Reenacting Redemption

One of the common mistakes associated with Reconstruction is the tendency of some people to equate the Ku Klux Klan with all white supremacist terrorist organizations (or all white supremacist terrorism, for that matter).  Thus, the common textbook story is the KKK collapsed in the early 1870s.  Some people like to think that Nathan Bedford Forrest had something to do with it (although at times it seems these are the same people who claim Forrest had nothing to do with the KKK, so go figure); others cite the federal intervention in the South in the wake of the passage of the KKK Act of 1871, although the most vigorous use of that legislation was in the South Carolina upcountry, and the assertion that President Ulysses S. Grant broke the back of the KKK is both exaggerated and misleading.

Simply put, the KKK gave way to other paramilitary organizations determined to battle Republican control of the southern states through violence and intimidation (what we would call political terrorism, apologists for these groups notwithstanding).  In South Carolina, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wade Hampton was instrumental in the formation of one such group, called the Red Shirts.

Well, apparently, you can be a Red Shirt too.  The South Carolina League of the South has deployed a group operating under this name to defend displays of Confederate heritage: among those folks operating with them is none other that Kevin Levin’s favorite South Carolinian, H. K. Edgerton.

For all you defenders of Confederate heritage … or is that Reconstruction paramilitary heritage (there were no Red Shirts during the Civil War, after all) … or for those folks who just want to have a good time pretending to dress up as one of Hampton’s Red Shirts, here’s the application form.

8 thoughts on “Reenacting Redemption

  1. Ray O'Hara August 22, 2011 / 11:21 pm

    “Our goals are to:
    1. Implement God’s laws as the acceptable standard of behavior and adopt a
    Biblical worldview.
    2. Eliminate all federal government control and influence in South Carolina.
    3. Reduce the size and scope of all levels of government from state, county, and
    towns to the absolute minimum to maintain law and order.
    4. Promote and institute Southern culture relying on Biblical truth”

    I’ve seen that before, It’s Rick Perry’s platform for president {I’m serious, look it up}
    And clearly you are mistaken about them being re-enactors, they are clearly for real

    This is a re-enactor group. 🙂
    http://www.wiking.org/

    the Wiking was noted for a reluctance to take prisoners

  2. James F. Epperson August 23, 2011 / 4:31 am

    Stunning, just stunning.

    Excuse the political comment, but it is difficult not to see this garbage as a reaction to having a black president.

  3. marcferguson August 23, 2011 / 5:27 am

    No racism here! “Some time after moving in she did what any good Southerner should do; she placed a Confederate flag on the front of her house.” “Good Southerner” apparently equates to “white Southerner.” Who could imagine that a black American Southerner would be bothered by this?

  4. Andy Hall August 23, 2011 / 7:07 am

    Red Shirts, really?

    There is no aspect of the South in that period that’s beyond the pale for these folks.

  5. Charles Lovejoy August 23, 2011 / 9:49 am

    I see a couple of problems here, a “Biblical worldview” ? Who’s “Biblical worldview”? Ever noticed the the diverse make up of the Christian religion ? I don’t think there is such a thing as ‘a’ “Biblical worldview”. >>>>”2. Eliminate all federal government control and influence in South Carolina.”<<<<<? Do they mean no more federal money for the maintenance and building of interstates in SC? Or no more federal funding for special ED programs in SC schools? Wonder if they know most federal funding for schools is for special ED programs? The rest of school funding falls on the states and the local school districts already . Doing away with the FDIC that insures their back accounts? I don't think this is a very well thought out platform.

  6. TF Smith August 24, 2011 / 7:47 am

    Odd how the emblem of Garibaldi’s Italian patriots and nationalists got co-opted by the “southern partisan” crowd…GG was many things (a socialist and liberal in the classic sense, among others), but certainly not a sympathizer with slaveholders. At one point, he came close to accepting an offer of a USV commission as major general.

    He also had the fairly singular honor of having major warships of the same class named after him in two different nation’s navies – and at the same time.

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