As I'm sitting here editing the first chapter of University, Court, and Slave -- it and the tables on votes in the Virginia House of Delegates are getting the better of me right now -- I thought I'd take a break and post a couple of photographs that Bill Turnier sent along. This is a pretty interesting story -- a Confederate veteran put up the monument at right in 1891 as an act of reconciliation. And in the 1920s the Union veterans reciprocated by putting up a plaque honoring the Confederate soldiers. Or so the plaque at the "Soldiers Memorial Fountain" that Bill sent along tells me. All of this reminds me that I have a picture of a fountain dedicated as a memorial to the South that I need to use for a trivia question real soon....
And the Confederate Monument on Martha's Vineyard, "The Chasm is Closed" -- here it is.
When I have more time I want to get into the discussion of Caroline Janney's Remembering the Civil War: Reunion and the Limits of Reconciliation, which poses an important challenge to one of my most favorite works of history, David Blight's Race and Reunion. Janney argues that while some people spoke of reconciliation (and did so on the backs of the formerly enslaved people and their issue), that veterans and their families resisted reconciliation, in many cases until the end. This is not surprising -- but particularly in law (an area that is not of a whole lot of interest to Janney) the reconciliation impulse was in full swing by the 1890s. And in law, a place where reconciliation ideas and action really mattered, it helped smooth the way for Jim Crow. Time for Glory McLaughlin to write a follow-up to her article on the image of the Civil War in the Alabama courts. Certainly the Martha's Vineyard monument is further evidence of the public image of reconciliation even among veterans from Massachusetts. Makes me think someone needs to write a review of Janney from the perspective of southern and northern judicial opinions -- and undoubtedly there's some cool work to be done looking at United States and Confederate veterans who became judges, too. Janney is certainly sparking debate in the Civil War memory world and I'm thinking she's going to open up some good questions about the contours of reconciliation and how it unfolded from the 1890s through the 1930s.
Update: The monument is on Martha's Vineyard, not Cape Cod as I originally wrote. My apologies to blog readers that I can't keep those high-end vaction spots straight.