In the last few years perhaps more than at any time since the Civil War, monuments to Confederate leaders have become the focus of angry debate, some resulting in violence in some American cities. Do Americans fully comprehend what the Confederacy represented, when taking sides on this hot issue? Why did eleven southern states in 1860-1861 take the drastic step of leaving the Union and creating their own nation, leading to a horrifically bloody civil war? What were its leaders hoping to accomplish? What did they fear about staying in the Union? Why does the removal of Confederate memorials provoke such a polarizing response today?
Speaker Robert E. May, Professor Emeritus at Purdue University and now a resident of Olympia, spoke at the Steilacoom Historical Museum on Martin Luther King Day, 2019, on his new book "Yuletide in Dixie." An internationally renowned historian, he taught Civil War history and Southern history at Purdue for decades. His well-reviewed books have won recognition for their originality. His book on Lincoln, Douglas, and the slavery expansion controversy, Slavery, Race, and Conquest in the Tropics, was a finalist for the prestigious Lincoln book award.
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