The True Story of the 'Free State of Jones': A new Hollywood movie looks at the tale of the Mississippi farmer who led a revolt against the Confederacy (Smithsonian Mag). Newton Knight has always been a controversial figure. "This controversy was fueled in part by Knight's postwar marriage to a formerly enslaved black woman, which effectively established a small mixed-race community in southeastern Mississippi."(Jones County, Mississippi) [more inside]
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]
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.
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]
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.
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.