Southern History and Civil Rights in the News 15 January 2021

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Southern History and Civil Rights in the News

15 January 2021


Last week’s attempted insurrection at the Capitol is still front and center in the news cycle this week. Rather than focus on the news itself, which is widely available, I thought it would be instructive to highlight the work that historians are doing in helping to make sense of current events in the context of our American history.


National Geographic’s Rachel Hartigan spoke with multiple historians, including Daina Ramey Berry of the University of Texas at Austin, Kevin Kruse of Princeton University, Kali Gross of Emory University and Eric Foner at Columbia University, for her piece, which asked just how unprecedented the attack really was. Foner also did an extended interview with Isaac Chotiner of The New Yorker, tying Wednesday’s events to the failure of the First Reconstruction. Oklahoma City’s Fox25 spoke to Brian Hosmer, head of Oklahoma State University’s history department as well, both on Wednesday’s events as well as “how we move forward.” Gregory P Downs and Kate Masur, of UC Davis and Northwestern, respectively, wrote in The Washington Post that “Yes, Wednesday’s Attempted Insurrection is Who We Are.” Downs was also featured in a piece in The New York Times, along with Yale’s Joanne Freeman, the University of Chicago’s Geoffrey R Stone, Annette Gordon-Reed of Harvard, and Manisha Sinha of the University of Connecticut, which explored the definition and history of sedition in America. And finally, The Washington Post also featured Karen L Cox of UNC Charlotte, who wrote “Five Myths About the Lost Cause,” which gained relevance due the presence of Confederate flags among other white supremacist paraphernalia on display among the crowd.


Until next week, stay well,


Michele “Scout” Johnson

Editor, H-South


This series of weekly posts to H-South, “Southern History and Civil Rights in the News,” aims to track informed public discussions of southern history and civil rights. To recommend a reading, please email Dr. Michele Johnson at