Jackson County, Alabama Walks a Fine Line

Jackson County, Alabama recently passed a proclamation declaring April as Confederate Heritage and History Month.  You gotta love the wording of this one:

The proclamation states that its purpose is to recognize Montgomery’s role as the birthplace of the Confederacy and that “upon the conclusion of the war, many of these same leaders and citizens worked tirelessly to reunite and rebuild this country and forge reconciliation.” Also, “our recognition of Confederate history also recognizes that slavery was one of the causes of the war, an issue in the war, was ended by the war and slavery is hereby condemned.

The proclamation states that “the knowledge of the role of the Confederate States of America in the history of our state and nation is vital to understanding who we are and what we are” and that its purpose is to “honor our past and from it draw the courage, strength and wisdom to reconcile ourselves and go forward into the future together as Alabamians and Americans.

I wonder if black Alabamians in the postwar-South would agree that the state’s leaders struggled to “reunite” and “rebuild” this country through a process of “reconciliation.”  And can you believe that slavery was mentioned in a proclamation of this sort?  Don’t get too excited, however.  Claiming that slavery was “one of the causes” really means that it was no more or less important than the tariff.  That said, I agree wholeheartedly with the first quote in the second paragraph, though I suspect not for the same reasons that the author[s] intended.

3 responses... add one

On a personal note, my grandparents live in Jackson County. I’m not sure if you realized this, but the county seat there is Scottsboro, which obviously has its own historical significance. It was only a few years ago that they finally erected a marker outside the courthouse to the Scottsboro Boys. To me, it seems like the community is (slowly) starting to come to grips with its past, and although I see your point re: the tariff, I think it is some measure of progress to even acknowledge slavery so forthrightly as “one of the causes.” That’s more than we usually get.

I agree Matt. I teach in the neighboring county and from that particular community, that is a pretty dramatic statement considering what I might have suspected. Maybe Jackson County is embarcing some of the “other” history that occurred there during the war. Unionism was pretty widespread there as it was in much of North Alabama. But I believe they also sent many, many regiments to the CSA army.

Chris

Thanks for the comments. I was not aware that the county seat is Scottsboro, which is very relevant in this case. Let’s hope this is indeed a sign of meaningful change.

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