The *Cornerstone* of the Confederacy on the Verge of Defeat

Having just finished writing about the debate over slave enlistment that took place throughout the Confederacy by mid-1864 through March 1865, it is safe to say that I’ve read hundreds of letters, diary entries and op-eds that explored what white southerners took to be the dangers of arming their bondsmen. Even those who came out in favor of enlistment shared many of the fears expressed by the opposition. [click to continue…]

New to the Civil War Memory Library, 10/13

Edward L. Ayers, The Thin Light of Freedom: The Civil War and Emancipation in the Heart of America (W.W. Norton, 2017).

David Blight and Jim Downs eds., Beyond Freedom: Disrupting the History of Emancipation (University of Georgia Press, 2017).

Robert J. Cook, Civil War Memories: Contesting the Past in the United States Since 1865 (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2017).

Ron Chernow, Grant (Penguin Press, 2017).

Mitch Kachun, First Martyr of Liberty: Crispus Attucks in American Memory (Oxford University Press, 2017).

Tiya Miles, The Dawn of Detroit: The Chronicle of Slavery and Freedom in the City of the Straits (The New Press, 2017).

A Civil War Myth That Won’t Go Away

Today The Post & Courier in Charleston published my op-ed in response to Monday’s proposal from two South Carolina legislators, who would like to see a monument to black Confederates erected on the State House grounds in Columbia. For many of you there is nothing new in this piece, but I believe that it is important to respond to elected leaders who choose to mythologize the past to serve their own agenda. [click to continue…]

How Does *Searching For Black Confederates* End?

This morning I started writing with the intention of finishing a rough draft of the final chapter of my black Confederates book. The big question that I still needed to nail down was where exactly to end it. By mid-morning I had my answer.

News out of South Carolina revealed that two Republican state legislators proposed that a monument to African Americans who fought as soldiers for the Confederacy should be erected on the State House grounds in Columbia. It should come as no surprise that both men voted against the removal of the Confederate battle flag in 2015 and that they fully embrace the Lost Cause narrative of the war. Later in the day I did an interview with Newsweek about this story. [click to continue…]

John Oliver Takes on Confederate Monuments

Last night John Oliver devoted twenty minutes to addressing the ongoing controversy surrounding Confederate monuments. There isn’t much that is new here, but there are a few funny moments so if you have some time definitely check it out.

One thing is clear and that is that Confederate monuments are easy fodder for late night hosts like Oliver.

[Uploaded to YouTube, October 8, 2017]

Antietam, Gettysburg, Shiloh, and Las Vegas

In the wake of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 comparisons were routinely made with the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Such  comparisons were made to place the scale of human loss in perspective as well as the surprise-nature of the attack itself. Both were acts of war. One of the victims on 2001 was my cousin, Alisha Levin. [click to continue…]

Ty Seidule Takes on Lee and the Lost Cause

Many of you will remember the short video that West Point Professor of History Ty Seidule did on the cause of the Civil War. It went viral and catapulted the professor to Internet sensation. The video’s popularity did not stem simply from Professor Seidule’s identification of slavery at the central cause of the war. It had more to do with his association with West Point and the military that caught some people off guard. Professor Seidule’s interpretation could not be dismissed as just another liberal/revisionist academic rant. [click to continue…]