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Displaying and Teaching the Confederate Flag in the Classroom (Part 1)

Today in class my students and I discussed the violent, and often genocidal, conflict between the Puritan settlers in New England and Native Americans. After a brief discussion and a short video on the Pequot War and King Philip’s War, I assigned a short essay. I asked students to analyze “Why do [they] believe [Americans] are so quick to forget this important part of the history of Puritan settlers and embrace the mythology that we learned in grade school of the peaceful and freedom seeking Pilgrims?” The answers I got were great, but one stuck out. To paraphrase, one of my students suggested that people prefer to concentrate on the positives of the past. Another student noted that not many people would not want to acknowledge that their grandfather carried the head of Chief Metacom to Plymouth. Collectively, the class seemed to agree that people gloss over the past in praise. I asked if they had any other examples of this “whitewashing” taking place. One student said, “The flag.” I asked, “which flag?” The student responded, “The Confederate Flag. People want to say it represents history or heritage…but not racism.”  Continue reading “Displaying and Teaching the Confederate Flag in the Classroom (Part 1)”

Durwood Dunn’s “The Civil War in Southern Appalachian Methodism”

“that when I shall have made up my mind to go to Hell, I will cut my throat and go direct, and not travel by way of the Southern Confederacy.”  ~ Parson Brownlow, Knoxville Whig

I am reading my way through the late Durwood Dunn’s final book, The Civil War in Southern Appalachian Methodism.  It took me one sitting to read through half of the book and I am thoroughly enjoying it. Dunn did an incredible job running down obscure sources in order to recreate the environment of the Holston Conference during the Civil War. He set forth a simple argument, that the Civil War unveiled an internal civil war within the conference that had been waged for five decades prior to the war (p. xi). In addition to this, Dunn made it obvious through primary source documentation that the central issue that tore the country (and denomination) apart prior to the war, also played a part in tearing the conference apart.  Continue reading “Durwood Dunn’s “The Civil War in Southern Appalachian Methodism””

Catoosa County Residents Meet About Secession

Catoosa MeetingI came across this interesting article while looking into the history of slavery in Catoosa County. The passage, printed by the “Rome Weekly Courier” on December 21, 1860, lists the resolutions adopted by the county in response to the Georgia Secession Convention. I find it interesting that this small Appalachian county recognized the key issue that tore the country apart in 1860. In fact, slavery is the only issue listed by name; not taxes, not states’ rights, and not tyranny. I retyped the article below.  Continue reading “Catoosa County Residents Meet About Secession”

And the Flag Comes Down

The Confederate Battle Flag was lowered today at the South Carolina State House. The flag has been the center of much controversy for some time. South Carolina, in the wake of tragedy, is attempting to move forward toward an era of healing, where actions speak louder than the “Heritage not Hate” mantra. It is unfortunate that this era had to come in the wake of tragedy, but it did happen. Dylann Roof’s attempt at starting a race war failed, but it served to open the eyes of many Americans. In the video below, witness a multi-racial and bi-partisan crowd lowering the flag and ushering in a new era.

152 Years Ago Today at Vicksburg

On July 4, 1863, John C. Pemberton formally surrendered his Confederate forces to General Ulysses S. Grant. Unlike his unconditional surrender policy at Fort Donelson, Grant offered parole to Confederate POWs. Grant made the decision not to attempt to feed or transport thirty thousand Confederate soldiers. Among those taken prisoner that day was one of my Confederate ancestors, Westley Avans. On July 9, Westley Avans of the 43rd Tennessee Infantry was formally paroled.

Parole Paper - 1863 Vicksburg Continue reading “152 Years Ago Today at Vicksburg”

Slavery and Interstate Commerce in Appalachia

As mentioned before, I am undertaking a new project that involves the study of slavery in Catoosa County. In order to do so, I am building a sturdy base by examining historiography related to slavery in the ‘Deep South’ in comparison to slavery in Appalachia. Today I came across Wilma A. Dunaway’s Women, Work, and Family in the Antebellum Mountain SouthAlthough slavery is not the main focus of the book, Dunaway does provide some keen insight into slavery in Appalachia as she explains its effect on women and the family. Take for example this passage:  Continue reading “Slavery and Interstate Commerce in Appalachia”

The Ku Klux Klan Descends Upon South Carolina Statehouse

Despite condemnation from South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, the Ku Klux Klan intends to hold a rally at the South Carolina capital next month. This, of course, is in response to recent calls to take down the flag at the South Carolina statehouse. One member of the Klan protest those requests stating that “the Confederate flag being taken down for all the wrong reasons,” and that “it’s part of white people’s culture.” Another member remarked that confessed killer Dylann Roof “was heading in the right direction; wrong target,” adding that “He should have actually aimed at the African-American gang-bangers, the ones who are selling the drugs to white youth, the ones who are robbing and raping every chance they get.” The Klan claims that the rally will be a peaceful one. Only time will tell Thankfully, one local news station recorded the Klan’s planning meeting prior to the upcoming rally.  Continue reading “The Ku Klux Klan Descends Upon South Carolina Statehouse”