Category Archives: Civil War Culture

“So Foundational to the Country”

Ta-Nehisi Coates

Ta-Nehisi Coates

The consequences of 250 years of enslavement, of war upon black families and black people, were profound. Like homeownership today, slave ownership was aspirational, attracting not just those who owned slaves but those who wished to. Much as homeowners today might discuss the addition of a patio or the painting of a living room, slaveholders traded tips on the best methods for breeding workers, exacting labor, and doling out punishment. Just as a homeowner today might subscribe to a magazine like This Old House, slaveholders had journals such as De Bow’s Review, which recommended the best practices for wringing profits from slaves. By the dawn of the Civil War, the enslavement of black America was thought to be so foundational to the country that those who sought to end it were branded heretics worthy of death. Imagine what would happen if a president today came out in favor of taking all American homes from their owners: the reaction might well be violent.

Ta-Nehisi Coates, “The Case for Reparations” in the Atlantic

“In Memory We Trust”

Allison Gillingham is working on an M.A. Thesis that tracks what Americans from different generations and ethnic backgrounds believe about the Civil War. The interviews are being posted on Vimeo and are quite interesting.

I’m not quite sure what this individual is planning to do with these interviews, but it is another example of how social media can complicate our understanding of how Americans remember the Civil War Era.