>Good ol’ boys in the South and they sympathizers continue their white wash of history as some organizations across the southeast prepare to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the south’s secession from the United States.
The events include a “secession ball” in the former slave port of Charleston (“a joyous night of music, dancing, food and drink,” says the invitation), which will be replicated on a smaller scale in other cities. A parade is being planned in Montgomery, Ala., along with a mock swearing-in of Jefferson Davis as president of the Confederacy. In addition, the Sons of Confederate Veterans and some of its local chapters are preparing various television commercials that they hope to show next year. “All we wanted was to be left alone to govern ourselves,” says one ad from the group’s Georgia Division.
It should be noted there will be no mention of slavery in these secession parties. Furthermore, the NAACP is planning to protest the event in some areas, which the article states the organization believes the celebration is “tantamount to celebrating slavery.”
More from the article:
The secession events are among hundreds if not thousands that will unfold over the next four years in honor of the Civil War’s sesquicentennial. From Fort Sumter to Appomattox, historic sites across the South, and some in the North, plan to highlight various aspects of America’s deadliest conflict — and perhaps its least resolved. Many of the activities are purely historical, and some, like a gathering this month in Gettysburg for the 147th anniversary of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, will be solemn. At Antietam, on Saturday, the annual memorial will feature 23,000 candles, representing that battle’s casualties. Some cities and states are promoting their Civil War history with an eye toward attracting tourists. In Atlanta, the Cyclorama, a giant painting-in-the-round that depicts the first day of the Battle of Atlanta, is being “refreshed and rebranded” as part of an overall marketing plan, said Camille Love, the city’s director of cultural affairs.
The reasons for the celebrating is one that will “make the truth known,” according to Michael Givens, commander-in-chief for the sons.
“We in the South, who have been kicked around for an awfully long time and are accused of being racist, we would just like the truth to be known,” said Michael Givens, commander-in-chief of the Sons, explaining the reason for the television ads. While there were many causes of the war, he said, “our people were only fighting to protect themselves from an invasion and for their independence.”
More hogwash from advocates yearning for the past:
Jeff Antley, a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and the Confederate Heritage Trust, is organizing the secession ball in Charleston and a 10-day re-enactment of the Confederate encampment at Fort Sumter, where the first shots of the war were fired on April 12, 1861. He said these events were not about modern politics but were meant to honor those South Carolinians who signed the state’s ordinance of secession on Dec. 20, 1860, when it became the first state to dissolve its union with the United States.
“We’re celebrating that those 170 people risked their lives and fortunes to stand for what they believed in, which is self-government,” Mr. Antley said. “Many people in the South still believe that is a just and honorable cause. Do I believe they were right in what they did? Absolutely,” he said, noting that he spoke for himself and not any organization. “There’s no shame or regret over the action those men took.” Mr. Antley said he was not defending slavery, which he called an abomination.
“But defending the South’s right to secede, the soldiers’ right to defend their homes and the right to self-government doesn’t mean your arguments are without weight because of slavery,” he said.
It’s hard for me to divorce the Civil War from slavery. It’s hard for me to understand how these men and women who are committed to the notion that the South will rise again can completely ignore an important factor as to why their great ancestors went to war against the so-called northern aggressors. Sure, the North did not go to war because of slavery, but let’s not pretend the South withdrew from the Union to protect their right to self-govern. The South seceded from the Union because of slavery. The Times’ article noted in Mississippi’s secession papers, slavery was called “the greatest material interest in the world” and ending it would undermine “commerce and civilization.”
Sure, the majority of those who fought in the Rebel army did not own slaves and had no stake in whether or not slavery would end. But, let’s not pretend that these men were merely defending Southerners’ right to live independently from the tyrannical North. These men were defending a system that subjugated an entire race and retain the white man’s social, political and economic dominance in the South.
So, slavery was not only the economic backbone for the Old South, but it was also the main way southern white men kept their patriarchal dominance over white women, black men and black women. Confederate sympathizers saw slavery as justified because of the grossly misguided notion that blacks were unruly, degenerate criminals and slavery would maintain order in Southern society.
While I have no problem recognizing the anniversary and it as a turning point in American history, I do have a problem with these men and women who, in their attempt to re-create a society they would like to see the New South return to, minimize the role slavery had on the ability of the South to prosper at the expense of my ancestors.