A Headmaster’s Civil War Memory

Last month the headmaster of a middle school in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania took some time from the day to talk with his students about the significance of April 1865. What do you think about what this headmaster had to say?

[Uploaded to YouTube on April 21, 2015]

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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9 comments… add one
  • Bob Huddleston May 4, 2015 @ 16:33

    I think he had been listening to Shelby Foote. BTW, according to Andy Hall, the correct year is 1877: http://deadconfederates.com/2013/07/04/celebrating-independence-day-in-vicksburg-1877-3/

    • Leo May 5, 2015 @ 18:52

      Bob, I love Andy’s blog. You can always count on him to get the facts right and shine light on aspects of history most of us never knew.

  • Leo May 4, 2015 @ 5:25

    I never said he was pushing lost cause mythology, just that I agree with Al in that many of his facts are wrong. I just hope the kids will continue to research the Civil War and find the documented facts.

  • Leo May 4, 2015 @ 3:53

    I was spoon fed lost cause mythology when I was in school. Hopefully these kids will explore on their own learn the facts.

    • Kevin Levin May 4, 2015 @ 4:02

      I don’t think this headmaster is guilty of pushing a Lost Cause narrative at all, though there may be hints of it. I hear more of a reconciliationist message. If I were doing this talk I would have framed it around the Gettysburg Address given their location. I would have emphasized the survival of the Union, the end of slavery and future challenges.

  • Leo May 3, 2015 @ 19:10

    I agree with Al on his assessment.


    From the above link:
    Legend has it that citizens of Vicksburg did not celebrate July 4 as Independence Day for more than a century following its 1863 fall. In fact, individuals in Vicksburg were celebrating July 4 as early as 1907, although the city did not officially celebrate the day until World War II.

  • Al Mackey May 3, 2015 @ 17:17

    I like his passion and enthusiasm, but I have some problems with the factual nature of some of what he said. For example, it wasn’t a hundred years before Vicksburg celebrated the 4th of July again. They celebrated the 4th of July in 1907. Also, he conflates the South with the confederacy. Additionally, confederates didn’t go to Brazil to “continue the fight,” as he claimed. I also think he needs to get updated on the latest scholarship, particularly on the claims about guerrilla warfare.

    • Kevin Levin May 4, 2015 @ 0:55

      If I had to guess I would say that he read Jay Winik’s _1865_.

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