Today’s big news is the controversial release of Harper Lee’s long-unknown novel featuring an adult Scout and an older Atticus. It seems that the Atticus Finch character is a bit more complex and perhaps more realistic than in Mockingbird in regards to his racial attitudes in response to the Civil Rights Movement. Interesting, indeed.
I think I have made it clear that for the most part I do not support the removal of Confederate monuments, but for placing signage to put them into historical context. However, over on We’re History, Elaine Frantz Parsons (associate professor of History at Duquesne University) makes a pretty compelling case that we don’t hate Nathan B. Forrest nearly as much as we should, and calls for removal of all monuments and memorials to him. Personally, I still say that putting those monuments in context is the better route to go, since they say so much about the generations that venerated such a vile man.
The Forrest statue controversy in Memphis is probably getting the most national attention, but it is not the only city grappling with what to do about Confederate monuments. For example, here is a great radio interview with Anne Marshall (associate professor of history at Mississippi State University) about the John Hunt Morgan and John C. Breckinridge statues in downtown Lexington, Kentucky. Sounds like she and I are in agreement about these monuments (and her opinion carries way more weight than mine, because if you’ve ever met her you know she is way cooler than me.)
Speaking of monuments, there is a movement to get some gender equality in regards to the statues in Central Park. Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony are soon to go up, but it shouldn’t stop there.
Interesting new online resource: After emancipation, many freedpeople used newspaper advertisements to try to contact their family members that had been sold away from the during slavery. The Historic New Orleans Collection has made available a digital collection of more than 300 advertisements that appeared in the city’s Methodist Southwestern Christian Advocate newspaper between November 1879 and December 1880. The collection is searchable by name or location, but you can also browse advertisements at random.
Looking for some humorous and/or somber stories about Civil War soldiers getting ripped on alcohol? Here ya go.