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Welcoming the New Fall Season of This Cruel War

Summer has sadly come to an end. The shadows are lengthening, the nights are cooler, and it’s finally time to hit the books, and get back to work. Fortunately, a whole new run of This Cruel War is about ready to go. We’ll be kicking off new articles and a bunch of new stuff after Labor Day!

With this new run, we’ve got some brand new features and a few changes to the old. Let’s pitch right into it. First, some new features:

Slave Narratives

While slave narratives are nothing new to the site, I’ll be taking a slightly different approach to them. Instead of posting the whole transcript of the interviews conducted in the late 1930s, I’ll be focusing upon topics discussed by the former slaves. For the next few months, I’ll be covering the former slaves thoughts on the Ku Klux Klan. I’ll then move onto other topics, such as freedom and Lincoln. I might mix things up a bit, too. Also, I’ll continue to post a few longer and full slave narratives as needed.

Word of the Week

I have no idea how long this new segment will last. And I know that it’s not going to actually be weekly. Its purpose is to take a word or phrase more commonly used in the 1800s and examine in. Some idea for the future are phrases like “yaller gal” and “Jim Crow”, and words like “pattyrollers” and “feminism.” Some words will be pretty familiar to us, while others won’t make any sense out of context. We’ll look at usage, frequency, when they reached their height, and general etymology.

New of the Week

A few months ago, I abandoned this segment, and I can’t remember why. Let’s hope that I stick with it. This will likely post on Fridays. While serious topics pertaining to the Civil War (it’s causes and repercussions) will be covered, I will also be using this to blow off a little steam. Did you know that I used to write satire and things that were supposed to be funny? Sure did! I’d like to get back into that a bit. Fridays and the news seem like fine places to start. 1I’m not promising to actually be funny.

Weekend Discussions on Facebook

What I’d like to do is pick a topic of some sort and attempt to have a civil discussion about it on Facebook. I have no idea if this will actually happen, but if it does, it will likely have something to do with the news.

With the new features out of the way, let’s look at how I’ll be changing around some of the old:

Voices of the Cause

I didn’t really abandon this segment, but it sort of faded a bit. Originally, it was intended to give voice to the original Confederate secessionists. For these posts, I looked at ways they justified slavery or their views on various subjects. For this run, I hope to post bits of speeches given by the various secession commissioners. These gentlemen traveled from the already-seceded states in early 1861 to the still-loyal slave states (like Kentucky, Virginia, Tennessee, etc). Their mission was to convince the loyal slave states to leave the Union. Their reasoning was almost always “if you don’t leave, slavery will be abolished.” But it’s still good to take a closer look at the details.

This Week in Historical Lynchings

In the past, I’ve featured four or five different lynchings per post. This ended up taking six or seven hours of work. What I’ll be doing from here on out is featuring one or two of the more prominent lynchings. I’ll still use period newspapers to tell the story, but will hopefully be able to expand the story beyond simply the lynching itself. We’ll see how this goes.

Forgotten Heroes of Southern History

This is another feature that I’ve sort of dropped away from. Previously, I’d search out a southerner who generally went against the grain of pro-slavery. In the future, I really want to focus more attention on southern black abolitionists and those who emancipated themselves. I’ve touched on it before, of course, but would like to devote more energy to this.

So far as I can see, this is all of the changes that I can think of.

Sharing on Facebook

With Facebook’s algorithm being what it is, it’s incredibly important that the posts are shared (not just liked). While I am thrilled as punch when anyone likes anything I post, at the end of the day, sharing is what Facebook seems to care about most.

References   [ + ]

Has always had a love for history and the Civil War. During the 150th anniversary of the war, writing the Civil War Daily Gazette blog, which published daily for nearly five years. Wishing to continue the exploration, following the Charleston murders in 2015, and the activism around removing the Confederate Battle Flag, decided to dig a little deeper into the causes and repercussions of the War.