Category Archives: The South shall rise again

February 11, 2014, 7:37 am

Leading Edge: Francesca Tronchin on Elvis and Roman Architecture

Graceland villa 1My first visit to Graceland was during what Memphis folks and Elvis fans call “Death Week” without the slightest sense of the macabre or even irony, as this is high season for Elvis tourism, even in torrid mid-August. I only saw Graceland from the outside, as my destination, like that of so many other visitors this particular week, was the Meditation Garden where Elvis, his parents, and his grandmother are buried. I was surprised but then moved to see mourners praying at the gravesite, openly crying. I was even more fascinated by the large, elaborate flower arrangements sent from Elvis fan clubs all over the world. What to me was going to be a cheeky glimpse into my new home’s local hero turned into something more profound. I not only felt an emotional twinge, but also an intellectual one, seeing some connections between annual pilgrimage to Elvis’ residence and funerary monument…

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July 1, 2013, 6:32 pm

Still Not Yet Two O’Clock

George Will is making his usual hash of American history, this time in the service of honoring the Battle of Gettysburg. He wants to argue that Gettysburg is the most important battle in American history, a fair enough point, but the way he eliminates other candidates sometimes borders on the farcical. Saratoga, which brought the French in on the American side during the Revolution? Less important than it might seem because:

But the Revolution would have succeeded without French assistance: No distant island could govern this continent.

This completely elides the critical difference the French actually made, which was to neutralize the overwhelming British naval superiority (something that made Yorktown possible) and also to threaten the British Isles themselves. The British could survive losing naval control of the Chesapeake Bay. The English Channel? Not so much. But it also…

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May 21, 2013, 8:43 pm

Reenacting Reconciliation

[Guest post! Kanisorn Wongsrichanalai of Angelo State University is kind enough to write for Edge on reconciliation and memory in modern day Texas. Post and photos copyright K. Wongsrichanalai 2013]

Dedicating a new monument

Living in San Angelo, Texas, I often feel like I am living precisely at the edge of the American West. There seems to be a constant drought, the summers are punishing, and the temperature can fluctuate wildly, going from triple digits to freezing in a matter of hours. When I first arrived in this city of nearly 100,000, I wondered what kind of people would settle here. As it turns out, Fort Concho, established by the United States Army in 1867, marked the beginning of this frontier settlement. Buffalo soldiers manned the fort and attempted to keep the Comanche in check as settlers and ranchers moved westward. Some of the individuals who came to West Texas we…

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February 5, 2013, 5:13 pm

Living In William Faulkner’s World

Or so it seems:

Essie May Washington-Williams was the daughter of Thurmond and his family’s black maid. The identity of her famous father was rumored for decades in political circles and the black community.
But not until after the South Carolina Republican died in 2003 at age 100 did Washington-Williams come forward and say her father was the white man who ran for president on a segregationist platform and served in the U.S. Senate for more than 47 years.
“I am Essie Mae Washington-Williams, and at last I am completely free,” Washington-Williams said at a news conference in a South Carolina ballroom revealing her secret.

Mrs. Washington-Williams died this week, aged 87.

August 29, 2012, 5:05 pm

Romney to US: U Mad Bro?

Mitt Romney is surely the trollingest presidential candidate ever.

Gov. Mitt Romney’s campaign toasted its top donors Wednesday aboard a 150-foot yacht flying the flag of the Cayman Islands.

The exclusive event, hosted by a Florida developer on his yacht “Cracker Bay,” was one of a dozen exclusive events meant to nurture those who have raised more than $1 million for Romney’s bid.

The rap on Romney is of course that he is inconsistent. Yet he persistently presents the impression that he is among the richest of men, in league with the richest of men and women, with little regard for the United States or its citizens except as a herd from which to extract profit.

That the yacht is (surely innocently) called Cracker Bay is only an extra incidental fillip for a candidate of the party that depends on the votes of white southerners.

December 22, 2011, 10:35 am

This history blog has its own history.

April 7, 2010, 12:21 pm

Reader response, he hopefully wrote.

Ari’s previous two posts inspire me to ask of our learned readership a question for each.1

1) Does the “which side are you on” rhetoric in response to industrial tragedy get the American public’s attention? Almost a hundred years ago Charles Beard, perhaps somewhat bitterly, said no:

Realizing the fact that a mere high mortality due to congestion will not seriously disturb a nation that complacently slaughters more people on its railways and in its factories and mines than any other country in the world, mathematically minded reformers are trying to reach the heart of the public through its purse by pointing out that there is a great economic loss in the death of persons of working age.

Which really works better to grab Americans’ attention? Rhetorical appeals to justice, or social scientific appeals to your wallet?

2) Let’s stipulate there is no greater historiographical swindle…

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October 5, 2009, 8:00 pm

Who still cares for the American Civil War?

I like Mary Beard’s TLS blog. But this time I fear she has Gone Too Far. Or, perhaps more likely, she’s pulling our collective leg — though I don’t remember her pulling it in quite this manner before. Even out here at the veriest Edge, the cityscape is clotted with victors’ memories of the War of Eastern Aggression. Just yesterday I was out picknicking with fellow parents of future yuppies at the Black Point Battery; and of course the map is full of streets named for Vicksburg, Grant, Lincoln and the Union. (Not to speak of the Confederate general from Big Sur.)

Need we quote Faulkner again?

Image by Flickr user maduarte used under a Creative Commons license.

April 15, 2009, 3:11 pm

Ron Paul: Still Crazy

We haven’t had a good Ron Paul post in a bit, so

In a YouTube video earlier this week, Paul suggested lawmakers consider issuing letters [of marque], which could relieve American naval ships from being the nation’s primary pirate responders — a free-market solution to make the high seas safer for cargo ships.

This would, of course, be Constitutional, since Congress has the power to “to declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water.” How about a combination of Indian Ocean Cruise and Pirate Capturing Expedition? Carnival might be interested.

February 11, 2009, 12:02 am

Return of the border ruffians.

If a few years ago you had told me that neo-Confederates were everywhere, even occupying high political office, I would have gently replied that you should put down your dogeared copy of Tony Horwitz and take the rest cure.

But here, again, we have an elected official parroting Thomas Dixon. This time it’s Representative Bryan Stevenson, a Republican state rep. in Missouri. Yesterday Stevenson railed about about the Freedom of Choice Act on the floor of the Missouri House (you can find classy audio here), suggesting that:

What we are dealing with today is the greatest power grab by the federal government since the war of northern aggression…

It’s probably too late to encourage these people to re-secede, right?