Tag Archives: Race

To My Fellow White Progressives

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 5.47.38 PMWhen does it stop? When does the institutionalized murder of black Americans come to an end? From where I sit, things don’t look very promising. And why should they? If our history teaches us anything it is that it has been perfectly acceptable to steal and extinguish the lives of black people in this country for 400 years. Our racism is as systemic as any of our ideals, and thus calls into question the very foundational virtues that launched our nation. What was true in 1620 was true in 1750 was true in 1830 was true 1890 was true in 1960 and is true in 2016. Out heritage offers very little to convincingly suggest that black lives make any difference whatsoever – a history of slavery and murder portend a grim future.

As white progressives, we condemn those who perpetrate these heinous acts, and yet so many of sit silently and do nothing. But we MUST act. It is imperative. If we do nothing, are we not complicit in the very crimes which we so disdain?

We MUST act. We must acknowledge white privilege. And we must admit that we have been its beneficiary for four centuries.

We MUST act. We must dispense with any self-congratulatory notions that because we have black friends and elected a black president that things are getting better. They aren’t.

We MUST act. We must understand and adopt the philosophy of #BlackLivesMatter.

We MUST act. We must engage in a meaningful and public discussion about race, despite the consequences.

We MUST act. We must stand beside our black brothers and sisters on the front lines.

Fellow white progressives, the time for luke-warm alliances has come to an end. It is time to put our lives on the line as so many have done before us. There will most certainly be missteps and unintended insensitivity; we will reveal our ignorance.

But we MUST act. How could we do otherwise?

Peace be with you.











The Americanist Independent: Volume One in Review

President_George_WashingtonGreetings all!

Volume One of the open-access web journal, The Americanist Independent is officially in the books.

I am extraordinarily happy with how all eight issues turned out. What’s more, I am thrilled to have worked with a number of very talented teachers, students, and independent historians. We did a good thing, folks!

For those of you how have yet to subscribe (remember…it’s gratis) you can do so HERE and click on any of the tabs. I suggest you begin with Scholarship. Here’s what you’ll get:


Issue One:

Explorations in Visualizing the Irish of the American Civil War by Damian Shiels

The American Slave: A Database – An Examination of the Methodology and results of Digitizing the Slave Narrative Collection by Keith D. McCall

Those Gals Had it Easy: The Conspicuously Untroubled Lives of Boydton Virginia’s Reconstruction Belles by Samantha Upton

RockinThruHistory: Learning History One Song at a Time by Damien Drago

Issue Two:

Chasing After the Daughter of the Lost Cause by Heath Hardage Lee

The North Carolina Confederate Pensions, Past and Present by Aaron M. Cusick

The Civil War Institute Annual Conference at Gettysburg College: CWI2014 Reviewed.

Harristorian Archives: The Pennsylvania Report of the 50th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg

Issue Three:

The Checkbook is an Autobiography: The Case of Henry Clay Folger (1857-1930) by Stephen H. Grant

The Letters and Writings of Bill Evans, World War II Aviator by Mike Rogers

Recreating the “Good War”: Pride and Pitfalls in WWII Reenacting by Jared Frederick

Controlling Atoms: Evaluating the AEC During the Eisenhower Years, 1952-1958 by Nick Lacasse

Issue Four:

Creating Veteran Identity for Women within the Veterans Administration by Amy Rebecca Jacobs

Selling Mr. Consumer: Forming Male Consumer Identity by Nick Lacasse

The Tide of Domesticity: A Study of Gender, Environment, and Florida’s  Indian River Culture –  1870 and 1890 by Dara R. Vance

Every Piece of This War is Man’s Bullshit: The Women of Cold Mountain, a Review Essay by M. Keith Harris

Issue Five:

California Gold, Privateering, and the Russian Navy: A Story of the American Civil War by Glenna Matthews

“When Cleverness and Knowledge Arise, Great Lies Will Flourish”: Civil War Soldiers and Calculated Manipulation on the Battlefield by Mary C. Roll

History in the Classroom and the Interactive Notebook: A Conversation with Luke Rosa by M. Keith Harris and Luke Rosa

“Not All They Resolved It To Be”: A Review of The Field of Lost Shoes by Robert Moore

Issue Six:

One Nation, One Flag, One Language: The Grand Army of the Republic and Patriotic Instruction in Indiana by Nicholas W. Sacco

The March of Freedom: African-Americans in the United States Military and their Affect on the Civil Rights Movement, 1880-1950 by Aaron Nathaniel Stockel

Military Race Riots During the Second World War by Elizabeth Lambert

Fury: A Historical Review by Micha Benjamin Flowers

Issue Seven:

Messengers of Uplift: Fisk University Student Resistance in 1925 by Dara R. Vance

Podcasts and History: Why More Historians and Public History Organizations Should Podcast by Elizabeth M. Covart

Civil War Military Historians are Freaking Out by Megan Kate Nelson

In Defense of Gallagher, Hess, and Meier by Kevin Levin

Issue Eight:

LBJ and the Electrification of the Texas Hill Country by Jena Fuller

Patriotic Profiteers: Lykens County Coal Company and the Civil War by Jake Wynn

The Siege of Milwaukee: The Cause and Effect of Anti-German Sentiment by Kevin Kolesari

And there you have it – if you are a new subscriber you clearly have a lot of reading to do! Volume Two, Issue One is in the works – and things are looking great…so stay tuned for summer!

With compliments,


The Americanist Independent

Hattie McDaniel’s Academy Award Acceptance Speech

Screen Shot 2014-07-17 at 10.44.08 AMBack when I was teaching a course on Reconstruction at UCR, we discussed a few scenes from Gone With the Wind. The discussion included Hattie McDaniel’s portrayal of Mammy as well as a few notes on the actress herself. She was a fascinating woman off the screen – a outspoken supporter of civil rights, she once lobbied the city of Los Angeles to purchase a home in an exclusive all-white neighborhood. We watched her Academy Award acceptance speech for her role as Mammy as well.
What does this suggest to you about race, historical memory, and Hollywood in 1940?

With compliments,


The Americanist Independent: A Monthly Journal of United States History