Mavis Staples Looks Beyond Confederate Monuments

In her brand new video for, “If All I Was Was Black,” Mavis Staples imagines how the empty pedestals in New Orleans might be used moving forward. It’s a question that city officials and the people of the city will have to confront at some point. Enjoy. [click to continue…]

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Silas Chandler Once Again Ripped From History

Today I woke up to learn that historian Phillip Thomas Tucker is slated to publish a book on black Confederate soldiers next month with America Through Time publishing, a division of Arcadia and The History Press. This is any author’s worst nightmare. Here I spent years trying to complete a book manuscript on the subject only to be beaten to the punch by another author. Well, having read the book description I am not too concerned. [click to continue…]


Another Perspective on the SPLC’s Report on Teaching Slavery

Last week the Southern Poverty Law Center released the results of a survey it conducted on the current state of how the history of slavery is taught in our nation’s schools. The report is well worth reading and offers a number of important insights into the challenges of teaching what is one of the most difficult subjects, especially at the pre-collegiate level. I am certainly not in a position to challenge the SPLC’s findings, but I do believe that the report as a whole needs to be placed in a broader historical context. [click to continue…]


Stacey Abrams Sums Up the Problem of Confederate Monuments in Two Minutes

The removal of four Confederate monuments in New Orleans last spring constitutes the most significant change in a major city’s commemorative landscape. What stands out to me, however, is not the removal of any one monument, but Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s address that accompanied the removal of the Lee monument on May 19. [click to continue…]


Save the University Press of Kentucky

Yesterday I learned that Kentucky governor Matt Bevin plans to cut funding to the University Press of Kentucky this year, which would force its closure. I have enjoyed a productive working relationship with UPK for over ten years and would hate to see this happen. [click to continue…]


Justin Fairfax Rejects Stonewall Jackson and the Lost Cause

Update: Here is video of State Senator Hanger’s tribute to Stonewall Jackson in Richmond. Notice that he doesn’t even get to Jackson until the 3 minute mark. My have times changed.

You don’t have to go too far back in time in Virginia history to find a political culture that was perfectly aligned with the memorialization of the Confederacy. Monuments, street names, holidays, public school textbooks all taught that Confederate leaders and their cause should be celebrated and propped up as a set of ideals that all citizens should strive to emulate. [click to continue…]


Using Statuary Hall in D.C. to Teach Historical Memory

History teachers that work in communities that include Confederate monuments enjoy a big advantage in their ability to introduce this ongoing debate about history and memory to their students. But even if you don’t have a Confederate monument close by there are other ways that you can bring the debate home to engage your students about the moral significance of how we remember our collective past and how those choices speak to our understanding of who we are as a community and a nation. [click to continue…]


The Plantation Myth is Alive and Well in Savannah

Last summer I delivered a talk as part of an NEH program at the Georgia Historical Society on the Civil War and historical memory. One of the highlights of the visit was the tour we took of Savannah’s historically black communities. The most memorable stop for me was the federal housing project in Yamacraw Village, which includes an administration building that is a replica of a famous plantation home. [click to continue…]