“Fake News” and Racial Violence after the Civil War

The following is a guest blog post by William A. Blair, author of The Record of Murders and Outrages: Racial Violence and the Fight over Truth at the Dawn of Reconstruction. Blair uses the accounts of far-flung Freedmen’s Bureau agents to ask questions about the early days of Reconstruction, which are surprisingly resonant with the present… Continue Reading “Fake News” and Racial Violence after the Civil War

William A. Blair on the Consequences of Silence during the Civil War

Americans have a high regard for free speech, but should we have the same concern for the protection of silence? Should saying nothing or doing nothing open one to military arrest? What if a president has gone on record as advocating such a policy? This may sound like a ridiculous proposition, given our system of rights embedded in the Constitution. But it is not a hypothetical statement: this scenario faced northerners, border state loyalists, and especially Confederates in occupied zones during the U.S. Civil War. Saying nothing and doing nothing did bring the U.S. Army to one’s door. Continue Reading William A. Blair on the Consequences of Silence during the Civil War

Today in history: Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina were readmitted to the Union

Reunited and it feels so good; okay, so maybe 1868 wasn’t as smooth as a pop song.  There were a few kinks to work out.  How would secessionist states regain self-governing status?  How would newly freedmen be integrated into southern society?  What would become of the leaders of the Confederacy?  Reconstruction proved to be one… Continue Reading Today in history: Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina were readmitted to the Union

Juneteenth, Emancipation, and the Proclamation

Today, the UNC Press blog is happy to offer a guest post from William A. Blair, professor of U.S. history and director of the George and Ann Richards Civil War Era Center at the Pennsylvania State University. In November, UNC Press will be publishing Lincoln’s Proclamation, a collection of essays coedited by Blair and Karen… Continue Reading Juneteenth, Emancipation, and the Proclamation