Category Archives: Southern History

D.S. Freeman High School Reflects On Its History

This video was done by a couple of students at D.S. Freeman High School in Richmond, Virginia as part of a school wide discussion centered on whether they should get rid of their “Rebel” mascot.  The video offers a nice overview of the school’s history and includes a number of interviews with students and teachers.  Well done.

Why Did the Civil War Happen?

Wide Awake Films collaborated with the Virginia Historical Society to produce a four-minute visual experience of images, maps, footage and 3D animations that, together, convey an answer to the question: “Why Did the Civil War Happen?” This project is one of three pieces produced by Wide Awake Films for Virginia Historical Society’s “An American Turning Point” museum exhibit. The exhibit is currently open and will tour throughout the State of Virginia during the Civil War Sesquicentennial.

“A Noble Southern Man”

Charleston, S.C., 1865

Today I came across a news clipping from the Boston Transcript, which covered the fall of Charleston in February 1865.  The paper reprinted a letter written by an officer in a Massachusetts regiment about a Charleston lawyer by the name of Nelson Mitchell.  Turns out that the story is fairly well known.  Luis F. Emilio also mentions Mitchell in his history of the 54th Massachusetts.  I suspect the author of the letter served in the 54th or 55th since it is contained in the Norwood P. Hallowell Papers.  One wonders where, if at all, Mitchell fits in with the Southern Heritage folks.

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Why Reidsville’s Confederate Soldier Should Be Returned to its Pedestal

Reidsville's Confederate Soldier

One of the things I enjoyed while living in Virginia was the opportunity to explore public spaces related to the Civil War.  Whenever I traveled to a new city or town one of the first things I did was look for that Confederate soldier monument at a downtown intersection or on the courthouse grounds.  There is something comforting about finding that monument – a present reminder of a distant past.  Not so distant that we are transported back to the Civil War, but to that period between 1880 and 1920 as white southerners struggled to make sense of a past in the face of modernity.  Those of us who approach these spaces are forced to confront our individual and collective need to remember as well as the consequences of forgetting.

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