Museum of the Confederacy Receives State Funding

Virginia Governor Tim Kaine is expected to approve $400,000 in aid to the Museum of the Confederacy.  See the story here.  Apparently Brag Bowling – former post commander – is still hoping for an invitation or opportunity for the Virginia Division Sons of Confederate Veterans to exert more influence over the operations of the museum.  If you missed my earlier post I have it on good authority that there are no planned talks with the SCV. 

"We don’t have to take the thing over, but if there is a way the SCV could exert more influence and help them, we want to do it," Mr. Bowling said yesterday. "I honestly feel they have kind of lost their way and kind of separated themselves from the good general Confederate community."

Thanks for the offer Brag, but many of us would like to see the MOC continue to focus on history and not fantasy.

9 comments… add one

  • Charles Bowery Mar 22, 2007

    I’m really curious about the definition of “the good general Confederate community.”

  • Clio Bluestocking Mar 22, 2007

    I would say “good general Confederate community” died out in around 1900, or perhaps, more accurately 1865. Or are these guys advocating secession?

  • Brooks Simpson Mar 22, 2007

    Want to know more about Brag and how he might define his “imagined community”?

    http://www.nysun.com/comments/1574

    http://www.timesdispatch.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=RTD/MGArticle/RTD_BasicArticle&c=MGArticle&cid=1149193448639

    A “shrine to the Confederacy”? Hmmm.

  • Kevin Levin Mar 22, 2007

    Thanks for the links Brooks. I commented on the Times-Dispatch article a few weeks back.

  • Clio Bluestocking Mar 22, 2007

    The “shrine to the Confederacy” comment set in opposition to actual history kind of betrays that their organization is not exactly interested in history.

    I’m dealing with similar issues but on a much lesser scale and with less insidious implications (to a degree) on a project right now. I’m running into a lot of people engaged in the heritage tourism industry in the northeast who essentially see themselves as controlling, if not outright owning, the history of a town. They do not like any variation from their own narrative or the “history, yea!” interpretations that dominate the region.

    I’m wondering how these two things — the town in my project and the SCV — fit together on a larger continuum. The more localized and less scholarly interest groups are attempting to control not only the interpretation of history, but also are demonstrating political (as indicated in one of those articles that Brooks linked) and local economic influence. I am also wondering if they are using that influence to silence opposition to their own interpretations, and how serious historians can combat or circumvent those groups.

    I haven’t thought all of this through very well, so please pardon the incoherence.

  • Brooks Simpson Mar 22, 2007

    http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/003/531olgiu.asp?pg=1

    This refers to the Lincoln statue in Richmond controversy. You’ll recognize one of the major players.

  • Jim Mar 28, 2007

    “I would say “good general Confederate community” died out in around 1900, or perhaps, more accurately 1865.” I don’t think so Clio. How does it go, “Let he who has not sinned cast the first stone”?

    http://www.slavenorth.com/

    Yeah, I always get confused at those who think American “natives” have forgotten the massive CW. I’m no scholar but last I checked slavery was legal before and during the Civil War in both the northern and southern US. And most of western Europe and select Africans enriched themselves from the slave trade. And the Arab nations had slavery too. And on another note, the US wiped out Native Americans as well.

    So, if you’re thinking clearly, then the whole world is guilty of slavery or some other atrocity, yet the blame of slavery gets almost exclusively laid at the foot of the American South. The “Confederate community” doesn’t die, it just keeps getting blamed by those with double standards.

  • Kevin Levin Mar 29, 2007

    Jim, — I assume you are aware that the states in the North began the process of gradual emancipation following the American Revolution. As to the place of the United States within the context of abolition around the world I would suggest that you do some background reading. The United States was fairly late in ending slavery compared with the rest of the world. I don’t believe the comment you refer to was intended to absolve any one section of the country.

    Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  • Jim Mar 29, 2007

    Kevin,

    I confess ignorance on the rate of emancipation by state; however, I think it somewhat improper to put a timeframe on who was the last to abolish slavery without understanding the reasons behind it.

    I’m just guessing here, but I would label America as a developing country with a primary emphasis on profits up until recently. Slavery was a function of labor costs in the labor intensive industry of agriculture. And the warmer climates in the southern US ensured that slavery would be allocated there. Therefore, it is no mystery to me that slavery lasted the longest in a less developed country with less regulation, a greater focus on unregulated profits, and less unified national ethics than say western Europe at the time. I’m also not surprised that the American South is where slavery flourished and the North turned to other innovative ways to profit through industrialization and then to conveniently denounce slavery.

    It is difficult for a particular region to swallow an inordinate amount of criticism that was owed not so much from inherent corrupt ethics, rather than the realities of law, economics, and locale at that time. We see the same issues today with developing countries committing the most atrocious acts against human rights in order to acquire profits, and it is easy for us privileged nations who have already enriched themselves on similar crimes against humanity to cast judgement on people doing the same thing our ancestors did.

    It is complex to judge the past by today’s standards and often the results are counter-productive as stated above. But who is going to forget our biggest conflict just because the participants are dead?

    I think we are all ready to move forward together as long as past wrongs are not repeated and our sense of cultural history is not lost whether it be in the form of a statue, a memorial, a flag, a cemetery, a museum, or a story. Otherwise, the retribution will only breed further resentment and distrust.

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