From the Holler!

I keep telling myself to update the blog and I keep neglecting to do so. In my defense, I’ve been busy. Closing out another school year at the high school and college level = a lot of grading for me. Additionally, I’ve been going through the process of moving from one school to another, which is always taxing. Finally, as it turns out, owning your own house is a lot of work. But with the Summer approaching and some free-time sure to come, I do plan on updating the blog more frequently. That being said, here are some newsworthy items.

  • Civil War Monuments in New Orleans
    • If you’ve been paying attention, the city of New Orleans began taking down old historical monuments meant to memorialize Confederate figures and post-Civil War acts of violence meant to promote white supremacy. Granted, I’m typically against the removal of monuments. I believe instead that they present educational opportunities. Monuments often tell us a lot about the people who erected them as well as the events they represent. HOWEVER, I do believe it is the responsibility and right of every community to maintain and shape their landscape. Kevin Levin has done a wonderful job of chronicling the events surrounding the monuments in New Orleans over at his blog. You can read the latest here.
  • “Are Confederate Flags Condemning Confederate Monuments?” 
    • Andy Hall asks the question over at DeadConfederates. I’m sorry I did not see his post earlier but fortunately I got a hold of it today. In the article Andy states
    • When heritage groups do that (protest with Confederate Flags) they’re essentially conceding defeat on the issue they’re supposedly trying to reverse. It’s defiance, sure, but it also almost always results in the targeted organization or institution — the VMFA, Lexington, Danville, and now New Orleans — digging in its own heels. Why on Earth do heritage folks assume that they’re the only ones who can display resolve and intransigence in the face of adversity?

    • This reminds me of the decision to remove the Confederate Flag from the old railroad depot in my home town several years ago. Maybe I should revisit that topic.
  • Was America Founded by a Welsh Prince? 
    • I’m not sure how many of you are familiar with the story of the Welsh Prince Madoc ab Owain Gwynedd. As the story goes, the Prince sailed from his homeland and arrived in what is today Mobile Bay, AL around 1170 c.e.  You can read more about it on Dave Tabler’s post on the Appalachian History blog. I have run across this story more than once and I have actually visited the ruins of one of the mentioned sights (Fort Mountain, GA). As fascinating as the story may be, I’ve found little over the years that supports the story. The only citation Dave uses is “A Consideration: Was America Discovered In 1170 by Prince Madoc Ab Owain Gwynedd Of Wales?” (Jayne Wanner, Barstow Community College, Barstow, CA, 1999). It’s just as likely that the sight could have been constructed by Hernando de Soto during his exploration of the region. It could simply be early Mississippian or early Cherokee, with the story lost in the oral tradition. Who knows, but the pre-Columbian exploration stories (Vikings, Mardoc, Knights Templar, etc.) are a guilty pleasure for me.
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9 thoughts on “From the Holler!

  1. I admit the fascination of the pre-Columbian discovery stories, but, even if, at some point, one or more of them can be proven to have occurred, what is the significance do proponents believe exists if the contact did not result in any long-term settlement or even exploration by Europeans?

    1. what is the significance do proponents believe exists if the contact did not result in any long-term settlement or even exploration by Europeans?

      To be honest, I truly do not know outside of maybe vindication and fame. When I teach discovery I often talk to my students about these pre-Columbian contacts. We talk mostly about the Vikings in that context, which historians and archaeologists proved to be accurate. But I always emphasize the “so what?” question. There is a series called America Unearthed, hosted by Scott Wolter. He makes these sorts of claims all of the time using thin evidence and a lot conjecture. On more than one occasion, he’ll say the sort of thing like, “if this is true, it could rock what we know about American history, to its core.” To which I always reply, so what?

      1. I agree. It may say something about various nations’ seamanship and exploration, but, in terms of its impact on the landmass that came to be called the Americas and/or the indigenous peoples already residing on it, unless there is a showing of something long-term due to the actions of a Westerner, it’s hardly going to rock American history. It won’t be anything more that “Oh, that’s interesting” moment.

        1. Exactly.

          The reason Columbus gets the credit is because his ‘discovery,’ represents a watershed. Europeans flowed to the West and established long terms settlements and trade.

        2. Exactly. I’ve yet to see a sustainable argument to the contrary. In fact, usually these shows don’t bother substantiating how history will be changed either than a new trivia night question.

  2. It’s important, in my view, that we start calling out flagging and similar activities for what they are and always have been — protests, rather than effectors of change. Protests are fine, and even healthy, in a representative democracy, and it’s often contentious, angry, and messy. So it goes.

    1. I agree – especially in this post-fact era. To be honest, I don’t think a “Flagger” would disagree that what they are doing is protest. They may disagree that what they are doing does not involve any sort of attempt at change – but their actions on the matter speak otherwise. Their typical actions are protest and sue to maintain the status quo.

      1. They tag everything on social media with #WINNING, although (as with everything), that depends on what yardstick you use to measure their success. I’m old enough to remember a time c. 2011 when their principal objective was to return the flags to the chapel at the VMFA and the light poles in Lexington on Lee/Jackson Day. That was back before they started using the supposedly sacred and noble Confederate Battle Flag like the vexillological version of a smoldering bag of dog doo, to be left on the doorstep of communities around the country that have hurt their tender, snowfake fee-fees.

        1. hat was back before they started using the supposedly sacred and noble Confederate Battle Flag like the vexillological version of a smoldering bag of dog doo

          Bahahahah!

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