Back in February, Mississippi (Goddam) Governor Phil Bryant declared April Confederate Heritage Month, joining other southern states in in the practice. Orcinus blogger and SPLC contributor David Neiwert thought it would be appropriate to devote his blog this month to exploring the history of the Confederacy, although perhaps not in the way Bryant intended. [more inside]
Black Deaths Matter: A Generation of African Americans Are Buried in Racism
In Richmond, Virginia, two nearby African-American cemeteries, East End and Evergreen, are obscured by creeping kudzu. The cemeteries are within view of Richmond’s city-owned Oakwood Cemetery, which holds the remains of an estimated 17,000 Confederate soldiers. Brian Palmer, a journalist, is working on a film that follows a group of local volunteers who hope to reclaim East End. He learned that the gulf between the neglect in East End and the meticulous perpetual care in Oakwood is supported by contemporary public policy: The state government allocates funds to the Daughters of the Confederacy, a private group, to provide for the maintenance of Confederate soldiers’ graves in Oakwood and dozens of other state cemeteries.
“I have a love of ships. What can I say? They transport food around the planet.” That is a quote from “Grey,” the “Fifty Shades of Grey” book told from Christian’s perspective, but it could equally describe how New Hampshire came up with its state flag.Every state flag is wrong, and here's why.
Here is a list of selected readings that educators can use to broach conversations in the classroom about the horrendous events that unfolded in Charleston, South Carolina this week. These readings provide valuable information about the history of racial violence in this country and contextualize the history of race relations in South Carolina and the United States in general. They also offer insights on race, racial identities, global white supremacy and black resistance. [more inside]
The Brazilian Town Where the American Confederacy Lives On 'I asked if she knew there was a connection between slavery and the American South. "I've never heard that before," she said. She wasn't sure why her ancestors had left the States. "I know they came. I don't really know the reason," she said. "Is it because of racism?" She smiled, embarrassed. "Don't tell my grandmother!"'
Why “Libertarian” Defenses of the Confederacy and “States’ Rights” are Incoherent
There is a strain of libertarian contrarianism that holds that the Confederate States of America were within their “rights” to secede from the Union. Such contrarianism on this particular topic is detrimental to the larger cause of liberty because the logic of this argument relies upon relinquishing individual rights to the whim of the state. Indeed, as there is no legal or moral justification for supporting the Confederacy in the Civil War, it is impossible that there could be a libertarian one.[more inside]
The Great Hog-Eating Confederacy
Early Southerners ate a rather limited and unvarying diet. At table the famished guest seldom found more than bacon, corn pone, and coffee sweetened with molasses. Pioneering sociologist Harriet Martineau complained that “little else than pork, under all manner of disguises” sustained her during her visit to the American SouthFor the most part, slaves observed the same diet as poor white farmers. Though many kept gardens, and thus supplemented their rations of pork and corn with a wide variety of vegetables, they had otherwise little opportunity to augment their diet.. Another traveler griped that that he had “never fallen in with any cooking so villainous.” A steady assault of “rusty salt pork, boiled or fried … and musty corn meal dodgers” brought his stomach to surrender. Rarely did “a vegetable of any description” make it on his plate, and “no milk, butter, eggs, or the semblance of a condiment” did he once see.Christine Baumgarthuber is a writer for The New Inquiry and runs the blog The Austerity Kitchen. [more inside]
Robert Smalls sat at the conference table next to Frederick Douglass as they tried to convince President Abraham Lincoln that African Americans should be allowed to fight for their own freedom. He served five terms in Congress. He ran a newspaper and helped found a state Republican Party.
Ta-Nehisi Coates, a senior editor at The Atlantic, recently touched on a couple of interesting aspects of the American Civil War. First, Racism Against White People briefly looked at how Southern intellectuals argued that Northern whites were of a different race. Then a subthread in the comments on that post spawned an investigation of American Exceptionalism in History and the notion of preserving democracy in the context of the American Civil War. After all, "if a government can be sundered simply because the minority doesn't like the results of an election, can it even call itself a government?" Definitely check out the comments of both posts.
What Did The Rebel Yell Sound Like? (video): 'From the early 1900's through the 1940's, Civil War veterans were filmed, recorded and interviewed at reunions, parades, and other patriotic events where, as the century advanced, they came increasingly to seem like ambulatory trophies from some distant age of heroes.'
Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell (R) has proclaimed April to be Confederate History Month in his state, without referencing slavery or civil rights. The move has angered civil rights leaders and revived a controversy that has lain dormant for eight years. FireDogLake is reporting that the neo-confederate group which lobbied Governor McDonnell to make the proclamation has ties to white supremacists. [more inside]
A man seeking Confederate gold and his own family's hidden history uncovers a cryptic trail that may stretch back to a secret society and Jesse James.
Lost Cause [WaPo, bugmenot] History museums are a repository for public memory, but also a nation's mirrors, reflecting self-image. When our views of history shift, museums that fail to change are likely to fail in general. Today's Washington Post reports on the struggle and decline of the Museum of the Confederacy, contrasting it with the American Civil War Center, nearby geographically, worlds away in philosophy.
The Constitution of the Confederate States of America. The author did a line by line comparison of the US constitution and the CS constitution. It's no surprise that the constitution of the CSA includes specific clauses regarding slavery, but some of the other changes are quite interesting. For instance, the CSA constitution included a "line item veto" for budget measures.
Peruse The Geographical Reader for Dixie Children and contemplate the manner in which the greater body of man has improved his intellect these past seven-score years and two.
"If the Sons of Confederate Veterans can't oppose a statue of President Lincoln, we can't do anything," said Bragdon Bowling, Virginia division commander of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. He then added, "You don't build monuments to conquerors."
Ah, life in the modern South... it is so nice to see how far we've come, eh?
Ah, life in the modern South... it is so nice to see how far we've come, eh?
The neo-Confederacy movement is a potent force in the Republican Party in today's South, as Trent Lott's comments about Strom Thurmond demonstrate. Trent Lott has neo-Confederate ties, as does John Ashcroft who praised Jefferson Davis in an interview with the Southern Partisan magazine. Associated with the United Daughters of the Confederacy and the Sons of Confederate Veterans, adherents of the neo-Confederate movement can even buy T-shirts gloating transforming the Republican Party into Abraham Lincoln's worst nightmare.
The Confederate Submarine HL Hunley and some background on the controversy surrounding its discovery. Turns out it was not discovered in 1995 as originally thought, but in 1970 by Dr. Lee Spence.
Mississippi Reaps What it Sews? Mississippi votes overwhelmingly to keep the Confederate flag as part of the state flag design. Is this democracy in action? This type of issue is usually decided by a state legislature. I understand the idea of heritage but surely there are ways to preserve it without having a banner on every corner widely seen as a symbol of slavery and racism. Even if you don't view the Southern cross as representing this, why hurt the people who do? The Nazi's built their power on the nationalistic idea of German "pride and heritage", but you don't see swastika flags flying today over Berlin. Does anyone think there should be an economic boycott of the State, like the one that was effective in getting North Carolina to remove the confederate symbol from its capital building? (Public buildings here in Texas now display the official Confederate State's flag when flying our "six flags" - not the Southern cross which was actually a battle flag.)
.... AWAY, AWAY - site for what looks like an interesting film on the Confederate flag debate. Be sure to check out the video clip.
Georgia approves a new state flag, which should displease just about everyone (historians, civil rights leaders, residents that call it "the war of northern aggression"). It looks like design-by-committee, in which everyone compromises to the point of utter pointlessness. It's certainly hideous, redesign contest anyone?
Norton's a racist. So now if you even mention the Confederacy in a less than evil light, you're a racist. I am really sick of people using the charge of racism to oppose those with other viewpoints. (More inside)