Gettysburg, November 1963

Here’s a brief but interesting newsreel covering the commemoration of the centennial of the Gettysburg Address in November 1963.

President John F. Kennedy had been invited to speak at Gettysburg that day, but he decided instead to go to Texas to mend some political fences in anticipation of running for reelection in 1964.

(h/t Chuck Teague)

Playing Games

Many people who read this blog are familiar with wargaming/simulation gaming. In most cases those games concern military campaigns, battles, or the entire war. Although a good number of these games can be played on a computer (and there are a handful of so-so video games), there are still enough traditional board games, utilizing some combination of a board, pieces (often called counters), cards, charts and tables, and a die (or dice).

There are games, however, that cover other themes.  One is Divided Republic, on the 1860 presidential contest.

Here’s a video review of that game:

Then there is Freedom: The Underground Railroad. The publisher’s offered a series of videos showing how the game is played, and so you might go there to see what’s up.

I wonder what a Reconstruction game would look like. A well-designed one might do a better job than most accounts of Reconstruction in illustrating the challenges faced by policymakers and politicians.



A Connie Chastain Primer

For those of you seeking Connie Chastain’s views on a number of historical issues, I have just the solution: what Connie has said about various across the blogosphere.

Here’s Connie on Hollywood and slavery on a post describing how Leonardo diCaprio felt about portraying a slaveholder in Django Unchained: Connie defends slaveryHere she is defending the Southern Nationalist Network: Connie on the SNN Here she is characterizing abolitionists: Connie on abolitionists Here she is on racial conflict and Reconstruction: Connie on Reconstruction Here she is on the cause of the war: Connie on why there was a awar Here she is on how the North could have freed the slaves: Connie on how to end slavery Here she is on why the Confederate flag was once not controversial: Connie on the flag Here she is on the left and fathers: Connie on the left and fathers You might find this discussion revealing. Notice any familiar patterns?

Now, for those of you interested in such things, Connie often repeats the same sort of claims. She denounces the United States for having no moral right to invade the Confederacy; she has a list of cities and towns destroyed by the evil Yankees during the war; and she likes to quote Julia Ward Howe on race. Those curious about such rants can explore the internet on their own.

It’s generally conceded that Connie Chastain has issues, to be kind. Yet this is the person who sometimes poses as the spokesperson of a certain Confederate heritage group. We’ve paid attention to her recently (perhaps too much in the eyes of some) to give folks a taste of exactly what sort of person she is. Her own blog displays an increasing sense of desperation and bitterness, now verging into fantasies about violence and victimization.

This is the person the Virginia Flaggers trust with their blog. They have no problem with what she believes. Remember that the next time they tell you that it is heritage, not hate.

Connie Chastain Tries To Sell A Book Idea

Even I was a bit taken aback to read this declaration on a sidebar at Connie Chastain’s blog Backsass (a.k.a. the longest love letter ever written):

Connie is sick

Oh, my.

At first, this made absolutely no sense, except to exhibit just how sick and strange Connie Chastain is. After all, who else would think these sorts of things, and who else would display such bizarre logic?

Then I remembered who was really interested in this story line all along:

Connie CoverThat’s right … Connie Chastain (who recently decided to remove these posts from Backsass to place on her other blog, 180 Degrees True South).

Here’s what she said when she announced the book concept:

Connie Cover Book

That’s right … she thinks writing about attempts to commit violent acts on Confederate heritage advocates would be “fuh-huh-hunnnn to write.”

You can read more about Connie’s fantasies of violence here, here, here, and here.

In short, the only person who contemplates seeing physical harm done to Confederate heritage advocates is someone who hopes to make money off writing about that idea.

Wonder what she’ll do to realize that goal?

News and Notes, April 16, 2014

Ah, the pause that refreshes …

  • Many of you were interested in what Jim DeMint had to say about emancipation. I was not.
  • Kevin Levin had some interesting observations about the impact of the sesquicentennial. I’m never sure how one measures such things. What was the impact of the bicentennials of 1776 and Lincoln’s birth in 2009? Hard to tell.
  • Al Mackey wants to draw your attention to a stunning presentation.
  • As for more stunning presentations, check out what Jill Titus of Gettysburg College’s Civil War Institute has to say about the upcoming June 2014 conference:
  • This week Connie Chastain thought it was proper to post profane and ugly lyrics on her blog, just as one time she posted pictures of mostly unclad women. For the record, I don’t know Goad Gatsby and I don’t select his playlist. I think he’d be far more effective with clean lyrics (maybe he should add The Battle Cry of Freedom and John Brown’s Body/Battle Hymn of the Republic). However, it seems to me that he has as much right to do what he does as the Flaggers have to do what they do, and if he’s violating any laws or ordinances, then by all means, ask one of Tripp Lewis’s friends in uniform to have a talk with him. Connie, by the way, apparently still has no problem with atrocities, racism, bigotry, and violence against women. When her buddy John C. Hall Jr. uses the same language she claims to deplore in rap lyrics, she says nothing; recall that she once defended Pat Hines’s antiSemitism … really? Same goes for Connie defending Hall’s antiSemitism. Maybe she can spend some time telling us how her views differ from those of Glenn Miller.

Continue reading

On Cross Burnings and Stone Mountain

Recently I came across this image featured on a Confederate heritage Facebook site:
CSA BF cross
The cross, of course, is a powerful image, especially on a week such as this one on the Christian calendar. Then again, so is this:
cross burning 1989 Stone MountainThe practice of cross burning by the Ku Klux Klan is a case of life imitating art. The Reconstruction KKK did not practice cross burning. Rather, the idea first appeared in Thomas Dixon’s 1905 book about the Reconstruction KKK, The Clansman:
Dixon fiery crossDixon’s book was made even popular a decade later with the release of the film Birth of a Nation:
Birth burning cross
Later that year, when Leo Frank was captured and accused of murdering Mary Phagan, a group of viligantes, modeling themselves on the Reconstruction KKK, seized Frank from prison and lynched him on August 17, 1915. Several months later, on November 25, 1915, these self-styled “Knights of Mary Phagan” met atop Stone Mountain, Georgia, where they burned a cross to mark the refounding of the KKK. The practice soon became a trademark of the KKK, which, unlike its Reconstruction namesake, became a national organization, so cross-burning was not limited to the South.

Nevertheless, it would be Stone Mountain where the first cross burning by the KKK took place. Present at the event was the grandson of Nathan Bedford Forrest. The man who owned Stone Mountain, Samuel Venable, soon granted the KKK access to the mountain, which became a popular site for cross burnings.

This video was reportedly taken at Stone Mountain, Georgia (as opposed to the state park) in 2009:

In 1916 the effort to mark the face of Stone Mountain with a massive carving of Confederate leaders commenced. The original design looked like this:
Stone Mountain original designAfter some delays, in 1923 fundraising began in earnest to mark Stone Mountain as a focal point of Confederate heritage; the federal government assisted the effort by minting a Stone Mountain half dollar in 1924:
Lee Jackson Stone Mountain coin
However, it was the United Daughters of the Confederacy that took the lead in providing for the memorial, although the Klan had input into the design as well. The original sculptor, Gutzon Birglum, better known for his work on Mount Rushmore (as well as the statue of Phil Sheridan at Washington’s Sheridan Circle), was a Klansman, but that proved insufficient motivation, and he quit the project in 1925. After three more years the project ground to a halt, and not until 1964 did work resume. By that time the state of Georgia had purchased the site, ejecting the KKK from further involvement.

In 1970 the United States Postal Service issued a stamp featuring the monument:
Stone Mt StampOne wonders whether today’s visitors to Stone Mountain realize the site’s history, especially the role that the KKK played in making the site a modern-day Confederate shrine … including these recent visitors:

Karen Cooper and Susan Hathaway

Karen Cooper and Susan Hathaway

Billy Bearden

Billy Bearden

Southern Nationalists and the Crimea Crisis

Southern nationalists are divided as to where they stand on the situation in Crimea. Southern nationalist Connie Chastain offers this statement:
Meanwhile, the League of the South supports Russia’s acquisition of Crimea through a referendum, because it’s a secessionist movement. Indeed, I’ve heard that Dr. Michael Hill has invited Vladimir Putin to address the League at its next national meeting.