Category Archives: Uncategorized

David Blight on Why the Civil War Matters

There is nothing too surprising about this short interview with Prof. David Blight, but I thought it would be a nice way to end the work week.  Teachers may find this useful as a way of introducing basic questions of historical memory with students.  Blight touches on how Americans remember the Civil War, race, the Civil War Centennial and Sesquicentennial, and Barack Obama’s place in this narrative.

Check out Blight’s Yale lectures on the Civil War, Reconstruction, and Civil War memory.

Earl Ijames Responds

I do not make it a practice of posting emails on this site, but given the circumstances I feel this is justified.  Earlier today Earl Ijames responded to my request for copies of his public presentation on black Confederates, all of which are part of the public record.  Mr. Ijames responded with his professional email address, which makes it subject to third party review.  I am not surprised that he refused my request, but I was disappointed by his tone and personal insults.  Ijames is an employee of the North Carolina Museum of History, which is part of the Division of State History Museums, Office of Archives and History, Department of Cultural Resources, a state agency.  That makes him a public servant.  It goes without saying that the following email reflects poorly on both the North Carolina Museum of History and Office of Archives and History.  Regardless of Mr. Ijames’s personal feelings, I have every right to question and comment on information shared on publicly accessible websites.  Today he had a chance to respond and put to rest a number of questions that have been raised about his research. He chose not to.

Dear Kevin,

Thank you for your request.

However, please don’t intimate as if we’re strangers.

You obviously assume yet another ignorant and incorrect posture by inferring that my research was done while serving as an Archivist, and not just an employee “who only pulls records” as you conveniently misrepresent in your blog.  What’s more, I have shared with you already the little research that was done while on state time, that is confirming the service of Pvt. John Venable (Colored), Co. H, 21st Regt. N.C.S.T., whom you and unnamed associates continue to dishonor.  Yet, you bumble and stumble with Venable trying to explain away his courage and service.  You definitely couldn’t handle the weight and the truth of the depth and breadth of service of the Colored Confederates of our great State.

As for my private research supported on my on dime in my “copious” spare time… “Sir, You Will Get No Troops from North Carolina!”

On the other hand, I have offered to you on numerous occasions to debate any time any where, again on my dime.  I’ll re-iterate that offer to you to put your money where your loose lips leak erroneous information.  Please come to the Savannah State University and the Telfair Museum in that fine southern city next week for real presentation “Colored Confederates and United States Colored Troops” as part of their Annual Black History Month celebrations.  Or if you want to save gas, then please visit the Chatham County (of NC) Historical Society on the last Sunday of Black History Month for a similar program with a Chatham County, NC flair.  At either event, you’ll be my special guest, seated front and center.

If you don’t show, then we can conclude that you’re not as serious of a student of history as you misrepresent yourself to be.  And therefore, I must admonish you to discontinue capitalizing on my name and promoting your website business by defamation.

The offer still stands, or you can continue to cowardly post erroneous and slanderous information while you suffer from cabin fever in the frozen tundra of your “research”.

What’s more, you should be ashamed at the dishonor and discredit that you (et als) intend for Weary Clyburn, Co. E, 12th S.C. Volunteers, his daughter, and family.  You might be hearing from their lawyer.

You must be also warned that if you continue the rants, then you risk exposing yourself as a buffoon.

Once you dig out of your blizzard, please feel free to make an appointment with me at the North Carolina Museum of History.  Many people travel from states farther than northern Virginia to share in our history that’s been my life’s work.  Just the last fifteen years on my resume is more than you’ll accomplish over the course of your career!  I just hope that you haven’t damaged too many of those captive classrooms with students in your politically correct curriculum.

I hope to see you soon.  Thank you again.



An Open Letter To Earl Ijames

Update: Well, it doesn’t look like Mr. Ijames is willing to share his presentation with me.  He did, however, take the time to write me a lengthy letter in which he invited me to take part in one of his future presentations.  That’s very kind of him.  According to Mr. Ijames he has already shared all of the information he has on “Private Venable”, which is sufficient to accuse me, along with my “unnamed associates”, of “dishonoring” his memory.  I assume by “unnamed associates” he means his former colleagues at the NCDAH.  Unfortunately, it comes down to is his claim that the vast majority of the research for this presentation was done on his own personal time.  What is even more confusing is a string of attached emails between Ijames and a representative of UNC-TV that was included in his personal email to me.  Apparently, the two are under some mistaken belief that I based these posts on a recent interview with Ijames.  While I came across it on one of my searches I didn’t view it.  Finally, in addition to dishonoring the memory of Venable I am also being accused of dishonoring the memory of Weary Clyburn as well as his descendants.  Apparently, I may even be hearing from their lawyer.  No doubt I will be charged with doing history.  My next step will be to send a letter to the director of the NCDAH along with an attached copy of Ijames’s response to my request  I understand Ijames’s frustration.  He admitted in one of the emails that a Google search of his name lists this blog at the top of the list.  That said, this is no way for a public servant to respond to a request from the general public.  Well, that’s the latest. :D

To: Earl Ijames

cc: Dr. Jeffrey J. Crow [Deputy Secretary, North Carolina Office of Archives and History]

Subject: Black Confederates

Dear Mr. Ijames,

I am a high school history teacher and historian who specializes in Civil War history. My current research project focuses on the history of black soldiers in the Civil War.  I understand that over the past few years you have done extensive research on the service of black soldiers in the Confederate army and that you have presented your findings to the general public on numerous occasions.  Unfortunately, due to my location I am unable to attend these presentations.  However, I would like to request that you send me your Powerpoint presentation and/or copies of materials that have been used in your public programs.  I understand that your research was done while an employee at the North Carolina Department of Archives and History and that the requested items are part of the public record.  Thank you very much for your time and I look forward to reviewing your research.


Kevin M. Levin
Instructor of History and Department Chair
St. Anne’s – Belfield School
Charlottesville, Virginia

Say Hello To My New Issue of North and South Magazine

My subscription to this magazine couldn’t run out soon enough. You can imagine my surprise when I read this in Keith Poulter’s “Editorial” column: “We switched printers with the last issue and failed to make clear that the magazines should continue to be mailed to subscribers in polybags.  As a result they were not bagged and a number (about a dozen) were damaged in the mail, necessitating their being replaced.  As subscribers will already have noticed, this issue was bagged and this will be the case with all future issues.”  I can report and as you can see, THIS ISSUE WAS NOT BAGGED!

“Isn’t It Bad Enough the South Got Its Tail Kicked in the Civil War?”

I know I posted this video once before, but it is so damn funny that I thought it was worth sharing again. Maurice Bessinger is quite a character.  Consider Mr. Bessinger’s “21st Century Declaration of Independence Renewal”:

Our sacred constitutional republic has been badly wounded and eroded in our lifetime through illegal executive orders from Presidents, Abraham Lincoln thru Bill Clinton, unconstitutional laws passed by Congress and radical left-wing re-interpretations by the Supreme Court. If we are to save our constitutional republic that our ancestors gave their lives, spilled their blood, and gave their fortunes then this generation must implement a simple plan of individual states initiative to begin the return of our sacred constitution given to us by God Almighty.

We can do this by beginning to restore state sovereignty. As a first step, we can demand that our state governments and legislatures place their state flag first place on the top of the State Capitol dome and on all state property, including schools.  When this is accomplished, it will tell everyone, especially our children, that each state is a sovereign entity in this republic and from this moment on, we will get back to constitutional government. This will stop these left-wing one-worlders who realized over 50 years ago that in order to accomplish their goals, they must destroy, re-interpret or ignore our sacred constitution to carry out their plan of destroying our constitutional republic.  Let’s get those state flags back to first place on all state property. That step alone will be a giant step in taking back our constitutional republic.  Our Sacred Constitution was given to us by God and He expects us to have the courage to keep it.

Long live the constitutional republic.

Well, that seems to take care of the argument that the Confederate flag is not a political symbol.  Enjoy as I head outside to do some serious snow shoveling.
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