Blog

Program for the First Annual Meeting of the Society Of Civil War Historians

Check out the program for the upcoming meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  It promises to be a great time for Civil War enthusiasts.  My session on teaching is scheduled for Tuesday. Looks like a last-minute change was made by the conference organizers, which means our panel will be chaired by Andrew Slap rather than Joan Waugh.

Trial Date Set for Teens in Confederate Monument Vandalism

The three white teenagers arrested for vandalizing a Confederate monument in Montgomery, Alabama will go to trial in April

Montgomery attorney Richard Keith said the teens had their
initial appearance in juvenile court Thursday and are set to
go to trial on April 10, but he hopes that won’t be necessary. My intentions are to resolve this case without a
trial, Keith said. "Basically, these are good
kids who have never been in trouble. These are not
terrorists, they’re not extremists."

Keith said the teens were good kids from good families. Any
punishment along the lines of community service with
restitution and an apology would be appropriate in such a
case, Keith said, adding that all three teens are very
bright students.  "That’s the irony with smart teenagers," he
said. "They’re intelligent but they’re
teenagers and can be immature."

That seems right to me.

American Civil War Center at Tredegar Announces New Director of Education

I am pleased to see that the American Civil War Center has been able to find a new director of education.  The staff is passionate about its mission and committed to bringing the museum to a national audience.  Howell has a diverse background that bridges both an interest in scholarly and public history, which is just what the museum needs.  Hopefully an announcement for the position of Executive Director is not too far in the future.  Here is the official announcement:

RICHMOND, Va. – The Board of Directors of The American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar is pleased to announce the addition of Mark Howell as director of education.

Howell has worked in the museum field since graduating from the College of William and Mary in 1979 with a Bachelor of Arts in Colonial American Studies. He earned his Master of Arts in American Studies in 1994 from the same institution.  He worked for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation for more than 20 years, serving in capacities as varied as bookbinder, staff trainer, dancer, artilleryman, and director of program planning.

Mark was most recently the president of Howell Consulting where he served the museum industry since 2002. His clients ranged from the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s newest acquisition, Villa Finale in San Antonio, to Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage in Nashville. Locally, he has served as a consultant for Maymont, Historic Polegreen Church Foundation, and Heritage and History of Hanover County, Inc.

Howell will be responsible for developing and implementing the Center’s school and public programming as well as educational outreach initiatives, including digital and web-based projects. “We are glad to have Mark join our staff and are eager to work with Mark to spread the Center’s mission and to launch the new Digital History Website,” said Adam Scher, the Center’s interim director and vice president of operations.  The website is designed for teachers and curriculum specialists and has been designed in partnership with the University of Virginia Center for Digital History.

Through the education department, the Center served more than 6,300 students during its inaugural year 2006-2007 including a summer institute for teachers sponsored by New York’s Gilder Lehrman Institute.  Howell is also an active participant in the museum and history fields, having served on the council of the Virginia Association of Museums and as chair of the National Awards Committee for the American Association for State and Local History. He and his wife, Katherine, reside in Williamsburg.

Ida B. Wells, Lynching, and the Burning of Black Bodies

Event_omaha_courthouse_lynching
My Women’s History course is progressing nicely.  We are currently exploring the experiences of women in the post-Civil War era with much of our attention focused on the split over the wording of the 15th Amendment between the National Women’s Suffrage Association and American Women’s Suffrage Association.  We looked at Susan B. Anthony’s famous New York trial over her decision to vote in the 1872 presidential election based on the "New Departure" theory along with the 1876 Supreme Court case of Minor v. Happersett

Today we examined the experiences of black women during Reconstruction and into the Jim Crow era with a focus on the exposes written by Ida B. Wells on lynchings in the South.  We read a short selection from her autobiography which describes her introduction to the horrors of lynchings and the realization that many of these cases involved accusations of black men raping white women.  Wells found it ironic that white men were so concerned about interracial sexual conflict given the history of sexual relations between the slave owner and female slave.  We discussed the difficulty, which Wells references, for white men to acknowledge that white women may have been sexually attracted to black men and what that meant in a Jim Crow society.  It was a very interesting discussion and one that I hope we can continue tomorrow.  What prompted this post, however, is a question that one of my students asked which I could not answer satisfactorily.  She asked why so many lynchings ended with the burning of the body.  Can anyone help?  I’ve looked through a few sources, including Fitz Brundage’s study, but I am not having any luck. 

[I should note that the above image was taken in Omaha, Nebraska.]