Please Accept Our Statue

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0_61_statue_320The Sons of Confederate Veterans is still trying to find a home for their statue of Jefferson Davis and Jim Limber.  The statue, which cost $100,000, was originally planned for the grounds at Tredegar in Richmond next to the statue of Lincoln and his son Tad.  The American Civil War Museum accepted the statue, but made no promises as to whether it would be displayed and how.  Apparently, the SCV doesn’t know the first thing about how museums operate.  Now they are offering the statue to the state of Mississippi.  Good luck boys, but in this political climate my guess is that you don’t have a chance.  My offer still stands to use it in my classroom as an interpretive piece to help my students better understand the continued influence of the Lost Cause.  What do you say? We will take very good care of it.

Between the statue, their big ass Confederate flags flying over Southern highways, and their endorsement of a NASCAR driver, the SCV has demonstrated their commitment to wasting money and their inability to take Southern heritage seriously.

14 comments… add one

  • Greg Rowe Feb 7, 2009

    While it’s not the best way to spend historical preservation dollars and has absolutely nothing to do with even the SCV’s own goals, don’t be so hard on NASCAR! :)

  • Nicholas Redding Feb 7, 2009

    Kevin,

    $100,000 for a statue! Do they know how many core acres of threatened battlefield land that sort of money could afford? Isn’t battlefield preservation a more fitting tribute anyhow?

    I know its ridiculous to hold the SCV to a logical standard, but really this is sickening.

    What a waste.

  • Kevin Levin Feb 7, 2009

    Nicholas,

    You make an excellent point. Perhaps what their choices reflect is very little interest in honoring the service of their ancestors.

  • Sean Dail Feb 7, 2009

    Unfortunately, many SCVers know very little about the service of their ancestors. The SCV has apparently (my knowledge is, admittedly, completely second-hand) become so thoroughly dominated by radical ultraconservatives and white supremacists that many (fairly conservative) members are now staying away. It’s sad that a group that might otherwise be front and center in the preservation movement has destroyed its reputation and in the process done a great disservice to the soldiers it was created to represent.

    But times change, and perhaps as the old die out the SCV may yet be revived as a positive force in
    the Civil War community. I’m not holding my breath, though.

  • Sherree Tannen Feb 8, 2009

    My sentiments exactly, Sean, and ones that I have expressed here and on Cenantua’s blog. How about an organization entitled Descendants of Confederate Veterans for historical preservation, justice, and racial equality? That would actually fit my ancestor’s legacy, as hard as that may be to believe for some. Also, it would fit the sentiments of most white Southerners today. Their voices are just not being heard.

    Kevin, I am on lecture seven of the Yale course on the Civil War and Reconstruction by Professor Blight that is offered online. I strongly urge everyone to take advantage of this unique opportunity to take a course at Yale. It is free. You don’t get credit for it, or tenure, or any number of other things, but what you do get is a chance to learn. This was unheard of when I went to the university. In fact, universities were just getting used to the idea of letting women in at all. Blight lays it all out. The lectures are compelling and give the entire story. This is what is absent in too many conversations. The link is oyc.yale.edu.

    Thanks, Kevin.

  • Jimmy Price Feb 8, 2009

    Having worked at the American Civil War Center during this whole statue controversy, I can assure you that the “offering” of the statue was nothing more than an attempt at a “gotcha” moment from the SCV. That this coincided with the hiring of an African American female president makes one pause and wonder — what REAL legacy was this group attempting to glorify?

    How very, very depressing.

  • Sherree Tannen Feb 9, 2009

    Kevin,

    The SCV will have to address the question as to what legacy the organization was attempting to honor or dishonor. The end result was, however, that the opportunity to surpass old divisions was lost, and this can be instructive for future conversations concerning how the Civil War is remembered in public spaces. I don’t know how decisions are made concerning what museums will or will not display, or how past events are to be commemorated publicly, but it seems that the public itself should be involved in the decision making process. I feel certain that there are plenty of Southern black men and women who would like to see a different side of history portrayed, just as there are Southern white men and women who would like to see the same. The emphasis, instead, seems to be on proving which side of white history is correct–the North or the South–when the answer is neither. The only “correct” side of this history that encompasses an enormous national tragedy, is the side of it that was suffered, and then overcome, by the black men and women who lived it in both the North and the South. When white men and women realize this, we might get something done. Thanks, Kevin, as always.

  • James F. Epperson Feb 9, 2009

    “$100,000 for a statue! Do they know how many core acres of threatened battlefield land that sort of money could afford? Isn’t battlefield preservation a more fitting tribute anyhow?”

    Unfortunately, the SCV has never been very interested in battlefield preservation. They are more interested in making sure the “correct” interpretation is given at existing battlefields.

  • Sherree Tannen Feb 9, 2009

    Oh, lol, Kevin. Have a great day.

    I would like to suggest that a statue of Frederick Douglass be prominently placed in the museum, if there is not already a statue of Douglass. Also, Douglass should be commemorated throughout Richmond, the South, and the nation as the great American that he is. If the SCV objects to that–let its members explain their position. That should bring the point home.

  • I guess I’m just willing to listen to all sides of the issue and keep an open mind regarding the SCV. Now, mind you, I’ve actually been escorted OUT of an SCV event for suggesting that William T. Sherman was an honorable man (gasp!). Still I would not classify the majority of the SCV members I’ve crossed paths with as “ultra radical conservative” nor “neo-Confederate.” There are some odd balls out there, to be sure. But describing the organization as a whole under those terms is a bit reaching.

    Now I must agree that the SCV is not on itself a big force for preservation. But then again, I know a lot of its members who are.

    Personally, I’d think the statue would fit in well at Irwinville, Ga. Of course, they’d have to redo the statue to depict him in a dress….. ;-)

    • Kevin Levin Feb 9, 2009

      I have no doubt that there are plenty of SCV members who are committed to preservation. The post is meant as commentary in regard to the organization as a whole. I don’t think I would have suggested that Sherman was anything but a scoundrel in the presence of such company. lol

  • Sean Dail Feb 9, 2009

    Craig,

    The problem is that the radicals have infiltrated the organization so thoroughly that they are running the good folks off. My understanding is that a group called Save the Sons of Confederate Veterans was formed a few years ago by some disaffected members in an effort to defeat the radical agenda of SCV’s national leadership. I don’t believe they’ve made much progress.

    Sean

  • Woodrowfan Feb 9, 2009

    Is that Jim Limber on Davis’s right? Because I keep thinking that the kid on Davis’s right is looking for some Yankee troops to run away and join…

  • Kevin Levin Feb 9, 2009

    I honestly don’t know who is who. I assumed the one on Davis’s left is Limber since he seems to be reaching for his daddy’s coat.

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