Slavery, Secession, the Confederacy, Civil War, and Reconstruction
What to Do about Confederate Monuments
- “‘New Beginnings’ at the AASLH”
- Why do people believe myths about the Confederacy? Because our textbooks and monuments are wrong
- Robert Siegel interviews Loewen on All Things Considered, National Public Radio, 7/3/2015.
- “What should New Orleans do with its Monument to White Power?” In 2015, this despicable monument still stood in NOLA. Two years later, influenced by Loewen’s writing, Mayor Landrieu removed this monument.
- “What Does Rockville, Maryland’s Confederate Monument Tell Us About the Civil War? About the Nadir? About the Present?”
- “Celebrating John C. Calhoun in Minnesota!” In 2015, Loewen suggested changing the name of the largest lake in Minneapolis. Three years later it was renamed.
- “What should Charleston do with John C. Calhoun?” In 2015, Loewen suggested that Calhoun should no longer be celebrated even in the center of the Confederacy. Five years later, to his surprise, Calhoun came down.
- In 2016, the president of Yale had stymied the drive by students and others to take John C. Calhoun’s name off a major dormitory. Loewen wrote “10 Questions for Yale’s President,” which activists found useful. A year later the president reversed himself.
- “Rockville’s Confederate Monument Belongs at White’s Ferry,” written in 2017. In 2020, even though the monument was now on private land, anti-Confederates painted it, then toppled it, and now it is gone. The base remains.
- “James Loewen discusses Confederate monuments and memorials”
- In 2017, Loewen suggested taking down Confederate monuments in Richmond.
- “Presentation to Commission Reviewing Baltimore’s Public Confederate Monuments”
- Baltimore’s Real News Network Interviews Loewen about When and Why Baltimore Put Up So Many Confederate Monuments and What To Do About Them Today
- Loewen shows what’s wrong even with one of the best Confederate monuments, “Appomattox,” formerly in downtown Alexandria, VA.
- “The Year It Became Embarrassing to Fly the Confederate Flag: An interview with James W. Loewen,” Rick Shenkman at the American Historical Association, 1/4/2018
- “Florida Is Doing the Right Thing. May Other States Follow Quickly.”
- “How Charlottesville Transformed the Confederate Monuments Debate”
- “Here is a list of Confederate monuments as of 5/2020. However, anti-racist sentiments during 2020 led to the toppling and removal of many monuments since that list was compiled.”
- “Why Taking Down Confederate Memorials Can’t Be Just Some Feel-Good Moment”
- “Don’t Tear Down the Wrong Monuments; Don’t Attack Every Holiday”
Opera: A Form of Public History?
Loewen wrote a terrific opera libretto on the end of the Civil War. This libretto is available without charge for any person, composer, institution, opera program, etc. that wants to make use of it. Loewen had in mind a “regular” opera, but the music might include slave melodies, jazz, classical …. It is also available without charge, to any group that wishes to modify it into a play. Contact the webmaster for written approval. There may even be some financial support for it as an opera production.
- “Notes on the History, Music, and Structure”
- The entire libretto, “The Liberation of Richmond”
- Alternative ending: Some say an opera must have a death. “The Liberation of Richmond” does have a death, of course, of Abraham Lincoln, but that happens off-stage, not in Richmond. So I wrote an alternative ending, which you can read here.
Reconstruction as a Public History Problem
Every “antebellum home” in the South is also a “Reconstruction home.” Most of them are silent about Recontruction, however, or simply say “After the war the estate fell on hard times.” Of course! It’s hard to make a fortune off others’ labor when you have to pay them! As a result, however, the visiting public doesn’t get a chance to learn much about this important era. Loewen has written a lot about Reconstruction, in Mississippi: Conflict and Change (with Charles Sallis et al.), Lies Across America, Teaching What Really Happened, and these articles:
- “The Monument to White Power that Still Stands in New Orleans.” Until Mayor Landrieu took it down, New Orleans had an overt monument to White power that lied about Reconstruction and celebrated its overthrow.
- “At War With Art” shows what went wrong with a Smithsonian display of art that told an astonishingly wrong narrative about Reconstruction.