Category Archives: Teaching

Brief Review of the OAH’s New Publication: The American Historian

The American Historian (preview issue)

The American Historian (preview issue)

I’ve been a member of the Organization of American Historians for roughly the past ten years and for one reason: Magazine of History. The publication has been incredibly helpful to me over the years. Each issue has a clear historical theme and the lesson plans and short essays have direct application to what I do in the classroom. At the beginning of every school year I peruse my back issues for ways to change things up and keep my teaching fresh and challenging. So, you can imagine my surprise and disappointment when I learned that the OAH was discontinuing the magazine for a new publication: The American Historian.

The “preview” issue arrived yesterday and unfortunately it is a bit of a disappointment. Continue reading

The Future of Civil War Memory Only Recently Arrived

No one has done more to remind me of the importance of the experiences of immigrants during the Civil War era than Patrick Young. More importantly, Pat has convinced me that future efforts to keep the Civil War front and center in our collective memory must take seriously the changing ethnic dynamic of our nation. More specifically, educators and public historians will have to think carefully about how to make the Civil War relevant to new Americans who desire to build new roots in this country? Continue reading

A Taste of Gettysburg

I thought it might be nice to start the end of the work week on a lighter note. Looking forward to two trips to Gettysburg this summer. The first is the annual Civil War Institute at Gettysburg College. This year will be my busiest institute yet. I will deliver a talk on the Crater, lead a breakout session on Confederate morale in the summer of 1864 as well as a dine-in on Pat Cleburne’s proposal to arm slaves. The highlight for me, however, will be the opportunity to once again work with the high school students.

A week later I head back to Gettysburg to take part in the 2014 Sacred Trust Talks. My talk is at 3:30pm on July 5 with a book signing at 4:30pm. Hope to see some of you between these two events.

“The Knighliest of the Knightly Race”

Grounds of the Alabama State House in Montgomery

Grounds of the Alabama State Capitol in Montgomery

In addition to the Jefferson Davis monument I am also going to talk briefly about the Alabama Confederate Memorial Monument (1898), which commemorates the 122,000 men from the state who fought for the Confederacy. Students will be asked to reflect on the ways in which these monuments reinforced the politics of Jim Crow through a selective memory of the past.

THE KNIGHTLIEST OF THE KNIGHTLY RACE/WHO SINCE THE DAYS OF OLD,/HAVE KEPT THE LAMP OF CHIVALRY/ALIGHT IN HEARTS OF GOLD.”

What do inscriptions such as the one above tell us about who these monuments were meant to include or welcome to the grounds of the Alabama state capitol and who they were meant to exclude? To what extent do these monuments reflect the nature of the legislation that took place inside the capitol throughout the period leading up to the civil rights movement? What does justice mean in such an environment?

I am also going to ask students to reflect on the fact that the four granite figures, representing the four branches of the Confederate military, were completed just south of Boston in Quincy.

So looking forward to heading out tomorrow morning with some incredibly thoughtful students.