Our recent history of mass shootings; public history & the Confederacy debate heats up; history’s best nicknames; history of ghosts stories

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Another mass shooting today. I am way beyond outraged that this continues to happen and yet we seem to be doing nothing about it. Here’s a brief (yet still sobering) look at our recent history of mass shootings.

Today there has been some push back at Ashley Luskey’s essay about the Confederate iconography in Richmond’s St. Paul’s church. On Civil War Memory, Kevin Levin points out “the limits of public history.” It is a thoughtful piece, but I don’t think it is as effective as this essay by Christopher Graham, in which he too points out those limits, but ultimately concludes that “Calling for more content and interpretation is fine and we all agree, but this discussion needs to move beyond this point and begin offering concrete suggestions.” Indeed. Lastly, Nick Sacco jumps in by discussing one instance in which contextualization has NOT been successful, and that is the case of Louisiana’s “Uncle Jack” statue. (Although I would retort that this case proves little about the possible limits of contextualization in our current era, in that the statue was moved in 1968–obviously a much different era, and one in which we would not expect some effective contextualization of Rebel iconography in Louisiana. However, the fact that nothing has been done differently since then is a travesty. It reminds me of the fact that the NPS’s contextualization of the Hayward Shepherd monument at Harper’s Ferry is woefully and disgustingly inadequate.) This debate is getting more interesting, and I look forward to seeing where public historians take it from this point forward.

Researchers believe they’ve found proof that an ancient tomb holds the remains of one of Alexander the Great’s closet friends, and that he commissioned and financed the monument.

How cool is this? Check out the neat images from this project to visually depict what Manhattan Island looked like 400 years ago in comparison with today.

What are the Top Ten Nicknames in history? Check out this list (I’ve long had “Ivar the Boneless” as my #1).

And lastly, for my Halloween season posting today, how about a history of ghost stories? Since ancient times, these stories have been a rich part of nearly every culture’s folktales.

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One thought on “Our recent history of mass shootings; public history & the Confederacy debate heats up; history’s best nicknames; history of ghosts stories

  1. Hi Glenn,

    Your point is taken with regards to the “Uncle Jack” statue being moved during a time that is much different than ours today, and for that reason it may not tell us much about contextualizing iconography today. One of my goals in writing this piece was historicizing this idea that controversial iconography can and should be moved to a “neutral” museum setting. In pointing this detail out I hoped to demonstrate that:

    A) The appropriateness and acceptance of some Confederate-inspired iconography has been contested for a long time.
    B) Contextualizing within a museum setting has been tried before, and it hasn’t always worked.
    C) There is no uniform method for addressing tough history commemorated through iconography that doesn’t come with interpretive difficulties for public historians and museum practitioners.

    Thanks for linking to my essay!

    Liked by 1 person

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