The Confederate Flag’s Heritage of Hate

In the wake of the horrible shooting in Charleston, South Carolina on Wednesday evening there is a growing chorus calling for the removal of the Confederate from the statehouse grounds in Columbia. A petition is now circulating, which includes 215,000 signatures calling for the flag’s removal and State Representative, Norman Brannon, a Republican announced that he will introduce a bill to make it a reality.

Beyond South Carolina, Mitt Romney called for its removal. In an interview Governor Charlie Baker of Massachusetts offered the tired response that this is a local issue that the citizens of South Carolina need to decide. True enough, but that does not give anyone – least of all a sitting governor – the right to push the issue aside. This is the time for good people to be counted. We are past the point of trying to assuage constituencies for political reasons with vague platitudes. Continue reading “The Confederate Flag’s Heritage of Hate”

Sons of Confederate Veterans LOSE in High Court

Earlier today the Supreme Court of the United States ruled against the SCV, which sued the state of Texas for denying its petition for a specialty license plate that includes a Confederate battle flag. This comes on the same day that a twenty-one year old white South Carolinian man was arrested for allegedly murdering nine African Americans while worshiping last night in the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston. Continue reading “Sons of Confederate Veterans LOSE in High Court”

What a Black Confederate Can Tell Us About the Streets of Baltimore

I’ve spent most of the day in a sort of funk having gone from watching the unfolding protests and violence in the streets of Baltimore on the mainstream news to reading thoughtful commentaries from Ta-Nehisi Coates and others. All the while I’ve been doing my best to try to understand the situation and its larger context rather than allow myself to get drawn into premature judgments that do little more than push the tough questions aside. There is way too much of this on my own social media feeds from people who express more fear and ignorance than anything approaching thoughtfulness.

Along the way I managed to do a little reading about camp servants and came across one of the more fascinating obituaries re-published in The New York Times in 1886. That year Levy Carnine died at the age of 76. He lived most of his life as a slave to the Hogan family of Alabama. The obituary stresses the loyal service that Hogan extended to the family, having served both father and son in two separate wars as a camp servant. In both cases Levy cared for the bodies of both masters – the elder Hogan having fallen in battle in the Seminole Indian War in 1837 and the son in the battle of the Wilderness in 1864. Even after the death of latter, Levy remained with the Second Louisiana Infantry until the end of the war. Continue reading “What a Black Confederate Can Tell Us About the Streets of Baltimore”

History Books That People Actually Read in 2014

Bestselling History 2014I’ve seen this image floating around over the past few days on various social media channels after it was featured during an American Historical Association Session this past weekend in New York City. The session was titled: “Buying and Selling History: Some Perspectives on the Marketplace” and the image was posted by Marla Miller on Twitter.

I can’t say there are any surprises. Here is what I see.

  • Most of the authors are journalists
  • Overwhelmingly male
  • Television/radio personalities can leverage large/loyal audiences
  • Subjects lean toward the Whiggish
  • Mostly top-down history
  • History is politics and vice versa
  • Bonus: Many titles empower their readers

What do you see?