Atlanta History Center Lends an Interpretive Hand

Update: Christopher Graham has also shared his thoughts on this subject, which I highly recommend.

I am sure there are other examples, but the Atlanta History Center is the first organization that I am aware of that is addressing the ongoing discussion about Confederate iconography. It is doing so by providing communities with the tools to better understand the history of their Civil War monuments.

The AHC is offering what it calls a “Confederate Monument Interpretation Template” that includes questions as well as text to understand the broad historical context in which many of these monuments were dedicated. It also includes a “Guide For Placing Monuments in Context” as well as a link to books, articles and a couple of blogs, including Civil War Memory for additional reading.  Continue reading “Atlanta History Center Lends an Interpretive Hand”

Confederate Monuments and the Limits of Public History

If you haven’t done so already, I highly recommend heading over to the Civil Discourse blog and reading Ashley Whitehead Luskey’s excellent essay on the ongoing controversy surrounding Confederate iconography. It is the most thorough essay that I have read to date and has helped me to continue to clarify my own thinking about this thorny issue. Ashley calls on public historians, “to convey to the broader public the unique professional skills, knowledge, and perspective that we possess on these topics and how such expertise can be put to work in their favor, if they choose to engage us in their discussions and decision-making.” Continue reading “Confederate Monuments and the Limits of Public History”

Confederate Monuments in an International Context

My trip to Prague this past summer forced me for the first time to consider the ongoing debate about the place of Confederate monuments in public spaces within an international context. We would do well to remember that other nations have faced and/or are currently dealing with  divisive questions surrounding memorial/commemorative landscapes. Many of these debates reflect divisions with deep historical roots that easily surpass those that can be traced to our own civil war. Continue reading “Confederate Monuments in an International Context”

Looking Ahead to 2016: Research, Writing, and Beyond

For a number of reasons, 2015 was an exciting year for me. In May I left the high school classroom to pursue other interests here in Boston. It began in September with an invitation to teach a research seminar at the American Antiquarian Society to twelve thoughtful and motivated college students from the college community in Worcester. I am currently pursuing a number of opportunities, but one in particular – assuming the pieces fall in place – will give me the chance to apply my skills as a teacher, researcher, and public historian. Keep your fingers crossed. Continue reading “Looking Ahead to 2016: Research, Writing, and Beyond”