History Matters: Historians Respond to the Charleston Shooting [Updated]

There is no way to tell the story of what happened on June 17, 2015, without talking about deeper histories of race, religion, and violence.

Christian McWhirter on “Divided and United” and Authentic Civil War Music

Civil War music is now a cottage industry.

Excerpt: Battle Hymns, by Christian McWhirter

He ordered them to leave the camp as soon as possible, but they received permission to stay one more day because of bad weather “if they behave themselves properly.” They did not.

Christian McWhirter: Did They Get It Right?: Civil War Music in Popular Film

Glory is noteworthy as one of the few popular representations of the war to include African American music. The Civil War had a tremendous impact on black music but the songs created and sung by African Americans are rarely included in books and films. Although Burns makes use of black spirituals, even he does not incorporate those that were actually most popular among slaves, freedpeople, and USCTs.

Christian McWhirter: Musical Theft in the Civil War

Like the often-lamented vicious political rhetoric of modern politics, the phenomenon of using popular songs for political gain is nothing new. During the Civil War, politicians, military officials, and civilians frequently appropriated and revised popular songs for their own purposes. The primary difference is that today’s legal system is robust enough for songwriters and musicians to oppose such usage.