All posts tagged: Lost Cause

A Yankee Apology for Reconstruction

A Yankee Apology for Reconstruction

A 2021 study of memorials in America counted 5,917 monuments that memorialize the Civil War. In that total, only 1 percent include the word slavery; Yale’s Civil War Memorial is not among that 1 percent. The memorial stands in one of the busiest corridors on campus. Four bas-relief figures—symbolizing courage, devotion, peace, and memory—surround tablets bearing the names of Yale men who fought and died for both sides. Verses of a poem, “The Blue and the Gray,” are etched into the floor. The poem, first published in The Atlantic, is by the 1849 Yale graduate Francis Miles Finch. He wrote songs at Yale, including student favorites such as “Gather Ye Smiles” and “The Last Cigar,” and after graduation became a lawyer and a judge. As the story goes, Finch wrote “The Blue and the Gray” because he was deeply moved by an incident he read about in the spring of 1866, when white Southern women in Columbus, Mississippi, had gone to a Civil War cemetery and adorned with flowers the graves of both Confederate and …

Trump’s Vice President Won’t Be a True Believer

Trump’s Vice President Won’t Be a True Believer

Nikki Haley has finally uncloaked her endgame: She wants to be Donald Trump’s running mate. From the start of the 2024 Republican coronation, everyone’s motives were obvious except for Haley’s. Mike Pence wanted a postscript. Chris Christie wanted to sound an alarm. Doug Burgum wanted a Cabinet post. Vivek Ramaswamy wanted a TV show. Ron DeSantis—bless his heart—was the lone candidate running because, at least in early 2023, he thought he could win the nomination. Tim Scott was the guy running to be Trump’s vice president. And Haley? What was her angle? The MAGA wing of the party hated her. Trump found her to be alternately droll and pathetic. She hadn’t run a campaign in almost a decade. Even though she had served in Trump’s administration, Haley wasn’t part of the new MAGA establishment. She was, like Mitt Romney and Pence, a throwback, a figure from the party’s past. The only thing she stood to gain was a chance to remind corporate boards and trade associations that she was a bona fide, certified Good Republican …

Arlington’s Last Confederate Monument – The Atlantic

Arlington’s Last Confederate Monument – The Atlantic

The wind washed over the rows of white tombstones and carried the last leaves of autumn on its breath. I held the map of Arlington National Cemetery up to my face, clinging to its edges as its corners fluttered. I looked up, and saw the statue I was searching for in the distance, encircled by tall steel fencing that caught and held the light from the afternoon sun. Inside the fence, concentric circles of tombstones surrounded the memorial—gravestones of the more than 200 Confederate soldiers buried beneath. Workers in white construction hats and highlighter-yellow vests moved about while security officers in dark sunglasses and black uniforms stood along the fence’s edge. To my left was a massive yellow crane whose engine rumbled steadily as it sat staring at the bronze memorial before it. I had come to the Confederate Memorial at Arlington on Monday in anticipation of the statue’s removal. Following a review from the Department of Defense’s Naming Commission, the memorial had been scheduled to come down this week, but as I arrived, I …

Walton Goggins, Zadie Smith, and Lauryn Hill

Walton Goggins, Zadie Smith, and Lauryn Hill

This is an edition of The Atlantic Daily, a newsletter that guides you through the biggest stories of the day, helps you discover new ideas, and recommends the best in culture. Sign up for it here. Welcome back to The Daily’s Sunday culture edition, in which one Atlantic writer reveals what’s keeping them entertained. Today’s special guest is Conor Friedersdorf, a staff writer and the author of our Up for Debate newsletter. Conor is dreaming about a Golden Girls reboot starring the Friends cast, reflecting on a poignant but hilarious one-man show from America’s “Roastmaster General,” and wasting time by playing chess on his phone. First, here are three Sunday reads from The Atlantic: The Culture Survey: Conor Friedersdorf An actor I would watch in anything: Once upon a time, I would have answered Paul Newman. I’ve long since seen everything he ever made. Then, after watching Deadwood, I thought that I’d watch Timothy Olyphant in anything––so I started watching his portrayal of Raylan Givens, on Justified. But after watching Walton Goggins portray Boyd Crowder …

The Books Briefing: Justin Torres, ‘Blackouts’

The Books Briefing: Justin Torres, ‘Blackouts’

This is an edition of the revamped Books Briefing, our editors’ weekly guide to the best in books. Sign up for it here. The National Book Awards, a glitzy affair otherwise known as the Oscars for book nerds, took place on Wednesday night. One overwhelming motif pulsed through nearly all of the winning books: the will of marginalized people to have their suppressed stories heard and acknowledged. The winner in the nonfiction category was Ned Blackhawk’s The Rediscovery of America, a radical retelling of history from a Native American perspective. Craig Santos Perez, an Indigenous Chamorro writer from Guam, won the poetry prize for his collection from unincorporated territory [åmot]. At the end of his acceptance speech, he read a poem, “The Pacific Written Tradition,” about wanting young Indigenous people from his island to understand all the ways their history had actually been preserved despite not being taught in school: “Our ancestors tattooed their skin with defiant / scripts of intricately inked genealogy, stories / of plumage and pain.” The translated-literature prize went to Stênio …

The Atlantic’s December Issue: To Reconstruct The Nation

The Atlantic’s December Issue: To Reconstruct The Nation

The Atlantic is releasing in full “To Reconstruct The Nation,” a special issue that, as editor in chief Jeffrey Goldberg writes today, is “meant to examine the enduring consequences of Reconstruction’s tragic fall at a moment—­yet another moment—when the cause of racial progress faces sustained pressure.” The centerpiece of the issue, which is led by senior editor Vann R. Newkirk II, is a new feature-length play by the actor, playwright, and Atlantic contributing writer Anna Deavere Smith, which appears along with essays by writers, historians, and scholars including Secretary of the Smithsonian Lonnie G. Bunch III, Jordan Virtue, Peniel E. Joseph, Drew Gilpin Faust, Eric Foner, and The Atlantic’s Vann R. Newkirk II, Adam Harris, and Yoni Appelbaum. The issue arrives 157 years after The Atlantic published Frederick Douglass’s famed essay on “Reconstruction,” and explores the fleeting time after the Civil War when the country undertook a radical transformation in an effort to become a true democracy. But the backlash against Reconstruction, and its effective end in 1877, prevented its proponents from achieving their aspirations. …