This website is being redone for 2 reasons: 1) to improve its “technical performance”, and 2) to better reflect the general mission of the work of historian Shane Peterson and the evolving field of Public History.
The original website was mostly an informal scrapbook of findings dealing with a study of a World War I Honor Roll monument created in 1924 listing veterans who entered military service from Adams County, Mississippi. The study revealed that hundreds of African Americans were left off the roll. This led to a call to include all veterans in the roll and to erect a new monument replacing the original built in 1924.
The study of World War I and Adams County continues, with the goal of a book-length study covering the years 1882 to 1930. Many of the men and women who served in “the Great War”, as it was called, were born during the “Gilded Age” (roughly from 1870 to 1900). This is the era of history Mr. Peterson is currently trying to understand. Since Americans are now experiencing many things that seem like a new or second “gilded age”, the study seems especially timely.
There has been an increase in the number of works of published nonfiction related to this project. While this trend is deeply gratifying, it presents a challenge as well. The new website must reflect a quest for the truth in a complex story of race, place, class and caste–which involves some 1,200 people who served America from a county in the deep Delta South. Knowing more about the lives of these people before, during, and long after the war, may help us today.