Commemorating an Important Moment in Virginia History

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I am so sorry to have missed yesterday’s unveiling of the Civil Rights Memorial on Richmond’s Capitol Square.  The memorial honors Barbara Johns, as well as other students, who protested the physical condition of their school in Prince Edward County.  The resulting lawsuit, which was handled by Oliver Hill and Spottswood Robinson III eventually came to the U.S. Supreme Court with four other lawsuits
as Brown v. the Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas.  As is well known this led to the
landmark 1954 ruling that racially separate school systems are
unconstitutional.  This is the first time that a woman or African American has been honored in an area that includes some wonderful statues to Confederate heroes and George Washington.  This is a worthy addition and one that Virginians can feel much pride in. 

CraterThanks for reading this post. Scroll down, leave a comment and join the conversation if you are so inclined. Follow me on Twitter and join the Civil War Memory Facebook group for continuous updates and additional links to newsworthy items from around the interwebs. Stay up to date by subscribing to this blog’s feed. You can also check out my recently published book, Remembering the Battle of the Crater: War as Murder.

4 comments… add one

  • Alan Jul 23, 2008

    Hello, I have a question, and I understand you are a Civil War expert. At Wikipedia, I’ve noticed a lot of fudging of Civil War facts by various neo-confederate types — e.g., classifying Union victories as Confederate victories, increasing Union casualties while decreasing Confederate casualties in articles about battles, and so forth.

    The most egregious, or at least I suspect it is egregious, is an animated GIF map of which states seceded in which order. I believe (but I’m no expert) the map contains four factually inaccurate statements which serve to make the Confederacy seem bigger and more popular than it really was. These “facts” are:

    — “Missouri secedes, October 31, 1861″
    — “Kentucky secedes, November 21, 1861″
    — “Missouri joins Confederacy, November 28, 1861″
    — “Kentucky join Confederacy, December 10, 1861″

    Am I correct that neither MO nor KY ever seceded, let alone joined the Confederacy? If so, someone needs to fix this ASAP. Think of all the people who are being misinformed by this. If I am mistaken, please forgive me for wasting your time. :)

  • Alan Jul 23, 2008

    By the way, I should have said that the misinformation appears on the Wikipedia article “Confederate States of America,” here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confederate_states_of_america

    And the image itself is here:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confederate_states_of_america

    There’s no telling how many other pages this could be displayed on. Since Wikipedia works on a pseudo-democratic basis, the way to correct this will to be to find a majority of users who can oppose it in its current form.

  • Kevin Levin Jul 23, 2008

    Alan, — Admittedly, I have not had a chance to browse the Wikipedia pages you reference, but the examples mentioned are indeed mistakes. That said, why do you insist on blaming this on so-called neo-Confederates? How were you able to identify the editors as such. Seems to me they could have been written by anyone.

  • Bob Pollock Jul 23, 2008

    Kevin and Alan,

    I won’t speak for Kentucky, but Missouri did secede. The events in Missouri were extremely complicated, but briefly… After Union General Nathaniel Lyon drove the legally elected Governor C.F. Jackson from the capitol at Jefferson City, a provisional government was established to represent Missouri in the Federal government. After the battles of Wilson’s Creek and Lexington, Jackson held a two week rump session of the the legislature, passed an ordinance of secession and elected senators and representatives to the Confederate Congress. The Confederacy recognized these actions and Missouri was admitted. This meant Missouri had representation in both governments. The Missouri State Guard, a state militia, was then transferred into Confederate service. Despite these measures, and despite fierce guerrilla warfare, Missouri remained under Union control. Jackson’s government was a government in exile. For years historians contended that the ordinance of secession was invalid because the rump legislature lacked a quorum, but somewhere (sorry, I can’t remember where now)I read that evidence has been uncovered that proves there was indeed a quorum. Of course, one has to assume that secession was legal in the first place.

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