In addition to books about the Civil War I have been thinking about how to go about writing and structuring a biography, which I have never written before. Historian and biographer T.J. Stiles recently shared some thoughts with me about the genre. I am a big fan of his books, particularly his biography of Cornelius Vanderbilt. [click to continue…]
There is no other way to spin what happened this past year as anything other than a complete rejection of the Lost Cause and the belief that Confederate military and political leaders deserve to be honored in our public spaces. The removal of monuments and markers took place across the nation in cities and towns large and small. Confederate heritage organizations such as the Sons of Confederate Veterans and even the president of the United States were unable to stem the tide. Here is a recap.
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Charles W. Calhoun, The Presidency of Ulysses S. Grant (University Press of Kansas, 2017).
Lorien Foote, Seeking One Great Remedy: Francis George Shaw & Nineteenth-Century Reform (Ohio University Press, 2003).
Linda Gordon, The Second Coming of the KKK: The Ku Klux Klan of the 1920s and the American Political Tradition (Liveright, 2017).
Cynthia Nicoletti, Secession on Trial: The Treason Prosecution of Jefferson Davis (Cambridge University Press, 2017).
Alice E. Malavasic, The F Street Mess: How Southern Senators Rewrote the Kansas-Nebraska Act (University of North Carolina Press, 2017).
Kevin Young, Bunk: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post-Facts, and Fake News (Graywolf Press, 2017).
Glory is still one of my favorite movies, but like all Hollywood productions, there are places where it falls short in explaining the history or providing the proper historical context. Few Hollywood movies have had more of an influence on how we remember the Civil War and, specifically, the story of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, along with its young colonel, Robert Gould Shaw. [click to continue…]
Reports out of Charleston today indicate that the city’s commission to add a contextual panel to the John C. Calhoun has been finalized. Not surprising, this has been a contentious process from the beginning. It ended with the decision to remove what some people believe to be the most important reference to the monument as a “relic of the crime against humanity.” [click to continue…]
Few people are better positioned in former capital of the Confederacy to discuss its commemorative landscape than John Coski. I always enjoy listening to John talk about the history of the city that he loves and knows so well. This is a very accessible and though provoking discussion that explores the history and memory of Richmond’s Monument Avenue.
I added this video to my #CivilWarMemorySyllabus page, which includes a wide range of resources intended to assist educators and others who are interested in the ongoing debate about Confederate monuments as well as the relevant history. Those of you in the classroom, who will soon be teaching the Civil War-era and want to address this debate in some fashion, will find numerous op-eds, panel discussions, lectures, and primary sources.
Finally, I want to leave you with an interesting story out of Bolzano, Italy. In recent years the town has struggled with what to do with a frieze that includes Benito Mussolini located in one of its public buildings. Rather than remove it the city challenged the public to come up with creative ways to deal with what many people find offensive. The city chose well and offers a route that other communities may choose to implement in some fashion.