Marching Through Georgia

One of the book projects that I’ve been anticipating for some time now is Anne Sara Rubin’s study of Sherman’s March in historical memory. The book will be accompanied by an innovative digital history project called Sherman’s March and America: Mapping Memory, which she is developing with Kelley Bell. The interactive maps allow users to trace Sherman’s march along a historical map as well as a fictional map that includes places mentioned in books and movies such as Gone With the Wind. The video above (and I suspect others) explores the popularity of Henry Clay Work’s song, “Marching Through Georgia” in the North and around the world. It’s really well done. I can’t think of a better example of the use of technology to enhance the traditional monograph format.

(video uploaded to YouTube on June 11, 2013)

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16 comments… add one
  • Chris Evans Aug 26, 2013 @ 14:54

    ‘Marching through Georgia’ was played at the disastrous 1924 Democratic National Convention when the Georgia delegation was recognized. The delegation was incensed and they had to be apologized to by the committee.


  • Anne Rubin Aug 25, 2013 @ 15:41

    Thanks for posting this Kevin– it was done by one of our UMBC students. We will be updating the sit this year.

    • Kevin Levin Aug 25, 2013 @ 15:47

      My pleasure, Anne. See you soon.

  • Woodrowfan Aug 25, 2013 @ 7:11

    In the 1976 election, when Jimmy Carter appeared at a rally, school bands in the north would often play this tune, thinking, “hey, it’s a song about Georgia!”

  • Patrick Young Aug 23, 2013 @ 4:48

    I am always glad American sports fans lack the intensity of soccer fans. Even our soccer fans lack the intensity of soccer fans. I mean, who is going to kill someone over the Red Bulls.

  • Brad Aug 22, 2013 @ 19:40

    Not to get too far afield but many Football (soccer to Americans) songs are intended to inflame the other team’s fans and European football has a lot of rascist elements which UEFA (the European football association) is trying to stamp out.

  • TF Smith Aug 22, 2013 @ 19:09

    I actually whistled this walking through the terminal at Hartsfield one time on a dare; very little reaction.

    Jay Ungar has an excellent version, instrumental and lyrics, that is avaikable on You Tube, but my guess is the best rendition ever would have been at a GAR Convention in the ’70s or ’80s, after the vets had had their share of liquid refreshment.

    One of the oddest things I came across because of miltary service is hearing it in the ROK, because of the use of the song by the anti-Japanese Korean resistance after WW I. The link below is a pretty stirring version – the lyrics are all about Korea, of course, but it certainly makes one want to stand up and fight – someone.


  • Patrick Young Aug 22, 2013 @ 18:42

    Billy Fullerton reportedly founded the Scottish branch of the KKK.

  • Dave Jordan Aug 22, 2013 @ 18:00

    IIRC, I read somewhere that Sherman hated this song.

  • pat young Aug 22, 2013 @ 17:10

    Just to reinforce the irony, the hero of the Scottish soccer version of Marching Through Georgia, Billy Fullerton, is said to have founded the Scottish branch of the kkk after having served as the muscle for a political party called Protestant Action.

  • Rob Baker Aug 22, 2013 @ 16:50

    Thanks for the update and the video. That’s going into the media files for school.

    • Betty Giragosian Aug 22, 2013 @ 21:03

      When my dad was a small boy attending public school on Church Hil in Richmond, Virginia–about 1918-he had a pretty young teacher form the North. Every morning before classes began, she led them in singing ‘Marching Through Georgia.” They sang it with vigor. Quite a good joke, really.

  • Patrick Young Aug 22, 2013 @ 16:31

    You might want to ask how a thug dead for decades still has grown men calling themselves “Billy Boys”. Interesting how memory works. He is remembered as a working class Protestant hero and a civalric knight. Here is what the Daily Record said in 2010 about a new biography:

    “ONE of Scotland’s most notorious hardmen has been exposed as a wife-beating bully.

    A new book reveals original “Billy Boy” Billy Fullerton to be a thug who was far from the romantic figure he was often painted as.

    Dr Andrew Davies, a historian at Liverpool University, debunks much of the “fiction” that has sprung up about cowardly, fascist Fullerton, who led a fearsome gang in 1930s Glasgow.

    The Billy Boys revelled in their reputation as underworld figures who were quick to flash a blade but dashing and loyal to their wives and children.

    Davies, whose book on the gang will be published in 2012, said: “Fullerton himself was jailed for wife-beating in the 1930s, so in terms of myth-making that goes on, I’m just keen to subject these claims to critical scrutiny.”

    Dr Davies believes the memoirs of former chief constable Sir Percy Sillitoe – the “Hammer of the Gangs” – created a misleading picture.

    He said: “Sillitoe creates quite a heroic image of Fullerton. He says he was an ingenious, reckless leader – a skilled fighter, but not a criminal in any conventional sense.

    “People conflate the character of Fullerton with Johnnie Stark (from the 1935 novel No Mean City). There were no instances whatsoever of Billy Fullerton fighting with a razor.”

    The Billy Boys gang terrorised Bridgeton and Glasgow’s east end in the 1930s.

    Fullerton went on to become a member of Oswald Mosley’s fascists.”

  • Patrick Young Aug 22, 2013 @ 16:19

    The video includes the Scottish adaptation “Billy Boys” which is depicted as a happy soccer song The “Billy” referred to is Billy Fullerton, a member of the fascist party who led a violent anti-Catholic gang during the 1930s. Glasgow Rangers fans sing the song. The lyrics are:
    Hullo, Hullo
    We are the Billy Boys
    Hullo, Hullo
    You’ll know us by our noise
    We’re up to our knees in fenian blood
    Surrender or you’ll die
    The “fenians” who are to be killed are persons of Irish descent living in Scotland. The song was banned by UEFA and the Rangers warn fans not to sing it. The owner of the team refers to those who sing it as “90 minute bigots.”

    • London John Aug 26, 2013 @ 4:26

      Odd to discuss Rangers without Celtic. Celtic were the Catholic equivalent of Rangers and together they made up “The Old Firm”. Their supporters needed each other.

      • Patrick Young Aug 26, 2013 @ 6:34

        The video doesn’t include “Fields of Athenry.” just a knockoff of Marching Through Georgia. It is ironic to an American like me that a song that is associated with the liberation of blacks would be appropriated by folks with racist beginnings. I pointed out the background of the song because I’m guessing that few Americans would pick it up otherwise.

        By the way, in watching “Football’s Most Dangerous Rivalry”, a documentary about the fans of the two teams, the notion of marketing sports through ethnic hatred seemed appalling.

        For those of you who worry about the dangers of “Heritage”, you may want to take a look at that film.

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