The North Carolina Museum of History is hosting an exhibit, Billy Graham: North Carolina’s Favorite Son, and the News & Observer put their report on the front page above the fold. Reporter Tim Funk’s chief concern is that the exhibit fails to confront Graham’s association with Richard Nixon. This is the most common type of… More Billy Graham and the risks of sharing authority
I had the honor to attend the unveiling of a Virginia historic highway marker [.pdf] for Parker Sydnor, a freedman and stonecutter in southside Virginia. Sydnor, and his kinswoman Vicey Skipwith, represent something that I found in my own dissertation work—individual people rarely conform to the larger narratives we impose on the past. Skipwith’s story, told… More Parker Sydnor
What I mean by historians doing historian things reflects a conversation I had with my students this week wherein they articulated different approaches to history they’re seeing between my museum studies class and their graduate seminar in American history. Students noticed that the point of the academic book is to foreground an interpretive point—the thesis—and… More Historians doing historian things on Confederate monuments is not enough
Yesterday I unexpectedly received a job offer and this morning I accepted. You may or may not hear about it here. The immediate upshot for this space is that everything I’m currently working on has to come to a dead stop as I transition to new tasks. That’s too bad. I had wanted to continue… More Summary thoughts on Confederate monuments as I move on from this
The present consensus that Confederate monuments need radical re-interpretation—if not removal—makes for a righteous and satisfying call, but stops short of engaging the very real complicated histories, contexts, and bureaucratic politics of actual examples of the form. Keith Harris is doing his work, and I look forward to the progress he makes in Hollywood. Haven’t… More How would you interpret this Confederate monument?
Keith Harris steps into the weeds on monuments here, noting how utterly impractical it might be to untangle racist intent from the broader memorial landscape, and pointing to the useful interpretive value of preserving this intent in situ. To leave Confederate monuments in place—with updated interpretation—appears to be the post-Charleston consensus opinion among the right-thinking… More Privilege and the historicizing of monuments