New Orleans Should Look to Richmond

The city of New Orleans is offering the rest of the country a lesson on how not to deal with Confederate iconography in public spaces. In advance of a decision that could come as soon as early as next week, the city is holding a series of public discussions. Mistrust and questions about the motivation behind the push to remove four monuments to Robert E. Lee, P.G.T. Beauregard, Jefferson Davis and Liberty Place, have done little to foster a consensus view or even a modicum of appreciation for opposing positions. Continue reading “New Orleans Should Look to Richmond”

Visualizing Charleston’s Memorial Landscape

It is somewhat amusing to listen to people who have suddenly awoken to the fact that there are monuments to Confederate politicians, generals and common soldiers in their own communities. Many have chosen to voice their outrage by calling for monuments to be torn down and/or removed from public land. Since my recent trip to Europe I’ve become more sensitive to these concerns, though I still maintain that the preferred course ought to be the addition of signage that explains the relevant history of both the object of commemoration and the monument itself. More importantly, a number of communities have already moved to add to their memorial landscapes. Such is the case in Richmond, Virginia. Continue reading “Visualizing Charleston’s Memorial Landscape”

Frank Tyson’s Civil War Memory

The following two video interviews with Frank Tyson are part of an oral history project at the website, Race and Class in DuBois’ Seventh Ward. The first one focuses on Monument Avenue in Richmond, Virginia.

The next video focuses on Birth of a Nation.

The rest of the video interviews from the project can be found here.

Did Confederate Veterans Hate Confederate Heritage?

South Carolina Monument at ChickamaugaLooks like I missed a great deal of Virginia Flagger silliness while away on my Civil War road trip. The group of teachers I was with heard about their plans to place a large Confederate flag on I-95 to welcome people to Richmond (and here). I used the media attention to highlight the dynamics of Civil War memory while leading the group down Monument Avenue.

A few of the teachers immediately interpreted this story as evidence of a strong reactionary element in the South that will never move beyond the Lost Cause. I stressed that, if anything, these people represent a relatively small segment of the population. In the end, this is little more than a rear guard action or a reflection of just how marginalized these people have become in a city that has made great strides on the racial and Civil War memory fronts in recent years. Continue reading “Did Confederate Veterans Hate Confederate Heritage?”

Susan Hathaway, Rob Walker Jr. and the Virginia Flaggers Have Some Explaining To Do

Michael Givens (SCV) and Susan Hathaway on the Boulevard in Richmond, Va.
Michael Givens (SCV) and Susan Hathaway on the Boulevard in Richmond, Va.

Brooks Simpson has learned from the Richmond Police Department that there is no report related to a supposed vandalism incident that took place on Thursday at the Jefferson Davis Monument in Richmond.  According to the police: ““We can find no record of such an incident ever occurring.”  According to Hathaway’s posting, Mr. Walker called the police, so there would be a record. Given the details of the report written by Virginia Flagger, Susan Hathaway, it is safe to assume that it is doubtful that the incident took place.

It is now time for Hathaway and Walker to explain themselves.  I assume the Virginia Flaggers themselves will want an explanation given the fact that so many commented on and/or shared the story through various social media channels such as Facebook.  How embarrassing.  Here is how Hathaway explained what took place at the Davis Monument:

We do not believe there are ANY coincidences or happenstance in what has transpired since we began our work 20 months ago.  There is no denying God’s hand in this… in bringing Rob to Monument Ave. last November, and then, miraculously again last night at the exact moment and time to prevent what could have been irreparable damage to one of our most treasured monuments AND facilitating the first arrest (that we are aware of) of these punk vandals that have no regard for the rule of law:  neither God’s nor man’s. – Susan Hathaway, Virginia Flaggers

Continue reading “Susan Hathaway, Rob Walker Jr. and the Virginia Flaggers Have Some Explaining To Do”