9 thoughts on “James Loewen on his Confederate/Neo-Confederate Reader

  1. Mark October 7, 2011 / 6:23 pm

    Great interview. I’ve read other books by him, but I didn’t even know he was the author of that book. I look forward to reading it.

  2. John Foskett October 8, 2011 / 8:40 am

    It never ceases to astonish me how conststently the neo-Confed crowd simply ignores the clear, bluntly-spoken, unmistakable words of the folks who actually drove secession. In that sense, they have something in common with the group who insists with a straight face that the Holocaust never happened. Therer’s something missing in the intellect column in people who believe that if you simply keep your eyes closed the thing will disappear. I think I’m buying this book.

    • Mark October 9, 2011 / 1:46 am

      While one can make an analogy between Holocaust deniers and those who deny certain historical facts generally, overall I think its distorting in this case and most others merely on that basis alone. Nazi Germany was defeated, occupied, and there were war crimes trials and executions. The evil was acknowledged in a universal and public way, guilt was attributed, and atonements sincerely offered by the perpetrators. Therefore holocaust deniers are in a whole different league and in practice invariably anti-semite. Though I hate it anything having to do with the Lost Cause and all that, and I am deeply saddened by the racial history that Loewen ably recounts, I don’t think the analogy is really fair. The presence of a clear moral narrative and clear outcome such as we had in Germany is a rare thing, and Holocaust deniers are on a whole different plane. Though motives of many and surely most (at the least) of those who insist on demoting the role of slavery and racial issues to secession must be understood in the divisive politics that continue to the present day. The politics of it even today is highly significant, and you can see that even in the comments on this blog. Though I have no sympathy for the Lost Cause bitter-enders, the political extremism of many of those who do understand the slavery question is enough to make many reject the view root and branch so those with fuzzy and misguided sympathies I think is a pretty large group given the pervasiveness of the LC narrative and its tributaries. In any case in the interest of historical accuracy, I don’t find the analogy with Holocaust deniers helpful at all.

      I can think of many counterfactual scenarios where the CW has a more clear and better outcome. If RE Lee had some conversion experience and publicly repudiated his racism, if the South was really occupied and the law enforced as it should have been, or other such. But alas, it wasn’t. Sometimes society is advanced by understanding history, and sometimes it is advanced by forgetting it. I suspect that the latter is the more common way that society advances since clear outcomes are so rare. That tends to raise hackles here, but the world is a complex place and life itself sometimes is the best teacher.

    • Andy Hall October 9, 2011 / 10:30 am

      It’s a must-have. It covers much more than secession, and continues right through the 20th century.

    • sallieparker February 9, 2013 / 4:04 pm

      The problem is that we learn in kindergarten that “slavery” meant owning negro slaves, but that is NOT what it meant in the Declarations of Secession. It was political shorthand for a whole range of traditions and beliefs. Primarily it meant opposition to the new radical cult of Abolitionism, with its William Lloyd Garrison and Frederick Douglass and John Brown, its lurid dreams of murdering and despoiling the southerners. These Jacobins were quite blatant about their blood-drenched fantasies (read any issue of The Liberator); they scared the Southerners and most Northerners as well. If you understand what the “slavery” really meant and implied in 1860-61, you can see why the seceding states put the word front-and-center.

  3. Noma October 8, 2011 / 1:06 pm

    Nice that one pillar of his argument is presenting documents to underscore the fact that the Confederates were mostly anti-states rights.

    Is there some charity where you can donate to have copies of the “Confederate/NeoConfederate Reader” placed in hotel rooms?

  4. John Foskett October 9, 2011 / 8:53 am

    That’s a great idea except that it assumes literacy of the occupant.

    • Ray O'Hara October 9, 2011 / 8:33 pm

      the trick will getting main stream readers to read it.

      a better title might be in order, the Kennedy Twins book “The South was Right” with it’s bright red cover gets people to pick it up and look at it.

  5. Ray O'Hara October 12, 2011 / 9:01 am

    It seems my home town has made Mr Loewen’s Sundown Town website.
    here is the link
    http://sundown.afro.illinois.edu/sundowntownsshow.php?id=1275

    the town is listed as a Sundown Town by him
    It is rather thin on research.
    where it has confirmed we find” probable’
    where it has the line to list ordinances we see unknown appear several times.
    they are unknown because there weren’t any
    under major ethinic groups we also find unknown. any look at a census or even a local Dedham only phone book would show the town is mostly Italian-American and Irish-American and has been for most of the 20th century. so to list unknown that section as unknown is just laziness.

    in the comments section a developers son anonymously comments, As the major developers were Carol Colwell and Arthur “Mr Wakeup America’ Stiveletta it would be one of them, as the Stivelettas are still here I would guess the comment was by Scott Colwell and he admits his father would have sold to a Black family {funny the $60 Gs price for those house seemed so expensive in those days, you couldn’t buy the garage for that these days}.

    Concerning the comment by the Dedhamite, ‘Dedham is a great town. Ten minutes from Boston and no niggers.’
    yeah I know plenty who hold that sentiment and it’s not unique to this town, it holds for all the towns surrounding Boston.

    and all the suburban towns surrounding Boston are every bit as white or whiter the county, Norfolk Cty in the 2000 census was 89% White with Blacks just 3.18% of the population {650,000 total pop} , Blacks didn’t need to be excluded as there weren’t any around to exclude. but in the mid 60s my little league team had a Black on it, he was the only Black in the town little league as he was the only Black of little league age, In my HS which had c1900 students there were 3 Black kids, 2 male and 1 female {all unrelated} which represented the 3 families that made up the entire African-American population of the town, there was also one full blooded Apache who was adopted by rich White folks off a reservation.

    compared to the surrounding towns this was typical, Jf a suburban school had/has Black students you can be sure they are Bostonians who are in the Metco Program a program that gave inner city black kids {generally the best athletes} the opportunity to attend a better school. Dedham didn’t/doesn’t participate in the Metco program as the town fears being absorbed into the city, Not just politically {Mayor Menino would love to take it over} but by creeping urbanization , Boston is just next door physically but it is a world away in lifestyle.
    the town has maintained this by not allowing large apartment complexes keeping it to single family homes

    also clicking on ‘Back to the United States Map’ and then clicking on Massachusetts brings up a list of 14 towns , why these towns were picked and not all the rest as they are no different from any of the other towns near them and the comment ‘few Blacks” applies to 95% of the towns in the state

    concerning Belmont, the comments section fails to note the John Birch Society was founded there

    as for exclusionary, to me that means something like St Brendans Parish in Dorchester where if someone was moving and an immediate buyer wasn’t available the Church would buy the house and hold it until a suitable buyer was found, suitable being an Irish-Catholic or maybe an Italian IF he was married to an Irish girl. no Blacks, Jews or Proestants need apply.

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