MSU faculty member participating in national conversation surrounding American South, Confederate memorials

Anne Marshall 2020

by Sam Kealhofer, Intern on the A&S Research Support Team

Department of History Associate Professor Anne Marshall’s historical research now is gaining national attention in light of cultural conversations and events. Marshall has spent more than a decade researching issues such as the U.S. South, women’s history, the American Civil War and reconstruction, helping to contextualize current events into an ongoing conversation about the meaning and purpose of American Civil War symbols.


In a July op-ed featured on NBC News, “Mississippi’s Confederate flag is gone – but a legacy of white supremacist policy remains,” Marshall elaborates on the connection between the Confederate flag and Mississippi’s history of racism and calls on Mississippians to consider the next steps in dismantling discrimination in Mississippi’s political, social and economic policies.


Her most recent scholarly publication in the journal “Slavery & Abolition,” which comes from a larger in-progress book project, is entitled “’Lamentable inconsistency:’ Cassius Marcellus Clay and the dilemma of anti-slavery slaveholders.” It explores the life of Kentuckian Cassius Marcellus Clay from 1844–1846, in which he worked as a emancipationist and anti-slavery spokesman but simultaneously failed to release all of his enslaved and brought murder charges against one of the enslaved women on the accusation that she killed his infant son. The article displays the inconsistencies between Clay’s ideals and his actions to reveal the legal complications of manumission in antebellum America.


Marshall’s 2010 book “Creating a Confederate Kentucky: the Lost Cause and Civil War Memory in a Border State,” published by University of North Carolina Press, delves into Kentucky’s efforts to construct its Civil War history and its connection to Civil War symbols such as the confederate flag and Abraham Lincoln.


In addition, Marshall coauthored a 2015 “Agricultural History” article with Jim Giesen, associate professor in the Department of History, “Reading Stone and Steel: Statues as Primary Sources for Agricultural History,” which presents different frameworks to analyze statues from southern, agricultural societies. Marshall explains that while these statues sometimes symbolize the importance of agriculture or some other reality the builders experienced and wished to memorialize, more often than not the statues represented a societal order they wished to preserve and instill in the future.


In 2017, Marshall’s piece, “Historian on ‘Confederate Kentucky’: Time to remove the statues,” was published in the “Lexington Herald Leader.”


In the article, Marshall supported then mayor of Lexington, Kentucky, Jim Gray’s decision to remove two Confederate monuments from the lawn of the former Fayette County Courthouse, stating that “removing Confederate monuments from public places is not an erasure of history, but rather a statement by the cities and towns which choose to move them that the values for which the Confederacy stood before and after the war no longer represent them.”


In an effort to contribute insight and solutions to the various challenges facing the nation, the College of Arts & Sciences will continue to highlight faculty research in our “Research In The Headlines” series each Monday and Wednesday. For more research in the headlines, visit https://www.cas.msstate.edu/research/researchintheheadlines/; and for information about the College of Arts & Sciences or the Department of History visit https://www.cas.msstate.edu/ or https://www.history.msstate.edu/.


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