Using Gettysburg as a focus, these five historians engaged in the complicated question of what to do with Confederate memory and the role historians must play in the conversations happening all over the country. The answer to the question of Confederate monuments and commemoration is not clear. The fact that there have been several plenary sessions at conferences over the past few years, all of which asked a lot of questions and posed a lot of suggestions but could not offer clear solutions, reflects how complex the conversation can be.Read More
Thus we also need to remember that the monuments we build, the sites we preserve, and the places we name are never just about history. They are and have always been about who we imagine ourselves to be in the present and what we want to be, as a community, in the future.Read More
Sure enough, I managed to find some Civil War history in my backyard; and I’m sure there is more here if I just keep looking. So, the next time you see something interesting make sure you take a look, you never know what you will find.Read More
In terms of civic expressions of patriotism, few ceremonies are more quintessential than the Memorial Day Parade. Although the holiday honors those who fell in the service of the nation, veterans have always had a pivotal role in public expressions and observances. Veterans of the Civil War continued to participate in Memorial Day Parades well into the twentieth century, but as the years waned on, their role in these exercises began to change. By the 1930s, Civil War veterans were largely viewed by the public as curiosities or living memorials, their experience a lesson that Americans could draw upon for modern issues.Read More
About a month ago I attended Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede in Gatlinburg, TN - fully expecting to be horrified by what might ensue. But after I left I was hesitant to apply too much criticism to something that advertises itself simply as a dinner show and is very clearly meant to exist in the realm of imagination and exaggeration.
Recent events, however, have convinced me that ending the myths that endure from the Civil War is not simply the job of historians.Read More
So what is the legacy of the Civil War in East Tennessee? The short answer is, not a good one. War came to East Tennessee in the form of guerilla conflicts that harassed the lesser-developed portions of the United States in 1861.Read More
The American Civil War has left behind layers. When modern Americans visit battlefields, we see not only scars left between the years 1861 and 1865, but also select remnants of eras before and after. We see historic structures, which were the homes and businesses of people who occupied these now hallowed spaces long before the soldiers in blue and gray. Monuments, placed by veterans, heritage groups, and state and federal governments dot the landscape. Fortified earthworks, rebuilt fences, even trees and parking lots all tell complex stories of various attempts at remembering.
Which leads us to question, what has the 150th left behind?Read More