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On Top of the World

Sep 5, 2017

Today, Matt and I talk about the ongoing controversy over the removal of Confederate monuments in the United States and the importance of public history to our discipline. Matt recently made the case for the removal of the statue in Houston named “The Spirit of the Confederacy.” We argue that we make choices in terms of how we remember the past, and that celebrating those who resisted slavery, like Virginia Boyd, is a more appropriate use of public space. Matt’s speech, the letter from Virginia Boyd to her slave master in 1853, the Washington Post call to action for medievalists, Baptist’s The Half Has Never Been Told, an article on the German military myth that they were not involved in the Holocaust, and even links to the book written by Judge Norman G. Kittrell (who gave a speech at the unveiling of the statue) are all available online. Those who wish to contribute to the Gofundme’s for a Houston student injured in Charlottesville, those arrested in Durham, or the family of Heather Heyer can follow the links here. Our next episode will look in more depth at other examples from world history that can help contextualize the current situation in the US. Recommendations are:

Matt – Kirk Savage, Standing Soldiers, Kneeling Slaves

Dave – Atieno-Odhiambo and Lonsdale (eds), Mau Mau and Nationhood