Some historians shrug when they hear of debates over Confederate heritage (unless, in some cases, there’s a chance to be quoted in the newspaper or on a website or even–gasp!–interviewed in true sage scholarly fashion). But other people actually understand that documenting what has been happening this year is essential to understanding how Americans today think about the American Civil War and Confederate heritage. I’m calling attention to two of those efforts.
First, the Washington Post has shared a graphic from the Southern Poverty Law Center that shows users where Confederate heritage demonstrations have taken place and the number of people involved in them. Kevin Levin’s already offered his take here.
Second, Professor Kurt Luther at Virginia Tech is tracking reports of vandalism against Confederate monuments.
I’m sure that sometime in the future someone will also begin tracking reports of incidents involving the display of Confederate flags and other icons on private property. The pace of such reports has picked up in the past several months. It should go without saying that such acts challenge (and in my opinion violate) First Amendment protections, and that taking matters into your own hands (especially when it involves violence or destructive acts) is wrong. Nor do I care for acts of vandalism against Confederate monuments. Reasonable and fair-minded people already knew this.
What do you make of these exercises and the information they impart?