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What a Black Confederate Can Tell Us About the Streets of Baltimore

I’ve spent most of the day in a sort of funk having gone from watching the unfolding protests and violence in the streets of Baltimore…

Going Back to School with the Dublin Seminar, 19-21 June

The Dublin Seminar for New England Folklife will hold its fortieth annual conference on Friday through Sunday, 19-21 June, at Historic Deerfield.This year’s theme is schools and education in early New England, and I’ll start off theShow More Summary

Roosevelt v. Hitler

Now, or recently, at newsagents In the TLS for 17 April, you can find my essay on Nicholas Wapshott’s The Sphinx, about the presidential election of 1940, the isolationists, and how Franklin Roosevelt engineered the US shift toward war. The essay starts like this: Franklin Roosevelt recognized the threat Adolf Hitler posed from the moment […]

Forum about Concord’s Wright Tavern, 18 May

Last month Dr. Melvin Bernstein, organizer of this area’s American Revolution Round Table, published an essay in the Concord Journal about one of the town’s lesser-known historic sites:No historic building in Concord is more important to the American Revolution than the Wright Tavern. Show More Summary

Melissa Harris-Perry Meet Henry Louis Gates

I don’t know too much about Melissa Harris-Perry or her show on MSNBC. The network is almost as worthless as FOX News, so what I…

Events Larger Than One Person: The Surrenders at Bennett Place, Durham, North Carolina

Part 2 of 2. Cross-posted at Emerging Civil War. Joseph E. Johnston Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman, ever the good soldier, obeyed Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant’s order. He informed his adversary, Gen. Joseph E. Johnston, that the civil authorities in Washington, D. Show More Summary

A Confederate General and His Slave

Below is the first paragraph from a short essay that I recently wrote about Confederate General Edward Porter Alexander and his slave/camp servant, Charley. You…

“Shot“ Exhibit Now Heard Around the Internet

If you’ve enjoyed the past few days of anecdotes from the Battle of Lexington and Concord, check out the website for the Concord Museum’s “Shot Heard Round the World” exhibit. This exhibit, mounted last year, brought together artifacts...Show More Summary

The Buck Stops With Henry Louis Gates

Why didn’t Henry Louis Gates and the producers of PBS’s “Finding Your Roots” just ask Ben Affleck’s mother whether she took part in the Freedom…

After John Jupp Came Home to Shirley

Yesterday I introduced the couple of John and Mary Jupp—he a deserter from the British army who had made his way to Shirley, she a woman in her late thirties who apparently had some property but no husband.They married in late 1774 and had a daughter the following year. Show More Summary

Winners and Losers of the Sesquicentennial

I am in the process of going through old posts in preparation for an essay on the Civil War sesquicentennial. I’ve identified a number of…

John Jupp “found his way to Shirley”

Among the men from Shirley who marched during the Lexington Alarm of 19 Apr 1775 was John Jupp, a private in Capt. Henry Haskell’s company, Col. William Prescott’s regiment. Jupp had more recent military experience than most of his companions. Show More Summary

Mansplaining about Dr. Joseph Warren

The first book devoted to Dr. Joseph Warren was Stories about General Warren: in Relation to the Fifth of March Massacre, and the Battle of Bunker Hill, a biography for young readers published in 1835. The anonymous author was the doctor’s...Show More Summary

More Trouble For Henry Louis Gates

This story just continues to get jucier with each passing day. The website Gawker now has the original script for Ben Affleck’s episode of “Finding…

The Legend of Betsey Hagar

In his History of Bradford County, Pennsylvania (1891), Henry C. Bradsby set down this unusual anecdote of the aftermath of the Revolutionary War’s first day:Betsey Hagar…was born in Boston in 1750, and at nine years of age was left alone in the world to shift for herself. Show More Summary

Ben Affleck, Henry Louis Gates and Oprah Winfrey’s Couch

Late yesterday Ben Affleck released a statement apologizing for requesting that ties to a slave-owning ancestor be edited out of an episode of PBS’s “Finding…

Mary Sanderson and the Man in Her Bed

Mary Munroe was born in 1748 in a “part of Lexington called Scotland” for the number of Scottish immigrants who had settled there. She reportedly kept “a little of the Scottish accent…all her life.” In October 1772, Mary Munroe married Samuel Sanderson, a cabinetmaker who had moved into town from Waltham four years before. Show More Summary

New to the Civil War Memory Library, 04/21

Terry Alford, Fortune’s Fool: The Life of John Wilkes Booth (Oxford University Press, 2015). Lisa T. Frank, The Civilian War: Confederate Women and Union Soldiers…

“Shot a Canon Ball throug the metin hous”

On 19 Apr 1775, two companies of militiamen marched from Andover. Anticipating that the British column was headed to Concord, where the Massachusetts Provincial Congress had collected supplies, they marched toward that town, but kept adjusting their course as they received more news. Show More Summary

What Happens When Henry Louis Gates Censors the Past?

A report that has now gone viral, based on a recent Wikileaks dump, reveals that Ben Affleck requested that the PBS show “Finding Your Roots”…

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