Category Archives: Lost Cause

Of License Plates, Nooses, Civil Rights Heroes and Confederate Flags

Georgia State Flag News FeedMy news feed has been monopolized over the past few days by two stories. The first surrounds a re-designed vanity plat sponsored by the Georgia Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans that features a more prominent Confederate flag. The second is a more disturbing story out of Ole Miss. Authorities are are looking for and hoping to question two students and possibly a third in the connection with a noose and Georgia state flag that were draped over a statue of James Meredith earlier this week.

So, is there a connection between these two stories?

All three students are 19-year-old freshmen from Georgia, the school said. They were supposed to meet with the university police Thursday morning but did not show up, according to the school. On Thursday night, they declined through their attorneys to speak with university police without an arrest warrant.

Ole Miss said it could not release the names of the students unless charges are filed. In the statement, the university’s chief of police and general counsel said they believe there is sufficient evidence to bring criminal charges against the suspects….

The Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity issued a statement Friday afternoon announcing that the three men were members of that organization’s Ole Miss chapter. The chapter voted to expel the three men, while the national fraternity said it had indefinitely suspended the Ole Miss chapter.

You decide.

A Hate Crime Against Confederate Descendants

Rally at Ole Miss in 1962

Rally against integration at Ole Miss in 1962

A couple of days ago an unfortunate incident occurred at the University of Mississippi. Apparently, two men placed a noose and a 2003 Georgia State flag on the James Meredith statue. Most of you know that the design of this particular version of the Georgia flag includes the popular Confederate battle emblem. While it’s too early to draw any firm conclusions about the perpetrators, most people see this as a hate crime directed specifically against the black student body and the broader African-American community.

At least one individual, however, has taken a more inclusive view as to who should rightfully be offended. No need to provide names or links this time.

It was a hate crime. A planned one perhaps, maybe almost certainly so, but a hate crime none-the-less. The crime was against those who saw it and were offended, and equally a hate crime against all Confederate descendants who honor that symbol and their ancestry. This act denigrated us all.

Here are students at Ole Miss protesting the presence of the Confederate flag on campus so as to allow James Meredith to register for classes. Yes, sometimes memory trumps history.

Are We Coming to the End of Civil War Memory?

When I learned that an essay on teaching would be included in the Common-place project I immediately thought of my friend, Chris Lese, who teaches history at Marquette University High School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Chris and I met at an OAH conference a few years ago and have stayed in touch ever since. We’ve exchanged ideas and on a few occasions I joined his class discussion via Skype. Chris’s efforts to introduce his students to the subject of Civil War memory as well as his use of digital tools and social media sit at the forefront of classroom innovation and creativity.  Continue reading

Common-place Marks the Civil War 150 with Special Issue

I couldn’t be more excited to share Common-place’s latest issue on the Civil War sesquicentennial that I had the pleasure to edit with Megan Kate Nelson. We are confident that each of you will find something of interest in this issue. The essays cover a wide range of topics and will hopefully both enlighten and entertain. Special thanks to all the contributors to this issue. We had the pleasure to work with an incredibly talented group of historians and educators, who were both committed to producing their best work and patient with our suggestions and numerous emails. Thanks also to the wonderful editorial staff at Common-place, especially Paul Erickson and Trudy Powers. Continue reading

Defending Lee-Jackson Day from Me and My Followers

I haven’t linked to my Old Virginia Blog buddy in quite some time, but in recent weeks my site has received a great deal of attention from his little corner of the Shenandoah Valley. With that in mind I thought I would quickly return the favor by pointing out that Richard William completely missed the mark in reference to my recent post on Lee-Jackson Day:

Kevin Levin, who has expressed the view he saw no reason to celebrate Lee-Jackson Day, posed the question noted above. Kevin and many of his followers would like to see the tradition of honoring Lee and Jackson in Virginia (and other places in the South) thrown on the trash heap of history.

This is news to me. I don’t see how any reasonable reading of the post could warrant such a conclusion. While I don’t have much of anything invested in Lee-Jackson Day I have absolutely no problem if others wish to acknowledge it in some shape or form. I attended a couple of Lee-Jackson Day events in Charlottesville, Virginia during my time there and even over the years brought a couple of my classes to view the ceremony. Whether it ought to be acknowledged by the state is something that Virginians themselves must decide and for now I think the holiday is safe. Continue reading