In an article for Belt Magazine, Eric Rhodes ’16 writes about Ohio’s long and complicated relationship with the confederacy. He leads us on a journey through history in order to examine why Ohio, a historically blue state, has recently voted against Cleveland Representative Juanita O. Brent’s amendment to H.B. 665, “which would have banned the sale and display of Confederate memorabilia at Ohio’s county fairs.”
“Symbols of the Confederacy have had a bad month. Confederate battle flags will no longer fly at Talladega, there is talk of renaming Fort Benning and Fort Bragg, and Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves just signed a bill doing away with the state flag’s Confederate battle flag canton. Virginia Governor Ralph Northam has also pledged to remove Jim Crow-era bronzes from Richmond’s infamous Monument Avenue. But legislators in Ohio have not seized the moment.”
Associate Editor at Origins: Current Events in Historical Perspective
Eric Michael Rhodes is a historian-in-training of the postwar United States. He is interested in urbanism, housing policy, inequality, and GIS. A lecturer at the University of Angers in France, Eric studies how the U.S. subsidized housing policy played out in the rusting Steel Belt of the 1970s. At Angers, Eric teaches the history of New York City and documentary film at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.
During the 2020-21 academic year, he will be a fellow at the Center for History and Culture of Southeast Texas and the Upper Gulf Coast at Lamar University, where he will write an article exploring links between the Rust Belt and the Gulf Coast through the lenses of deindustrialization, metropolitan inequality, and the petrochemical industry. Eric is a Book Review Editor at The Metropole, the official blog of the Urban History Association.
In addition to teaching at both French and British high schools, Eric has worked as an associate editor of Origins: Current Events in Historical Perspective, as co-host of the podcast History Talk, as a production assistant at Hyrax Films, and as an archival assistant at the Walter Havinghurst Special Collections, the National Archives, Creative Time, The Kitchen, and Oral History in the Liberal Arts.
Eric’s written work has appeared in the Middle West Review, H-FedHist, the National Archives’ Pieces of History; the Urban History Association’s Metropole; Dayton’s NPR affiliate WYSO; Origins; New Jersey Studies; and Tropics of Meta. He has written chapters for The Making of the Midwest: Essays on the Formation of Midwestern Identity, 1787 to 1900 (Hastings College Press, 2020) and for the forthcoming edited collections The Dayton Anthology (Belt Publishing, December 2020) and Where East Meets (Mid)West: Exploring a Regional Divide (Kent State University Press, 2021).
Apart from his historical works, Eric is active in independent documentary. He has screened his documentaries (which deals with memory, political economy, and archival materials) at Cincinnati’s Mini Microcinema. Eric also has credits in Cullen Hoback’s What Lies Upstream, and he worked with Charles Fairbanks on The Modern Jungle.
In his free time, Eric enjoys eating ice cream and exploring cemeteries. He lives in New York City.