It’s there, you just have to know where to look for it. The question of how to commemorate the events marking the secession of the Deep Southern states 150 years later has been interesting to follow. Not too long ago South Carolina debated the merits of locating a monument to that state’s resolution to secede on public ground. I have to assume that the question of how to mark the secession of the rest of the Deep South, especially Alabama, is seen by many across the racial line as nothing less than a powder keg. It looks like Alabama has tried to minimize the potential negative fallout by placing the Civil War Sesquicentennial commemoration alongside two other anniversaries and under the name, “Becoming Alabama“. Their own explanation for this decision is as follows:
The concept for Becoming Alabama began with a pragmatic assessment of the financial and logistical challenges posed by this rapid succession of anniversaries over the next several years. Given the budgetary restraints faced by nearly every historical and cultural organization in today’s economic climate, it made sense to seek efficiency in planning public programs, designing publicity, and developing educational resources.
No doubt, the economy has played havoc with the budgets of all of the state commissions but it is hard not to see other factors at work here. I do not envy members of this committee, who will have to figure out how to commemorate the formation of the Confederate government and Jefferson Davis’s arrival in Montgomery. Already, organizations are gearing up for all out celebrations that I am sure state sponsored events will hope to steer clear. My only concern is that the emphasis on civil rights may hamper the ability of those who hope to offer a more complete picture of the Civil War in Alabama that appeals to both blacks and whites. It is an interesting approach to some very tough questions.