A Heritage of Hate and Terrorism …

I have suggested that often Confederate heritage advocates reveal that they are inspired by honoring their own hatreds and not the service of the Confederate soldier … and that sometimes it seems that the real heritage of service they honor is that of the white supremacist terrorists of Reconstruction, especially when they rhapsodize about Nathan Bedford Forrest and Wade Hampton, two of Susan Frise Hathaway’s favorites (red dress Hathaway loves Hampton’s Red Shirts).

Even Connie Chastain admitted on Twitter recently that some of Confederate heritage is bigotry.

CC CSA heritage Twitter

When you say, “Not all of it is bigotry,” you’re admitting that some of it is … maybe even most of it. My thanks to Connie Chastain for that revealing admission.

And Connie Chastain is right. Look here for evidence from a picture snapped at the University of North Carolina, where recent protests and counterprotests continue about “Silent Sam,” a Confederate statue on campus:

Courtesy @Humane_Force on Twitter
Courtesy @Humane_Force on Twitter

Yup … a noose attached to a pole flying the Confederate Battle Flag. Or so it appears.

You can’t get much more direct than that.

Note: Other images of the protest don’t show the same flag … so this is destined to become a controversial image as people question its veracity.

Mike Huckabee’s Quotable Stumbles

It looks as if Mike Huckabee has decided that it is better to make up quotes for historical figures than to do the work necessary to quote them correctly. At least that’s what several media outlets have claimed recently.

So much for civic literacy, often a way of complaining about the quality of public education in the United States, especially when it comes to subjects such as history.

I do note that the book in question came out in 1998. It interests me that only now did someone decide to report this.

As before, I expect someone to say this is all part of my nasty partisan agenda to prove candidates of one party or another to be morons. All I can say is … I couldn’t do it without them. I didn’t stick words in their mouths … although they stuck words in the mouths of other people.

Bigotry, Present Politics, and Confederate Heritage Advocates

We often struggle to understand exactly what advocates of Confederate heritage really believe. After all, we know that some people are simply honoring their ancestors without in any way sanctioning the Confederacy as a movement to protect and promote slavery. That those people inevitably risk association with certain other people is unfortunate, although at times their failure to distance themselves from such people doesn’t help.

But we are also aware that many advocates of Confederate heritage engage in that activity in part because their understanding of the Confederacy converges with their present political beliefs. Indeed, in some cases these people don’t understand much about history, and reshape Confederate heritage to support their own political beliefs.

Take these two examples:


These memes illustrate perfectly the convergence of a professed desire to honor Confederate heritage with a particular political message.

So much for “heritage, not hate.” As we see here, these memes show that it continues to be a heritage of hate.

Nor is that all. This morning, when I checked Twitter, I saw this exchange:


Give Kevin Levin credit for a clever response to this outburst of bigotry from a Confederate heritage advocate.  I wasn’t so nice, and so the following exchange unfolded (to read it in chronological order, read from the bottom up):


The top comment by “Battlefield Tramper” scored a hat trick of errors, but then accuracy has never been the strong point of these Confederate heritage advocates. Hatred is their stock in trade.

And who does “Battlefield Tramper” follow?
BigotFollowerseWhat a surprise. The Sons of Confederate Veterans, the Virginia Flaggers, and other Confederate heritage mainstays. Defend the heritage indeed … especially this sort of heritage.

And they wonder why people want to take down the Confederate battle flag. Perhaps it’s in part because these are the sorts of people who embrace that flag as representing their heritage and what they believe … which, as we see here, is bigotry and hatred for other people.

Until defenders of Confederate heritage spend as much energy disassociating themselves from such bigots as they do whining about political correctness and disparaging anyone with whom they don’t agree, they have an uphill climb when it comes to changing hearts and minds. Indeed, it stands to reason whether they have hearts and minds, because tolerating such behavior suggests that they don’t use them very often.

Opposition Grows to King/Stone Mountain Proposal

Some say that politics makes strange bedfellows. So does heritage commemoration.

Word comes from Georgia that several local chapters of the NAACP and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) have voiced opposition to the proposal to erect a monument to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., atop Stone Mountain. You can read one story here. Here’s another account.

Continue reading

A Word on Howard Zinn

Simply to mention Howard Zinn is sure to bring one into controversy. His view of history had its followers and its critics, neither of whom can view his work with any sense of detachment. As someone who went to graduate school at an institution known for its radicalism (although it was not nearly as radical as it professed to be, least of all in the Department of History, where posturing competed with principle and philosophy), I could not avoid brushing shoulders with Zinn’s supporters, although as a hockey player I knew that brushing shoulders often led to other forms of contact.

Continue reading

Ben Carson’s Webster Problem Solved

Over the last seven days Dr. Ben Carson has been going around on various media and endorsing something he claimed Daniel Webster said in support of Carson’s rather robust interpretation of the Second Amendment. Fact checkers quickly discerned that the Webster he must have had in mind was Noah Webster, he of the dictionary fame, who expressed himself in just such a way in an 1787 pamphlet.

If only that were the end of the story.

Continue reading

A Tale of Two Monuments

This past weekend saw an interesting contrast in two monuments erected to remember the contributions of southerners to American history.

The first monument was dedicated at Shiloh National Military Park. It commemorates the gallantry of Confederate soldiers from Mississippi who took part in that bloody clash. Other states with Confederate units at Shiloh had already dedicated monuments at Shiloh, but Mississippi was absent.

Courtesy NPS
Courtesy NPS
Courtesy NPS
Courtesy NPS

Local coverage of the event can be found here and here.

Continue reading

What Did (Which) Webster Say?

Over the last several weeks Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson has offered several statements rooted in his peculiar understanding of history. In so doing he follows in a long line of presidential candidates (coming from both major parties) who make references to historical examples in support of whatever point they wish to make.

Most recently Dr. Carson has been talking a lot about his opposition to gun control measures. He cites history in support of such statements, and most recently has taken to claiming to quote (or paraphrase) Daniel Webster (not to be confused with a current Republican congressman) as saying in effect that what makes tyranny impossible in the United States is that the citizenry is armed.

Continue reading

Dr. King Goes to the Mountain … Stone Mountain

There has been so much discussion lately about whether existing monuments should stay in place that we haven’t heard much about interest in erecting new ones. Word now comes from Georgia of one such effort that should attract attention: a monument to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is planned for the summit of Stone Mountain.

Specifically, an elevated tower — featuring a replica of the Liberty Bell — would celebrate the single line in the civil rights martyr’s 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech that makes reference to the 825-foot-tall hunk of granite: “Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.”

Sounds like a good idea … but there’s more. The park will also house an exhibit on the service of African American soldiers in the American Civil War. I think we can safely assume that it will focus on those men who wore blue in the fight for freedom. Sorry, H. K. Edgerton.

I’ve written about Stone Mountain here, here, here, and here. Fans of Outkast may be disappointed at the news of this new proposal, but I don’t think they’ll be the loudest voices. Haters gonna hate, as Taylor Swift reminds us. Just shake it off.

After all, southern heritage is too important, too rich, too education to be left in the hands of Confederate heritage advocates. This proposal makes Stone Mountain a more welcoming place for more people, and a place where one can weigh the forces of tolerance, freedom, and love against the forces of … well, you know.