It’s not been a good two weeks for Confederate heritage advocates. They’ve suffered setbacks at Vanderbilt University, the University of Texas, and with the University of Mississippi marching band. They seem helpless to stop the rising tide of opposition to their position, and the best they can do to gain ground is to promise to fly more flags throughout the South.
But it’s the self-inflicted wounds that are just as likely to leave an enduring mark. There’s still fallout from Tripp Lewis’s attack on Karen Cooper. As detailed on Restoring the Honor, while many advocates of Confederate heritage sided with Cooper and denounced Lewis, others, led by Gary Adams of the Southern Heritage Preservation Group, called on Cooper to silence herself instead of denouncing Lewis.
Adams’s track record is well known to readers of this blog. He’s quite proud of the fact that he contacted John Stauffer to praise the Harvard professor’s rather underwhelming essay on Black Confederates, and informing the professor that he planned to use Stauffer’s essay at a Civil War Round Table meeting (Stauffer thanked him for the information).
Given Adams’s record for plagiarizing the work of others, perhaps Stauffer has reason to be pleased to see his authorship recognized. Whether he would be so happy to discover that he’s become the darling of Confederate heritage advocates is another matter altogether.
Note: I have no problem with Professor Stauffer mentioning my name as someone who thinks his work on this subject is seriously flawed. If anyone has a problem, it is Professor Stauffer, who seems unable to respond to challenges to his scholarship, although he has no problem assailing the work of others.
I’m sure many people would wonder why Gary Adams would want a black woman to delete a post deploring the killing of innocent people while saying nothing about the white man who attacked her and called her an idiot. Then again, at least he said something in public. Susan Hathaway remained silent.
So now we have a better idea of the status of black people in the Confederate heritage movement. So long as they read from the same script and nod their heads approvingly, white leaders in the movement will have no problem with them. Speak out, express one’s own point of view, and watch as they come under attack, first from other members, then from a leadership (as well as the always noisome Connie Chastain) that wants black people to understand their place.
But that’s not all. Restoring the Honor has also provided yet more evidence of how leading Virginia Flaggers, including Susan Hathaway and Billy Bearden, support white nationalism. The two Confederate heritage advocates were among those who liked a post celebrating the activities of a German white nationalist group … which reminds us all a little too much of who else supports white nationalism and had a fondness for a particular German approach … Matthew Heimbach. You know, the fellow Tripp Lewis called “a good guy”?
(By the way, Connie Chastain has no problem with white nationalism either:)
Perhaps she’s also unhappy with Karen Cooper.
One notes that most advocates of Confederate heritage remain silent at moments like this. We hear all the time about how Confederate heritage has nothing to do with racism, yet the self-appointed guardians of that heritage, people who have no problem vociferously attacking their critics, remain very quiet at these moments. Or, in the case of Gary Adams, they ask black people to shut up.
As Connie Chastain reminded me recently in a private communication, silence is cowardice. Susan Hathaway’s been silent. So’s Grayson Jennings and Barry Isenhour. So’s Billy Bearden. So are the rest of the Virginia Flaggers. So, for that matter, is Connie Chastain, when it comes to a white man abusing a black woman. Cowards all.
Confederate heritage advocates continue to blame others for their setbacks. Perhaps it’s time that they look instead to what’s happening in their own ranks. It is the actions of these people that give critics of Confederate heritage more than enough evidence to assail the entire enterprise.
After all, a house divided against itself cannot stand.