Dixie: The Confederate Flag

I was born and reared in Dixie. But I’m not a Confederate sympathizer. In 1862, three of my ancestors left Knoxville to join the Union army in Kentucky. They were later captured and sent to the Confederate prisons Belle Isle (Virginia) and Andersonville (Georgia), where two died. The third was paroled, hospitalized, and sent home.…

A “Civil” War: Andersonville

In the winter of 1861-1862, three of my ancestors enlisted in Company K in Sevierville, Tennessee, as privates (National). This company was one of ten in the 2nd East Tennessee Infantry regiment, which became Mounted Infantry in June 1863 (“2nd”). Considered traitors on their home soil, my ancestors were Union men in a state that…

Columbus Day: Discovering America

According to most history textbooks, Christopher Columbus (c.1451-1506) received money from King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain to sail three ships (Nina, Pinta, Santa Maria) west to China and India. He landed in the Bahamas on October 12, 1492. As a result, Columbus is credited with “discovering” America. I used to celebrate Columbus Day, which was…

The Victims of 9/11

The events of September 11, 2001 have produced much grief worldwide. I pity the innocent victims of Al Qaida. I also pity victims of our military in Afghanistan and Iraq, thanks to “Operation Enduring Freedom.” They did not deserve to die. I do not know who was responsible for 3,000-plus deaths that morning in lower Manhattan…

Christian Journalism: Muckraking

I recently read a book on journalism history called The Muckrake Years (1974) by David Mark Chalmers, then a University of Florida professor. Part 1 summarizes America in the first decade of the twentieth century, the origin of muckraking as a journalism practice, and the social issues journalists wrote about. Part 2 reprints portions of…

Secession: The American Civil War

Introduction I hate the Confederacy. My home state seceded after the attack on Fort Sumter in April 1861, but my hometown still voted 2-to-1 against secession. From that state, my great-great-grandfather and his two uncles fought for the Union. They were captured and sent to Andersonville Prison in southern Georgia. My great-great-grandfather survived, but his…

Hannah Arendt: American Education

Hannah Arendt (1906-1975), a German-born Jewish-American political theorist, wrote an essay on America’s education system in the wake of Brown v. Board of Education (1954). “Reflections on Little Rock” (1959) discusses de-segregation, bussing, states’ rights, etc. Some of her insights still apply, especially re: Common Core. Learning Spaces (pdf) has the complete article. It is perfectly true, as…