Stock market closings; Texas denies slavery caused the Civil War; Jefferson myths; NYC & slavery; guns & race; bobcats as Native American pets.

I am back from vacation and ready to fire back up!

Today’s news involved the unexplained closing of the NY Stock Exchange. But it isn’t the first time something like this has happened. Here is a “very brief history of stock markets being shut down.”

SO, right in the middle of this big national discussion about the Confederacy, Texas is all set to roll out new textbooks this fall that make slavery a “side issue” in causing the Civil War. (One correction on this article: Jefferson Davis’s inaugural DOES mention slavery). Oh Texas.

Anyone that has ever been to Colonial Williamsburg has probably encountered Bill Barker’s brilliant characterization of Thomas Jefferson (I just saw him again on July 5th). I can’t say I agree completely with everything he says here, and he oversimplifies a bit, but this is an interesting list from a man that knows Jefferson probably better than anyone. He explains what he believes to be the “five biggest misconceptions about Jefferson.”

Is the South the only region that has trouble dealing honestly with its slave past? No way. For example, check out this article that examines NYC’s plentiful monuments and memorials to prominent slaveholders, and its dearth of ones that recognize the city’s long connection with slaves and slavery.

Over on We’re History, Carole Emberton reviews the history of Reconstruction and gun violence to ask, “Will removing the flag improve our nation’s racial dialogue if guns are still the language through which so many of us speak our identity as Americans? Will increasing access to guns make our nation safer and more democratic?

Did ancient Native Americans keep bobcats as pets, complete with decorative collars? A recent dig suggests that it is possible (in at least this one instance).

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