Today I am writing from the North Shore in Lynn, MA, where in a few hours I will be speaking at the G.A.R. Museum. I took the scenic route and made my way through a few small towns to check out their Civil War monuments. Just head straight to the town center and you are bound to find one.
Next week I begin my abbreviated Civil War Memory course, which will run to mid-March. At that point our seniors head out into the community to complete internships. To get things started on Monday we are going to look closely at the controversy surrounding Jacksonville’s former Nathan Bedford High School as an introduction to the class.
Much of our focus, however, will be on monuments as a form of memory. This will include a tour of a number of Civil War sites in Boston. Their final project, which I am working to complete, will ask students to focus on one particular monument in the Boston area and think about how they would present it’s history to the public. In short, they will be playing the role of tour guide. I will make sure to post the final assignment on the blog for those of you who might be interested in using it in your own classes.
The other day one of my students asked for a preview of the class.
Student: “Can you give us a one sentence synopsis of what we are going to learn about the Civil War?”
Me: “Why Americans remain obsessed about the Civil War.”
Student: “I think that’s just you.”
Just another reason why I love my job.