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Tonight: The Mine Wars

Go inside the coal miners’ bitter battle for dignity at the dawn of the 20th century with The Mine Wars. The struggle over the material that fueled America led to the largest armed insurrection since the Civil War and turned parts of West Virginia into a bloody war zone. 

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Tonight, on PBS (check your local listings). As an Appalachian enthusiast, who is currently teaching a class on Appalachian identity and stereotypes, I am beyond thrilled about this documentary.

Check out a brief video here.

The Complicated History of the Confederate Flag

From the YouTube channel, The Good Stuff. A terrific video about the Confederate Battle Flag. The video includes the following description:

The confederate flag is a controversial symbol. What it means has changed over time and can depend on who you are and where you come from. And to further complicate this, there wasn’t just one confederate flag–there were dozens–and the flag we’ve come to know as the confederate flag has a history as complicated as it is contentious.

What if the South Won the American Civil War

Here is an alternate history theory by the YouTube channel AlternateHistoryHub. The channel has some really interesting videos that are fun to watch and think about. I do enjoy alternate histories for their entertainment value. I am also believe that they have intellectual value. Alternate histories present ideas about the past into order to formulate their alternative future. At the very least, they make you think. Unsurprisingly, AlternateHistoryHub produced a “what if” regarding the Civil War. Tell me what you think.

‘Tis the Season for Discrimination

Today’s post features a personal story and insights on disability discrimination from Isabel Otero. Isabel is a high school friend of mine and routine commenter on this blog. I have featured her keen insight before on this blog; especially on matters of discrimination and race. Having worked with the Department of Justice and currently the Southern Poverty Law Center, she certainly has a lot of experience in the matter. Enjoy.

As one of our political parties drags the fringe of their base –kicking, screaming and brandishing guns– into the mainstream, our airwaves and holiday conversations end up saturated with words like “Trump, “intolerance,” “war” etc. History tells us that our collective finger-pointing will soon move on to the next easy target, so Syrians sit tight –as a Latina — I will tell you some of this may pass. It’s hard to imagine a time when someone will not be stigmatized and treated as second class citizens due to some part of their identity. I’d like to talk about one of those groups now. No, this time it’s not the LGBT community, African-Americans, women, atheists, Muslims, or Jews. I want to talk about people with disabilities. 

Continue reading “‘Tis the Season for Discrimination”

39th Annual Appalachian Studies Association Conference

I recently learned that my proposal to the 2016 Appalachian Studies Association Conference has been accepted. I have presented at this conference a few times over the past couple of years and it is a thrill every time. I have had the opportunity to read papers in front of academics in the field and to have prominent historians, such as Dr. John Inscoe, critique my papers. Each time I have presented at this conference I learned and evolved as a young scholar looking to finish his masters degree. This year, I amm going to the conference with a paper more personal in nature. I recently began “modernizing” the history of my hometown and county. Specifically, I am looking at antebellum Catoosa County and its relationship with slavery. Here is the proposal I submitted.  Continue reading “39th Annual Appalachian Studies Association Conference”

From the Holler: Gettysburg Address, Edition

It has been a while since I last posted on this site. I have been completely bogged down by work, more work, and paper work. Every time I get an idea or a start a new post, life got in the way. Granted, I have taken on a few new leadership positions this year and I am coaching at a different school. So here’s a few things worth note as I get back into the usual routine.  Continue reading “From the Holler: Gettysburg Address, Edition”

Displaying and Teaching the Confederate Flag in the Classroom (Part 2)

In a previous post I wrote about the new project I instituted in my United States History classes which deals with the Confederate Battle Flag. In short, the goal of the activity is to have students reflect on how they view the flag and to evaluate that view as the school year progresses. You can read more about that here. I began the year long project by having students write down on index cards, in three words or less, what they thought when they saw a Confederate Flag. I clarified to students that I did not mean the Confederate Flag in a classroom or in a museum where there is context, but what they thought when the saw the flag in public, on an automobile, on a state house, or on the side of the highway. I also asked students to write down a couple of descriptive words to clarify what they thought. Student responses were then copied onto a spreadsheet so that I could compile data on how students viewed the CBF at the beginning of the school year. One hundred and fourteen students responded, and here are the results. Continue reading “Displaying and Teaching the Confederate Flag in the Classroom (Part 2)”

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

Update: Due to the agitating nature of some comments, further comments that are off topic or argumentative for the sake of arguing will not be approved. As always, if you have an argument to present and evidence to back it up, please post. I am looking for good resources to use in the classroom. Thanks


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)”