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Socialism in Africa and African Socialism

At independence, socialism was very appealing, but African socialism soon failed, and the turn to Marxist socialism in the 1970s fared little better.

An “infernal Scheme” in Natick?

British officers and royal officials weren’t the only folks fearing a treacherous plot by their enemies as the Revolutionary War began. The provincials outside of Boston had plenty of suspicions as well.The 3 Mar 1775 Connecticut Gazette,...Show More Summary

Sicily goes to London

The British Museum has opened a new exhibition, Sicily: Culture and Conquest, which brings together more than 200 artifacts from 4,000 years of Sicilian history, many of which have never been to the UK before. The exhibition focuses on two time periods when Sicily was at the forefront of art and culture: when it settled [...]

An Attack on St. George’s Day?

On 24 Apr 1775, many British army officers planned to celebrate St. George’s Day, honoring the patron saint of England. St. George’s Day is actually 23 April, but that date fell on a Sunday that year—and that day of the week was presumably not proper for the officers’ form of celebration. Show More Summary

Amulet invoking elves and the Trinity found in Denmark

An archaeological excavation in advance of drainage work in Svendborg, a city on the island of Funen in southeastern Denmark, unearthed a medieval amulet invoking both elves and the Triune God of Christianity. It didn’t look like much at first, a small square piece of metal just two centimeters (.8 inches) long and wide, but [...]

New to the Civil War Memory Library, 04/23

By now many of you have heard that T.J. Stiles’s biography of George A. Custer won this year’s Pulitzer Prize. This was his second. I reviewed the book for The Daily Beast and thoroughly enjoyed it. This is Stiles’s second Pulitzer. As much of an achievement as that is, I am even more excited for […]

Harriet Tubman: Escaped slave, underground railroad leader, abolitionist. But did you know she also helped win the Civil War?

As you may have heard, come 2020, the familiar stern image of President Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill will be replaced with a new design featuring the face of escaped slave and courageous abolitionist Harriet Tubman. Tubman is best remembered for her work prior to the Civil War as she returned to the South to guide […]

The Rev. David McClure Finds Refuge with Joseph Mayo

When we left the Rev. David McClure on the afternoon of 19 Apr 1775, he had just managed to get out of Boston to Roxbury by the neck. Here’s what he witnessed the rest of that day.The sun was about half an hour above the western horizon. Show More Summary

4,500-year-old burial found in Peru fishing town

Archaeologists have discovered a 4,500-year-old burial at the archaeological site of Aspero, an ancient preceramic fishing town in northern Peru. Analysis of the bones revealed that the deceased was a woman about 40 to 50 years of age at the time of death. The burial was found in the Huaca of the Idols, one of [...]

The SPLC’s report… more “purposed” opinion than history?

I saw, today, that the Southern Poverty Law Center issued their “Whose Heritage? Public Symbols of the Confederacy” report, yesterday. Anyone who has watched the SPLC over the years knows how they are inspired and, to be clear, they simply don’t recognize complexities in the story of the anyone associated with the Southern Confederacy. Of course, […]

A Trove of Newly-Digitized Trademarks Offers A Capsule History of Late-19th-Century California

The California State Archives recently announced that it has digitized thousands of trademark applications filed with the state between 1861 and 1900. California passed a trademark law in 1863, years before the first federal trademark legislation. Show More Summary

SPLC Catalogs Confederate Iconography

Yesterday the Southern Poverty Law Center issued a report that catalogs examples of Confederate iconography across the United States. The report is well worth downloading and reading and includes a state-by-state list of monuments and a wide range of public sites named in honor of the Confederacy and its leaders. It is not comprehensive, but […]

John Howland and the Lexington Alarm in Providence

Yesterday I quoted Elkanah Watson’s description of how Providence, Rhode Island, responded to the Battle of Lexington and Concord. According to Watson, the news arrived on the afternoon of 19 Apr 1775, his militia unit spent the whole...Show More Summary

When Slaves Adorned American Currency

It’s been a few months since I published anything at The Daily Beast, but Wednesday’s announcement that Harriet Tubman will soon adorn the $20 bill prompted me to briefly reflect on African Americans that once adorned Confederate currency. I enjoy writing for TDB. For one it connects me to a much broader audience, but I […]

Dig at Malcolm X’s house finds 18th c. artifacts

An archaeological excavation at the house Malcolm X lived in during his teens and early 20s has surprisingly unearthed artifacts from the 18th century. Built in 1874, the house at 72 Dale Street in Boston’s Roxbury neighborhood belonged to Ella Little-Collins, Malcolm’s half-sister who was his guardian after his mother was committed to a psychiatric [...]

Elkanah Watson and the Lexington Alarm in Providence

I previously quoted the part of Elkanah Watson’s Men and Times of the Revolution in which he described his military training as a schoolboy in Rhode Island. Watson, born in 1758, was still a teenager when the Battle of Lexington and Concord occurred. Show More Summary

Owner of Texel shipwreck gown identified

Historians Helmer Helmers from the University of Amsterdam and Nadine Akkerman from Leiden University have identified the owner of the silk gown found in the Wadden Sea off the island of Texel in North Holland. It belonged to Jean Kerr, Countess of Roxburghe, lady-in-waiting to Queen Henrietta Maria. There’s a portrait of her on Adel [...]

Isaac Royall and “the very Day the battle happen’d”

Like the Rev. David McClure, Isaac Royall of Medford was caught by surprise in Boston when the war began. Earlier this week on Facebook the Royall House and Slave Quarters quoted Royall’s 29 May 1779 letter to his former tutor, the Rev. Show More Summary

Abbeville Institute on Black Confederate Soldiers

Many of you are familiar with the Abbeville Institute. Among other things they offer an annual conference that brings together a short list of people, who push a decidedly Lost Cause interpretation of the Civil War and slavery under the guise of serious scholarship. Last year’s annual conference included a talk by Donald Livingston on […]

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