Archive for the ‘confederate army’ tag
ABC News and The Associated Press report that the Atlantic Coast Conference has pulled baseball tournaments from being played in Myrtle Beach, S.C. in 2011-2013 in light of the Confederate battle flag being flown on the State House grounds. For years, the NAACP, which I argued here was all-but irrelevant today, has imposed “economic sanctions” (The organization seems to have dropped the term “boycott” to describe its sanctions) on South Carolina for its continued presence of the Confederate flag on the grounds. The flag was placed there via a bill passed by an all-white legislature in 1962. Since, the NAACP has lobbied for the state to remove the flag. In 2000, lawmakers did take it down from the State House dome — it was formerly third from the top, under the state flag and the United States flag — and place it on a memorial site honoring the fallen during the Civil War. But to remove it completely from the grounds and place it in a museum would require separate legislation.
The State newspaper on Thursday published a telling letter to the editor from a writer describing himself as a “white Republican and graduate of an SEC school.” He had this to say on the topic:
Here’s what I’ve concluded after searching my soul. I don’t need to wait for the NAACP to make me understand that the Confederate flag deeply offends a huge percentage of the population of South Carolina and thus needs to be removed from the State House grounds. A person’s celebration of culture, history and heritage need not needlessly offend many of our fellow citizens. — Jay Glasgow, letter to the editor writer, July 16, 2009
In retort, a commenter on the newspaper’s Web site wrote (parenthesis mine):
Making an honourable (sic) symbol that many BRAVE (using all caps makes points more valid, doesn’t it?) men fought and died under a so called symbol of racism does not make it so. This flag at the monument is historically correct as it is a battle flag … I challenge you to stand up to the tyranny that manifests itself today to those who condemn our people who struggled against an invading army in a war that both sides should have avoided. … The real intelligence here Mr. Bubba (another commenter) is seeing that our heritage is being attacked and doing something about it. Black soldiers also fought for the Confederacy ,too.The monument educates the public on the REAL history of this struggle. — By Pawmetto
Some, like the following, again make the claim that the war was not about slavery:
A little history lesson: The succession of the southern states was about a lot more than slavery. The southern states had every right to succeed. It was that right that convinced the states to unite in the first place. — Pammiesue
Unfortunately, the writer, while stating the war was fought for “a lot more than slavery,” never gets around to mentioning any other causes.
I was going to let some of these comments go, but I should digress for a second. First, the Confederate soldiers, by and large, weren’t brave necessarily (some of them probably were), they were conscripted, or made to fight, by the first draft ever passed in American history. They were green (just like a lot of Northern fighters) and many of them abandoned the army. At one period, the South had an abundance of arms and equipment, but not enough men to use the stuff! It’s not exactly as if able-bodied men were flocking from their farms and families to join the Confederate cause. Most of them were forced to fight, and most of them didn’t even have a dog in that fight, as the Confederate cause was largely that of the slave owners. One of the first sentences a professor uttered to us during a Civil War class at Clemson University was, “The Civil War was caused by slavery and anti-slavery.” So, while states’ rights was an issue later, it wasn’t the issue. It was the reciprocal issue arising from the slavery question as a consequence. Northern lawmakers, of course, couldn’t allow slavery to expand into the western territories because they knew how corrosive a system slavery was to establishing any semblance of an industrial society. A minority of northerners had staunch moral objections to the peculiar institution, but most simply rejected slavery because of the former problem. Nor could lawmakers allow the South to invade parts of South America with intentions of setting up an entire sphere for slavery, in what would have been known as the Golden Circle, an ironic title in itself, since the kingdom would have been borne on the weight of black folks’ shoulders. And to speak on the black soldiers, most of them, as soon as they could, defected to the Union side, and again, like most of the white soldiers, they were made to serve. By that point in the history of slavery in America, I would imagine that at least some of the slaves had developed an institutional mentality, the same that long-time prison inmates develop, which suggests they are happier inside the institution (jail, plantation) than outside in the free world because it’s all they had known.
But back to the comments. Here’s another responding to the letter to the editor:
Applause for your thoughts, Mr. Glasgow! Sadly, most South Carolinians don’t have the intelligence to see as clearly as you do. SC will drown in its ignorance before aknowledging (sic) the error of leaving the flag up. — bubba
Finally, the most enlightening comment I’ve read thus far on this topic came from Sammy in response to another article about the NAACPs “sanctions” against South Carolina, who was noting, like The State’s letter writer, that the flag should be removed for good:
… a personal favorite moment of mine was when some guy in a car saw my anti-Bush bumper sticker and screamed “America! Love it or leave it!” He of course had a confederate flag on his truck. The irony was rather delicious. — Comment by Sammy, reader of ABC News article
Earlier today, I decided that this post would speak for itself, and I should say nothing more on the issue of Confederate History Month, which is in April, but as I thought through the issues and as a child of the deep South, I thought it would behoove me to say more, as this topic touches, not only on heritage, but as we know, on the legacy of hate, racism and a lot more.
As I noted in the earlier post, the Confederacy was a failed mutiny against the United States. The South, of course, wanted to protect its “necessary evil” and its “peculiar institution” of slavery because its economy was so critically dependent upon it. Not to mention, Southern slave holders and politicians (Not the least of which was Ben Tillman, a key player in the founding my own alma mater, Clemson) used the Bible to validate the seemingly relentless oppression they leveled against an entire race of people.
Yet, Web sites touting thoughts such as these are still evident:
April, as you probably do not know, is Confederate History Month. In less politically correct days, Southern governors had no more problem proclaiming it than they did in proclaiming National Pickle Week. Nowadays most governors are too yellow.
its (sic) unfortunate that a few demagogues and hate-mongers insist on associating the Confederate battle flag with racism, but, hey, you don’t exactly expect knowledge or reasoned debate from racist bigots. …
It fought for a good cause — independence and the right of self-government and the rule of law. Those are such good things so worth fighting for it’s no wonder Yankee propaganda keeps repeating the lie that it was fighting to preserve slavery.
In 1860, of 7 million non-slaves in the South, only 384,000 owned any slaves at all. That means that 6.6 million Southerners were non-slave owners, and if you think that they would leave their homes and farms to fight for the planters’ right to own slaves, you don’t know much about Southern culture. — The Confederacy Project, http://members.cox.net/polincorr1/conpro4.htm
So, the South defended slavery, yet this person says folks who associate the Confederate battle flag with racism are “racist bigots?” Astounding. He/she even said, “you don’t exactly expect knowledge or reasoned debate” from these people.
Well, here’s a hard dose of reason: To celebrate the Confederacy is to celebrate a failed attempt. The fight was not for a good cause. The fight was to attempt to maintain the institution of slavery in the South and to perhaps further its propagation in the West. Hiding behind the causes of “independence and the right of self-government” does no good. Why would it fight for self-government if not to protect slavery? Were there other, more compelling reasons to fight for self-government? I know of none. The issue was not about states’ rights. That was a guise. The Southern states were arguing for self-government so they could more easily further the institution of slavery, on which the vast majority, if not the whole, economy was built.
Thus, as I argued in the previous post, if we as a country are going to have a day to honor Southern heritage, let’s call it what it is. Given the rich culture here, particularly among the numerous great authors that have called this place home, let us simply have a Southern heritage month.
It should not be a Confederate History Month, for on the Confederacy’s watch, some of the worst atrocities to humankind in this country have taken place. Let’s, instead, call it Southern History Month, or something similar. Again, the Confederacy failed, and that battle flag summons nothing but ill will among our black brethren and nothing but ill-will among many of our white brethren, including your’s truly. That flag should be banished to the annuls of history. It’s done. It signifies failure, not heritage. The war is over and has been over for 1 1/2 centuries. Get over it. Slavery is abolished. The South failed and could not sustain itself without slavery. We must move on.