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The Other Fleet Brothers: “brought up to work at press and case”

Last week I spoke to the Freedom Trail Foundation guides as they were preparing for a new season leading people around Boston.I talked about newspapers and the people who printed them—a group that included not only white men but women...Show More Summary

Ken Noe on the Civil War Centennial & Sesquicentennial

This past January historian Ken Noe shared his thoughts about the Civil War centennial and the current state of the sesquicentennial at the Alabama State Archives in Montgomery, Alabama. Ken’s edited collection of essays on Alabama’s Civil War was recently published by the University of Alabama Press.

Confederate History for All Virginians (if you can make the case)

I go into the classroom every day with the goal of trying to bring the past alive and to help my students pull meaning and lessons for their own lives. It’s not an easy task and I would be kidding myself if I thought that I succeeded in regard to every student that has ever […]

Lincoln, Between Two Ferns?

The reaction to President Obama’s appearance on Between Two Ferns was swift. 32,000 viewers clicked through the video to HealthCare.gov, more than 1,000 tweeted about the segment and the Affordable Care Act, and – of course – saw enrollments skyrocket as the final deadlines approached.  None of those suggestions of effectiveness, however, prevented Fox News host […]

Memories of History Camp

Remember last month’s History Camp? If you weren’t able to make it, you can still partake of some of the program through the videos that organizer Lee Wright has just posted on YouTube.Here I am talking about “The Boston Bankruptcy That...Show More Summary

From One Southerner to Another: Just Say No to Confederate History Month

The governor of Virginia has yet to issue a proclamation for Confederate History Month or Civil War History in Virginia Month as his predecessor chose to call it. I am assuming that is just fine with fellow blogger and historian, Robert Moore, who writes from the Shenandoah Valley. Robert worries that the Lost Cause-laced content […]

The Battle on the Civil War Battlefields

Shortly after the publication of Common-place’s special issue on the Civil War sesquicentennial I was contacted by Timothy Good, who is currently the superintendent at the Ulysses S. Grant Historic Site. He wanted to respond to John Hennessy’s essay on the challenges of interpreting the Civil War on National Park Service battlefields. I suggested he […]

Confederate History Month – a disservice to Antebellum Southern history?

I know… I’ve been incredibly quiet for well over a month, but I’ve been considering various things regarding directions in which to go with writing history. Another topic for another day, perhaps. For now, however, since “Confederate History Month” (as I was reminded by a post I saw on Facebook this morning) is now underway, it […]

Bullock on Politeness and Politics, 8 Apr.

On Tuesday, 8 April, Prof. Steve Bullock of the Worcester Polytechnic Institute will present a seminar at the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester titled “Revolutionary Passages: The Dissolution of the Politics of Politeness.” Here’s...Show More Summary

For All the Brave Confederate Warriors Who Continue to Fight the Good Fight

I love the way these two short videos poke fun at the relatively small number of people who imagine themselves still fighting the Civil War. They talk in personal terms about the hardships experienced by civilians and soldiers as if they themselves experienced the very same hardships. They talk in terms of “we” and “us” […]

The Invisibility of White Southerners on the Civil Rights Tour

A Civil Rights tour of the South can be a transformative experience for students. I know it has been for a number of mine, who took part in last week’s trip. There is no better place to teach this material than at the very sites themselves. They allow for the kind of identification, empathy and […]

“The defiling and provoking nature of such a Foolish practice”

On 1 Apr 1708, Samuel Sewall (1652-1730), merchant, judge, and eventually chief justice of Massachusetts, wrote to Boston schoolmasters Ezekiel Cheever and Nathaniel Williams: What an abuse of precious Time; what a Profanation!... IShow More Summary

The 48th/150th: Rendezvous At Annapolis. . .and Preparing for the Campaign Ahead

Civil War Annapolis...Where the 48th Rendezvoused With The 9th Corps March-April 1864(www.usni.org) With their veteran's furloughs expired and having returned to war, the soldiers of the 48th Pennsylvania departed Harrisburg, heading...Show More Summary

A Black Confederate Flashback

Yesterday I spent some time working on the section of my black Confederate book that deals with the 2010 Virginia textbook controversy involving author Joy Masoff. I am sure most of you remember. While doing a search for additional information about the scope of the news coverage following the publication of the initial Washington Post […]

Catharsis and the Historical Imagination in Selma, Alabama

  One of the highlights of my recent school trip through the Civil Rights South was walking across the Edmund Pettus Bridge for the first time in Selma, Alabama. The bridge is one of the most iconic images of the struggle and the film of the marchers being assaulted by police on “Bloody Sunday” moves […]

The Print Record of Pickled Olives in Early America

Yesterday I recounted an anecdote about Henry Knox’s first, unhappy encounter with pickled olives. And I wondered whether those were truly an exotic delicacy in North America.I went to Readex’s Early American Newspapers database for more information on this question. Show More Summary

Lingering “Baggage” at Jackson’s Greyhound Bus Station

During our time in Jackson, Mississippi we made a quick stop at the Greyhound Bus Station, which served as the destination for the Freedom Riders in 1961. Many of the participants were arrested and jailed at the notorious Parchman Prison. The city boasts a modern bus station, but in 1988 the old facility was renovated […]

What Henry Knox Would Not Eat

The Westbrook (Maine) Historical Society preserves this story about Henry Knox and Martha Washington, apparently first published in the Narragansett Sun newspaper of Portland on 12 Dec 1895 (P.D.F. download):An anecdote that is vouched for as true by high authority is worth recording. Show More Summary

Grant and Lee Risk Their Reputations

Fellow blogger and historian Keith Harris passed along this gem last week. This 1970s faux game show was created by Bernard Wilets and pits Grant against Lee as they debate the central issues of the war and their roles in it. It is well worth watching.

Who Is Teaching Civil Rights History in the South?

I guess it’s something I noticed after having spent so much time at Civil War sites, but my recent trip has left me with the impression that the vast majority of tour guides and educators working at historic sites related to the civil rights movement in the South are African-American women. It is ironic given […]

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