Was It Something I Said?

Apparently a number of my recent posts about Confederate History Month are making the rounds among members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.  This happens every once in a while and I end up having to deal with a sharp increase in silly comments and other personal insults.  For the most part I am receiving the standard responses that rehash the same tired points about historical revisionism and a belief that their way of life and history are under siege.  It’s impossible to respond to these claims, but I do find them instructive on a number of levels.  You can have a look through the last few posts to decide for yourself.

I do want to make a few points clear.  First and foremost, I don’t believe for a second that the members of the SCV have any kind of privileged status when it comes to commemorating and remembering the lives and service of Confederate soldiers.  The accident of lineage is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for properly and accurately reflecting on the lives of these men as well as the event that played such a prominent role in their lives.  While the SCV may wish to view the recent public backlash against Confederate History Month as a personal affront to their beliefs and on the lives of their ancestors there is no one group or individual that controls the past.  As I’ve stated already, the response to Gov. Robert McDonnell’s proclamation had little to do with attacking the SCV; rather it was an assertion that the content of that document does not represent the views of a growing segment of the population.  Nor does it represent good history.  We would do well to remember that we are all foreigners in that place called history.

Yes, I have been quite critical of the SCV over the past few weeks, and at other points in the past, as have others.  I will continue to point out dubious historical claims such as those contained in their Confederate History Month proclamations as well as other issues from the Davis-Limber controversy to the ridiculous stories of loyal Confederate slaves.  My perspective on all of this stems from my work as a historian, educator, resident of the great state of Virginia, and as an American who cares about how we as a nation remember the past.  That is my pass and that is all I need.  I don’t need to be related directly to anyone connected to the Civil War to have a right to voice my beliefs/concerns and I will continue to do so.

Searching for Black Confederates: The Civil War’s Most Persistent Myth

“Levin’s study is the first of its kind to blueprint and then debunk the mythology of enslaved African Americans who allegedly served voluntarily in behalf of the Confederacy.”–Journal of Southern History

Purchase your copy today!

11 comments… add one
  • Jonathan Dresner Apr 22, 2010 @ 17:29

    As i said five years ago, “If your pride or legitimacy rests on a denial the realities of history, it’s time to find new sources of pride and legitimacy.”

  • Glenn Beck's Chalkboard Apr 22, 2010 @ 11:56

    Are you sure we’re gonna have to wait until 2013 for the book?

  • Nat Turners Son Apr 22, 2010 @ 5:35

    But Kevin the SCV is operating under orders from Gen S. Lee. :>)

    Lt. Gen. Stephen Dill Lee

    Charge to the Sons of Confederate Veterans

    To you, Sons of Confederate Veterans, we will commit the vindication of the Cause for which we fought. To your strength will be given the defense of the Confederate soldier’s good name, the guardianship of his history, the emulation of his virtues, the perpetuation of those principles which he loved and which you love also, and those ideals which made him glorious and which you also cherish. Remember, it is your duty to see that the true history of the South is presented to future generations.

    Lt. General Stephen Dill Lee
    United Confederate Veterans
    New Orleans, 25 April 1906

  • JB Apr 21, 2010 @ 21:58

    Kevin, have you ever heard from the United Daughters of the Confederacy?

    • Kevin Levin Apr 22, 2010 @ 0:43


      About what?

      • JB Apr 22, 2010 @ 9:23

        Lol. About your work here, I guess…or rather: Have you heard from them in the same style as you have the SCV?

  • Robert Moore Apr 21, 2010 @ 16:52

    Obviously, the personal insults are a reflection of others’ inability to handle the truth 🙂

  • Jimmy Price Apr 21, 2010 @ 16:06

    Check this out: http://sablearm.blogspot.com/2010/04/what-kind-of-commemoration.html. I have a feeling that they were targeting a certain individual when they mentioned “Civil War Memory” 🙂

    • Kevin Levin Apr 21, 2010 @ 16:11

      Looks like my site is quite the attraction. Well, that’s the idea. It’s a shame that these issues have to be framed as part of an ongoing morality play. Actually, there are stories of USCTs at the Crater who may have executed Confederates rather than allow them to surrender. Mind you there are only a few and they don’t even compare to the level of brutality exhibited by Confederates both during and following the battle. I think there are reasons for this difference, but I won’t go into that here.

  • Dan Wright Apr 21, 2010 @ 15:49

    After reading a half dozen or so posts from SCV members, don’t you have a headache?

    • Kevin Levin Apr 21, 2010 @ 15:55

      Not really. I actually don’t mind it at all since it is a blog about how we remember the Civil War and SCV members clearly have a preferred view of the matter. I’ve had to delete a few nasty and/or redundant responses.

      Thanks so much for the clipping.

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