In Fall 2021, I undertook an independent study to explore the history of Lost Cause Revisionism in North Carolina through memorials and history classrooms. I wanted to explore the connections between these two fields in order to better understand how public history and public education can work against the continued Confederate arguments that have been dismissed from academia.
My interest in investigating historical revisionism began with a World War II memorial in Budapest, Hungary, however, my exposure to this concept revisionism occurred earlier than I realized. Confederate history is imbued throughout public spaces in the southern United States, including the United States history classroom where I learned the Confederate perspective of the American Civil War being fought for “states rights.”. Even at my alma mater, two dormitories were recently renamed as they were originally named for figures who represented Confederate and segregationist history respectively.
In addition to researching the role of groups such as the United Daughters of the Confederacy in vindicating the Confederate cause in public spaces and the classroom, I communicated with museums and public sites as well as American History teachers in North Carolina to learn more about the external pressure they received to teach history a particular way, and how they responded to it. Both fields have an overlap in audience within K-12 students, as well as how their parents’ previous education influences their preconceived notion of the Civil War.