Kevin Levin at Civil War Memory posted today about one of his, and the CW blogosphere's, favorite subjects of debate: black Confederates. Kevin's post focuses on blogger Ann DeWitt's (relatively) new website, Black Confederate Soldiers. This is not the first time that Levin has called attention to DeWitt's rather ill-informed, ideosyncratic website. Click here for his original posting on DeWitt, and here for his first follow up. Not surprisingly, Levin's critique of the website aroused the ire of Richard Williams at Old Virigia Blog, who has written a rosy portrait of Stonewall Jackson's views on race (featured on DeWitt's website [scroll down]).
In his most recent post, Kevin claims that historical bloggers should be transparent about their identities and credentials. I agree in principle, but believe Kevin's suggestion presents a few difficulties in practice. For one, scholarship should speak for itself. Readers should be more interested (and perhaps this is wishful thinking) in identifying good research and solid arguments, than in respecting credentials -- which, in any event, can be pulled out of thin air online. For another, DeWitt has, after all, come under some serious fire for her website -- one can hardly blame her for shrouding her identity.
A more interesting incident in the black Confederate controversy concerns soldier Samuel Brown's gravemarker in Vallejo, CA. Originially misidentified as a (black) Confederate soldier, Brown's old headstone was recently replaced with a new one noting his service in 137th US Colored Troops. See original article in the San Francisco Chronicle here. As usual, Kevin Levin was quick to pick up on this incident, as was David Woodbury at Of Battlefields and Bibliophiles (see post here). The best blog coverage, however, has been that of Andy Hall at Dead Confederates and Corey Meyer at Blood of My Kindred. Click here for Andy's post, and here for Corey's. The latter two posts both include some excellent (although overlapping) commentary on some of the exempary comments readers have made on the original post.