"This is ridiculous. Number one, it puts villains on the same plane as American heroes, Lincoln and Douglass," says Raymond Boone, editor and publisher of the Richmond Free Press. "When you start celebrating the Confederacy, you are talking about terrorists. It is normal to celebrate a just cause. It is abnormal to celebrate a losing and unjust cause."
I would venture to guess that Boone has not seen the new exhibit. As a result we could dismiss Boone’s criticism as overly emotional; this however would be a mistake. What it suggests is that African Americans remain very defensive and suspicious of how the Civil War has been and continues to be interpreted. As I’ve said a number of times, the ACW Museum at Tredegar has done a wonderful job of putting slavery and the African-American experience back where it belongs within the broad narrative. Still, the ACW Museum is going to need to do a great deal of outreach to bring African Americans to the museum. Fortunately, their exhibit offers a rich spectrum of possibilities.