Public History

Last week John Hennessy retired from the National Park Service. His career spanned 40 years, beginning at the Manassas National Battlefield Park and ending as the Chief Historian/Chief of Interpretation at the Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park. It is hard to think of anyone who has had more of an influence on how I Read more

Yesterday morning the city of Boston removed the Freedman’s Memorial or Emancipation Group from Park Square. It will be placed temporarily in storage until a new home is chosen, where the memorial can be properly interpreted for the general public. The memorial is a copy of the one dedicated in Washington, D.C. in 1876 on Read more

Back in June I sat down with historian Dr. Hilary Green to talk about the Confederate monument controversy as part of the “Cabinet Conversation” series hosted by my good friends at Ford’s Theatre. It was a real thrill to be able to chat with Dr. Green. She is doing important work to raise awareness at Read more

As you might imagine it’s been a busy summer on the Confederate monuments front. Rarely does a week go by that I am not contacted by the media to comment for a story. It certainly takes time from other projects, but it’s nice to be able to help out and share my interest in this Read more

A Turning Point at Gettysburg

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania is best remembered as the site where Union and Confederate armies fought between July 1-3, 1863. When it was all said and done the Army of the Potomac could claim a decisive victory. Tourists and history buffs travel each year to the battlefield to mark its anniversary, but this year the COVID19 pandemic Read more

On July 4 heavily armed right-wing militia arrived at Gettysburg National Military Park to confront an Antifa/Black Lives Matter rally that never materialized. News media reported a few confrontations, but thankfully it never turned violent. Gettysburg is a quiet town and has largely steered clear of the controversy and demonstrations surrounding Confederate monuments that have Read more

Last night I sat in on a Boston Arts Commission meeting about Thomas Ball’s Freedmen’s Memorial located on Park Square. This is a copy of the original that was dedicated in Washington, D.C. in 1876. The memorial is once again in the news after a young Black resident called for its removal a few weeks Read more

If you had asked me not too long ago how to go about dealing with the debate about Confederate monuments I would have said that they need to be contextualized. By that I mean they need to be placed in their proper historical context through the use of wayside markers or some other medium, which Read more