Muster

Commemorating the NYC Draft Riots: A Call to Action in the Classroom

Commemorating the NYC Draft Riots: A Call to Action in the Classroom

Who would guess that progressive, self-regarding New York City would fail to mark the scenes of the 1863 Draft Riot? The riot was the most destructive urban uprising in US History and featured a virulent days-long assault on the city’s Black community.  Yet not a single plaque or marker notes ...
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Emancipation in War: The United States and Peru

Emancipation in War: The United States and Peru

On September 22, 1862, a week after the devastating Battle of Antietam/Sharpsburg, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln issued his Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation. Delivered by the lawyer-turned-politician, Lincoln emphasized the reunification of the country, but also set new precedents for the emancipation process. Wartime emancipation proclamations were not unusual. When the gaze ...
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Preview of the September 2020 JCWE Issue

This issue of the Journal of the Civil War Era is the first in which we appear as coeditors. We enter this job with deep respect for what the journal has accomplished and enormous excitement for what we might help it do over the next five years. Our goals remain ...
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Historic portrait of William M. Robbins

William M. Robbins, William C. Oates, and Confederate Monuments at Gettysburg

See more here for the upcoming September 26th event: Civil War History: A Call to Action. In late July 2020, the United States House of Representatives passed an Appropriations Bill, HR 7608, which required the National Park Service to “remove from display all physical Confederate commemorative works, such as statues, ...
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Civil War History: A Call to Action

Civil War History: A Call to Action

This spring and summer have seen renewed protests against monuments and memorials to the Confederacy and its leaders. We believe historians can play an important role in the ongoing, broad-based conversation about the history and memory of the Civil War Era. Historians bring a commitment to truth-telling and to teaching ...
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Portrait of Francis Cardozo

Fear of a Black Planet (Part 2)

See more here: Civil War History: A Call to Action. Thirty years ago, Public Enemy released what was arguably its best album, Fear of a Black Planet, which included the iconic track “Fight the Power.” I suspect many of you reading this have at least heard of the song (if ...
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Group of African Americans in front of Church Building

The Politics of Faith: How Contests within Sacred Space Shaped Post-Emancipation Society

In this roundtable, three historians present short excerpts from papers they would have presented at the 2020 meeting of the Society of Civil War Historians, which was cancelled due to Covid-19. The authors featured here explore how the wartime destruction of slavery shaped politics and power within Black churches, between ...
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Portrait of Henry McNeal Turner

“‘Irregular Secession’: The Political Nature of Religious Space in the Reconstruction-era South

In the early summer of 1865, just a few months after Confederates in Raleigh, North Carolina, officially surrendered, Black Baptists found themselves faced with a choice: submit to white leadership and be permitted to use the roomy sanctuary of the city’s main Baptist church, or refuse and be relegated to ...
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Portrait of O. O. Howard

Strategic Alliance: John Hartwell Cook, O. O. Howard, and the Postwar Fight for Equality at First Congregational Church

In February 1867, John Hartwell Cook, a freedman from Virginia and graduate of Oberlin College, arrived in Washington, DC, with his wife, Isabel “Belle” Lewis, to take up a new position with the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands, commonly called the Freedmen’s Bureau. Prior to his arrival, he ...
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Portrait of George Freeman Bragg

Beyond Speeches and Leaders: The Role of Black Churches in the Reconstruction of the United States

Black churches were at the center of remaking the United States’ post-Civil War political system into one that incorporated formerly enslaved black men into the body politic and revised the legal code to provide civil rights to these new citizens.  Black Baptist and Episcopal Churches of Virginia provide insight into ...
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On Riots and Resistance: Freedpeople’s Struggle against Police Brutality during Reconstruction

On Riots and Resistance: Freedpeople’s Struggle against Police Brutality during Reconstruction

On May 9, 1867, a festive contest took place in Richmond, Virginia between the local fire department and a visiting fire company from Wilmington, Delaware. A biracial crowd of Richmonders spent the afternoon cheering for their local firehouse and jeering the visiting group. When a white firefighter took offense to ...
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The Lost Cause in the Children’s Room: Toys and Memory

The Lost Cause in the Children’s Room: Toys and Memory

My first conscious exposure to the American Civil War came sometime in the seventh grade when Kabel 1 showed Gettysburg on May Day. As a child, whose parents had watched many Western movies, this film created a fascination with the conflict in North America. In the following week, I tried ...
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Old photograph of a group of men sitting.

A White Man’s Empire: The United Stated Emigrant Escort Service and Settler Colonialism during the Civil War

It is hard to deny that immigration is one of the most contentious political issues of our time. In the years since the 2016 presidential election, the use of xenophobic and nationalist language to support restricting immigration has become increasingly common, even coming directly from the Oval Office. Critics have ...
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Labor, Democracy, Law, and International Reconstruction

The three essays posted here relate to a session planned for the June, 2020 meeting of the Society of Civil War Historians.  The authors’ abbreviated comments, to be expanded at the rescheduled meeting in 2021, convey tantalizing glimpses of the global scope of America’s post-war Reconstruction. In “Free Labor, Emancipation ...
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A World “Transfixed”: The International Resonance of American Political Crises during Reconstruction and at Present

The conditions of the global pandemic have made us keenly aware, once again, of the interconnectedness of the world we share. Recent protest movements against systemic racism have radiated from the United States to distant places. Reporting the reactions of people around the world to American events, The New York ...
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Reconstruction at Sea: The American Campaign to Reform International Neutrality, 1865-1871

The CSS Alabama sank off the coast of France in June 1864. For two years, the Confederate commerce raider had prowled the world’s oceans, capturing and burning dozens of Union merchant vessels. Yet when the Alabama met its end, it left behind more than a devastated U.S. merchant fleet; it ...
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