Embracing the Safety of Reconciliation in Petersburg

Here is the link to the commemoration ceremony marking the 150th anniversary of the battle of the Crater. The event was organized by the National Park Service and held on the Crater battlefield this past July 30. A nice size crowd attended the event and I was quite impressed by the number of African Americans who were in the audience. Yes, that fact bears mentioning if you’ve spent enough time at these events. Overall, the speakers did a good job and there were a few highlights for me, but overall the speakers struck a reconciliationist tone that avoided the tough questions that the anniversary of this particular battle raises.  Continue reading “Embracing the Safety of Reconciliation in Petersburg”

Destination Petersburg 150th

PNB/Crater 150I thought we would never get here, but in roughly two weeks the 150th anniversary of the Petersburg Campaign kicks off. The staff at the Petersburg National Battlefield has put together a helpful handbook [PDF] that includes all the information you need related to events between mid-June and the end of September. There is quite a lot taking place this summer and fall. From what I’ve heard the crowds have been impressive throughout the commemoration of the Overland Campaign, which is a great sign that public enthusiasm can be sustained.

As you might expect I am very excited about the 150th anniversary of the Crater. I will be in Petersburg beginning on July 29 through August 2. On August 1 there will be two panel discussions on aspects of the battle of the Crater and at 7pm I will be delivering an address on the battle and Civil War memory. The location for the panels and my talk has yet to be decided.

I am so looking forward to the commemoration and I am honored to be a part of it. Hope to see some of you on the Crater battlefield at the crack of dawn on July 30.

From the White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan to the White Citizens’ Councils

Just finished reading Jill Ogline Titus’s thoughtful essay on the Civil War sesquicentennial and its renewed focus on the themes of slavery and emancipation in the most recent issue of The Journal of the Civil War Era. Jill surveys how various institutions have interpreted these controversial themes through their exhibits, symposia, and websites. Continue reading “From the White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan to the White Citizens’ Councils”

What’s In a Number?

There’s been a lot of talk lately about numbers, specifically in assessing the number of Civil War dead. J. David Hacker’s essay “A Census-Based Count of the Civil War Dead” appeared in a 2011 issue of Civil War History. The essay received a great deal of attention and a shorter version appeared in the New York Times Disunion blog. Keith Harris offers some thoughts here. More recently, Nicholas Marshall published an essay in The Journal of the Civil War Era that can be seen, in part, as a response to Hacker. Whether Marshall’s essay garners as much traction has yet to be seen, but it did receive a thorough critique from fellow blogger Vince Slaugh at Lancaster at War. Continue reading “What’s In a Number?”

“We Are A Remembering People”

The following video was produced by the National Park Service and offers some scenes from yesterday’s opening ceremony marking the sesquicentennial of the Overland Campaign. It features excerpts from addresses by Northeast Regional Director Mike Caldwell, Park Superintendent Lucy Lawliss, FRSP Chief Historian John Hennessy, RNBP Ranger Alshley Whitehead Luskey, and Dr. James I. “Bud” Robertson, Jr.  Well done. Continue reading ““We Are A Remembering People””