Lost Cause

Here is a little taste of my forthcoming book, Searching for Black Confederates: The Civil War’s Most Persistent Myth, which was published last week at Smithsonian. I re-worked a few pages that focus on the role of camp slaves during the Gettysburg campaign. All too often we try to draw a distinction between the importance Read more

I haven’t written about Earl Ijames on this blog in quite some time. The curator at the North Carolina Museum of History is notorious for his presentations and even film about what he calls “Colored Confederates” – another misnomer that distorts the legal status and role of the vast majority of black men who labored Read more

The Confederacy’s reliance on slave labor throughout the Civil War is easily explained. The difference in population between North and South necessitated the mobilization of as many black bodies as possible. Enslaved people were needed on the home front to harvest crops for the army. They labored in mines, constructed rail lines and earthworks, and Read more

While a cadet at West Point, Confederate General Stonewall Jackson kept a notebook that included a list of inspirational maxims. One of those included was the headline above. It’s often quoted during discussions about Jackson, buy why? More specifically, why do we bother at all to prop up Jackson as some kind of moral standard Read more

Last week the Washington Post published a long expose about Frank Earnest, who is one of the most vocal members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. The piece, written by Paul Duggan is well written, entertaining, and full of colorful anecdotes about his own deeply personal relationship with the history and memory of the Confederacy Read more

Update: A few people have speculated that the image below may have been Photoshopped. I can confirm that this is not the case after receiving additional photographs this morning. I came across this photograph yesterday on twitter that was posted by a user named @farradawg101. This is the first that I have heard of what Read more

I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the defeat of Republican Corey Stewart in Virginia last night. His Senate race against Democrat Tim Kaine was called right after polls closed. No politician has embraced the memory of the Confederacy more openly than Stewart over the past few years. This transplant from Minnesota was welcomed Read more

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 Read more

I am always amazed by the hand-wringing that takes place for some when confronted with the undeniable evidence that the dedication of Confederate monuments was a moment to celebrate the virtues of those who fought for the Confederacy and the continued need to reaffirm white supremacy. These two goals were indistinguishable to white southerners during Read more

In October 1973 EBONY magazine published a piece about Tuskegee, Alabama’s black mayor, Johnny Ford. The article highlighted the split among the community’s black citizens over Ford’s leadership and policy agenda as well as his support of  Governor George Wallace and Richard Nixon. Included in the article was an interview with Florida B. Segrist, who Read more