MURRAY, Ky. — Nicholas Jackson, a senior from Owensboro, Kentucky, graduating with a major in history at Murray State University, presented a paper at the Symposium for History Undergraduate Research in Starkville, Mississippi on April 6.
Jackson’s paper, “Perpetuating the Lost Cause: The Misinformation Campaign of the United Daughters of the Confederacy in Kentucky, 1895–1925,” shows how the United Daughters of the Confederacy shaped the Southern memory though the promotion of the lost cause ideology.
“Researching the United Daughters of the Confederacy was one of the most challenging endeavors I have faced. That said, presenting at the [Symposium for History Undergraduate Research] Conference was one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had,” said Jackson.
“The United Daughters of the Confederacy erected monuments and created curriculum programs to praise the Confederacy, as well as erase the hideous history of the Old South and slavery,” said Jackson. “In essence, these women sought to whitewash the true history of the South.”
Jackson said the one thing he would like people to take away from his project is the importance that we all critically analyze the past, noting that many of the stories that we have heard are not always true.
Jackson has worked on this project for several semesters. He started this project in professor emeritus Dr. Duane Bolin’s “Transformation of America from 1877-1929” course that centered on a period when there was a public debate surrounding Confederate monuments. He continued this project in his senior seminar class with Dr. Urmi Engineer Willoughby, where he started to understand the full range of the United Daughters of the Confederacy’s activities.
Dr. James Humphreys, a professor of the Murray State Department of History, accompanied Jackson to the conference. Humphreys praised Jackson’s hard work on the project and his presentation at the conference.
“Nick worked extremely hard on this project,” said Humphreys. “His research and writing were excellent, and his presentation of his work was exceptional. After completing his talk, he skillfully fielded questions from those in attendance.”
The history department is constantly encouraging their students to present their work at conferences and stresses the importance of experiential opportunities.
“Opportunities to present research at conferences allow students to focus and sharpen the main arguments that they have developed through their research and writing,” said Humphreys. “They also offer students a chance to hone their public speaking skills.”
Photo: Nicholas Jackson is pictured presenting at the Symposium for History Undergraduate Research in Starkville, Mississippi on April 6.