Saturday, April 20, 2013

Week Last: Do You Wanna Go Straight to Hawaii?

This week's readings put me in mind of the abovementioned Beach Boys song. One of my well-hidden obsessions is the Beach Boys. You can listen to the song here. That has nothing to do with the readings. But it's in my head now, so I thought I'd share. Moving on.

This week's reading concerned a very real problem with public history: the evidence/truth vs. people's perception of it. In 2003, Robert R. Weyenth wrote a book on the history of Hawaii's "Central Park," otherwise known as Kapi'olani Park. As is almost always the case, actual historical documentation differs here from the local people's memories. According to the residents of the area, the park had been created around 1870 by King Kamehameha as a gift to the people of Oahu. It was, in public memory, a benevolent gift from the king. Weyenth's research suggested otherwise. According to the research, it was indeed established in the 1870s by the king, but instead of being a gift to the subjects of Hawaii, it was established more as an exclusive seaside suburb/resort for the Hawaiian aristocracy. And thus it remained for about twenty years; a luxurious getaway for the members of the royal court. As a result, Weyenth received a bit of hostility regarding his book, including legal action, as community members called his work "libelous."

Weyenth's point was that public historians have to always be ready to face such hostility from their communities. Native Hawaiians wanted to remember their former royalty as benevolent, rather than otherwise. This of course is understandable, especially since Hawaii has such a unique heritage from the other states. I suppose that for some, it'd be more or less like the reaction a lot of people had to the movie Lincoln, in which they discovered he wasn't the "friend of the black man" they had always imagined. In these cases, the public historian has to make sure that he or she is aware of the possible controversy, knowledgeable of the sources and possible other interpretations, and willing to know when to fight- legally, if necessary- and when not to. It is a hard call to make sometimes, but it is a challenge all public historians must be willing to accept, especially when dealing with something which has become legendary in the community.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Week Thirteen: Walking the Tightrope

Public historians have a unique set of difficulties to handle which many of us in academia don't have to deal with nearly as much. Public historians- whether site directors, historic preservationists, heritage educators, or others- have to figure out how to find the balance between the truth, education, and securing funds. This week, we read the article "Interpreting Uncomfortable History at the Scott Joplin House State Historic Site in St. Louis, Missouri" by Timothy Baumann, Andrew Hurley, Valerie Alitzer, and Victoria Love.

As the title suggests, the article detailed the issues involved with purchasing, restoring, and presenting the Scott Joplin house in St. Louis to the public. The original presentation ignored some very important things, such as "the urban milieu that nourished his talents, the origins of African/African American music, or the lasting legacy of his music on contemporary composers" (p.45). They apparently also neglected to include locals in the original site planning. There was concern among the leadership about cost and potential controversy. Joplin's life was hard- wrought with the pains brought by racism, money problems, and sexually transmitted disease. Presenting this factually to the public certainly ran the risk of creating even more controversy in a city with a less-than-stellar racial history.

This article contained another example of a recurring problem we have been looking at all semester: how do we as public historians find a good balance between accuracy, education, and bringing in money? Obviously, no site can run without money, and few sites have the funding to be able to operate without worrying about specific donors or fees paid by visitors. To some degree, the site has to cater to the desires of non-historians, just to keep its doors open. This may require ignoring a certain aspect of the site's history, or glossing over it. And in some cases, this may not be unforgivable. But it does require an awareness of what is going on and the ability for site directors and heritage directors to have at least some idea of the point at which the history they're presenting ceases to maintain any standard of accuracy or integrity. This job seems to be akin to walking a tightrope: unless the site manages to balance things just right, it will fall off, whether it falls to one side because it commercialized its history too much, or to the other because it lost funding by refusing to listen to patrons and donors.

I'm not sure there's ever a perfect balance, and I'm not sure one a sustainable balance is found, it can be counted on to always work, even for the same site. But it is something of which public historians need to be aware, regardless of how hard that seems to be.  


I'm going soft. Until tonight, I always took pride in the fact that I'd cried at only three movies in my entire life. And only at one significant, poignant moment in each. But tonight, I went to see the movie 42, based on Jackie Robinson and his breaking of the color barrier in baseball. And I cried the whole. way. through. I cried tears of joy, anger, anguish, and laughter. All of them. All of those emotions wrapped up in the masterpiece that is 42.

History aside, the movie is fantastic. The baseball scenes were filmed and staged well, the writing was well done, and the music fitting. The acting was phenomenal. No one could have done a better job with the role of Dodger's general manager Branch Rickey better than Harrison Ford did. Chadwick Boseman was amazing as Jackie, and really, I don't think they could have cast any of the roles better than they did.

At this point, I will give the obligatory spoiler alert. I speak in detail about some of the scenes. If you don't want them spoiled, don't read this until you've seen it. Moving on.

As far as the history goes, I am aware of no distortions. I can't speak to every specific and every ballplayer and every conversation, but there was no "Hollywood corruption" of which I am aware. There was a Huffington Post article published yesterday, written by Eric Metaxas. You can read it here. Metaxas bemoans the missing faith of Robinson and Rickey in the movie. He says there's no trace of the devoted faith of both men; that Hollywood completely ignores it. Metaxas is incorrect, and significantly so. No one watching and paying any attention to the movie could walk out of it unaware that both men were strong believers and Methodists. Rickey even says, "Robinson's a Methodist. I'm a Methodist. God is a Methodist!" Rickey encourages Robinson multiple times, referring to "our Lord," and how He had to take hatred and persecution and turn the other cheek. Multiple times, Rickey referenced the Bible and doing what was right, even calling out Dodgers manager Leo Durocher for adultery, saying the Bible had some strong words on that subject. The Christian faith played significantly into the movie, and was in no way portrayed as anything other than positive.

I have been studying African American history for the last nearly seven years. As I said in a recent blog post, this subject is particularly difficult for me, because I have an over-developed sense of justice. I am not generally an emotional person, but when I see injustice, I become far more emotionally involved than I should. When I read about the horrors and the injustice that are so much a part of African American history, I become incensed by the people committing the crimes, and am heartbroken for those who had to experience those crimes. I still cannot imagine how anyone could hate people so much because of the color of their skin. The hatred I saw in this movie at once enraged, sickened, and saddened me. But the courage and faith I saw likewise inspired me.

Before I go on, I want to make something crystal clear for anyone who may be unaware. By breaking the color barrier in Major League Baseball (MLB), Jackie Robinson was absolutely risking his life. Literally. He was also risking the life of his wife, his mother, and his son. He could have been brutally lynched, and it would not stand out from the rest of the lynchings in Jim Crow America as unusual. The fact that a lynch mob did not manage to track him down, dismember him while he was alive (yes, that happened- and not too uncommonly, either), and then hang and burn his body, is actually quite amazing. The fact that they didn't do that to his wife, is pretty amazing too. I mention all of this because I don't want anyone to miss just how significant this was on the part of Robinson and his family. Even Branch Rickey risked his personal safety. Less so than Robinson to be sure, but his personal well-being was absolutely still placed on the line.

I could easily write 10,000 words in this post, but I'll refrain. I'm only going to focus on a few things here. First, I do want to say the filmmakers did a fantastic job showing the resistance of most of the Dodgers players when Robinson first joined the franchise. They also did a masterful job showing the change that came over the team during the season. The racism directed towards Jackie became personal for a lot of them. Some of them started to fight back because Rickey had specifically told Robinson he wanted a black player "with the guts not to fight back." Robinson turned the other cheek over and over, and in many cases, his teammates stepped in to defend him.

One such instance occurred in Philadelphia. Alan Tudyk, who played Phillies manager Ben Chapman was extremely convincing in his role of an exceedingly racist individual. He shouted racial slurs at Robinson all game. Now, all racial slurs are hateful, but these particular ones were especially so. Robinson took it. It did eventually get to him, at which point Robinson walked off the field, took his bat, and hit it over and over against the brick wall, shouting anguished cries that clearly came from the core of his being. I absolutely wept. Rickey came down to talk to Robinson in that hallway, telling him he had to go back on the field. He had to take it. Robinson looked at him and shouted, "Do you have any idea what this is like!?" Rickey looked him square in the eye and said, "No. But our Lord does, and you have to go back up there. They have to live with themselves. You have to do the right thing." Of course, that's a paraphrase, but that is essentially what Rickey said to Robinson. Robinson took the field again, finishing the game. It was during this game that a lot of the Dodgers players started to see just what kinds of things Robinson was having to deal with. One player who had originally signed a petition to get Robinson off the team, stormed over to Chapman and chewed him out. He finally said, "You shut your mouth, or I'll shut it for you." Robinson thanked the teammate later, and the teammate said, "For what? You're my teammate." On the one hand, it wasn't the answer Robinson was looking for, but on the other, it showed a huge improvement in attitude. At least some members were starting to accept him as part of the team.

The season went on. Rickey received death threats against Robinson, his wife, and son. He alerted the FBI. But he never backed down. I would be remiss if I did not mention one of the ugliest receptions Robinson got that entire season, as much as I would like to ignore it and pretend it never happened, but it did. I don't remember when I first learned about this specific road series, but I have known about it for a very long time, because it was particularly vitriolic on the part of the people at the game. It was in Cincinnati. I usually love seeing the Reds in movies or on tv shows. I usually love any reference to my town. But this time I was dreading it, and when that part of the movie arrived, I was so very ashamed. There was a little boy in the crowd with his dad. The boy looked about six or seven- that's how old my dad was at the time. My dad's parents raised him not to see race, but this little boy, who was likely so much like my dad, was shouting out "Nigger!" right alongside his father. I wept again. This time tears of shame. Shame for the way my hometown treated Jackie Robinson. It's so odd. I'm writing my thesis on abolitionism in Cincinnati, because Cincinnati was one of the biggest centers of abolitionism and Underground Railroad activity in the west prior to the Civil War. By no means was racism absent or silent in the city, but what I saw on the screen tonight was such a startling contrast to what I've been working on.

The season drew to an end, and Robinson sealed the pennant win for the Dodgers with a home run. By this time, he had been mostly accepted by his teammates and Dodgers fans. The next season, he was joined by other black players. It would be a long time before the civil rights movement really got started, but Robinson played a significant role in pioneering that movement. Not only did he serve his country admirably during World War II, but he also served America admirably when he came home. He also helped improve the game of baseball, by allowing MLB to contain truly the best players. Without Robinson, such legends as Dave Parker, Joe Morgan, Ken Griffey, Jr., Albert Pujols, Barry Larkin, and Tony Gwynn never would have been allowed on the field. My current favorite player, Brandon Phillips, wouldn't be there either. The fact that Phillips is allowed to play and allowed to make antagonistic comments about the Cardinals is significant. In Robinson's time, that would have been asking to be beaten or lynched. Today, it's just over-enthusiastic idiocy, all in good fun (on his part, granted, the Cardinals fans don't quite see it that way!). As a die hard baseball fan myself, I can't help but be grateful to Robinson for helping to improve the sport.
Robinson wasn't just a civil rights pioneer and man of strong Christian faith. He was a top-notch baseball player as well, and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, in 1962.

I want to close with an observation. The more I study African American history, the more disturbed I become by the comments I hear from many conservatives about how far America has fallen morally, and how we should go back to the morality of the 1930s, 40s, and 50s. I often want to shout out that if they truly want to go back to the morality of those decades, they have to accept Jim Crow and overt racism and racial hatred as well. As a historian, I am convinced that each new era only exchanges one set of evils for another. We take some huge steps forward, and also some huge steps back. It's life. But I cannot stand by and listen to people extol the morality of a time in our history in which people made death threats to a baseball player and his family, simply because he was black. That is so wrong. I cannot begin to express just how wrong that is. I do see moral problems in America today, yes. But I cannot in good conscience wish to return to any previous decades in American history, especially prior to about 1980. I am so grateful I was not alive during slavery, Jim Crow, or the civil rights era. We are all made in God's image, and to treat anyone the way Jackie Robinson and his fellow African Americans (as well as Latinos, Asians, Native Americans, etc.) were treated is to spit on that image, and I cannot wish back an era in which that was so prevalent.

All in all, I absolutely recommend this movie. Personally, it's the best movie I've ever seen, but take that with a grain of salt, because this is my area of expertise. I was so emotionally impacted by this movie only because I have studied the topic in such depth for the better part of a decade. Even so, it was a fantastic movie, and I recommend it wholeheartedly. The story of faith and courage is one we all can learn from, no matter what the era of history is in which we reside. I may write another post on the movie after I see it again, focusing on many of the things I left out here, but the best thing I can tell you is to simply go see it.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Today, I Stood Where Slaves Were Sold

Today, I had a new experience. Today, I stood on the steps where slaves were sold. I recently discovered that slave auctions were frequently held on the steps of the Old Courthouse in downtown St. Louis. I decided I wanted to go stand on those steps- to stand where the slaves stood when they were being sold as property. Sold as livestock. Today I did, and I felt ill.

My dad and I went up to St. Louis today to watch the Reds and Cardinals play. Part of the Old Courthouse is clearly visible from Busch Stadium, so it was an easy detour to make. I told my dad I wanted to go stand on the steps. I didn't tell him why. We first walked to the Arch, then up the street to the Old Courthouse. I felt a knot grow in the pit of my stomach, as I imagined slaves, wrists and ankles bound, being led from a boat on the Mississippi, up the hill to be sold on the courthouse steps.

We crossed the street to the building, and I looked up the marble steps. I ran up the steps, almost to the top, and turned around. My dad was looking at the building from the sidewalk. I told him to come up next to me. As he turned around to face the arch, I started pointing things out to him.

     "You can see the Arch, and right beyond that, is the river. You can see Illinois from here." Dad looked, "Oh, yeah. That's cool."
     "Missouri was a slave state, and Illinois was free."
     "They used to sell slaves here. Right on these steps. This is where they'd hold the auctions." Dad reacted as though I had just told him his steak was actually pig intestines. One moment admiring the view and the Arch, and the next, sickened.
     "Oh, yuck," he said, as he always does when he unexpectedly hears something unexpected and unpleasant. Then he was silent.
     "They used to sell them right here. Where they could see a free state. Right there. They're literally looking at freedom as they're being sold." More silence.

We both stood there for a few minutes, letting it sink in that we were actually standing in the very place where enslaved individuals were torn apart from their families. All the while, looking at freedom, in sight, but out of reach.

I grew up in Ohio. We didn't have slaves there. Slavery was outlawed by the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, in the territory that would become Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, and part of Wisconsin. The closest I came to slavery as a kid was the stories of the Underground Railroad that were so prevalent in my hometown of Cincinnati. But those stories were heroic and energizing. The first time I knowingly stood where slaves lived and worked was on my trip to Mount Vernon at the age of 15.

This was different.

As a scholar of African America, and even more specifically, as a scholar of American slavery, I often feel sickened by the reality of slavery in our nation's history. I read account after account of rape, beatings, separation from families, slave auctions, among other things, and I feel sick. I actually get angry when I read the pro-slavery arguments. I wonder how this kind of atrocity could possibly be justified. I know the stories, I've read the statistics, and I'm well aware of the long-lasting impact of slavery. But that's academic.

I know what slave auctions looked like. It was not uncommon for a prospective buyer to check over a potential slave just as he would a horse or steer he wanted to buy. Buyers would open the slave's mouth and check their teeth, remove or brush aside articles of clothing and touch the slave in indecent places to check for strength and health. In some cases, slaves would be made to sing and dance on the spot during an auction. Slave auctions were dehumanizing for the individuals enslaved in every possible way. And I stood in the exact spot where that happened. As I looked at the trees on the Illinois side of the river, I was overwhelmed with grief over what had occurred over and over again in that very spot.

This isn't something I can easily process and fully grasp. It's not likely something I'll be able to recall without emotion for a good while. Nor should it be. Those few minutes were by far the most important of my day. They were also by far the most unpleasant. It's days like today that I remember why I'm studying African American history, when there are less tragic and more fun areas of history I could specialize in. I do it because there's a need. Because a great injustice has been done; one that cannot be undone or fixed or recovered from in 150 years. Something has happened which continues to impact our society and lives today. Unless we understand it, discuss it, and deal with it, we can't move forward, we can't heal, and we can't even really learn to love each other.

Today, I was reminded that what I study is important, and more than that, it is relevant. It isn't fun. Interesting? Absolutely. And sure, there's some fun involved, especially when I get to study the music of African America. But in general, reading about slavery, segregation, lynchings, and rapings is not pleasant. But because it is relevant- and will continue to be so for a very long time- I keep doing it. I want to do some good and make a difference. So, to everyone who doesn't understand why I, as a white person, study African American history, that is why. Because in so doing, I can do a lot of necessary good. It takes people of all races, cultures, genders, etc., working together, to effect change. Working to make things better should not be a "white effort" or a "black effort." It should be an American effort. A human effort. I am an American, and a human, and I am taking part. 

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Week Twelve: Slavery and the Confederacy

I think in most cases, people would describe my sense of justice as "over-developed." This can make life hard for a social historian who specializes in the study of a people who have been traditionally and harshly oppressed for more or less the entire duration of American history, with the possible exception of the last few decades. And even then, it depends on who you talk to and where they live. This week, we were assigned a single article, "Presenting Slavery: The Perils of Telling America's Racial Story," by James Oliver Horton. Dr. Horton is a historian I have admired since first reading his book, In Hope of Liberty: Culture, Community and Protest Among Northern Free Blacks, 1700-1860.

Before I go on, I will state a warning. My intent is not to be offensive here, but given the strong emotions which still exist in relation to the Civil War, Confederacy, and slavery, I'm not sure I will be able to avoid that altogether. Those who have strong positive feelings towards the Old South and Confederacy, read at your own risk. In some places, I will be blunt.

This article deals with some of the tough issues involved in the less-than-savory parts of American history. How exactly does a public historian, or a school teacher, present the issue of slavery to the public? Horton discusses the utter dearth of knowledge the average American has about slavery, and how much of our knowledge, even today, comes from Uncle Tom's Cabin and Gone With the Wind. This is highly problematic. The average American doesn't know that slavery in the US began in 1619. The average American doesn't know slavery was a bone of contention among our Founding Fathers. In fact, according to Horton, far too many school children think American slavery wasn't abolished until the 20th century.

Horton addresses this because he raises a question: How can we discuss slavery intelligently as a nation without being educated about the issue? And that is indeed, an excellent question. Many people know so little about slavery that they do not recognize we are only just now as a nation beginning to really be able to move beyond some of the problems left behind by the "peculiar institution." And I do mean, just beginning. But that's another post for another day.

Of course, how can we discuss slavery intelligently, and even present it accurately, when so many Americans are trying to forget it ever happened, marginalize it, or throw blame on others to take the focus off of the Old South? While I commend the state of Mississippi for finally doing the right thing and ratifying the 13th Amendment, why in heaven's name did it take so long? Slavery was abolished 148 years ago. Why did they just ratify the amendment in 2013? It would be easy to say that after a certain period of time, the amendment got pushed to the back burner. And maybe that is the case in the last two decades or so, though before the late 80s or early 90s, I'd have trouble believing that argument. Mississippi was the most volatile state during the civil rights era. It took them a long time to calm down. I'm not hating on Mississippi here. I have wonderful friends from that state. I am, however, pointing out that we live in a nation which has a state that just now ratified the amendment which bans slavery. But there's more.

Horton writes about a few Civil War reenactment groups which decided to acknowledge slavery. He says, "Larry Beane, past commander of the J.E.B. Stuart Camp #1506 of the Sons of Confederate Veterans in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania attacked Gilmore's reference to slavery as 'a slap in the faces of the Confederate soldiers, their grandchildren, and the State of Virginia as a whole.' Other Internet correspondents expressed similar sentiments." My question is this: What about the slaves, the slaves' grandchildren, and African Americans as a whole? Is not the refusal to acknowledge slavery, apologize, or otherwise honestly address it not a slap in the face to them? Why are we concerned more for the legacy of Confederate soldiers, who chose to fight for a  slave-holding country than we are for those who had no basic decision-making rights at all? I'm actually asking that question. If someone has an answer that does NOT include a comment about how there were a few black Confederate soldiers, or about how the North didn't really like African Americans either, or about how the North treated immigrant workers like slaves, please, tell me what it is.

Regarding the same issue- including an acknowledgment or condemnation of slavery with a celebration of the Confederacy- Horton talks about another statement from a Southerner. Horton quoted Tommy J. Baer on the issue: "It's like Germany having a World War II- I would even call it Nazi- history month but [saying] We're going to include the suffering of the Jews. It doesn't pass the common-sense test." The point here is that Germany simply wouldn't have a Nazi history month. Most Germans want to forget that everything from about 1913-1945 in German history ever happened. They are quick to condemn what happened during that era, especially once Nazism came on the scene. Aside from the fact that Baer used a very bad metaphor (as I'll concede the Confederacy was not as bad as Nazi Germany, but only using a scale of degrees here), he is again forgetting the other side of this issue. I would argue that it doesn't pass the common sense test to have a month or any observance that celebrates the Confederacy and not include a recognition and condemnation of slavery. Again, think of all the descendants of  slavery we still have in this nation. The consequences we are still bearing from that institution in our country. How does it possibly make sense to not acknowledge it?

When lecturing in US105 about the slave issue, I told my students about how lawmakers in this country spent years at a time just completely ignoring slavery in the decades leading up to the war. I told them it was like sweeping the dirt under the rug: you do it long enough, and you're going to trip over it eventually. That's exactly what happened then. That's exactly what happened during the civil rights era after nearly another 100 years of Jim Crow segregation. Why in heaven's name would we then insist on continuing to ignore it? Things are not fixed. Slavery does not reside firmly in the past. It has relevance today. Why then can we not discuss it honestly? What has to happen next?

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying as a historian that we should do away with any and all rememberance of the Confederacy. My personal opinions often differ from my historian opinions, but right now, I'm speaking as a historian. I understand the desire of people to talk about their heritage and remember it. To remember great-great grandfathers who died tragically in a failed revolution. I get that. But how is it okay to do so without being honest about what all that entailed? I'm not sitting here as a Northerner saying the North never did anything abominable. I'm also not saying the North didn't hold slaves or wasn't economically involved in slavery. I'm simply saying, when celebrating something many people (and I would argue most) associate with slavery, such as the Confederacy, why can we not also be honest, and acknowledge the bad along with the good?

I say this over and over. We should care about what happened in history, not about focusing only on the good, or finding evidence to prove what we want to have happened in history. If we are going to focus on a portion of history which holds a lot of bad "memories" for a certain group of people, it absolutely fails not only the "common sense" test, but also, if I can channel my inner Mr. Rogers, fails the "good neighbor" test. If we are going to talk about history at all, we absolutely must take the bad right along with the good. We can not cut-and-paste to appease our own delicate sensibilities.  Presenting history is challenging, to be sure, and each of us has to decide if we're willing to do what it takes to do it accurately and respectfully. As for me, in the words of Barney Stinson, "Challenge accepted!"

Monday, April 1, 2013

Reds Hall of Fame Website Review

The following review concerns the information from the Cincinnati Reds website. Visit the Reds history page here.

The Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame portion of the Cincinnati Reds website contains not only information about the hall of fame, but also an impressive section on Reds history. The web page qualifies as an electronic exhibit, and targets the general public, specifically fans of the Cincinnati Reds.

Because the site exists more to satiate the curiosity of non-historians than to serve as an actual academic source, the site authors are not likely to be concerned about keeping up with the latest historical scholarship or analysis. Even so, the authors should still be concerned with keeping accurate and important information on the site, and for the most part, they succeed. While perhaps the page design of Reds history portion of the site is slightly more outdated than the rest of the site, it is not terribly so.

Perhaps the single most informative portion of this history section is a timeline chronicling the team’s history, beginning with its emergence as the first all-professional baseball team in 1869, through the 2012 season. In addition to the timeline, the site contains impressive and easy-to-find information concerning the evolution of the team’s uniforms, logos, and ballparks. I was pleasantly surprised to find the opening day lineups listed, dating back to 1900, as well as an all-time roster which included not only players with such legendary careers as Pete Rose,  Ted Kluszewski, and Barry Larkin, but also those with less-than-legendary careers, such as Chris Sabo and Pete Rose, Jr. What is particularly impressive about this roster is that site visitors can click on the names and be redirected to a page about that player, including date and place of birth, position, Major League debut, and all of their player statistics, for every team for which they played.

I do have one significant criticism. While the site does contain a roster with the names of all former managers, including the years each one managed and their win-loss record while with the Reds, there is important information lacking in this section.  As a baseball fan myself, I have had many conversations and debates with other fans about managers, past and present. When arguing with someone about whether or not Dusty Baker is a worse manager than Bob Boone, it would be helpful to be able to go to the Reds history page, find a list of Reds managers, including their win-loss totals, both throughout their entire managerial careers, and while with the Reds ball club. Such information as post season appearances, post season wins and losses, any notable managing achievements or records, along with reason for dismissal or resignation would also be useful. Perhaps less important but still helpful would be a link to a roster containing the names of players for each year the manager worked for the Reds.

Aside from that single criticism, the Reds history section of is quite comprehensive and impressive. It includes much valuable information, as well as photos and video footage. As an academic historian and Reds fan, I see this website as a valuable resource for anyone researching Reds history.