This article was published in the winter 2017 issue of Pathways.

In “Legacy of Dissent,” Christopher Phillips writes:

Although the problem of race is national, the problematic history of the Civil War is largely seen as regional. Schoolchildren learn about the Civil War written as a binary-that the South lost to the North-with the Ohio River being a virtual extension of the Mason-Dixon Line. Lines on this map are clearly drawn and easily understood as blue Union states that fought the war for freedom and gray Confederate states that fought to preserve slavery.

Not so fast, he says. Ohio’s racial-political history is pretty murky in the years before, during, and after the Civil War. Phillips casts the Civil War’s continuing influence in the Midwest as a “shadowy warfare fought as racialized grievance politics.” Looking at the summers of 1863 and 2017, with the events including the Charlottesville riots, Phillips sees the past repeating itself.

In this time of great local and national debate over the lasting legacy of slavery and the Civil War, it’s time to take a look back—again—at Ohio’s fascinating and checkered past.



half century after the coincidence of the Civil Rights Movement and the centennial of the Civil War, cities in the former slave states are struggling again with the war’s legacy. In the aftermath of the tragic mass murder of African American churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina, and police shootings and mobilized protests in Baltimore, Ferguson, and Charlotte, the removals of Confederate battle flags and carved-stone and bronze monuments dedicated to its military leaders in New Orleans, Columbia, and St. Louis triggered protests against “political correctness” and ”historical vandalism.”  Read the full story.