There have been a number of short videos released that explore the history of Confederate monuments, but this one takes a step back to acknowledge the crucial role that the UDC played in not only erecting these monuments, but in perpetuating the Lost Cause through the mid-twentieth century. This video was produced by Coleman Lowndes of Vox. Continue reading
For those of you in the Milwaukee area I will be speaking at two locations in Kenosha on Wednesday about the history and memory of Confederate monuments. At noon I will be at Carthage College to deliver a talk that is open to the public. On Wednesday evening I will speak at the Kenosha Civil War Museum at 7pm. This talk is also free to the general public. Continue reading
Last year I joined the board of directors of the National Council for History Education. My first exposure to the organization and its members was the annual meeting that took place in Atlanta, Georgia. It has been a couple of years since I last attended an academic conference, but this one was right up my alley. NCHE brings together serious historians, public historians, and educators from all different levels and backgrounds. The emphasis, not surprisingly, is on education. The conference is free of the stuffiness and posturing that you find at many academic gatherings. Continue reading
I am super excited to help introduce the new digital history project created by historian Edward L. Ayers and editor Tony Field called Bunk. What is Bunk? Well, rather than me trying to explain it, I will leave it to Ed and Tony to introduce the project in this short video. Click here for additional information.
One of the reasons I am so excited about this project is because I was asked to come on board as a contributing editor. My role will be to look out for those stories that touch on various aspects of historical memory. You can also look forward to regular monthly op-eds from me as well as articles and op-eds curated into what we are calling “Collections,” which group individual stories around a common theme. You can see an example of this here. I am currently working on one that will coincide with the upcoming PBS documentary on Vietnam from Ken Burns.
Take some time to explore the site. We are likely going to see a good deal of activity over the next few weeks now that the site is live. History educators will certainly find this resource to be helpful in trying to make those connections between current events and the past more tangible for their students.
Once again, I want to thank Ed and Tony for the invitation to join the team.
A good friend of mine who is a historian with the National Park Service offered this observation the other day:
The present debate over Confederate iconography will, over time, fundamentally alter the place battlefields hold in America’s historic and cultural landscapes.
He’s absolutely right. Continue reading
For those of you looking for resources surrounding the recent events in Charlottesville and the broader Confederate monument debate, I highly recommend this lesson plan from The Choices Program. It offers an overview of what happened in Charlottesville on August 12, but also does an excellent job of focusing on the broader issues surrounding the Robert E. Lee monument and Civil War memory. Continue reading
In 2011 I published a piece at the Atlantic about the vandalism of the Robert E. Lee monument in Charlottesville. This week I was asked to reflect on how my understanding of this debate has evolved since then. Click here to read it.
My thinking on this complex issue continues to evolve. One of the reasons why this has been a struggle for me is that I am no longer willing to box myself in. This debate engages me as an educator, historian, activist, and protester. It engages me as a concerned citizen.
For this former resident of Charlottesville, Virginia the events of this past weekend hit close to home. My wife and I are still coming to terms with the violence and scenes of bloodshed on streets that we used to walk. The educator in me has been thinking about ways that I can put my skills to use for those of you who are now either beginning the new school year or are just now heading back into the classroom. Continue reading