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.

Robinson House Added to Virginia Landmarks Register

I am happy to report that the Robinson House, located on the grounds of R. E. Lee Camp, No. 1, in Richmond is among twelve sites to be added to the Virginia Landmarks Register.  The VMFA will rehabilitate the structure and use it as a regional tourist center. This is great news for those who care about the preservation and interpretation of sites related to Richmond’s Confederate history and heritage.

The Robinson House in Richmond, located on the campus of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, is significant for its distinctive architecture and compelling history, particularly as part of the nation’s first successful and oldest operating home for needy Confederate veterans.

Constructed in the mid-19th century as the country house of Anthony Robinson Jr., a prominent Richmond banker and landowner, the Robinson House indicates the popularity of Italianate architecture with Virginia’s antebellum high society. In 1884 the Robinson family sold the house to the R. E. Lee Camp, No. 1, Confederate Veterans, at which time it was transformed it into a three-story institutional headquarters for the R. E. Lee Confederate Soldiers’ Home. For 56 years thereafter, Robinson House-renamed Fleming Hall during the Soldiers’ Home era-served as a barracks, administrative center, and museum until the facility officially closed in 1941.

The building’s role as the literal and symbolic center of the large residential complex for Confederate veterans made it a visual icon of the “Lost Cause” and a long-standing, important site for collective commemoration, remembrance, and reconciliation events. While more than 30 buildings and structures once stood on the grounds of the Soldiers’ Home, only Robinson House and the Confederate Memorial Chapel remain, both of which are now owned and maintained by VMFA.

If a Confederate Flag Flies in the Forest and No One Can See It…

…Does it Really Matter?

Earlier today the Virginia Flaggers held a dedication ceremony for their new Confederate battle flag that flies atop a 50 foot pole along I-95 in Chesterfield County. My biggest concern was that the flag would constitute a major eye sore for motorists along this stretch of highway, but based on the few photographs that I’ve seen, unless you know exactly where to look for it, you are very likely going to miss it entirely. So ends this latest round of Flagger follies. Continue reading “If a Confederate Flag Flies in the Forest and No One Can See It…”

Let’s Talk About the Confederate Flag

Screen Shot 2013-09-24 at 6.55.44 PMThe Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities has a made available what it calls a discussion guide for those who are looking to host a conversation about the Confederate flag that is slated to be raised on private land off of I-95 this weekend. I am not sure who is going to take advantage of this, but I appreciate their sincere interest in encouraging meaningful dialog within the Richmond community and beyond. The guide includes a short article by historian John Coski outlining the history of the Confederate flag followed by a list of guidelines on running a discussion and suggested questions.

This project takes its place alongside the ongoing series of discussions organized by the University of Richmond’s “The Future of Richmond’s Past.”  This should serve as a reminder that there is a place in Richmond where one can meaningfully come to terms with the region’s rich history and heritage without alienating one another.

You can find and download the document here.