Stephen Leccese

The history professor who was ostracized for saying the Civil War was about slavery

Sometimes when we’re poking around in an archive, we come across century-old documents that are strangely relevant. That’s what the story of Enoch Marvin Banks became to me. An aging letter from 1911 that I found in the Columbia University archive revealed a story that could be in today’s headlines: people in the Jim Crow South tried to capture the memory of the Civil War for political gain.

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