Here’s a sample of some of the comments responding to a story in the Richmond Times-Dispatch about the growing controversy over the plan of the Virginia Flaggers to raise a Confederate navy jack along I-95 south of Richmond:
Who are YOU to criticize the decisions of sons and grandsons of Revolutionary patriots who had built a New World out of NOTHING in the wilderness, the riches of which were envied by the North that wished to control it?
I believe that slaves had something to do with this, especially in the land south of the Potomac River. Then again, perhaps that’s why the Confederates wanted to protect slavery … because they knew that southern whites couldn’t do this on their own.
Before the South’s Subjugation we were a nation of Liberty …
Just ask Frederick Douglass.
The South seceded because they didn’t want stupid people looking to take from them telling them what they had to do.
After all, white southerners had been doing that for decades before secession, so they knew what it meant. See the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850. See the Gag Rule.
You see, … to people not brainwashed by revisionist, race-baiting exploitation of the subject of slavery, we understand how slavery is not necessarily race-based, nor a legal institution, nor meant to be permanent, nor limited to the South.
It just happened to be that way in the South in 1860.
This is most distressing. This conflict brings up the twin myths, first that there was a civil war, and also that it was over slavery. These two things just are not so.
At least this is the case in the alternative universe populated by Confederate Romantics.
The Confederate cause was resisting tyranny to do anything, and resist having one’s wealth (am not talking slavery) stolen from them and one’s land invaded.
Slaveholders resisting tyranny (because they wanted to continue practicing it) were certainly resisting having their wealth taken away … and they knew that the greatest wealth in property was in slaves.
You show your ignorance of the men and women of the South, who worked and shared constantly on the topic of how best to improve the status and welfare of the slaves. There were MANY programs tried – and with such good results, there were NO slave uprisings even with the men away at War. Further, the stories of slaves and free blacks who supported their families (yes, their families) are some of the most touching episodes.
Which is, of course, why the Confederate government treated black Union POWs as slaves conducting an insurrection and decreed that their white officers would be executed for that very reason. Slaves were so happy, I guess, that one is hard-pressed to explain why white southerners were so insistent about the Fugitive Slave Law. And, of course, things were so good between southern whites and blacks during the war that one wonders what happened during Reconstruction.
Yet there were MANY black Confederates at war with their masters and fighting alongside them, and tending the homesteads. Black men, free AND slave (for slaves often earned their own money) bought CSA bonds. The fact that the FACTS aren’t often discussed, and we are instead always presented with the lurid abolitionist tales as facts for all, detail not only that truth is being propagandized, but also that those who do not discuss things fairly are presenting their opinions as something to reason from. The very fact that those who pretend to be FOR good racial relations keep lying about things tells me all I need to know.
And just how did the Reconstruction KKK reward all these loyal black people? I guess white supremacist terrorism was all for the promotion of good race relations … as a white supremacist would define them.
It is a disgrace that a community action – the erection of this glorious monument – calls forth the “news” as presented.
Oh goodness … a “community action.” Right.
Many men fought but Lincoln offered slaves freedom which led to the Emancipation Proclamation. So much changed 147 years ago and many are trying hard to bring those days back. A flag was a symbol of a nation and the Confederate Flag is the symbol of a Confederate nation that was formed by immigrants from England and other countries that watched the South grow to be the richest in the World. As even Jackson said it was God who gave whites the slave to each as those blacks as the white man is superior to that dark race. Many said the slave was happy to serve and were taken care of for their work. For some nothing has changed in 147 years and the struggle to change history continues. But it is history and we learn from it but we can’t change it as it is to late.
How’s your headache from reading that? But at least the fellow’s honest: he wants to roll back the clock to when there was slavery, because he believes slavery was a good thing. I bet he’s not black.
That’s right to you its all about slavery. Well look at the facts 1. Blacks sold Blacks into slavery. 2. Whites were also enslaved but sold to different countries. 3. The slave trade was ran by the Muslims. 4. Since Blacks from Africa sold Blacks why do Blacks like the term African American. 6. These facts can be backed up can you offer a case against it based on fact, or are you only gone to show ignorance by bitching as a answer?
No hate or bigotry there.
Confederate flags and symbols appeared for decades with no hate and divisiveness in the vast majority of people. It is only in the last 30 years, since the war began to grind away all traces of the Confederacy from the Southern landscape, that divisiveness has occurred.
Yes, “Backass” is the name of my blog.
Sounds appropriate. It’s your best side.
I’d like to say I’m surprised by the comments, but I’m not. I’ve seen the same and worse on many a YouTube video that have anything even remotely to do with the Civil War. Including amazingly, the claim that Lincoln owned slaves.
But the truly sad part I think is that for most of these commenters, it has far less to do with any ignorance, willful or otherwise, as a driver; but rather a purposeful distortion whose underlying motivations (consciously or unconsciously) are very similar to those of the antebellum slavery apologists.
Ignorance I can have some sympathy for; it can be cured with knowledge and might have very well resulted from a lack of opportunity, but what’s behind those comments isn’t really ignorance, is it?
What did somebody once say here? For them it’s “hysteria not history,” … or something like that….
Very interesting paper, and many embarrassing remarks. I blush.
I believe that Governor Wallace did repent, in the years following his paralysis, for his actions, “Furl the Banner,” as Father Abram Ryan wrote. It is innocent, but it certainly brings out the very worst in people, on either side. One has only to read the comments on this blog, for one. There seems to be much rancor expressed in them–to say nothing re the comments from the Richmond newspaper article. If one of the Confederate flags is flown, why not the First National? A battle flag is not exactly welcoming. Best of all, why not the Flag of the United States of America?
As to your queries: I can’t tell you what Flagger thinking is (and I know I’m assuming something not yet proven). But two things about the Flaggers should be obvious: first, their actions are motivated in large part not by a desire to honor the service of the Confederate soldier, but by a desire to draw attention to themselves. Thus we always see the photographs of Flaggers doing this, Susan Hathaway doing that, Tripp Lewis looking goofy, and so on. The pictures are not about the flags or the issues of Confederate heritage, but of the Flaggers having fun (or the numerous images of Susan Hathaway in her red top). Second, the Flaggers and their supporters have a shaky grasp of history that at times reveals less savory aspects of their historical and political beliefs.
It’s not about heritage … that’s for sure.
“Slaveholders resisting tyranny (because they wanted to continue practicing it)…” You could say the same thing about every Southern founding father during the Revolutionary War. Not aware of any who freed their slaves during or immediately after the war. Does that impugn their motives? I assume you’re from the George Washington – massive hypocrite and self-delusional liar school of history.
Wrong again. The Founders did not seek independence to protect slavery. But you just keep on telling yourself that. And, of course, what exactly did Washington do with his slaves? Guess you overlooked that.
Yes, Madison (and Jefferson when he returned), Hamilton, and Adams (among others) hated the protection of slavery in the Constitution but felt they had to make the devil’s deal. And if “Sir” would identify himself, I would be happy enough to prove it to him in their writings.
Yeah – somehow that whole “protecting slavery” thing got left out by Adams, Adams, Hancock, Warren, et al. when they were fomenting rebellion in the Bay Colony during the 1770’s.
That would be because they questioned the very existence of slavery and its compatibility with the ideas of freedom and liberty. Remember, Washington was shocked when he arrived at Boston in 1775 and saw all the black men serving in the militia. Not as laborers, but as musket wielding soldiers. Washington’s views changed over time as well because in 1781 right around one quarter of the Continental Army at Yorktown was made up of black men. Black men under arms serving as soldiers, not laborers.
The fact that this was forgotten at some point after the War of Independence or purposely buried has its own interpretation.
I am not at all surprised by the Flagger comments. Nonsensical at best. I dare say that they have created their own parallel universe in which they exist – not caring how their action affect others negatively and not being accountable for the turmoil they create (which actually describes sociopathic behavior).
George Wallace changed his stripes when he realized the demographic of his electorate had changed. Crocodile tears!
I am no Wallace fan but that is false. First he used race simply to get elected because it was used against him. From what I could tell it was all very Machiavellian. Second, when he apologized, he was done with politics and had no reason to apologize unless he meant it and he did mean it. You have got to know your history on this blog 🙂
We studied “Birth of a Nation” as part of the film class I was taking. I would call the film a “beautiful nightmare” as the photography is outstanding and still holds up above and beyond many of the films that are produced today.
Yet the racism in the film pretty much says it all. Like the cos play neo-confederate dresser-ups, the film displays their underlying racism and white supremacy while waving around who they think are the “good colored folk”…you know, the ones who bow to their stupidity and fight like good servants along side them to try to prove they aren’t really racists, they just don’t like the “uppity” types.
In my study and research of white supremacists, I have found this film to be one of the bases of white nationalism, and I think I can also safely say there are more than a few elements in these neo-condeferate groups who also hold “Birth of a Nation” principles.
I’ve seen that film, too. It says just as much about whites’ attitudes toward blacks in 1915 as it does about them during the Civil War period. White nationalism had been in full force before then, however, as the European colonization of Africa in the late 1800s attests. The British campaign against the Zulu comes to mind, as well as our Philippine-American War. Certainly quite a few neo-Confederates are still living in that era.
SF Walker- exactly, the members of these racist “white student unions” that are popping up and trying to scream for attention at various colleges and universities all have neo-confederate fantasy fetishes.
There are several photos of them at these pro neo-confederate cos play events parading around with no bones about their white pride at these confederate shindigs.
“Birth of a Nation” got lots of glowing coverage in contemporary issues of the Confederate Veteran magazine at the time, including special showings at veterans’ reunions and articles about its value as a tool to teach younger generations about noble Klan:
So yes, while it does reflect the period a century ago when it was made, it caught huge, positive resonance the official organs of Confederate commemoration.
And the enthusiastic reception of the film from Confederate quarters shouldn’t surprise anyone. “Birth of a Nation” was made to order for the Lost Cause viewpoint which predominated until well after World War II. I always chuckle whenever I see some firebrand online Rebel sniff that “the victors write the history.” This film and “Gone With The Wind” have been on the top 100 all-time great films list for decades, and both are sympathetic to the Confederate view. On top of that, Pollard’s book “The Lost Cause,” which launched the pro-CSA version of the war to start with, was published in 1866 in New York! Isn’t that ironic?
Photography wise, Birth of a Nation is brilliant. The composition of the frames, the lighting and contrast is beautiful.
Subject…well, that is why I try and try to watch it as a part of film study and can take only so much of it.
I often have to turn it off and take a break for a few minutes, step outside for fresh air and have a cup of coffee.
I try to focus only on the production value, but it is very challenging.
It certainly is brilliant, as a piece of filmmaking. So is “Gone With The Wind.” “Birth of a Nation” is one of the classics in film study classes, like the one I took. We also saw “Rashamon,” “Citizen Kane,” and “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari”—these are all standards in film study. I’d liked to have seen some of Alfred Hitchcock’s films added to the course I took, though. All of his work was superb. If you want to see one of the worst films ever made, check out “Manos: The Hands of Fate” sometime–Mystery Science Theater riffed it, which should be an indication of how bad it is 🙂
If I had the money, I’d still love to produce “Francis Joins the SCV” (as if the world needs another Francis the Talking Mule picture). The plot would center around Francis’s efforts to join the famed Confederate descendents’ organization after learning that his great-great-grandfather was eaten during the siege of Vicksburg. OK, I think I’ve misused the blog enough for one day…
Maybe we can have a film geek discussion on another venue?
I have also studied some of Man Ray’s experimental film work as well as some rare pieces from the Bauhaus school, but maybe on another venue…
That film inspired the many infamous mass KKK marches on D.C., didn’t it?
My sister sent me this link today….. very appropriate with this post.
Does the comment tab actually work in Chrome on the Richmond paper site?
Did for me.