Tag Archives: historical markers

UTK historians are making news

We’re wrapping up another semester at UTK, and our history faculty (both current and emeritus) has been making headlines.

With all the brouhaha over the $20 bill, Jacksonian scholar Dan Feller has been in the news quite a bit lately (like here, for example).  A few days ago he talked to NPR about the tumultuous presidential election of 1824 and how it helped make our modern party system.

Stephen Ash, author of a book about the bloody racial episode in Memphis in 1866, lent his expertise to another recent NPR story, this one about an effort to erect a state historical marker dedicated to the massacre and paid for by the local chapter of the NAACP.  The Tennessee Historical Commission, which oversees the state markers program, approved text for the signage that referred to the massacre as a “race riot.”  Historians and members of the community objected to the phrasing, so the NAACP decided to erect its own signage rather than go through the THC program.  Personally, I much prefer the language on the NAACP’s private marker.  In this case, I think the phrase “race riot” carries connotations that would obfuscate what happened in 1866, whereas “massacre” more accurately conveys the nature of the actual event.

Julie Reed, who taught one of my all-time favorite grad courses, has a new book out.  She examines the Cherokee Nation’s social welfare efforts during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and their influence on U.S. government policy.

Finally, Shannen Dee Williams, whose seminar I had the privilege of taking this past semester, has been appointed to the Organization of American Historians’ Distinguished Lectureship Program.

We’ve got fantastic professors.  I’m lucky to get to learn from these folks!

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Filed under History and Memory, Tennessee History


A few items worthy of note as we ring in 2014.

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Filed under Abraham Lincoln, American Revolution, Appalachian History, Civil War, History on the Web, Tennessee History

Some doofus tried to swipe the Harrow School marker

This isn’t really a major news item, but it hits pretty close to home for me.  Somebody apparently tried to steal the state historical marker for Harrow School in Cumberland Gap.  Rev. A.A. Myers founded the school as one of the Appalachian missionary efforts that sprang up throughout the region in the late nineteenth century.  Harrow eventually expanded to become Lincoln Memorial University.

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Filed under Appalachian History, Tennessee History

More missing markers

This is turning out to be a distressingly common problem here in the Volunteer State.  Guys, next time you have to take down a historical marker for road work, put the darn thing back where you found it.

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Filed under Tennessee History

Watergate neither important nor historic subject, says commentator

Out of the realm of online punditry comes this tirade from Debbie Schlussel over the placing of a historical marker at the parking garage where Deep Throat met with Bob Woodward.  She doesn’t think the spot is worth it.

“It’s just not important, nor is it history, even in the most elastic use of the word,” she writes, thus establishing once and for all the fact that the downfall of a sitting U.S. president really isn’t that big of a deal.

After all, it “contributed nothing to America and the survival of the West.”  See, you can’t interpret or commemorate historical events without glorifying them, so the only aspects of the past we should be marking are the ones that elevate our collective sense of general worthiness.  We seem to be having a hard time keeping that straight, don’t we?


Filed under History and Memory