“For Every Flag Removed…”

Virginia FlaggersHere’s the problem with this logic. It’s not simply a question of whether or not a Confederate flag is flying on a university campus, public building or roadside lamp. Confederate heritage groups can organize and raise as many flags in response to their removal as they want, but they will never be able to counter what is really being rejected.

It’s not simply the flag, but everything that can legitimately be associated with it from the stated goals of the Confederate nation through the use of the flag as a symbol of “massive resistance” against black civil rights during the 50s and 60s and beyond. In removing the flags the communities in question are taking a stand and making public their values. Continue reading ““For Every Flag Removed…””

“From the Colored Citizens of Virginia”

Mahone RingAs you might imagine, William Mahone was front and center last week in Petersburg for the 150th anniversary of the battle of the Crater. His memory looms large over the history of the battle as well as how the battle was remembered after the war. I talked quite a bit about Mahone’s postwar political career as leader of the Readjuster Party as well as his attempts to use the memory of the battle to further his interests. As you will see on August 20 (when C-SPAN will broadcast the talk) the Q&A following the talk was dominated by the audience’s interest in Mahone and I was more than happy to oblige.

Earlier that morning during a panel discussion on the battle a gentleman, who styles himself a local historian, handed out a little pamphlet that featured a cane with a silver tip that was given to Mahone as a gift by a group of black Virginians. This short leaflet includes some choice quotes and commentary that this individual believes reflects a close relationship between Mahone and the black community. The danger, of course, is that this ring can be used to draw any number of conclusions without attention to proper historical context. And context is everything in this case. Continue reading ““From the Colored Citizens of Virginia””

Is a Dialogue Possible With the SCV’s New Chief of Heritage Operations?

Brooks Simpson is optimistic that a dialogue is possible with the SCV’s new chief of heritage operations. I fully support whatever extent Brooks and Mr. Jones are able to engage in a civil conversation about those issues related to Civil War memory that continue to divide Americans. That said, I think it is safe to say that however civil and productive the conversation turns out to be we should remember that Jones will not be speaking for the SCV. Continue reading “Is a Dialogue Possible With the SCV’s New Chief of Heritage Operations?”

This Is How Grayson Jennings Defends His Heritage

Why am I not surprised that Virginia Flagger, Grayson Jennings, has taken to social media to vent about my appearance in Petersburg this past week for the 150th anniversary of the battle of the Crater. As I mentioned in my last post, he had every opportunity to engage me following my talk on Friday evening, which was recorded by C-SPAN and slated to air the week of August 18. The potential was there for a very public challenge to the specifics of what I had to say and to my presence generally. Instead, we were treated to SILENCE. Continue reading “This Is How Grayson Jennings Defends His Heritage”