Tag: Civil War memory

Historical marker with text

Jousting with History-on-a-stick: Centering African American Women in Civil War Public History

In April 2021, Governor Ralph Northam announced that Virginia would add five new markers focused on African American history to its state historical marker program. Playfully referred to as "history-on-a-stick," historical markers are intended to inform passersby about a significant person, place, or event. As useful as they might be ...
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Studio portrait of Julia Dent Grant seated.

Julia Dent Grant’s Personal Memoirs as a Plantation Narrative

Julia Dent Grant holds the unique distinction of being the first in a line of distinguished First Ladies to have written a memoir. Following the death of her husband Ulysses S. Grant in 1885, Julia Grant began contemplating the idea of telling her own life story and sharing insights into ...
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Removing the White Supremacy Marker at Colfax, Louisiana: A 2021 Success Story

Removing the White Supremacy Marker at Colfax, Louisiana: A 2021 Success Story

On May 15, 2021, state officers, parish officials, and private citizens gathered in Colfax, Louisiana to watch local contractors remove an historical marker in front of Grant Parish Courthouse. Erected on June 14, 1951, the sign’s bold white letters announced that a civil disturbance claimed the lives of “three white ...
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“A Grand Thing”: The Rebirth of Milwaukee’s Soldiers’ Home

“A Grand Thing”: The Rebirth of Milwaukee’s Soldiers’ Home

When the U. S. government lived up to Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural promise to “care for him who shall have borne the battle,” it chose Milwaukee as one of the sites for the three original branches of the National Asylum (later Home) for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers (NHDVS). The first men ...
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Disney and Battlefields: A Tale of Two Continents

Disney and Battlefields: A Tale of Two Continents

In the United States, significant portions of land have been set aside for battlefield parks to commemorate the actions of past generations and interpreted these spaces with regard to how they have shaped the present. In turn, as Edward Linenthal has argued, they became sacred ground.[1] As a result, some ...
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Civil War Macon

Civil War Macon

On July 31, 1864, Mary Ann Lamar Cobb, the wife of the local rebel commander, Howell Cobb, wrote her mother: “A bomb fell behind the Ocmulgee Hospital right across the street and a ball or a bomb one or the other struck the in front of Mr. Holt’s house and ...
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"It is no part of our duty to confound right with wrong": Frederick Douglass and Ulysses S. Grant on Reconciliation and Its Pitfalls

“It is no part of our duty to confound right with wrong”: Frederick Douglass and Ulysses S. Grant on Reconciliation and Its Pitfalls

Speaking in New York City in 1878, Frederick Douglass had a warning for white northerners about how they remembered the Civil War. "Good, wise, and generous men at the North," Douglass observed, "would have us forget and forgive, strew flowers alike and lovingly, on rebel and on loyal graves." A ...
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Civil War Era Scholars Respond to January 6, 2021 Events and Aftermath

Civil War Era Scholars Respond to January 6, 2021 Events and Aftermath

January 6, 2021 was a historic day in the nation’s history. Images of armed white men and women storming the Capitol Building carrying Confederate battle flags and other emblems flooded social media and television screens. Resulting in the death of two Capitol police officers, this twenty-first century contestation over Civil ...
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The Most Heroic Day You’ve Never Heard Of

The Most Heroic Day You’ve Never Heard Of

When I first heard of the Civil War Day of Action led by the Journal of the Civil War Era, I was ecstatic and excited at the prospect of bringing forgotten and ignored history to people. I also knew my location. It would be 156 years almost to the day ...
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But What of Union Civil War Monuments?: The Shortcomings of Northern Civil War Commemoration

But What of Union Civil War Monuments?: The Shortcomings of Northern Civil War Commemoration

As Confederate Civil War monuments continue to come under siege for their white supremacist representations of the nation’s most transformative conflict,[1] Union Civil War monuments and their inscriptions exist in an illusory realm of public approval. In fact, there is an inherent belief among many people that Union Civil War ...
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Extending the Civil War Day of Action

Extending the Civil War Day of Action

I had conflicted feelings when the controversy over the Confederate battle flag and statues commemorating Confederate traitors recently flared up once again. On the one hand, I was ecstatic this summer when I saw the spontaneous, collective work of art that activists created on the base of Robert E. Lee’s ...
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A Mistaken Form of Trust: Ken Burns’s The Civil War At Thirty

A Mistaken Form of Trust: Ken Burns’s The Civil War At Thirty

Confederate flags are coming down, statues are being toppled, Lady Antebellum has lost the “Antebellum,” and the Dixie Chicks have lost the “Dixie.” But the reckoning that’s been sweeping the United States in recent months has left one Civil War monument strangely untouched: the Ken Burns documentary. When it was ...
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Newspaper print text

Civil War Day of Action: Filling Historical Silences

On the Journal of the Civil War Era national Day of Action. I am planning to join my former colleagues and community members in Elizabeth City, NC. Together, we are shedding light on the silenced diverse Civil War experiences, specifically freedpeople, USCT veterans and Grand Army of the Republic comrades ...
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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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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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