I am going to assume that this is the first Kickstarter campaign related to the myth of the black Confederate soldier. The project is the work of an African American man who lives in New York state. You will find a number of different threads from the Lost Cause narrative, but the inspiration for the project itself stems “came from a statement made by Malcolm X about the field and house slave.”
The project reminds me a bit of Ann DeWitt’s children’s book, Entangled in Freedom.
I came across this project while perusing one of the Southern/Confederate heritage webpages and although there are some enthusiastic responses, as of today no one has opened up their wallets. We shall see.
Yesterday the 2014 Lincoln Prize winners were announced. This year the prize was split between Allen Guelzo for his book, Gettysburg: The Last Invasion and Writing the Gettysburg Address by Martin Johnson. I read and thoroughly enjoyed Guelzo’s book, but have not have yet had a chance to read the second. It’s worth pointing out that Guelzo’s book is the first military campaign study to be awarded the prize since George Rable’s Fredericksburg! Fredericksburg!, which won in 2003.
Last May I wondered how the Licence Battlefield Guides at Gettysburg and Gettysburg enthusiasts generally would respond to Guelzo’s book. [click to continue…]
Here is an interesting little scene from the television series North and South in which Robert E. Lee convenes with Jefferson Davis about a host of military problems early in the war. In discussing the North’s strategy to strangle the Confederacy’s trade with the rest of the world Davis calls General Winfield Scott a traitor. Lee will have none of it: “To be a Southerner and believe in the Union does not make one a traitor, sir.”
The portrayal of Lee here definitely goes beyond the popular view of the reserved and self-controlled gentleman. We get the standard line about believing slavery to be immoral, but we also see Lee urge an aggressive offensive strategy, which falls in line with recent scholarship. I may have to find the time to watch this series in its entirety.
[Uploaded to YouTube on February 2, 2014]
This weekend the Wade Hampton Camp, Sons of Confederate Veterans will mark the anniversary of the bombardment of Columbia, South Carolina with a reenactment. The SCV hopes to remind local residents of the destruction wrought by the Union army. According to Don Gordon:
It’s important that we actually understand the true history of our city. We were fighting against the invading army that had burned every town that they came through.
The camp’s website devoted to the burning of Columbia reinforces their preferred narrative: “The responsibility for the burning of Columbia rests on the shoulders of Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman, commander of the Federal forces.” Of course, anyone who has bothered to study this event knows that there are any number of questions surrounding what took place on February 17, 1865. [click to continue…]
One of my favorite books of 2013 was Ari Kelman’s A Misplaced Massacre: Struggling over the Memory of Sand Creek. Kelman’s analysis of the history and memory of the Sand Creek Massacre in 1864 serves to remind us that the western boundary of the Civil War took place far west of the Mississippi River. For me, the book’s importance comes down to how it challenges a relatively recent and popular memory that places liberation at the center of the narrative. But what happens when we frame the war years around the federal government’s policies on the frontier before during and after the war? [click to continue…]