The loyal slave/black Confederate narrative is an insidious myth. As I argue in Searching for Black Confederates, it reduces African Americans to caricatures and has long treated them as a means to an end in the development and reinforcement of a Lost Cause narrative that for a long time helped to maintain legal segregation and Read more

We expend a great deal of energy re-casting Confederate soldiers as engaged in a constitutional struggle or defense of home that had nothing to do with the protection of slavery. The price we pay is to ignore what actual Confederates said during the war about the consequences of slavery’s demise and their efforts to re-build Read more

Despite the headlines, the Liberty Place Monument does not directly commemorate the Confederacy. Properly understood, it commemorates an event that took place during Reconstruction in New Orleans. This is an important distinction with the other three monuments commemorating Generals Robert E. Lee and P.G.T. Beauregard and President Jefferson Davis. The failure to properly identify this Read more

If you are a history teacher looking for a summer professional development opportunity, I encourage you to consider Ford’s Theatre’s “The Seat of War and Peace,” which runs from July 23-28. This is a unique opportunity to study the history of Reconstruction in and around the Washington, D.C. area. Last year I worked with teachers Read more

This week has brought some wonderful new resources on Reconstruction. First, check out this panel discussion from last month at the New York Historical Society that included Harold Holzer, Edna Medford, Eric Foner, and David Blight. Those are some heavy hitters. The latest issue of The Journal of the Civil War Era is devoted to Read more

By now most of you know that just a few days ago President Obama designated Beaufort, South Carolina as the Reconstruction Era National Monument. A community of historians and politicians have worked hard to push the president to make this decision and I could not be more pleased that he has done so as one Read more

This past week The Washington Post added its name to a growing list of individuals and institutions who would like to see President Obama designate a federal monument to Reconstruction. Most believe that it should be located in Beaufort, South Carolina. The area in and around Beaufort is an ideal setting in which to teach Read more

This has to be one of the more interesting postwar references to Confederate camp slaves that I have uncovered. Henry Grady was an Atlanta newspaper editor, but he was best known as a leading voice in the “New South” movement, which embraced industrial development through northern investment. The challenge for men like Grady was in Read more

Earlier today a reader asked how he might utilize this video of Eric Foner exploring the topic of “racial amnesia” throughout American history with his students. What follows are just a couple of quick thoughts about how you might go about this. One way is to have students view it alongside a particular selection from Read more

Historians Greg Downs and Kate Masur believe that Beaufort, South Carolina should be declared a National monument by President Obama. The two have taken the lead over the past year in pushing to set aside a historic site for the sole purpose of interpreting the Reconstruction Era. Though Reconstruction is interpreted at any number of Read more