The Complexity of the Past: Teaching, Not Celebrating

Do we study and teach history to celebrate the past? To condemn it? Or to gain a greater understanding of the people and events that created the world in which we live? In this Dispatch Dr. Deaton discusses the challenges of teaching the complexity of our shared past, and the role of history in creating a better future.

The Enigma of Lester Maddox

Earlier this week, my colleague Lisa “War Eagle” Landers, the GHS Education Coordinator, sent me a letter she had received from a middle school teacher, who asked: “Do you know why Lester Maddox, once elected governor, chose to appoint so many African Americans to government positions given his strong record on segregation? It would seemContinue Reading »

The Blue Ridge Mountains of North Georgia

This Dispatch comes to you from the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Georgia. Join Dr. Deaton as he discusses the history of the Appalachian Mountains, Vogel State Park, the Chattahoochee National Forest, and the natural wonders North Georgia has to offer.

The Contradiction of a Free Nation Built By Forced Labor

The Georgia Historical Society is launching a new and exciting initiative soon, and in preparation for it I’ve been reading deeply in the literature of race in American history.

I’ve been reading about this topic for almost 40 years, but my current course of reading in this subject actually began a couple of years ago, when I embarked on a project to actually read many of the books that I had been assigned in graduate school—big, important works that I was supposed to read but didn’t, at least not as closely as I would have liked. Books like E.P. Thompson’s The Making of the English Working Class, Lawrence Goodwyn’s Democratic Promise, David Montgomery’s The Fall of the House of Labor, and Keith Thomas’s Religion and the Decline of Magic, to cite just a few. These were all important, magisterial works that deserved to be read in full.

National Poetry Month: Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening

Have you ever memorized a poem just because you loved it? To commemorate National Poetry Month, Dr. Deaton in this Dispatch considers the power of poetry to evoke the beauty and tragedy of life as no other literary style can–and recites his personal favorite.