King Salim Khalfani Speaks Truth to Power Without the Truth

In yesterday’s post I linked to an article about the impending opening of the Museum of the Confederacy’s Appomattox branch this coming weekend.  The article included a quote from King Salim Khalfani, who is the Executive Director of the State Conference NAACP.  Asked if he planned to attend the opening, Khalfani had this to say:

I have never been, and I have no plans to….  These people are still fighting the Civil War. They’re just not honest about the history and the story.

Khalfani’s bio page includes the following:

My greatest accomplishment is that I am by choice a revolutionary Afrikan Man. I am a Pan-Afrikanist. I am one who speaks truth to power unashamedly on behalf of Afrikan people. I have not cringed or cowered when faced with criticism, ostracism or threats of bodily harm.

Perhaps the Civil War just doesn’t fall on the radar screen of someone who self-identifies as an Afrikan Man or Pan-Afrikanist.  That’s fine.  What I do have a problem with, however, is when we speak truth to power without any evidence behind the action.  Khalfani is no better than the Virginia Flaggers, Ed Sebesta, and the SCV, who have done next to nothing to explore what the Museum of the Confederacy has to offer.

I spent a few minutes on the Virginia NAACP’s website and I can’t find anything having to do with the Civil War Sesquicentennial.  How unfortunate.  Of course, other issues demand attention and resources, but this is a unique opportunity to connect the African American community in Virginia to an incredibly rich history.  The Museum of the Confederacy is an essential stop along that journey.  I’ve written quite a bit about the challenges associated with attracting African Americans to Civil War related events.  To the extent that an adult white male can sympathize, I get it.  That said, at some point we have to move beyond these irresponsible outbursts.

I’ve already suggested that this is not your grandfather’s Civil War commemoration.  Let’s step up to the plate and move forward.  Mr. Khalfani ought to lead the way.

118 responses... add one

I saw this yesterday and agree.

As an American of mixed European, African, and Indian (or some may say Native; but I go with what I know of Virginia Indians), I don’t see any desire of Pan-Africanism now but that’s besides the point. As someone who has more Confederate ancestors, including a cousin who was a Virginia Secession Convention representative, this story of the Confederacy is a story of all the cultures of this country. Yes, the Confederacy’s constitution pumped up their desire to own other human beings; but those people were of African descent.

We (all of America) have got to move past the “I hate the Confederacy” and other assorted generic fallback commentary because it is not helping us include everyone’s stories. The MoC as founded in 1896 was not inclined to be honest about the history of the Confederacy but I see more and more improvements to that all the time, inclusive of the fact that they have Black employees, partnership with North Carolina Central University (a historically black school), tours focused on the slaves, free blacks, and hired whites working alongside each other to free up Jefferson Davis and his family from hard tasks, and regular tours that are inclusive of those people too (not just in Black History Month or Women’s History Month).

There is work to be done, certainly, but that is not separate from any other museum. Yet, the current leadership of the MoC seems to want to try to tell a more complicated, intriguing, and inclusive story and I think we’d all be wise enough to try to help them instead of tear them down.

Emmanuel, How did the Confederate Constitution pump up any desire to own other human beings? African or otherwise?

Do we really have to go down this road again? Just read the document. You are more than welcome to comment on this thread, but I insist that you address the content of this post. Thank you.

Mr. Lucas,

As I’ve already stated, you are free to comment on the subject of this post. I suggest you find somewhere else to debate the place of slavery in secession or a future post on this site. Unless they address the subject of this post future comments will be deleted. Thank you for your understanding.

Kevin

Kevin, kudos for you! But as long as you maintain your bias views you are no different, than those you rant against.

I’m not even responding other than to say I was amused by Brad’s comment.

If you can’t Google the Confederate Constitution then there is nothing to discuss. I don’t know about anyone else here but when the original was on display at the Museum of the Confederacy, I went to see it. There’s something cool about the size of it.

It’s not worth a comment. Lucas is a broken record. I suggest that he take this rhetoric back to his friends on Facebook.

The story behind the creation of the Confederate constitution speaks volumes about its purpose. I think it’s pretty funny how people argue about the US Constitution’s creation and its meaning and how people argue about the Confederate one’s meaning. The answers are in the words of the people that created them. Unfortunately that conflicts with what people want to believe.
I personally think the Confederate one contradicts the argument that state’s rights was the cause of the war because it violates the rights of states in order to protect the rights of the elite planter or slave owner class clearly.

Emmanuel, there is little difference between the two Constitutions. Other than actually stating what was otherwise already established and protected under the U.S. Constitution in regards to slavery. Nothing was any less inhumane under either. The notion or theory that the Confederate Constitution was intended to pump up a quote desire to own other human beings is a blatant distortion. It is divisive and inflammatory distortion at that to suggest that it was! The Confederate Constitution was not born of a desire to own other human beings, but an act to protect themselves following the same outline of the original U.S. Constitution.

Nothing more than empty rhetoric. I suggest you read books by George Rable, William Davis, Anne S. Rubin, and Emory Thomas.

The Confederate constitution was designed to protect slaveowners and their rights to owning slaves. That was the primary purpose of that document and it strong reflects that goal in multiple sections. If it was only supposed to be the same as the US version, then they would have only copied it which was actually suggested. However, since the US version didn’t specifically address the protection of slavery they deliberately modified it to do so. At the same time, they made other modifications and introduced new ideas dealing with slavery in order to strengthen the slaveowners rights and political power. That Confederate document was entrenching slavery firmly in the new country’s government so that it could never be altered.

Jimmy-That’s what drives me nuts too. Oceans of ink were spilled in the period that ended with the Civil War and arguably began about when James Madison voiced his concern during the Constitutional Convention:

>>He [Madison] admitted that every peculiar interest whether in any class of citizens, or any description of States, ought to be secured as far as possible. Wherever there is danger of attack there ought be given a constitutional power of defence. But he contended that the States were divided into different interests not by their difference of size, but by other circumstances; the most material of which resulted partly from climate, but principally from the effects of their having or not having slaves. These two causes concurred in forming the great division of interests in the U. States. It did not lie between the large & small States: It lay between the Northern & Southern, and if any defensive power were necessary, it ought to be mutually given to these two interests. He was so strongly impressed with this important truth that he had been casting about in his mind for some expedient that would answer the purpose. The one which had occurred was that instead of proportioning the votes of the States in both branches, to their respective numbers of inhabitants computing the slaves in the ratio of 5 to 3, they should be represented in one branch according to the number of free inhabitants only; and in the other according to the whole no. counting the slaves as if free. By this arrangement the Southern Scale would have the advantage in one House, and the Northern in the other. He had been restrained from proposing this expedient by two considerations: one was his unwillingness to urge any diversity of interests on an occasion where it is but too apt to arise of itself-the other was, the inequality of powers that must be vested in the two branches, and which wd. destroy the equilibrium of interests.<< (Notes of Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787
by James Madison; Entry for Saturday, June 30, 1787)

Kevin,

It seems to me if a person devotes him or herself to one segment of the population he is limiting his point-of-view. It is the same when one views history in the same manner. History is a voyage of constant discovery, and when one begins the journey into serious history, it is amazing the discoveries one will make.

I hope Mr. Khalfani would begin his own journey of discovery and not limit his historical vision.

Sincerely,
Neil

Please stay focused on the content of the post. I am not interested in rehashing the same tired points about slavery and the Confederate Constitution.

Like Mr. Kalfani I am African-American. Unlike him, I am planning a visit to the museum.

Based on the number of Black people I’ve seen at Civil War reenactments and museums like the MOTC, I’m not surprised Kalfani won’t be going. I realize some Blacks have participated in Civil War events with living history and reenacting (I have reenacted myself) but I think most don’t want to be involved for the same reasons Kalfani expresses. For example, when I attended the Manassas 150th last year, I observed a SCV/UDC ceremony. You feel like these people just do not get it. I know the MOTC is not an arm of the neo-Confederate Lost Cause world; but people like those I saw at Manassas make it no surprise so many Blacks don’t want to be involved.

Bryan Cheeseboro, What do you mean by these people? Can’t you all see the racism and bigotry against Confederate Americans being presented here. Has the narcissism being presented here blinded you all? The NAACP’s record of intolerance regarding Confederate Americans, should be a clear example of African American racism and bigotry, and to question why African Americans are not really interested in the Museum of the Confederacy without recognizing the NAACP’s intolerance, as well as your own is what needs to be addressed. Confederate Americans have no other pursuit than fair representation of who they were and are, and those who deny them their humanity are no less inhumane than any other despot.

With all due respect, but do you have any idea how you silly you sound when refer to “Confederate Americans.” There is no such thing. And are you seriously suggesting that the groups you post on have not displayed blatant intolerance and even racism? Please.

No, I am not saying that there are not intolerant individuals and groups opposing yours, but you are as guilty of feeding the fire of that antagonism as they are. There are those, certainly, who are just as intolerant and antagonizing as you. Corey, Andy, and many others…have been worse in many ways, but why is that, Kevin? I don’t blame you totally for it, but those who choose offensive action must accept the consequences of defensive resistance. Ignorance begets ignorance, when people chose to ignore each others issues of contention and distort the evidence. In accordance with political correctness i.e…terms such as African American, Native American, Confederate American descendants have the same equal right to be considered by the sobriquet chosen by their forefathers as Confederate Americans. Yes, Kevin, there was a Confederacy, the Confederate States of America, and it has been written time and time again that the ethnicity and culture of this region and it’s peoples are distinct as any other. Not every American agrees with politically correct identity, as many Southerners choose not to take a position one way or the other, but political correctness has been chosen to be institutionalized so it has been liberally accepted. The evidence of policies to deny Confederate Americans their rights weighs heavy on this country, there is no difference in bigotry between people. Whether they are African Americans, Native Americans, Hispanic Americans, Irish American etc… Confederate Americans are as much a part of the diversity of the melting pot of this country as anyone else and deserve the mutual respect that others demand. Otherwise it remains to be a politically incorrect hypocrisy. I appreciate the concept of your blog it has been a considerable resource, not all of it negative. By your description your blog is supposed to consider views of “Civil War Memory”, yet you do not acknowledge the negative views against the South and planters that yielded the war, let alone that have yielded the current rise in Confederate American heritage defense, due to the escalation of atrocities being committed against them. I know you and I are in conflict with each other regarding history and this subject. It is not my wish to be in conflict with anyone. My interest is in the objective pursuit to learn history and further understanding and truth. But fair is fair, it will either be equal or we will maintain the conflict. As Emmanuel, myself, and others have stated, this “hate the Confederacy” ignorance needs to cease as much as any other despotism.

Michael,

I hate to break this to you, but I am not at war with you or anyone. You are free to take offense by what I write on this site, but you don’t speak for the South, the memory of the Confederacy or anything else for that matter. The Confederacy existed for a brief period in the 1860s. White southerners who lived in the states that occupied the Confederacy would have been justified in referencing themselves as citizens of the Confederacy. That no longer applies nor is a reference to the Confederate heritage to be equated or reduced to Southern heritage.

Not every American agrees with politically correct identity, as many Southerners choose not to take a position one way or the other, but political correctness has been chosen to be institutionalized so it has been liberally accepted.

Political correctness is just another way of saying that you disagree with another view. Other than that I have no idea what point you are trying to make. The south has a rich multicultural heritage that views the present and the past along a wide spectrum.

By your description your blog is supposed to consider views of “Civil War Memory”, yet you do not acknowledge the negative views against the South and planters that yielded the war, let alone that have yielded the current rise in Confederate American heritage defense, due to the escalation of atrocities being committed against them.

This post was written to challenge a member of the NAACP who made what I believe to be an unjustified statement about the staff at the Museum of the Confederacy. I believe that the MOC is one of this nation’s best resources in preserving the history of the Confederacy and the history of the war, yet you completely ignored it. Of course, the problem is that the MOC is engaged in a war against Confederate heritage. You operate so far off the deep end that it is impossible for me to take you seriously.

Again, I am not in conflict with you. I don’t know anything about you and I don’t spend my time thinking about you.

Every Southern State contributed troops to the Union army.
Tennesee alone contributed more White troops than 7 loyal states.
W.T.Sherman’s escort and HQ security during the March to the Sea was the
1st Alabama Cavalry Rgt. a Union unit.

over 100,000 White Southern Troops joined the Union Army.
At least 150,000 Black Southern troops did too
Confederate American does not apply to close to half the South.

Just how in the world were the people living in the South in 1861-1865 ethnically different than the rest of the Americans living in the North at the same time? I distinctly recall reading in multiple sources that the black people in the South were almost all enslaved, that majority of the Native Americans were evicted and sent to the West against their will, and that the Hispanic population which was mostly in Texas or Florida was already being discriminated against by the Anglo-Americans.

You do realize that when you toss around the term “politically correct,” as you’ve done quite liberally (no pun) in your rant, you’re merely parroting a term that no longer has any meaning in the real world and is only used by people who wish to dismiss things with which they disagree, taint the opinions of others or simply shut people up.

I can’t speak for others but your following the party line in referring to African American as a “politically correct” term is ignorant, insulting and offensive. The name dates to the mid 19th century. The OED gives its first usage as 1855. So when did the term Confederate American actually come into use?

Anyway, once again, it seems that you’re linking this alleged Confederate American “ethnic” identity with southern whites only. On both my paternal and maternal lines my ancestry is European, African (free and enslaved) and Indian, all of whom lived in the south before, during and after the Rebellion. Am I a Confederate American? I think not. Nor are you.

Mr. Douglas, You may be whatever you resolve to be, but you have no right to determine what I am, that is between me and my creator.

Okay, I get you. I often consider myself to be Lord High Emperor of the Michaelvanian Empire. So it’s all good. :D

Hey, Michael. This is a little off-topic (and so, with apologies to the host), but what do you think about the Virginia Flaggers setting up a confrontation with the leadership of the UDC?

Do you think they were, in fact, trespassing on private property when they went on the UDC headquarters grounds when they had been warned — directly, face-to-face — that they were not to come onto UDC grounds, and that if they did the police would be called?

Do you think it helps or hurts the Confederate heritage movement when groups like the Flaggers knowingly precipitate a confrontation like that, and then make it public in an apparent effort to ridicule the UDC?

Do you endorse the rhetoric that that incident has generated on heritage discussion boards, accusing the UDC of “embracing treason,” “selling their souls to the devil,” and being the “enemy”? Do you endorse casual remarks about Southrons putting “their hands around the necks of those that don’t up-hold the charge”? If not, are you willing to denounce the people who say those things explicitly and directly?

Andy in regards to the issues going on with the Flaggers and the UDC, I will say both sides have good intention, but the pressure being held over them by the VMFA ,Virginia Museum of Fine Arts has escalated the issue. The VMFA has taken unethical liberties in the vandalism, destruction of a public property designated as the Confederate Veterans Memorial Park. It was established as place for destitute Confederate Veterans, and their Widows, paid for through contributions by Union Veterans of any symbol of reunification ever existed it is this park which has been usurped under liberal ignorance and despotism. There are well established rules that museums are ethically bound by but the VMFA has a selective memory on what they are.

I didn’t ask about the VMFA. I asked about the Virginia Flaggers’ provoking a confrontation with the UDC, after that latter organization repeatedly declined to join or support the Flaggers’ protest, and explicitly warned them not to come onto that organization’s property.

Brother Andy,

The UDC HQ was already assisting the Flaggers on the VMFA situation LOONNGG before you and Kevin and Brooks decided to take pot shots at us. The nicer ladies inside are on the Flaggers side. The average foot soldiers of the UDC and SCV are with the Flaggers. I know as I was a recipient of their generosity from inside UDC HQ when I Flagged the VMFA on October 28th, 2011. I am aware numerous others also were extended the same courtesy.

Things began to turn sour when a request was made to the UDC HQ to seek permission to use 2 of the 4 perpetually empty flagpoles out front of the UDC HQ building to fly Battleflags to show solidarity with the Flagger Cause.

The ladies inside had no problem with it, it was suggested the issue be run by their leader, Martha Van Schaick in SC, who has ‘official’ say so on the building useage.

President Van Schaick stated to allow the use of the poles would cause the loss of their 501c3 tax exempt statue, and the UDC as an orginization would NOT support any cause where the Confederate Battleflag was involved because it was ‘POLITICAL”

That explains why the Richmond area UDC chapters are placing US Flags on all Confederate Graves in Hollywood Cemetery, and at their recent services in Arlington National Cemetery.

The Flaggers had been standing in an area near the VMFA main entrance on what was later discovered to be VMFA property for about a month. When Van Schaick found out she had No Trespassing signs put up.

When initially questioned in person on the new signs, it was stated that if ANYONE was on their property AFTER HOURS, the police would be called.

The topic of your, Kevin and Brooks hit pieces was of course when the police were actually called, DURING business hours over an innocent situation where a group photo was taken of women, old men and children.

The caller, Mrs Lucy Steele, member UDC, according to the same policeman in the youtube, stated she claimed that the old men and children were climbing on the cannons, and being confrontational. All of that was a lie to entice the police to show up.

The occurance was just as depicted on facebook, a simple photo-op at the very edge of the sidewalk, where noone was climbing on cannons or being ugly in any fashion.

The entire issue was created by a few UDCers incorrectly assuming the IRS would revoke their sacred 501c3 status if people stood on their property with flags, and that Flaggers have heard way too many numerous conflicting stories from the same few ‘leaders’ were of course rightfully upset.

It is truly a low down dirty shame that those in power now have chosen to worship the Federal Government 501c3 Tax rule, rather than fight for Confederate ancestor’s honor and heritage.

It is great news however that this subject has happened, taking place just before National elections in a few months.

I take exception to your characterization of my blog post as a “hit piece” on the Flaggers. To the contrary, I tried to be factually accurate and fair. It the Flaggers came out looking badly, it’s because (in my view) they have acted badly, and I’m pointing that out.

It matters not whether the UDC had (in your view) a good or legitimate reason for telling the Flaggers not to come on the property. You cannot come on my property if I tell you not to, no matter how “innocent” you deem your intentions to be. I stand by my position that the Flaggers, under Ms. Hathaway’s impetus, went on the property with the full knowledge that it would likely provoke a confrontation, and when it did, portrayed themselves as the victims. It’s a dishonest and manipulative action that would not have been exposed without President General Van Schaick’s making public a detailed account of her interaction with the Flaggers going back to last year — an account, by the way, that Ms. Hathaway herself has said “is accurate.”

Regardless of the circumstances in this case, though, the Flaggers (and others) do seem to revel in picking fights with large, well-established institutions like the UDC, the MoC and (yes) the VMFA, where you could be working together on the thing you agree about. The Confederate heritage movement, at least as it’s represented by the Flaggers, is doing little more than becoming more shrill, and insisting on more complete ideological purity, and in the process inevitably distancing itself more and more from mainstream views, even among those who think highly or their Confederate ancestors and want to honor them.

I spent a few hours recently with a Confederate heritage group, and it went very well. A lot of things were discussed, but you know what never came up? Not a single complaint about “political correctness” or whinge about “cultural genocide,” or any of the other buzzwords that are so ubiquitous online. It’s refreshing to see, at first hand, that the Confederate Heritage online echo chamber is just that — a small group of very loud folks, who are doing their dead-level best (whether they realize it or not) to marginalize themselves and their cause.

The UDC was founded in 1894; it’s actually older than the SCV by two years. If I had to bet money on which group is more likely to be a viable and active organization in 2094, the UDC for the Flaggers, I’m putting my money on the UDC. (And the MoC, and the VMFA, and. . . .)

Jus’ sayin…

Said the UDC wouldn’t help, but they were.
Said they’d lose their 501c3, but they didn’t, and won’t.
Said no trespass in off hours, but popo were called during broad daylight.
Said old men and children were climbing cannons, but weren’t.

As for the MoC, Waite Rawls said he personally visited 7 SCV camps with the Appomattox plans, and all 7 had no disagreements and gave full ‘acclimation’
on the US and 14 state flag display, but no CSA Flag outside.

The Flaggers contacted those same 7 camps, and 5 of them (Rawls is a member of 1 of the other 2) said they were in fact NOT informed of the No CSA flag policy, and had they known they would have made a strong point to FULLY disagree.

And as for the VMFA, it has been well documented recently of all the Virginia laws they have violated, the most recent being in November 2011.

Yes, these Orgs may well be active in 2094. But once upon a time honor, dignity, truth, respect, valor, and honesty were to be cherished and taken as bond. Defend their actions if you choose, the Flaggers will not.

But once upon a time honor, dignity, truth, respect, valor, and honesty were to be cherished and taken as bond.

Oh, please. That you measure this entirely based on whether a flag is flown is laughable. My guess is that you are not winning any converts with this rhetoric.

Kevin my friend,

Rawls drew much attention to himself in 2007 for daring to entertain the idea to drop the word ‘Confederacy’ from MoC in the failed bid to move to Lexington in attempt to appease then councilman now Mayor Mimi Elrod. His removal of the Battleflag from the facade of the MoC RVA 2 years ago and now Appomattox are just a few things I measure those virtues against.

The flag removal at the Chapel may have been the impetus for the creation of the Virginia Flaggers, but upon deeper investigations, the numerous violations of law goes very much against those virtues, and is very much part of the ongoing dialogue.

The lies told by the UDC elite do not mesh with the virtures mentioned.

If by converts you refer to VMFA Director Nyerges, UDC President Van Schaick, and MoC CEO Waite Rawls, I agree absolutely 100% with you. If by converts you mean the average person on the street or the member in either the SCV or the UDC, then you could not be more wrong.

Like I said, if the law has been broken than VMFA should be taken to court. Anything less is uninteresting and a distraction. The attention on the Confederate flag by groups like the Flaggers and the SCV is a reflection of their intellectual and creative bankruptcy.

As far as I can tell the SCV and Flaggers (other than the attention they get from a news media that thrives on these silly stories) exert little to no influence. They really have nothing to offer those folks who do have an interest in connecting to the past.

It would do wonders for your efforts if y’all could, just for a moment, step outside the echo chamber and see how outlandish some of y’all’s rhetoric is. But I doubt that will happen because y’all have fallen into the “no true Southron” fallacy, based on arbitrary standards that you yourselves have settled upon, mainly (it seems) based on commitment to wide display of the Confederate flag. People who don’t live up to your standards are “scallawags,” or “traitors,” or “the enemy,” or worse. Y’all are going out of your way to make enemies of those who might otherwise have been allies — or at least, not actively hostile. It may keep the adrenaline going in the short-term, but it’s a disastrous strategy in the long term. It’s a helluva parade you’ve got right now, but I fear you’re marching down a dead-end street.

Oh, and while I’m giving away unsolicited advice, the Confederate Heritage movement should be very much more selective in who it allies itself with. Not everyone who claims to “honor” Confederate heritage is good for your movement.

You know the old gimmick, “six degrees of Kevin Bacon,” where you can link just about everyone in Hollywood to that actor in six steps or fewer? There’s something similar you can do with the Confederate heritage movement, but it’s more like “two degrees of white supremacists.” There are lots of folks within the “Southern nationalist” movement like the LoS and the SNN that are only a step removed from folks like Hunter Wallace, who in turn are (barely) a step removed from the folks at Stormfront. (Wallace links to all three, for example.) Even bloggers who claim to be “your voice in the SCV” aren’t above making the occasional race-baiting “joke.” Do you really think people like that bring anything useful to your movement?

These are not respectable people, no matter how many Confederate flags they fly. If y’all took as much interest in keeping your own house in order as you do in running the City of Lexington or the MoC, you’d be taken a lot more seriously.

Andy, perhaps the reason that they’re not more selective is that they’ve already been selective. Bag men are quite useful. From some of the dreck I’ve read in the forums of these so-called heritage groups, that goes without comment (except for agreement), a lot of these folks are less than one step away from being full-fledged Stormfronters.

You know what, Mr. Lucas? If I were an intolerant person, why would I be interested at all in visiting the new Museum of the Confederacy, already having visited the Richmond museum twice and having a magnet from that museum on my refrigerator, a magnet featuring Gens. Lee and Jackson at Chancellorsville; the Confederate seal; and the Bonnie Blue, 1-3 National Flags and the St. Andrew’s Cross Battle Flag?

As far as the NAACP, it is unfortunate that some people of that organiztion have a hatred towards white people. I don’t believe in doing to white people what many of them have done to Blacks. But I focus on the fact that the NAACP has been the organization which fought long and hard to win basic human rights for Black people. When did the Confederacy do that? When they were kidnapping free black people in the 1862, 1863 and 1864 Northern invasions? When they were murdering surrendering Black soldiers at Olustee and Petersburg? When they, along with much of the rest of America, denied civil rights to African-Americans after the war?

Years ago, I visited the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania Battlefield park. I was looking at an exhibit in the museum and a neo-Confederate woman standing next to me knelt down to her young daughter and said, “See honey? It’s too bad the South didn’t win- we’d be better off!” THAT is the reason many Black people don’t want to have anything to do with Civil War memory. But all you can do is blame them for other people’s problems.

You know what Mr. Cheesboro, I think it’s great you have visited the MOC, you could have a Confederate Flag, and your refrigerator covered in Confederate magnets, but the examples of your intolerance remain clear in your reflection on the subject.  Once, by making subtle slighting references to Neo-Confederates, when you stated, “For example, when I attended the Manassas 150th last year, I observed a SCV/UDC ceremony.  You feel like these people just do not get it. I know the MOTC is not an arm of the neo-Confederate Lost Cause world; but people like those I saw at Manassas make it no surprise so many Blacks don’t want to be involved.”

What exactly do they “the SCV and UDC,” not get?  That their families suffered the severest of atrocities as much as any this nation has seen, so they can be despised for honoring those who served in the defense of their Country, their families and homes, what is it that you do not get?  This mendacious theory of Southern Histories as Lost Cause fiction, vs We won we dictate what is factual revisionism has permeated and muddied the water for the last 150 years.  

Secondly you state, that “Years ago, I visited the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania Battlefield park. I was looking at an exhibit in the museum and a neo-Confederate woman standing next to me knelt down to her young daughter and said, “See honey? It’s too bad the South didn’t win- we’d be better off!” THAT is the reason many Black people don’t want to have anything to do with Civil War memory. But all you can do is blame them for other people’s problems.”  Those are not presumptions of intolerance those are your words which are directed against people you have taking offense from, but why is it that you think that women felt that way?  A lot of people feel that way that but that doesn’t mean they are harkening to go back to days of Slavery, or Jim Crow.   For the record Confederate Americans, do not appreciate being referred to as Neo-Confederates anymore than African Americans appreciate another N-word.  Confederate Americans have a lineal birthright to be considered in relation to their ancestors, as they prefer and those who say otherwise do so in offense to them.  Another thing, I do not blame Black People i.e… African Americans for everything, that’s another intolerant stereotype of Confederate Americans.

I have no problem at all if you or anyone else wants to honor and remember the Confederacy. But the weight of documented evidence clearly shows that they were in the fight to “preserve. protect and defend” the enslavement of Black people in the Confederate States of America. Sorry, but history- i.e. decisions other people made in another time- is not there to make people happy all the time.

When a White woman tells her child that they would have been better off in a place that enslaved Black people, my question is, Why? What are you not getting from this country; a country where you have the freedom to say “We would have been better off if the rebellion against this country would have succeeded?” How many countries other than this one would not lock you up or even kill you for saying just that? How many countries would allow you to continue to fly the flag of that rebellion right in its face? That’s where I have to ask myself, “Is it because Black people are now citizens of this country with the same rights and privileges as they have? Is it because they are now a name to the Census Bureau, rather than a number and and a letter, like my great-great-grandfather Floyd Benning, who went from being “m, 5″ on the 1850 Census, who went from being the property of Henry Louis Benning, the ardent secessionist who was DEFINITELY fighting for slavery if no one else was, to being an identified person on the 1870 Census?

I don’t go around thinking every White person is a racist. But knowing what the Confederacy was really about, you really have to wonder about somebody who wants to be “better off” under that society.

Bryan,

Once you and others here free your minds, that the war was not solely over Slavery, then you may understand what that woman was telling her child, in relation to what this nation is going through today. What evidence supports your belief that because Henry Lewis Benning was a secessionist he was fighting for slavery vs his own humanity? Is it because he was in that position or because he owned slaves, what about all the other slaveholders who didn’t agree to secede was the war about Slavery for them? This discussion is muddied already by the distortion that the war was solely about Slavery. Taking each circumstance on its own merit, presents the broader picture and proves otherwise. It was over power and slavery was but a contributing factor for bothsides, but it was not the central one or the only one.

Here is the evidence supporting my belief. It is linked to the University System of Georgia, a website with a mission statement to “Creating a More Eduactated Georgia.”

http://georgiainfo.galileo.usg.edu/henrylewisbenning.htm

If that one is not enough, here is one from Clayton (Georgia) State University’s website.

http://a-s.clayton.edu/rosenburg/HIST3110/benning.htm

I know you’re going to respond and say these statements don’t mean anything to what the war was really about for the South. But if “Confederate Americans” found two statements as clear and indisputable as these online today from university websites with primary source information from somebody in 1861 saying things like “this war is not being fought for slavery” and/or “Our new government is ready to emancipate and enlist the Negro to fight for our cause,” those statements would be on EVERY pro-Confederate website on the internet today.

You should not presume what I will comment on? Tell me what you would consider proves that your documentation doesn’t prove anything.

Michael, you were not addressing me but I’m intrigued by your presumption of narcissistic intent. I’d propose that it is *your* narcissism that has blinded you to a good dose of common sense on the issue.

“Racism against Confederate Americans?” There are no Confederates. The Confederacy is dead. There are now nothing but people who honor Confederate heritage (in whatever fashion) and neo-Confederate wannabes who refuse to believe and accept that the war is over and the Union prevailed and the Confederacy will never rise again (the “South” has already risen again and taken its place as a vital part of the Union; the Confederacy. . .not so much). And if you’re referring to the descendants of people who were actually Confederate citizens then I hope that your apparent prejudices toward African Americans does not blind you to the fact that some of them might, given your criterion, be rightfully called Confederate Americans as well. I have ancestors who were citizens of the Confederacy and were not black. So am I a Confederate American as well?

You seem more interested in perpetuating the view that African Americans all think in lockstep under the aegis of their overlord, the NAACP. I know that the NAACP is the great iconic hobgoblin under which you folks like to lump all black folks and the dislike some of them have for things Confederate. But I’ll let you in on a little secret. Most black people think for themselves as do most whites. And many black people who have nothing to do with the NAACP, or even realize it’s still around, have lots of reasons to despise what they perceive as “Confederate.”

Your “clear example of African American racism and bigotry” (on top of being just another meaningless, neo-Confederate meme) is anything but clear. Perhaps the reason that a lot of black folks don’t care for you lot (and, unfortunately end up throwing the historical baby out with the bath water) is because of the racism and bigotry they’ve experienced at the hands of your confreres.

Also Mr. Douglas Interesting how you segregated White Confederates from Black Confederates any citizen Slave or Free in the Confederacy was by all means a Confederate American. Whether you or anyone else chooses to ignore the diversity of the Confederate States or not, the facts and documentation prove that it existed, and that their was a coexistence albeit with it’s fault’s and contention between the two races, there many circumstances more amiable and were more complex than most fathom. But just remain embittered if you choose.

Interesting how you segregated White Confederates from Black Confederates any citizen Slave or Free in the Confederacy was by all means a Confederate American.

Slaves were not considered to be citizens in the Confederacy or in the United States during the Civil War. That coexistence was predicated on slavery for the vast majority of blacks in the Confederacy.

Kevin like I said if thats what you choose to believe fine but the documentation of their existence stands!

It’s not about what you choose to believe. The fact is, slaves were not counted as citizens. I do agree that they existed.

Kevin, That is a semantic distortion, and dehumanizes them and that is ignorant.

I thought the institution of slavery itself already functioned to dehumanize the enslaved. Wow, you really don’t know what you are talking about.

They were citizens period! They may have been slaves and subject to that place within society, but they were citizens nonetheless. Maybe that’s where in the problem lies within your lack of comprehension.

I don’t think I’ve ever responded to a comment with the following, but here it goes: You are an idiot.

I hate to be in a position of defending Mr. Lucas here, but I think he is representative of a lot of folks who espouse neo-Confederate positions. Yes, he ignores wide swaths of American history; yes, he cherry-picks his facts and takes them completely out of context. Yes, I think he has read deeply, but not widely, and lacks the experience to place historical data into a logical and factual context, so his interpretations are conceptually flawed. Yes, he projects a modern political viewpoint onto an era whose people would utterly fail to comprehend his views. But he’s not an idiot.

Brooks Simpson has been playing a masterful game of chess on his blog by baiting the SHPG and the flaggers, and in the process has subtly impelled them to make distinctions amongst themselves. In doing so he has successfully drawn out the arch-conservative neo-confederates who, while their racial views are despicable to most 21st century Americans (which they don’t consider themselves), they are absolutely crystal-clear and accurate in their history. There isn’t a hair-breadth of difference between your understanding of the causes of the war and theirs. Simpson has done an incredible service in prompting neo-Confederates to define themselves along a political spectrum that has often appeared monochromatic to the mainstream.

This leaves the Confederate Heritage folks in a bit of a conceptual conundrum, though, which explains a lot of the cognitive dissonance they leave in the wake of their blog posts and replies. They are attempting to define their heritage in a paradigm that they, themselves, consider to be an invalid politically-correct 21st century liberal context. Mr. Lucas’ replies above are chock full of liberal buzzwords–”intolerant,” “bigotry,” “racism,” “diversity,” etc.–implying an acceptance of the interpretive paradigm that followed the civil rights era. The problem is, it simply can’t be done. There is no logical way to do this, knowing what we know about the rock-solid, unassailable facts of southern history.

This leaves neo-Confederates like Mr. Lucas in the rather ironic position of being stuck between mainstream history and hard-line conservative reactionary neo-Confederate views, neither of which consider their point of view valid. Existentially, they inhabit an interpretive no-man’s-land.

I have started to consider them “neoliberal Confederates.” They seek to accommodate both Dunning School scholarship and modern libertarian pseudoscholarship in a post-civil rights era mainstream interpretive paradigm. The right-wing hardcore rejects this paradigm completely, and in doing so are, at least, intellectually honest with respect to their forebears–who would likely call their neoliberal Confederate descendants abolitionists, Black Republicans, cowards, or worse.

Twenty years from now I think there will still be a remnant core of Confederate Heritage folks, who will continue to base their views on a mixture of Dunning School views and Lost Cause mythology. Most will have moved on, though, by educating themselves into the mainstream. But others, by continuing to allow ideology to influence the course of their education, will have finally found the courage of their convictions and identify with the “racialist” Confederate nationalists–thereby freeing themselves of the cognitive discord that comes from trying, and failing, to accommodate mutually antagonistic viewpoints.

Thanks for the incredibly thoughtful comment, Phil. You’ve given us quite a bit to think about, but let me just say this as a quick response. Of course, Mr. Lucas is not an idiot, but the particular statement that I was responding to is idiotic.

Brooks Simpson has been playing a masterful game of chess on his blog by baiting the SHPG and the flaggers, and in the process has subtly impelled them to make distinctions amongst themselves. In doing so he has successfully drawn out the arch-conservative neo-confederates who, while their racial views are despicable to most 21st century Americans (which they don’t consider themselves), they are absolutely crystal-clear and accurate in their history.

I am as big a fan of Brooks’s blog as the next person, but the views of these folks have been made crystal clear on their own websites. He hasn’t impelled them to do anything that they haven’t already done themselves.

I do think that you make a good point regarding the “conceptual conundrums” that many of the heritage folks find themselves in, though I doubt that they will acknowledge it. You are absolutely right that they are operating in a post-Civil Rights environment, but they are also clearly influenced by the post-Vietnam move of distinguishing between respect for soldiers as opposed to the government/cause for which they fought. In doing so, they paint the Confederate army as completely cut off from a slave-holding culture based on a narrow reading that emphasizes ownership as a necessary condition for inclusion in it. They also ignore the fact that slaveholders, according to Glatthaar and others, were actually overrepresented in the Confederate army.

What a MUD PIE you guys can make. “You just don’t get it,” you over analyze everything to suit some grandiose ideology that what you stand on is Rock solid when in fact it is nothing more than a delusion upon quicksand and built upon lies, hypocrisy, and academic scholarship of distortion. It lacks the critical method necessary to rationally consider with humility the errors in your hypothesis of myself, let alone the study of history. So when anyone engages you in the discussion you belittle them as best you can. I have a fairly extensive collection and library, I am open to every angle of critical analysis, including yours to learn from. But facts vs opinion prove you are in error about a great many things and the rock you stand on is shifting and not in your favor. There are those in search of truth who do not adhere to your schools for they have gained greater insight from a broader perspective and not narrowed in their thinking, by your lack of vision. We can actually agree on many details, but in regards to blanketing the war solely under a carpet of Slavery was the Cause, you will fail, because you lack humility to recognize any other perspective than your own. I have worn blue, I have read and study the Union’s struggle, but I also see the Union’s hypocrisy and lost cause ignorance for where it stands in their embellishments and distortions. Over emphasized here and abroad.

We can actually agree on many details, but in regards to blanketing the war solely under a carpet of Slavery was the Cause, you will fail, because you lack humility to recognize any other perspective than your own.

Sitting in my library I see books by James McPherson, Charles Dew, Edward L. Ayers, and William Freehling – to name just a few. None of them offer such a simplistic picture of the cause of secession and the Civil War. Which historians are you referring to here?

No Greed, No Expansion, No Northern Aggression, No Republican Totalitarianism, No Secession, No War! In Lincolns own words he stated he had no intention of attacking Slavery. In Southerners own words they had every intention of determining their own self Government, without being subjugated by the Republicans and the United States. Slavery is not the issue, Dominance of Power is the issue, Slavery is a pawn and not the cause, but a factor.

These are such vague references. The crucial point is not what Lincoln said he would or would not do, but what many believed he would do in the context of an increasingly bitter debate in D.C. and across the country following the Mexican-American War. It’s the only issue that splits the nation by region as we go through the 1850s.

Slavery is a pawn and not the cause, but a factor.

There is an overwhelming consensus among historians as to the centrality of slavery. Your inability to grasp this and/or unwillingness to acknowledge the relevant secondary literature is entirely your problem.

Kevin, you mean there is a consensus of overwhelming politically correct agendas by certain historians, who have willfully distorted history to make slavery the central cause. It is best to accept the words of those who fought it vs. those who spin it. No Academic Scholar in the world can take the words from those who were there, historians and buffs can distort them, twist them and spin them, publish them for the masses eating fast food, funnel cakes, slurping on corn syrup, who will never look farther than the illustrations, videos, and reenactments of the tale. But the words and evidence of those who were there cannot be changed. Many may chose to ignore anything that opposes their agendas and if it is Confederate they may just cherry pick whatever they want and slight the rest as being “Lost Cause fiction.” But, the element of doubt will remain to argue the truth in the Confederate cause for their independence. Slavery was a factor it was an element of contention, but the overriding cause was over greed of power.

You mean the so-called politically correct historians that you have likely never read?

It is best to accept the words of those who fought it vs. those who spin it.

No historian simply “accepts” the words of the participants at face value. Historians must interpret and judge the available historical record. Any interpretation is open to debate, but you have to deal with the thesis as opposed to simply brushing something off as “politically correct.” All you do in your comments is rant. You display so very little understanding of the history.

“It is best to accept the words of those who fought it vs. those who spin it. ”

EXACTLY, Michael. And I will accept the words of the men who started that war, as to why they went to war, over those of their Lost Cause spinning descendants.

“Kevin, you mean there is a consensus of overwhelming politically correct agendas by certain historians, who have willfully distorted history to make slavery the central cause.”

How is that “political correctness” and a “distortion” of history? All you have to do is read CSA VP Alexander Stephens’ 1861 “Cornerstone Speech” or Florida’s “Declaration of Cuauses” document, posted here on Civil War Memory to recognize the 151st anniversary of Florida’s secession.

http://cwmemory.com/2012/01/10/why-florida-seceded-from-the-union/

You can also read the many diaries and letters of ordinary Southerners themselves. Simply put, they were defined by White Supremacy over Black slavery and Black inferiority.

“It is best to accept the words of those who fought it.”

You say that but when we try to give you those words, you refuse to accept them.

“… historians and buffs can distort them, twist them and spin them, publish them for the masses eating fast food, funnel cakes, slurping on corn syrup, who will never look farther than the illustrations, videos, and reenactments of the tale.”

Michael, when you say things like Black slaves were citizens of the Confederacy and reject the centrality of slavery to Southern secession and why they fought the war (and how they fought the war, too- considering their treatment of Black soldiers and kidnapping of Black civilians on the invasions of the North) then you appear to be the one distorting, twisting and spinning history. Have you yourself looked any further than “illustrations, videos, and reenactments of the tale?”

Don’t dissemble. In the Confederates and secessionists own words they had every intention of defending and preserving their slaveocracy. You are correct in stating that Lincoln had no original intent to attack slavery. That’s why it’s so ironic that the Confederates stamped their little feet and tossed their little braids and had their little tantrum, all over a threat that was never there in the first place.

Why are you people so loathe to admit it? Is it because despite your defense you know in your heart of hearts that the institution was an ugly blot? Are you ashamed of your cultural ancestors’ insistence on keeping humans enslaved? Face it, it wasn’t you or anyone alive today. Earlier you mentioned “white guilt.” That guilt is owned by the people who feel it. No one is either inviting you to feel it or demanding that you do.

One of the apologists’ favorite arguments is that Africans sold other Africans into slavery. And that’s true. Of course, to hear them tell it ALL Africans were involved in the slave trade, forcing poor white men to buy these human goods.

But let’s stick with what we do know. . .that some African tribal groups were heavily invested in selling black slaves to white men (as well as having slaves of their own). Soooooo, what now? Is that supposed to shut me up about the evils of American slavery; an institution that continued long after the African trade was abolished? Am I supposed to feel guilt that some black men sold humans to some white men?

Well I don’t. I’m not invested in them simply because of the color of their skin or ethnic origin. The apologists like to say, “Their own people sold them into slavery!” They weren’t my people (although some of them may have been my ancestors). My attitude? Damn them for having done what they did and damn the Confederacy for taking this country to war to defend and expand it.

Michael Lucas,
When you can provide primary source documentation that Black people, free or slave, were citizens of the Confederacy, with rights and equal protection under the law, I’ll be willing to believe it.

“I am as big a fan of Brooks’s blog as the next person, but the views of these folks have been made crystal clear on their own websites. He hasn’t impelled them to do anything that they haven’t already done themselves.”

I could have been more clear here. His modus operandi is to call attention to those websites and blogs on his own blog. Their reactive responses–on their own blogs as well as Simpson’s–make the exact points he was seeking to make. It’s been truly fascinating watching this play out over the last several weeks. And it was especially amusing watching Connie Chastain get outed as a closet liberal. :)

“You are absolutely right that they are operating in a post-Civil Rights environment, but they are also clearly influenced by the post-Vietnam move of distinguishing between respect for soldiers as opposed to the government/cause for which they fought.”

There’s a great deal of dissonance there too. There’s one particular Vietnam vet I’m thinking of, a prolific cut ‘n’ paste-style commenter who favors random capitalization. While he is quite comfortable with the entirely logical distinction between honoring vets and acknowledging the misguided government policy that sent them to Vietnam, he isn’t willing (or able) to extend that same logic to analogous southern/Confederate governments that sent their young men–his and my ancestors among them–to a war in which they might, too, have had little (apparent) stake.

Honoring the soldiers and focusing on Civil War strategy and tactics (rather than the much more contentious political situation that led to the war) has been the safe, mutually-agreed-upon way to commemorate the Civil War ever since the veterans themselves (GAR, UCV) showed their preference for doing it this way. In the name of reconciliation, this continued be the mutually-preferred way to do it through the centennial and Civil Rights era–right up until the third axis of Civil War history found its political voice and challenged the mainstream orthodoxy.

So the post-Vietnam interpretive paradigm has a rich heritage from which to draw. But rather than ignoring the causes, it seeks to logically understand the causes while still maintaining conceptual distance from the emotional issues of honor and bravery. As a border-state southerner whose non-slaveowning families sent soldiers to both sides, I’ve never experienced much dissonance in separating the combatants from the causes.

“In doing so, they paint the Confederate army as completely cut off from a slave-holding culture based on a narrow reading that emphasizes ownership as a necessary condition for inclusion in it. They also ignore the fact that slaveholders, according to Glatthaar and others, were actually overrepresented in the Confederate army.”

And this leads to even more circular sophistry. Many of those same people will construe any criticism of the Confederacy as criticism of their ancestors’ honor. Their concept of separation seems to be a mostly matter of convenience.

To validate your last point: somewhere I recently saw reference to a study that analyzed the demographic makeup of the Tennessee regiment that Sam Watkins’ “Company Aytch” partially comprised. It showed that, far from being everyman Confederate soldiers, they were an especially privileged group who had much at stake in the outcome of the war. Was that Glatthaar? I confess I haven’t had a chance to read to read _Soldiering in the ANV_ yet.

And I apologize for the tangent we’ve taken from the topic at hand. But honestly, I’m enjoying the discussion that it’s engendered.

Please don’t apologize, Phil. I appreciate the thoughtful comments as opposed to having to explain that slaves were not citizens of the United States. :-)

I will apologize to Michael Lucas for presuming to know what he thinks. But I have to say that I don’t know what to say about someone who believes slaves were citizens of the United States and the Confederacy before and during the American Civil War.

I never got the impression that anyone here was overtly trying to come across as an arrogant know-it-all on all matters What-Caused-the-Civil War- and-Why-They-Fought history. However, this is not the first time I’ve encountered someone who defends the Confederacy as Michael Lucas does here.

The Confederacy is a great story of heroic deeds on the battlefield; of incredible military tenacity by officers and gentlemen; and of dogged sacrifice by civilian women and children fighting for something they believe in. It’s a great story. But the elephant in the room of that story is Black slavery. And no matter what, it will forever be the albatross around the neck of the history of the Confederate States of America.

I would love to look back and believe that African-Americans were treated wonderfully during that time. That simply cannot be done. But it has been tried. When the movie “Gods & Generals” came out in 2003, it was harshly criticized because it painted a picture of sanitized slavery- no whippings; no rapes; no families torn apart on the auction block; no one called the n-word, and the only people to use derogatory terms like “darkies” about black people were the Northerners in the film. It presented a view of race palatable for those who think this world would be a better place had the South won that war. And as Gary Gallagher has said that even period films often are a reflection of the times in which they are made, “Gods & Generals,” a movie about a country torn apart over the questions of what place Black people should have in America, definitely shows the influences of integration and the Civil Rights Era of the world we live in today. the problem is, that’s not history to show people the way we want to see them. Hisotry is about trying to understand them as they were. We can work at that through reading the words they left behind. It’s very interesting to me that they would think they were absolutely right in support Black enslavement… which we know to be an inhuman practice. Yet they did this and went to Church. And read the Bible. And prayed to God.

Was the Confederacy more than just slavery? ABSOLUTELY. But slavery can never be ignored, justified or minimized. And it will always devalue anything else the Confederacy had to offer.

I think the Dred Scot case settles this discussion. Dred was not allowed to sue for his freedom because he was not a citizen and therefore did not have the rights afforded to citizens. So Michael are you trying to tell us that the Confederate states were more “progressive” than the country as a whole prior to the war? And if I remeber right, the south favored the Scot ruling.

There were no Confederate states before the war and both the Confederacy and United States prevented blacks from becoming citizens throughout the course of the war. Much of the rhetoric of black Union soldiers centers specifically around the hope that their service in the U.S. military might one day translate into citizenship.

There were Seven States that formed the Confederacy before the war so that is incorrect.

There were seven states in the United States that would eventually come to make up part of the Confederate States of America in February 1861.

Corey, That settles it was in dispute then, as I stated it was. To argue that everyone agreed with that, or that Southerners were unanimously in support of Judge Taneys opinion is absurd. But, that nationally Blacks were considered by many to be lesser citizens or have no rights as Judge Taney stated, is certainly of no dispute. Why were Blacks judged lesser? What presents that element of inequality?

No one is saying that everyone agreed with the Taney decision. Lincoln himself was furious with it. That does not change the fact that African Americans were not citizens of the United States. It was the law of the land. I can’t believe that we actually have to have a discussion about this.

Michael, I’m not the one who’s embittered. You’re projecting again. Not to mention using the standard trope you apologists use when an African American disagrees with your ill-founded contentions. Embittered indeed.

I call bullshit, though, on your contention that I “segregated” blacks from whites re the Confederacy. I had nothing to do with that. That was the Confederacy’s doing. ;-)

You make the point that “any citizen . . .” Well, you see, there’s the rub. Slaves were most definitely *not* considered citizens anywhere in the country at the time, much less in the Confederacy. As for free blacks, I would challenge you to point out to me, with documented evidence, any place in the Confederacy where free blacks enjoyed all of the privileges of white citizenship. Hell, two of my ancestors were forced to leave their enslaved wives and children when Arkansas enacted its laws expelling free blacks and mulattoes. And *all* of the slave states (and even a few in the north, but I’m not the defender of the north as you are of the Confederacy) had some version of the so-called Black Codes, which were designed to restrict and/or outright discourage free blacks in the state.

You make too many assumptions. I’m quite aware that many relationships between blacks and whites in the antebellum south were of a complex nature and should not be painted with too broad a brush. I’m a descendant of a few of those “it’s complicated” (as they say on Facebook) relationships. ;) But “faults and contention between the two races” is an interesting (and duplicitous) way to describe chattel slavery. Don’t expect anyone but Confederate apologists to subscribe to the happy darky narrative. Slavery was dehumanizing, often brutal and morally corrupt. Period.

If you want to sweep that under the carpet, pretend that it never happened, pretend that it was okay because it was legal (not to mention, “And the North did it too!!!), pretend that the Confederacy’s hissy fit was not over its perception of a threat to slaveholding and pretend that postbellum hostilities toward blacks didn’t continue for generations under the aegis of the erstwhile Confederacy, then don’t expect most African Americans of today to take you seriously or have any respect for your attitudes.

And that’s not called being embittered. It’s called not being taken for a chump. Embittered is reserved for neo-Confederates and apologists who can’t get over it.

Mr. Douglas,
I would like you to point out to me where everyone in this country today shares the same equality of privileges of citizenship? I can certainly show you they examples then that were no less in comparison to the circumstances today, the only difference is the chain which binds.

I think he means that as citizens we all share the same rights. Blacks were not considered citizens under the Constitution in the United States and Confederacy. What is so difficult to understand? You seem to want to ignore these crucial distinctions that have enormous implications.

Mr. Levin, To the contrary they were citizens, but what their rights were was a matter of dispute whether slave or free, as it is being discussed here. Your perspective is skewed the evidence other than their humanity itself is documented throughout the course of history that they too were citizens, you only choose to ignore it. Maintaining the poor white guilt image, keeping the black man and Southern white man in a subjugated frame of mind, so you can maintain your self-righteous ignorant diatribe.

I think the error that you are making, whether honestly or through disingenuousness, is not acknowledging that for purposes of this discussion the term “citizen” had (and has) a distinct legal meaning.

Granted, we use the term when referring to the residents of a municipality or a township, for example. But that is a secondary and vernacular definition. That’s not what is meant in this context. And in this context African-descended individuals did not have legal citizenship in any state, Union or Confederate, in the period under discussion.

Mr. Douglas,
I understand fully that any nonwhite person was not considered to be a citizen in the legal sense, therefore any African American who fought for the Union was as much a subject without a country regardless of where he was enlisted.  This is another perspective on how empty the Emancipation Proclamation is, as a document.  How could Lincoln free people who were not citizens protected under the law?  Let alone, existing within another state or nation, wherein he had no authority except under his own delusion and usurpation?  He could not represent non citizens, who were under the authority of citizens of another state, and nation. This also supports that the war was not solely over slavery, but the dominance of power between the Whites.   Slavery as an institution and slaves were reduced to being pawns for both sides, though fighting for it on either side was to their benefit because the war gained them a new sense of spirit for freedom. Which invoked courage within them to become recognized as people who deserved those rights, overwhelmingly to seek opportunities to seize their own liberty.   Their freedom however was, nonetheless, brought about in the most foul way of war, as they themselves had come into being in their very servitude. War in the suppression and murder of White Southerners, former owners, masters of that agrarian aristocracy, which had been enslaved with that institution through the natural chain of events beyond their understanding to see a way out of it.   The Southern planters, whites and free blacks, themselves could not so easily relinquish their burden from those chains that bound them together with their slaves, their only course seemingly through more amiable means given time, which had been forcibly timed out between 1861-1865.  African Americans who served the Union nonetheless fought for a nation that did not recognize them as citizens, let alone as equals. 

Ironically there was another co-existence where integration had come to pass, though it has been cast aside as being in a false sense of benignity.   There were millions of Southerners black and white, who had come to have in many circumstances a familiarity and respect with each other because of their circumstances. But, it was greatly hindered because of the war, and reconstruction. I am speaking of their integration and diversity that Northerners and people today have taken much for granted.  Though they were as in many other integrated societies, brought together by a means of natural force, through the inherent act of war, human needs, desires and greed.   Slaves and Masters had come to depend on each other for their survival and growth, through the natural course of that dependence thus becoming integrated regardless. That being said, by no means does it support how that came to pass, as if slavery was moral.  It, also, by no means, should suggest that the war was moral either.   We must recognize the human condition which knows no boundaries in form, color, or race.   As for myself, being thrown into a situation of my own circumstances between opposing forces in Iraq, with another race and culture of people, gave me an insight into this paradigm of human conditions. Some things we cannot change, we are condemned to repeat them.  Because they are naturally inherent with each generation, who will have to contend with them in one form or another in their time.  In the words of Patrick Henry, “It is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren, till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst and provide for it.”

By denying citizenship of the Slave and Free men in the vernacular of the region they existed, we overlook the perspectives of those who supported the Confederacy willfully or not. By those means is one aspect of how our history is being willfully passed over and distorted to maintain that slavery was the sole cause, and to vilify Confederate Americans.

“This is another perspective on how empty the Emancipation Proclamation is, as a document. How could Lincoln free people who were not citizens protected under the law? Let alone, existing within another state or nation, wherein he had no authority except under his own delusion and usurpation? He could not represent non citizens, who were under the authority of citizens of another state, and nation.”

When you ask questions like these, it makes it look like the supposed illegalities of Lincoln’s issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation are more of an immoral offense than slavery itself.

Honestly, I don’t care if Lincoln did break the law. I say do whatever it takes to stop people from thinking they can call a human being a piece of property- i.e. an inferior being meant to be used and degraded until they are of no use to me anymore. Nor does it matter if Lincoln (as most people of his time) bought into White supremacy over Black inferiority. The message of emancipation and freedom was- and is- greater than the messenger.

And you are right to say that Black Union soldiers were not citizens of the United States. Again, the point doesn’t matter. I’ve never looked at those soldiers as men fighting to save the country. I look at them as men fighting to stop the enslavement of themselves and their families; men fighting for the right to be called men and not a piece of someone else’s property.

And you are right to say that Black Union soldiers were not citizens of the United States. Again, the point doesn’t matter. I’ve never looked at those soldiers as men fighting to save the country.

OK, but it is pretty clear that they did. They hoped that the preservation of the Union would lead to citizenship and the rights that it entails.

Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation was not illegal. It was, if anything, an extension of the contraband acts that were already passed in Congress. The EP was carried out as a military measure. To Michael’s point, Lincoln was not freeing citizens.

Michael-

It’s called Section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution: Citizenship rights:

>>1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.<<

It required a constitutional amendment to establish citizenship rights for blacks (although the amendment does not limit its effects to blacks and/or former slaves as the 15th amendment does). It was ratified on July 9, 1868. This established birthright citizenship as well as having a US citizen as a parent as a basis for citizenship.

Nice try, Maragaret. Too bad it won’t work. I’m just glad you have the reason and intelligence to comprehend that slaves- better yet, any Black person, free or slave- was a citizen of the United States or the Confederate States before and during the Civil War. I’m glad you’re not a cut-and-paste historian like Michael Lucas is. The only truth he seems to want is one that says what he wants to believe.

I don’t know how he came to his understanding of history but I wonder if it comes from his parents and other elders. I think there are many people who hear, “No matter what anybody tells you, the war was not about slavery.” I met someone like this a few years ago. I met a man who believed the first President of the United States was a Black man named John Hanson (and I am aware of the White John Hanson some claim to have been the first President). He said his family told him it was true no matter what anyone said or what documentation they revealed to him. Again, it would be great if it were true but that belief is just as illogical and unfounded as believing Blacks were citizens in the 1840s, 1850s and most of the 1860s.

Brian-Did you READ what I wrote? I did NOT say “t slaves- better yet, any Black person, free or slave- was a citizen of the United States or the Confederate States before and during the Civil War.” Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution includes as the powers of Congress, “To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization”. A very few states allowed Blacks to vote at one time or another but states do not have the constitutional power to determine US citizenship. I know of NO basis for finding birth in the US as a basis for citizenship before the end of the Civil War. That was added by the 14th Amendment.

I cannot fathom how anyone would believe that the Confederacy considered Blacks, free or enslaved, to be citizens. The legal restrictions and prohibitions make it very clear that Blacks had no legally protected rights. Even entertaining the concept that Blacks could be citizens would have undermined the very theory of existence for the Confederacy even more than allowing Blacks to enlist would have if it had happened (more than that half-a#$%d effort at the very end).

I firmly disagree with Mr Lucas, but, unfortunately, what you describe is what you WANT (heck, what I would want) to be the case. The problem is that isn’t what the historical record says. The best that could be said before Dred Scott was that it was a Constitutional interpretation issue of first impression. Many, included Lincoln, vehemently disagreed with Dred Scott but it was still the Supreme Court decision so they were working to get it reversed, not treated as a nullity. Personally, I think Dred Scott is one of the worst Supreme decisions ever on every ground on which it can be judged and there is some formidable competition for that title from other badly decided cases such as the Slaughterhouse Cases,Korematsu, and Plessy. But they spent decades as the controlling case law in their areas until either officially or impliedly/just plain ignored (Slaughterhouse & Korematsu) overturned. Dred Scott’s reign was brief but significant.

The statement about states allowing blacks to vote applies only to the antebellum period.

Margaret,
Of course, I read what you wrote. Simply put, I made a mistake in the wording of my post. It should have read like this (corrections in ALL CAPS):

“I’m just glad you have the reason and intelligence to comprehend that slaves- better yet, any Black person, free or slave- WERE NOT citizens of the United States or the Confederate States before and during the Civil War.”

As far as I can tell, Michael Lucas is the only one here who believes this and I am not in agreement with him on this belief in any way, shape or form whatsoever.

BTW Margaret- you may have missed the last sentence of my post which you gave your response to:

“Again, it would be great if it were true but that belief is just as illogical and unfounded as believing Blacks were citizens in the 1840s, 1850s and most of the 1860s.”

I apologize for any confusion on this, I simply used the wrong words. :-)

Wow…that is silly…calling southerners “Confederate-Americans”. Does that mean Northerners are “United States-American”? Sigh!

Either way Michael…it make no sense. I am not a “Yankee” American anymore than you are a “Confederate” American. It makes a much sense as Kirk Lyons telling people to mark “Southern” American on the last census. Crazy!

I lament Mr. Khalfani’s decision to reject the MoC without (apparently) knowing anything about it or its mission. You’re correct in stating that he’s no better than any other zealot (my term, not yours) who cannot perceive any value beyond his or her own preconceived notions and/or agenda.

I think that leaders like Mr. Khalfani do a great disservice to young black children who deserve to be educated about the rich, fascinating and poignant history of African Americans in this country and their historical place in the conflict we call the Civil War.

In effect, by indulging and promoting his model of rejection, he’s accomplishing the same end that prior generations of the very people he seems to loathe sought; the erasure of black people and their history in the period and the war as anything other than an inert, passive entity being acted *upon*.

By and large American blacks have no sense of “ownership” when it comes to the Civil War. I think that part of it has to do with the way that history has been taught in schools; part of it has to do with a culture that for generations downplayed the role of blacks in the period because certain bald truths would not have fit in with the Lost Cause and reconciliationist narratives; and part of it has to do with the fact many African Americans of my generation had ancestors that just wanted to forget it all.

My parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, etc. had living ancestors who had been enslaved. I’ve heard stories and anecdotes of some of them. But there were others who flat out refused to talk about “slavery times.” I suspect that this sort of dynamic was true of a great many families who left the south and just wanted that experience gone and forgotten in light of what they thought might be a new day.

I was an adult when I discovered (through genealogical research) that my g-g-grandfather and his brothers, whose mother’s family had been free since the colonial period, fought in the Civil War. When I told my grandmother that I had found out that her grandfather fought in the war, I was shocked to hear her say that she knew that. I had never even heard of the USCT at that point. Ironically, this was the same grandmother who had told me that she regretted her paternal grandparents would never speak of what it had been like to live as slaves.

In any case, sorry to be so long-winded. I just think that Khalfani is ignorantly short-sighted and doesn’t provide a good model for the very people and culture he claims to advocate for. More black people *need* to learn about the Civil War, what it meant to this country and what it meant to their ancestors and subsequent generations, including themselves.

This whole thing comes down to an very ironic vicious cycle.

People like Mr. Kahlfani, head of the Virginia NAACP, reject this museum because they prejudge that it is full of people who are “still fighting the Civil War” and who think the South was right and should have won. Without ever even visiting the museum, he has decided “they’re just not honest about the history and the story.”

People like Michael Lucas, the man who has posted here on this thread, reject this museum because it won’t fly the Confederate flag (1/2/3 national flag, battle flag, whatever) in the flag plaza outside and in front of the museum. They think this decision is about “Political Correctness” and that it panders to Mr. Kahlfani’s NAACP… an organization Mr. Lucas descirbes as “an organization with a record of intolerance” towards “Confederate Americans” like him.

I say best for the rest of us that neither of these people get it and will stay away from the museum so the rest of us can learn about history.

I couldn’t agree more. The MOC is not obligated in any way to try to appease folks who embrace extremist positions.

Your bottom line is well put Bryan. My only regret is the influence that those mired in ignorance, whether it be Khalfani or the Flaggers, have on the ability and willingness of others to learn.

Bryan, I do not reject the MOC, flag or not I am fully aware of the circumstances so again you are in error by your presumption.

citizen
noun
1 a British citizen: subject, national, passport holder, native; taxpayer, voter.
2 the citizens of Edinburgh: inhabitant, resident, native, townsman, townswoman, householder, local; freeman; humorous denizen, burgher; formal dweller; Brit. archaic burgess; rare residentiary, oppidan.

I am just going to cut and paste Margaret’s earlier comment. This is not rocket science, Michael:

It’s called Section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution: Citizenship rights:

>>1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.<<

It required a constitutional amendment to establish citizenship rights for blacks (although the amendment does not limit its effects to blacks and/or former slaves as the 15th amendment does). It was ratified on July 9, 1868. This established birthright citizenship as well as having a US citizen as a parent as a basis for citizenship.

Point is the term citizen can be derived in more than one sense and you can cut and paste til the cows come home, regarding the subjective legality vs the definition of the term. Slaves were subjects of where they were, as subjects they were citizens of their communities, states and nation where they existed.

citizen |ˈsɪtɪz(ə)n|
noun
a legally recognized subject or national of a state or commonwealth, either native or naturalized: a British citizen.
• an inhabitant of a particular town or city: the good citizens of Edinburgh.
PHRASES
citizen of the world a person who is at home in any country.
ORIGIN Middle English: from Anglo-Norman French citezein, alteration (probably influenced by deinzein ‘denizen’) of Old French citeain, based on Latin civitas ‘city’ (see city) .

Slaves were subjects of where they were, as subjects they were citizens of their communities, states and nation where they existed.

No, they were not. They were the property of the men and women who had legal title to them. As a result they could be bought and sold like any piece of private property. That you still can’t grasp something taught in Civics 101 is truly unfortunate.

Absolutely right, Kevin. How can you be seen as a citizen when you’re not even seen as a human being?

Just point out the Dred Scott decision to Mr. Lucas. It completely contradicts his extremely wrong assessment of black citizenship.

You guys are the blindest bunch of bats I know of. You have totally skipped over what I have stated and ignored the obvious. You’re more concerned with semantics, chiming in and cherry picking, than actually using any critical method of understanding of history. You would rather make personal attacks than actually stop and take a look at what is happening here or step back and consider anything other than your own rhetoric. A citizen(subject) is not just a legality, but that point is beyond you. JUST BECAUSE JUDGE TANEY SAID, OR AN AMENDMENT STATES, IS NOT THE SOLE BASIS OF ONE’S CITIZENSHIP! JUDGES AND GOVERNMENTS ARE NOT GODS AND NEITHER ARE YOU. If you’re fortunate, God is not concerned about your citizenship, except in his domain, just as long as your faithful obedient subjects(CITIZENS) to the almighty. I am certain there isn’t any paperwork involved, except with the undertaker. This is true with many things that legislatures and people, in genera,l take for granted. Before the Dred Scott case, there were hundreds of other cases that argued that Slaves were not citizens, in many ways to their benefit, for it saved them, because it was often used in their defense, especially in regards to rebellions, acts of treason etc… Please allow me to rephrase, so that you may understand my point, that slaves, free blacks and white citizens were nonetheless subjects(citizens) of both their masters, their states wherein they resided. They were now equally subjects under the Confederacy. To all extensive purposes, as we are citizens(subjects) to the United States today. Lincoln had no authority over the Confederate States, that authority resided with the people of those states; we the people vs. U.S., the tyrant. All that labor wasted, will eventually be divided again. It’s just a matter of statistics vs. ideas. I would rather see everyone take a breath and be rational, but the YOU PEOPLE, FLAGGER, KNOW-IT-ALL, BLOGGER, contingents will maintain their modus operandi and will not get past the sheets in the wind. Flags have no designs on racism, treachery or offensiveness. That is a human fallacy. Flags are not made to be offensive, but representative signals of identity. There is nothing offensive about them or the identity they represent. Only those who are offended are offensive in their attacks, and it needs to end there! There is no reason a Confederate Flag, National or otherwise shouldn’t be flown at the Museum of the Confederacy. The evidence proves that there has never been reconciliation and to promote that there has been, is a distortion of history. To promote that their can be reconciliation, fly the Third National Confederate Flag, teach the truth, and preserve honor and educate.

JUST BECAUSE JUDGE TANEY SAID, OR AN AMENDMENT STATES, IS NOT THE SOLE BASIS OF ONE’S CITIZENSHIP! JUDGES AND GOVERNMENTS ARE NOT GODS AND NEITHER ARE YOU. If you’re fortunate, God is not concerned about your citizenship, except in his domain, just as long as your faithful obedient subjects(CITIZENS) to the almighty.

I admit it, you got me on that one. :-)

Please allow me to rephrase, so that you may understand my point, that slaves, free blacks and white citizens were nonetheless subjects(citizens) of both their masters, their states wherein they resided.

This just keeps getting more bizarre.

There is nothing offensive about them or the identity they represent. Only those who are offended are offensive in their attacks, and it needs to end there! There is no reason a Confederate Flag, National or otherwise shouldn’t be flown at the Museum of the Confederacy.

Then there is also nothing necessarily praiseworthy and therefore no reason to fly it anywhere.

JUST BECAUSE JUDGE TANEY SAID, OR AN AMENDMENT STATES, IS NOT THE SOLE BASIS OF ONE’S CITIZENSHIP! JUDGES AND GOVERNMENTS ARE NOT GODS AND NEITHER ARE YOU.

Virtually everyone today recognizes the deep immorality of the Dred Scott decision authored by Chief Justice Taney. But it remains relevant in this discussion because it established the fact that, under the law at the time, slaves were not considered citizens of the United States, and so were not entitled to full protections under the law. It was the law of the land at time, just as Supreme Court rulings are today, whether we agree with them or not. If you do not understand this, Michael, there are serious gaps in your comprehension of how government functions, both in theory and in practice.

Under the law, then and now, being a citizen is a specific and legally-significant designation, which is separate from being a “subject” or “resident” in a country, state or community. You accuse us of being “the blindest bunch of bats I know of,” playing semantic games and cherry-picking, but you’re the one who’s trying to elide the critical legal distinction as it was understood at the time.

If you can dredge up some written documentation from before 1865 that said black slaves were citizens of the United States or the Confederacy I would like to see it. As it stands now, the context of the past shows us that they were not considered to be citizens. For that matter after the war, President Andrew Johnson didn’t want to make any black a citizen at all and worked to block any legislation that would have done so.

“OK, but it is pretty clear that they did. They hoped that the preservation of the Union would lead to citizenship and the rights that it entails. ”

In my point I meant that freedom came first and foremost to them. But I suppose they couln’d have that freedom without Union. So they are intertwined.

“Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation was not illegal. It was, if anything, an extension of the contraband acts that were already passed in Congress. The EP was carried out as a military measure. To Michael’s point, Lincoln was not freeing citizens.”

I certainly wasn’t trying to say the EP was illegal here. I don’t really think it was either. My point was to say that I have no sympathy for the Confederacy in losing their slaves and the war, no matter what it took to achieve victory

I know you weren’t. I was responding more to Bryan’s claim that the EP was illegal. No court ever declared it to be so. And it goes without saying that Lincoln did not emancipate the slaves of those citizens who remained loyal to the United States.

From the Confederate Constitution:
Article I, Section 9, Paragraph 4: “No bill of attainder, ex post facto law, or law denying or impairing the right of property in negro slaves shall be passed.”
Article IV, Section 3, Paragraph 3: “The Confederate States may acquire new territory . . . In all such territory, the institution of negro slavery, as it now exists in the Confederate States, shall be recognized and protected by Congress and the territorial government.”

From the Georgia Constitution of 1861:”The General Assembly shall have no power to pass laws for the emancipation of slaves.” (This is the entire text of Article 2, Sec. VII, Paragraph 3.)
From the Alabama Constitution of 1861: “No slave in this State shall be emancipated by any act done to take effect in this State, or any other country.” (This is the entire text of Article IV, Section 1 (on slavery).)
Alexander Stephens, Vice-President of the Confederacy, referring to the Confederate government: “Its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery . . . is his natural and normal condition.” [Augusta, Georgia, Daily Constitutionalist, March 30, 1861.]

While the US constitution was silent on the issue of slavery it did view “inferiors” as 3/5’s man. The Confederate Constitution makes slavery legal and noted it as such many times in the constitution and various state secession documents. PLUS. It also allowed for the suspense of Habus Corpus as did the US Constitution in the event of rebellion. Neo’s always say remember Lincoln and how he trashed the US Constitution but yet it is here in the CS version. The constitution DID NOT forbid the trade or importation of slaves from the US, CS or US territories and other areas and required congressional approval to do such.

If slavery was not an issue, then why was its preservation so aggressively safeguarded throughout the Confederate constitution?

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