Memphis’s Southern Heritage

Letter-to-the-editor in Memphis’s The Commercial Appeal:

I can’t express how much I agree with the writer of the Feb. 7 letter “No honors for traitors.” I, too, am a native white Southerner and Memphian. My great-grandfather fought for the Confederacy. That’s my family’s history; it’s not something about which I boast. He never bought or sold human beings, as Nathan Bedford Forrest did, but he fought against the United States to divide this country. It’s done and cannot be changed. I don’t know much about this man, but I do know he came back from the war and became a minister. Maybe the war changed him, as many claim that Forrest changed.

It doesn’t alter the fact that both these men fought for the right to hold humans as property, and were willing to split the country to see to it that slavery was extended into the new territories. Don’t give me the bunk about “states’ rights.” The South has a miserable history of treating African-Americans with cruelty and injustice, decades after the South lost the war…

5 comments… add one
  • Brendan Bossard Feb 9, 2013 @ 13:07

    Speaking of “a miserable history” of post-Civil War treatment of African Americans, I watched a documentary called “Slavery by Another Name” on PBS a few weeks ago. It described a long-standing abuse of the clause in the 13th Amendment that allows for enslaving convicts. I knew that chain-gangs existed; I did not know that Black people were sentenced to years of penal servitude for trivia.

    This puts the lie to the notion that slavery was ever intended to be a benign–nay, beneficial!–institution for Black people. It was an outward manifestation of an inward drive to oppress millions of people.

    • Kevin Levin Feb 9, 2013 @ 13:08

      I highly recommend the book on which the documentary is based. It’s one a number of awards.

      • Brendan Bossard Feb 9, 2013 @ 13:42

        Thank you for the information. I was curious to know what you thought of the documentary from the “memory” perspective.

  • Andy Hall (was AndyinTexas) Feb 9, 2013 @ 7:09

    James Earl Ray’s attorney, Jack Kershaw, was a founder of the League of the South and created that hideous fiberglass equestrian statue of Forrest (a.k.a., “My Little Pony on acid”) outside of Nashville. There are lots of inter-connections there.

    • bummer Feb 9, 2013 @ 10:00

      Speaking of Acid and Assassinations, all three in the 60’s changed the “old guys” slant on Government and intent forever. Powerful leaders, with tremendous following and potential. All capable of manifesting dynamic change. Too many questions remain unanswered.

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