A Recap of Confederate Heritage Month 2016

Two recent articles have suggested that push back against Confederate iconography and commemoration is waning since the lowering of the Confederate battle flag in Columbia, South Carolina last summer. A number of states and local communities still recognize April as Confederate History/Heritage Month. This also includes the recognition of Confederate Memorial Day. The media focused a good deal of attention on Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant’s proclamation and subsequent defense of his decision to carry on the practice this past month.

A closer look at just this past month suggests that resistance against public commemorations and/or publicly supported commemorative sites remain controversial. The month began and ended with…

  • Annual festival in Berea, Kentucky cancelled over sale of Confederate memorabilia.
  • Artwork replaces Confederate monument in Reidsville, North Carolina.
  • Confederate flag at Tyler Cemetery (TX) moved.
  • Marion County, Florida will relocate its Confederate flags by mid May.
  • Efforts in Louisiana’s legislature to prevent removal of monuments in New Orleans stalls.
  • Planning commission in Jacksonville, Florida denies Sons of Confederate Veterans permit for flagpole.
  • Virginia Senate failed to overturn veto of Confederate monuments bill.
  • Confederate symbols removed from hallways below the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C.
  • Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, speaks out publicly against the Confederate flag.
  • Historical marker honoring Jefferson Davis was vandalized on the campus of Texas State University.
  • Middle Tennessee State University will rename a building named in honor of Nathan Bedford Forrest.
  • Charlottesville, Virginia’s city council will likely create a special commission to examine whether to relocate/remove its Confederate monuments.
  • High School in Vestavia Hill, Alabama will pay $30,000 to re-brand its “Rebel” mascot.
  • The city of Lexington, Kentucky will remove a major Confederate monument adjacent to the campus of the University of Louisville.

And that’s a wrap on your Confederate Heritage Month 2016. See you next year.

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20 comments… add one
  • chancery May 1, 2016 @ 18:02

    Sorry, hit submit too soon.

    I believe that Mark’s comment was facetious.

    • Bob Huddleston May 2, 2016 @ 11:59

      Good.I am sorry I misread it. One of the problems with the internet is that humor and sarcasm are often easy to miss! I have been accused before of writing something I meant to be facetious and the reader thought I was serious!

  • Bob Huddleston May 1, 2016 @ 11:57

    Mark’s knowledge of Arkansas slavery is even worse than his knowledge of the Civil War.

    In 1859, the Arkansas legislature banned free African-Americans living in the state after January 1, 1860. Any remaining were to be sold into slavery.


    • chancery May 1, 2016 @ 17:58

      Bob, perhaps you meant to refer to Kirk rather than Mark?

  • Kirk Murrell May 1, 2016 @ 11:16

    That doesn’t mean Arkansans are ignorant because I didn’t take time to correct my punctuation. Which I should have. I was trying to make a point that states have and always have had the constitutional right, by the 10th amendment, to secede. That because the North won, everyone lost, because states lost rights. That has brought us to the federal over-reach of today. I really appreciate Mark’s comment too.

    • Kevin Levin May 1, 2016 @ 11:22

      Since this has nothing to do with the blog post we are not going to discuss the right of secession.

      You seem to believe that the Confederate government followed a policy of states rights. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

  • Jimmy Dick May 1, 2016 @ 9:13

    Looks like Confederate Heritage Month 2016 was as expected, a colossal failure for those who celebrate it. The incredible racism projected by the heritage supporters continues to work against them. The continued rejection of factual history by the heritage supporters also is reflected by the public’s growing intolerance for the lost cause lies.

    Monuments are either being removed or being repurposed with signage signifying what the monuments are actually commemorating. As people learn about the real meaning of these monuments, more and more call for their removal. Celebrating history is a great thing to do, but celebrating a lie is a terrible thing.

    Note that new confederate monuments are only being erected by private groups on private lands. In most cases those are just flags that do nothing to provide any context for their appearance. They just hang from a pole. In many cases people see the flags as symbols of the ignorance of the people that put the flags up.

    I would say as time passes, few states if any will retain Confederate Heritage Month or have a holiday for it.

  • Mark Snell May 1, 2016 @ 8:05

    I agree with Kirk that the war wasn’t really about slavery. I only recently discovered that the Yankees actually were trying to force their own version of grammar, spelling and punctuation on the poor southerners–especially in Arkansas–who in 1861 already were in the process of clandestinely manumitting their slaves. The Yankees may have won the war and freed the slaves in a more efficient way, but their attempts during Reconstruction to enforce “northern” language rules proved to be a Lost Cause.

  • Kirk murrell May 1, 2016 @ 7:05

    Why is it that the confederate people and it’s symbols,anything southern must be removed or even destroyed,were always belittled by you people.I know you people be live that the whole people of the south fought for slavery which is a total lie.the time of slavery was coming to an end .you Yankees claim to have to saved the union and freed the slaves,that to is a lie.,the emancipation proclamation was put into effect to keep Europe from recognizing or helping the confederate states. the federal government fought to change the very constitution and it’s meaning,the very spirit of it you claim the north saved. the government Has became . Despotic and very abusive.the government now has murdered over 60 million unborn children wilfully.this horrible death machine runs 24 hours a day with tax payers money without our consent, sodomy marriage laws have been put in place illegally to make us conform to the will of your over grown government and the hate crime bills the u.s. government put upon us to hold down free speech. your idea that the south is
    Etrnaly evil because there were
    Slaves in that day,there were Slaves in the north as well ,,slave owners,In the northern armies. As I say I’m sick how you Yankees gloat over your conquering the southern people , well let me assure you people that we weren’t conquered and will not be now
    We would be better off if the south Had got its independence. Kirk murrell. Arkansas

    • Kevin Levin May 1, 2016 @ 7:19

      Hi Kirk,

      Thanks for the comment. You said: I know you people be live that the whole people of the south fought for slavery which is a total lie.

      To see this as simply a continued dispute between northerners and southerners seems rather simplistic.

    • David Kent May 1, 2016 @ 11:06

      What “confederate people”? The last time I checked, we were all Americans. I suggest you read, GREAT BRITAIN AND THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR by Ephraim Douglass Adams. It will open your eyes to the relationships between Europe, the U.S., and the seceeded states during the war.

  • David Tatum Jr May 1, 2016 @ 4:34

    ” that’s a wrap on your Confederate Heritage Month 2016. See you next year.”

    Yes you will, and the in years following ! Have a Dixie day !

    • Kevin Levin May 1, 2016 @ 5:30

      Well, Dave, you will always have your little monument on the front lawn. 🙂

      • David Tatum Jr May 1, 2016 @ 7:23

        Right now it’s under ( forgive the term ) “Reconstruction”

  • Andy Hall Apr 30, 2016 @ 10:12

    The planning commission decision in Jacksonville probably won’t stand a legal challenge, since it appears to be based entirely on the fact that was for the display of a *Confederate* flag, rather than on local regulations/ordinances.

    Having said that, it’s also quite clear that the person requesting the permit, Calvin Hart, tried to slip it through the commission without being fully candid about the pole being a project of the SCV, his role as commander of the local SCV camp, and their intent to use the pole primarily for the Confederate flag, making only a vague assertion that it was to “honor Florida’s veterans.” For all their talk about the honor and integrity of the Confederate soldier, Hart and his crew exhibit neither of those traits.

    • Kevin Levin Apr 30, 2016 @ 10:13

      The fact that these discussions/debates are taking place at all reflects attitudes that have been forever changed.

      • Andy Hall Apr 30, 2016 @ 10:23

        The planning commission might have approved the flagpole, if it hadn’t come out in the hearing that the SCV was trying to sneak one past them. Public officials are like anyone else; they don’t like to feel they’ve being made fools of, or are dealing with people who are deliberately withholding information from them.

  • GdBrasher Apr 30, 2016 @ 8:32

    And there is also this: one of the hottest TVs shows this past month is WGN’s Underground, the first non-miniseries show in history to focus on Antebellum slavery and runaway slaves.

    • Kevin Levin Apr 30, 2016 @ 8:49

      Thanks, Glenn.

      The shift in aspects of our popular culture, including television shows and Hollywood movies, provides important context for this larger story.

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