Father’s Day; Charleston/race/Confederacy debates rage on; Smithsonian expands; Freedmen’s Bureau records released; Waterloo re-enactment; Steve Forbes defends Hamilton.

First off, here’s a piece from Huffpo “remembering the bittersweet history” of a special day that was born from a tragic event involving a mine explosion in West Virginia.

The South Carolina story is still smoldering, and the number of history-related stories, blog posts, and opinion pieces it continues to generate is staggering. Just to drop a few of the higher profile ones: USA Today says the shooting “resurrects Charleston’s troubled racial history;” The New York Times has a really good look at Charleston itself, a city that “even before the shootings, . . . could feel as though it was progressing and backsliding all at once.” and perhaps most provocative is this piece from Salon tying the event with the Rachel Dolezal story and arguing that white America has a “pathological obsession with blackness.” Over on Civil War Memory, Kevin Levin and his readers have an interesting discussion going on about the Confederate flag’s “heritage of hate,” but I still insist that Kevin Gannon got the last word in on the whole “heritage not hate” debate. One of the more readable pieces I came across is from an unlikely source. Cecil Hurt is perhaps the elder statesmen of Alabama Sports writers, and he has a small essay today musing on the past, the intersection of race and sports, and how the Rebel flag belongs in a museum, not on a flag pole.

But believe it or not, there are other history-related stories that do not involve Charleston or the legacy of the Confederacy:

Tens of thousands of people have been gathering in the Belgian countryside over the last week to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Waterloo. It looks like these re-enactors take it as seriously as our Civil War re-enactors, and the Paris lawyer that portrays Napoleon is apparently some-what of a celebrity.

The Smithsonian is set to open a new wing at the American History museum dedicated to “American innovation” and focused on showing “how the United States has moved from being a small, dependent nation to being one of the world’s most vibrant and trend-setting economies.” It is the first step in an overhaul of the museum.

Some 4 million Freedmen’s Bureau records are being digitalized released, which could be a major breakthrough for amateur family historians (and academics!).

And lastly, Steve Forbes has decided to weigh in on the whole Hamilton/currency debate by insisting that downgrading Alex on the $10 is “part of an ongoing campaign by the left to discredit the beliefs and values that make America unique.” Really? However, buried in that ridiculous assertion is actually a pretty good history of Hamilton and a defense of his place on our currency. Just blow off Forbes’ diatribe against “today’s cultural totalitarians.”


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