The statue Sons of St. Augustine depicting Alexander Darnes and Edmund Kirby Smith.

The Doctor and the Confederate

A historian’s journey into the relationship between Alexander Darnes and Edmund Kirby Smith starts with a surprising eulogy.

The Patriot Slave

The dangerous myth that blacks in bondage chose not to be free in revolutionary America.

The ‘Loyal Slave’ Photo That Explains the Northam Scandal

The governor’s yearbook picture, like many images before it, reinforces the belief that blacks are content in their oppression.

The Pernicious Myth of the ‘Loyal Slave’ Lives on in Confederate Memorials

Statues don’t need to venerate military leaders of the Civil War to promulgate false narratives.

The Echoes of America's 'Faithful Slave' Trope in Lola's Story

How Alex Tizon’s essay echoes a trope with deep roots in American history
Film still of Hattie McDaniel as Mammy in "Gone with the Wind."

The Mammy Washington Almost Had

In 1923, the U.S. Senate approved a new monument in D.C. "in memory of the faithful slave mammies of the South."

Mildred Rutherford’s War

The “historian general” of the United Daughters of the Confederacy began the battle over the depiction of the South in history textbooks that continues today.
Illustration by Kat Brooks of Stephanie Gilbert and her great grandfather Oliver Cromwell Gilbert and his home.

She Cherished the Home Where Her Family Fled Slavery. Then a Stranger Bought It.

Would the new owner of Richland Farm let a Black woman continue to visit to pay tribute to her enslaved ancestors?

Race, History, and Memories of a Virginia Girlhood

A historian looks back at the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow in her home state.
African American re-enactor dressed as a Confederate.

How the Myth of Black Confederates Was Born

And how a handful of black Southerners helped perpetuate it after the Civil War.

“My Dear Master”: An Enslaved Blacksmith’s Letters to a President

This document is the rarest of items in the Library of Congress's manuscript collections: a letter written by an enslaved person.

Kanye’s Brand of “Freethinking” Has a Long, Awful History

His condemnation of enslaved people’s failure to rebel is drawn from a dangerous ideology that’s older than the United States.

Encountering the Plantation Myth Where You'd Least Expect It

Well off Savannah's tourist trail, there's a replica of an antebellum plantation home in the middle of a public housing project.

Myth of Black Confederates Won't Go Away

Two South Carolina lawmakers dust off a familiar trope in an attempt to fight back against Confederate monument removals.

The Myth of Robert E. Lee And The "Good" Slave Owner

According to Lost Cause mythology, Lee was a benevolent slave owner who fought for states’ rights. His slaves said otherwise.
Painting of Hannah.

Hannah, Andrew Jackson’s Slave

A favorite of Old Hickory, she made him seem kinder than he was. Why?
A crane removes the Robert E. Lee statue from Monument Avenue in Richmond, 2021.

The Question of the Offensive Monument

A new book asks what we lose by simply removing monuments.
"The Washington Family," painting by Edward Savage, c. 1789–1796. (National Gallery of Art)

The Silence of Slavery in Revolutionary War Art

Artists captured and honored the intensity of the American Revolution, but the bravery and role of Black men in the war was not portrayed.
An illustration of an accordion being played.

The "Good Old Rebel" at the Heart of the Radical Right

How a satirical song mocking uneducated Confederates came to be embraced as an anthem of white Southern pride.

A Very Lost Cause Love Affair

Is it possible to write a good Civil War romance?