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Ty Seidule.
Visiting Professor of History Ty Seidule’s schedule has been interwoven with major diversity, equity, and inclusion presentations, media interviews, and U.S. Naming Commission Army base ceremonies during this and previous semesters. While directing the Common Ground series and teaching Monuments and Myths, Seidule has also traveled nationally and internationally presenting at military institutions, museums, universities, churches, and conferences. He has written in and been quoted by major news outlets, including The Washington Post, The New York Times, Stars & Stripes, The Wall Street Journal, and National Public Radio.

Among Seidule’s most impactful lectures, as measured by numerous audience comments following the event, was his presentation as a Forrestal lecturer at the U.S. Naval Academy. According to the academy’s website, “The purpose of this lecture series is to enhance the education, awareness, and appreciation of the members of the Brigade of Midshipmen in the social, political, and cultural dimensions of the nation and the world.” Former President Bill Clinton, former Senator John McCain, and former Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg are among previous Forrestal Speakers.

Speaking before 4,500 midshipmen, Seidule discussed the myth of the Lost Cause of the Confederacy. He repeated words he often uses in addressing the mythology surrounding Robert E. Lee. “As a soldier & scholar, I now know there were eight U.S. Army colonels from Virginia. Seven remained loyal. Only Lee chose treason. Why? To preserve slavery.”

One midshipman said the best thing about the lecture “…was that it was one of the few presentations on diversity and inclusion that seemed to have everyone bought in. A lot of the brigade usually rolls their eyes when they hear that we are having a diversity speaker come, and a lot of people probably did that [exact thing] when they first heard about the Forrestal topic. But when it was over, I don't think there were many people that wouldn't have wanted to go.”

Last spring Seidule was the keynote speaker for the U.S. Coast Guard Academy’s diversity, equity and inclusion event, and a panelist at Mother Emanuel Church in Charleston,  sponsored by World Heritage USA on the future of monuments.

In September, the International Commission of Military History (ICMH) conference, held at the Turkish National Defense University in Istanbul, featured Seidule as a panel moderator. The panel, titled “War in the City,” included scholars from Turkey, Italy, Germany, and Japan. The ICMH was set up in 1938 as a working group within the International Committee of Historical Sciences which itself is part of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

In the media, Seidule has continued to rail against the valorization of Lee, especially at West Point, and against the Confederate Memorial monument in Arlington National Cemetery and the racist tropes it depicts. In a New York Times op-ed written by Brent Staples, Seidule said, “As I would discover time and again, integration and efforts at achieving equal rights brought Confederate memorialization. West Point allowed the return of Robert E. Lee when African American cadets arrived at West Point in the 20th century.”

Seidule’s words from his book Robert E. Lee and Me were included in a Washington Post article about a lawsuit filed to halt the removal of the Confederate Memorial from Arlington National Cemetery. “I think it’s the cruelest monument in the country. The statue represents all the terrible lies of the Lost Cause.” He wrote similar words in a letter to the editor published by The Wall Street Journal. And on public radio’s On the Media, he again addressed the false narrative of the Lost Cause in a lengthy interview.

Seidule and co-author Democratic political strategist James Carville addressed a different issue in “Tuberville’s ‘hold’ doesn’t command respect,” published in Stars & Stripes on Oct. 22. Their essay detailed how, during one of the world’s most factious moments, “those making recommendations and preparing our troops for war are a pickup team of generals and admirals out of position.” The authors point to Tuberville who “has placed a hold, now in its eighth month, on general officer promotions” due to his differences with unrelated policies of the Biden administration.

“Tuberville is guilty of dereliction of duty. He must lift his stupid and cruel ‘hold’ and start supporting those who lead America’s sons and daughters in the crucible of land, sea and air combat,” wrote the authors. Seidule repeated a similar argument on Apple Podcasts’ Politics War Room with James Carville & Al Hunt.

Seidule has also appeared monthly on public television station WCNY’s Ivory Tower discussing issues that have ranged from cluster bombs in Ukraine to the indictment of former President Trump. Next semester, WCNY plans to broadcast one of its programs from Hamilton as a result of its work with Seidule.

 

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