A Sesquicentennial From the Bottom-Up

The following video was uploaded to YouTube a couple of days ago.  I know nothing about the woman who produced it, but I think it is a wonderful example of how the Web2.0 world has shaped the Civil War Sesquicentennial.  As opposed to the centennial years, when relatively few historical institutions exercised control over how the nation remembered the war, the sesquicentennial’s narrative is being written one blog post, one video, and one tweet at a time. Much of what is being produced, including this video, defies easy categorization. Watch this through to the end.

Searching for Black Confederates: The Civil War’s Most Persistent Myth

“Levin’s study is the first of its kind to blueprint and then debunk the mythology of enslaved African Americans who allegedly served voluntarily in behalf of the Confederacy.”–Journal of Southern History

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10 comments… add one
  • Allen Mar 5, 2012 @ 5:57

    Uturn Laverne is the traffic “reporter” for WLAC-AM, the Fox affiliate in Nashville. She subscribes to the Glenn Beck school of American history. http://www.pobilly.com/uturn/

    • Kevin Levin Mar 5, 2012 @ 5:59

      Hi Allen,

      Thanks for the comment, but I am not really interested in explaining her interpretation as much as I am in acknowledging that the Web2.0 allows for a wide spectrum of perspectives that are not so easily categorized.

  • London John Mar 4, 2012 @ 6:22

    I thought that was a very well-constructed 6-minute talk. I particularly admired the way, after opening with Forrest, she mentioned Fort Pillow in the last seconds. Better than a lot of professional politicians, IMO.

    • Kevin Levin Mar 4, 2012 @ 6:29

      I think it is easy to blow this off as an incoherent ramble, but what I find so interesting is the way she ties it all together in the end.

  • Rob Baker Mar 3, 2012 @ 8:46


    An add on to the Web 2.0 conversations.

  • Pat Young Mar 3, 2012 @ 7:05

    Interesting to see someone who does not romanticize the war can also be conversant in its history and meanings.

  • Robert Moore Mar 3, 2012 @ 5:57

    I should add that YouTube, coming onto the scene less than a year after the 2004 conference, was only tacked-on as an element of Web 2.0 after Web 2.0 had been defined.

  • Robert Moore Mar 3, 2012 @ 5:22

    I’m not sure that I would agree with crediting to Web 2.0 (as defined by Tim O’Reilly’s Media Web 2.0 conference in late 2004); keeping in mind how the technology existed at that time. There are theories that we are still working within Web 2.0, but there are also theories that the social media that exists now (to include the ways in which people use YouTube) is a form of Web 3.0. On the other hand, there’s also part of me that agrees with Tim Berners-Lee… in that the whole “Web 2.0” lingo thing is nothing more than a piece of jargon.

    • Kevin Levin Mar 3, 2012 @ 6:03

      Good points. I agree that we can debate how to define the proper boundaries of Web2.0, but I am more interested in the extent to which it has opened up room for ordinary people to add their voice to something like a collective narrative. I am not even sure what it means to refer to a collective narrative given the myriad voices that now somehow need to be contextualized and categorized.

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