Robert E. Lee

I know that for some of my historian and public historian friends watching the city of New Orleans take down its Civil War/Reconstruction era monuments was not easy to watch. Our tendency is to treat monuments as artifacts and the broader landscape as an opportunity to learn about how communities remember their collective past. As Read more

This has been a fascinating couple of weeks in the world of Civil War memory. After removing the Liberty Place monument on April 24 the city of New Orleans removed three additional monuments to Jefferson Davis (May 11) and P.G.T. Beauregard (May 16-17). Yesterday Robert E. Lee was removed from high atop his perch in Read more

Yesterday a group of protesters gathered in my old home of Charlottesvile, Virginia to protest the removal of the Robert E. Lee monument. The group was led by Richard Spencer, who popularized the term, “alt-right.” Last night Spencer led a relatively small group in a torchlight ceremony that reminded many people of similar ceremonies held Read more

The image below is being used to announce and celebrate Confederate History Month. I have to admit that this image of stern-faced Lee wielding his sword and leading his men into battle strikes me as highly unusual given popular depictions of the Confederate general going back to the postwar years. I like to think that Read more

This is the latest in an ongoing public conversation at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. about what to do with its stained glass windows depicting Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. I’ve made my through about half of the discussion and it is quite good. I especially enjoyed listening to Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown Read more

A petition is now making the rounds to keep the “Fearless Girl” monument in downtown New York City in place indefinitely. The small monument of a girl standing defiantly against the famous Wall Street charging bull has proven to be very popular. It has been interpreted in more than one way and has altered the Read more

In a stunning reversal Charlottesville City Councilor Bob Fenwick announced earlier today that at the next meeting council meeting he will vote to remove and relocate the Robert E. Lee monument at Lee Park. Just last week the councilman voted more than once to abstain, which left the vote tied. His anticipated vote will likely Read more

This has to be one of the best discussions about the place of Confederate iconography in our public and private spaces that I have seen. This panel discussion took place at the National Cathedral, which recently removed Confederate battle flags from its stained glass windows. The question of whether the full windows depicting Robert E Read more

Confederate generals such as Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson were used to sell a wide range of consumer goods at the turn of the twentieth century throughout the South and beyond. Interestingly, this G.E. advertisement appeared in the New York Tribune. Let’s hear it for the cultural reach of the Confederate body servant Read more

Footage of the Civil War Centennial

Some incredible footage of the Civil War Centennial was recently uploaded to YouTube. Featured here is a brief speech by Washington and Lee University President Emeritus Dr. Francis Gaines in which he commemorates Robert E. Lee. Not surprisingly, it is a decidedly reconciliationist speech. The ceremony took place on campus in the Lee Chapel on Read more