Category Archives: Civil War Culture

In Charlottesville to Talk History, Memory, and Monuments

This is my second trip to Charlottesville, Virginia in recent months to work with teachers and the community on how to understand and teach the history and memory of its Confederate monuments. In June I co-led a tour and delivered a talk to a group of educators. Yesterday, I spent ninety minutes with a group of roughly twenty-five teachers at Charlottesville High School and today I will spend some time with another group of educators at the Jefferson School. Continue reading

Standing With Robert E. Lee in the Defense of White Supremacy in 1987

One of the books that I am currently reading is Patrick Phillips’s Blood at the Root: A Racial Cleansing in America. The book tells the story of the 1912 unsolved murder of a young white woman, followed by the lynching, the execution of two innocent teenage black teenagers, and the forcible removal of Forsyth County, Georgia’s entire black population. Continue reading

Who Still Mourns Confederate Dead?

There is one small passage in UNC Chancellor Carol Folt’s recent statement on the future of “Silent Sam” that I found somewhat puzzling. On the other hand, I guess it shouldn’t be surprising to see a statement that acknowledges the different meanings that Americans attach to this particular Confederate monument and others. Continue reading

What Should Happen to Silent Sam

It’s unfortunate that the administration at UNC-Chapel Hill did not take steps to defuse the controversy around their Confederate monument known as “Silent Sam” much earlier. Now they are in a bit of a pickle with students and others having removed the statue last week, followed by smaller demonstrations, and a law that appears to give the university 90 days to return it to campus. Continue reading

NC Committee Endorses Neo-Confederate History

Update: Perhaps “Endorse” is too strong a word for the post’s title, but despite tough questions from two historians on the commission this Lost Cause nonsense was given a level of legitimacy that it does not deserve. We wouldn’t feature debunked scientific theories in such a setting, so why do we tolerate it in history?

Last night North Carolina’s Committee on Confederate Monuments and Memorials held a meeting in Durham to discuss the ongoing controversy. As many of you know last year a Confederate statue in Durham was toppled over and severely damaged beyond repair. I am a big fan of these public meetings as they give residents the opportunity to share their opinions and perspectives, but last night’s gathering was deeply disappointing. Continue reading

The Importance of Avoiding Reductionism When Explaining Confederate Statues

The media coverage of the removal of “Silent Sam” on the UNC–Chapel Hill campus earlier this week has been intense. The coverage has brought the story of this controversy and the history of this specific Confederate statue to a wide audience, but I find one aspect of it to be troubling. Continue reading

Silent Sam Silenced

I went to bed last night anticipating that the Confederate statue on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus known as “Silent Sam” would be pulled down. Last night’s rally took place a little over a week after the one-year anniversary of the Charlottesville white supremacist rally, the white supremacist rally in D.C. led by Richard Spencer and just days after Duke University announced that it would leave the space at their chapel entrance where Robert E. Lee once stood vacant. Continue reading

What Changed in Places that Removed Monuments?

Let me explain.

The one-year anniversary of the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia and subsequent decisions by communities across the country to remove and/or relocate Confederate iconography, such as flags and monuments, has led to some rather curious op-eds. Many of them have posed the question of what, if anything, has changed since their removal. Continue reading