Debunking slave myths; bad history @ Jack the Ripper museum; archeology @ Minute Man NPS site; expanding Antietam; an unheralded female WWII photographer

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Today we’ve got two good pieces that debunk some of the myths that persist about about slavery. The highest profile one appears in Slate. (I have a quibble with an otherwise super piece: when discussing so-called “black Confederates” the authors claim “The myth is a product of the post-war period.” This is only partially true. In fact, the myth ironically originates with abolitionists and radical Republicans who, as a means of promoting emancipation during the early war years, made claims that blacks were seen fighting for the Confederacy. In the postwar years, and more recently, Confederate apologists have used such claims as primary sources to prove their claims about black Confederates. For more info about this, I humbly offer my essay here, and especially my book). The other piece appears in a Pittsburgh newspaper, in which Professor Lou Martin responds to what was apparently a pretty disgusting OP-ed piece in which the writer made some ludicrous (but sadly common) statements about southern slavery.

You remember that museum in London that got permission to open by describing itself as a women’s history museum, but then it turned out to be a Jack the Ripper museum? Well, a female historian decided to take a tour to review the place, and what she found was some pretty bad (and misogynistic) history.

Pretty cool project going on at the Minute Man National Historic Site. They’re using radar and archeology to mark out the exact spots where British soldiers and American militia men were standing when they exchanged shots in one area of the battle. If you have ever been there, you know this is a great Park Service site, but it is sometimes short on specific troop alignment details. Nice to see this work being done.

And speaking of exciting things involving the NPS: it is official, Antietam Battlefield is adding 44 new and crucial acres to the park!

Vanity Fair (of all places) has an interesting article today about a female WWII photographer, Lee Miller. She was a former model for Vogue, and wound up taking amazing photographs of some of the war’s greatest horrors, after which she suffered from PTSD. Check out her largely forgotten story (and that pic of her posing in Hitler’s bathtub!)

So with Halloween season starting, I am determined to get up some sort of spooky fun each day. How about some ghost tales from historic Louisiana? (And just remember, never let facts and rational thought get in the way of a good spook tale 🙂 )

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