The Connection Between the Confederate Monument Landscape and Disfranchisement

You’ve head it before. The vast majority of Confederate monuments and memorials were dedicated at the height of the Jim Crow-era. The Southern Poverty Law Center released this helpful graph to help visualize this spike in monument dedications between roughly 1890 and 1940.

What made this possible was the disfranchisement of African Americans throughout the former Confederacy. The map below illustrates when legalized disfranchisement took hold, but more importantly, it also shows those areas where African Americans constituted a majority of the population.

It’s a legitimate question to ask how the monument landscape of the South would have been different had African Americans been allowed to take part in the political process that made the wave of Confederate monument dedications possible. This is especially worth asking in connection to those counties where African Americans made up the majority of the population.

Would there be as many Confederate soldier statues on courthouse lawns and more elaborate memorials in prominent public spaces? Would there have been more representations of the black experience during the Civil War? How about black Union soldiers and other commemorations of emancipation?

The question at the center of the Confederate monument debate in 2019 is whether they represent the collective values of the community. The graph and map above suggest that in many parts of the South they never did.

About the author: Thank you for taking the time to read this post. What next? Scroll down and join the discussion in the comments section. Looking for more Civil War content? You can follow me on Twitter. Check out my forthcoming book, Searching For Black Confederates: The Civil War’s Most Persistent Myth, which is the first book-length analysis of the black Confederate myth ever published. Pre-order your copy today.

71 comments… add one
  • Chris Barry Dec 1, 2019 @ 6:00

    This is strong evidence. Thanks for sharing and I look forward to reading your book.

    • Kevin Levin Dec 1, 2019 @ 6:01

      Thanks for the feedback, Chris.

  • John R Parrish Dec 1, 2019 @ 6:54

    So refreshing to have such an unbiased civil war historian…
    Yes, we’ve heard it before…
    Leftist agenda disguised as history…
    Don’t bother posting if you’re not going to let me reply to your retort… Again.
    God bless

    • Kevin Levin Dec 1, 2019 @ 6:56

      Come back when you have a serious response.

    • Jimmy Dick Dec 1, 2019 @ 14:29

      Everyone has a bias. The problem for you is that Kevin used facts while you reject them in favor of your delusions. Here’s a fact to put in your head: Everyone that fought for the Confederacy was a traitor to the United States of America. There is no dispute possible for that fact.

      • Terry Klima Dec 1, 2019 @ 16:34

        Jimmy Dick, quite the contrary! There is a clear and compelling dispute as to your allegation that Confederates were traitors. Perhaps you should research the Congressional appropriations of 1901, 1906, US Public Law 810 and U.S. Public Law 85-425: Sec. 410. While not recognizing Confederate Veterans as US Military Veterans, the appropriations and public laws did bestow a number of benefits to Confederate Veterans similar to the benefits granted to US military Veterans. Such benefits would hardly be extended to traitors.

        • Jimmy Dick Dec 2, 2019 @ 4:01

          That legislation was passed in the spirit of reconciliation. Interestingly, southern legislators naturally supported that legislation. However, let’s also remember that the Confederates were pardoned for their crime of treason shortly after the Civil War. There is no dispute about Confederates being traitors. They were traitors. All you have to do is read the US Constitution.

      • John R Parrish Dec 2, 2019 @ 15:56

        Fort Brag, Fort Banning, Fort Lee, Fort UP Hill, etc…
        Facts are these US military bases were named after Heroes, not Traitors…
        God bless

        • Kevin Levin Dec 2, 2019 @ 16:13

          You are certainly entitled to your opinion. I tend to think that men who were willing to give their lives to bring about an independent slave holding nation are anything but heroes.

          • John R Parrish Dec 2, 2019 @ 16:31

            Why would post civil war military bases be named after traitors then? Were the Daughters of the Confederacy involved in their naming? Of course not…

            • Kevin Levin Dec 2, 2019 @ 17:22

              Many of these bases were named during a period of reconciliation between North and South. The namings were not without controversy.

          • Terry Klima Dec 3, 2019 @ 5:47

            Prior to and during the course of the war, wasn’t the United States an independent, slave holding nation? In fact, the US Constitution recognized slavery in three specific amendments. President Lincoln endorsed a proposed Constitutional Amendment in his Inaugural Address of March 4, 1861 that would have preserved chattel slavery in perpetuity, stating he had no objection to the amendment being made “Express and Irrevocable”
            I find it disingenuous to castigate the Confederacy for slavery while ignoring the fortunes made in the North transporting slaves to the US under the most inhumane conditions, purchasing approximately 15% of the South’s cotton production, financing the expansion of slave plantations westward using the slaves themselves as collateral, insuring slave masters for economic loss associated with the lives of slaves held in bondage and willingly accepting improvements in infrastructure and benefits resulting from the tariff revenues generated on the importation of goods.

            Considering the moral high ground claimed regarding the nature of the war and the Union victory, one has to question how Jim Crow, White Supremacy, and a segregated US Military would be allowed to continue in the post war era. Ironically, it was President Harry S. Truman, a Southerner and a descendant of Confederate soldiers, who is responsible for desegregating the military in 1948.

            • Kevin Levin Dec 3, 2019 @ 6:20

              Even with the provisions protecting slavery in the Constitution, the United States wasn’t established specifically to preserve the institution. The Confederacy was established for just this purpose. All you have to do is read the secession documents from 1861 and the speeches of its leaders. I am in no way suggesting that Northerners are not implicated in the history of slavery in the 19th century. In fact, my students are studying this very topic right now.

            • Msb Dec 5, 2019 @ 9:02

              Alexander Stephens wants you to read his “Cornerstone” speech. It should show you the difference. If it doesn’t, you might read the secession statements of state governments. If those don’t work, consider that you might not be as open to facts and evidence as you might wish.

  • Charles Dec 1, 2019 @ 7:27

    I am not an expert on the Confederate monuments issue but i know a lot is said the monuments placed in the 60, was do the civil rights but little is said about the 100 anniversary. Do we know if anyone has looked in to if maybe just the opposite, maybe all the talk about erecting monuments in the late 50’s may of helped start the civil rights movement?

    • Kevin Levin Dec 1, 2019 @ 7:39

      Relatively few Confederate monuments were dedicated in the 1950s. The graph in the post reflects the rise in other forms of Confederate commemoration such as the naming of public schools in response to Brown v. Board of Ed. in 1954.

      • Charles Dec 1, 2019 @ 7:57

        I am not talking about dedicating monuments in the 50’s, I am looking at the years it would take to rase the money, approve a design, find a location. They would have to start in the late 50’s to have it ready in the early 60’s, for the 100 anniversary and looking at the graph also shows a lot of monuments built for the 50 anniversary. I would think if we look in the news papers from the late 50’s we see news about the monuments, they had to rase money some how.

  • Terry Klima Dec 1, 2019 @ 8:42

    Interesting hypothesis but a long way from being conclusively proven. To begin with, one needs to verify the accuracy and validity of the data-specifically the Southern Poverty Law Center graph. Wasn’t this the same organization that placed world-renowned Neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson on its “”Extremist Watch List” and paid a London based organization a $3.375 million settlement for falsely naming the organization “extremist”?

    A few observations- according to the graph, Confederate monuments were being erected, presumably in the South, during Reconstruction.This data seems highly suspect based on what is known regarding reconstruction policies of the Federal government. The peak of Confederate monuments in the mid-1900’s coincides with the reunification period following the Spanish American War and the approach of the semicentennial of the war. While it is historically accurate that the NAACP was founded in 1909 as shown on the graph, any correlation to the erection of Confederate monuments is highly dubious as the organization was in its infancy and not widely known. Similarly, the construction of monuments in the 1960’s corresponds to the centennial of the war.

    • Kevin Levin Dec 1, 2019 @ 9:02

      The graph reflects current scholarship on the dedication of Confederate monuments. I am not utilizing anything else on the graph besides the statistics on when the majority of these monuments were dedicated and legalized segregation.

  • Jane Dec 1, 2019 @ 14:43

    I appreciate this dialogue and the opportunity to discuss and share, respectfully(!) the information presented. Volatile subject matter, to be sure.

  • London John Dec 1, 2019 @ 14:48

    Is it disputed in historical scholarship that the majority of Confedrate monuments were put up to celebrate and assert the restoration of white supremacy (“redemption”) after the abandonment of Reconsruction?

    • Kevin Levin Dec 1, 2019 @ 14:58

      Not among historians. Recent scholarship has made this pretty clear for anyone interested.

      • Terry Klima Dec 1, 2019 @ 16:15

        Perhaps you could provide some citations of historians and recent scholarship advancing this narrative for those of us who are interested.

        • Kevin Levin Dec 1, 2019 @ 16:25

          Sure. I would start with Karen Cox’s Dixie’s Daughters which was just released with a new edition with a new introduction. Caroline Janney’s Remembering the Civil War offers a thorough overview of monument dedications during the Jim Crow-era. I also recommend David B. Allison’s ed. Controversial Monuments and Memorials.

          That should get you started.

        • Scott Proctor Dec 3, 2019 @ 5:39

          The chart definatly helps to visualize the respective timelines of memorialization of Confederate soldiers in the former states of the Confederacy, and Oklahoma. However, the map only outlines disenfranchisement in the former Confederate states (and Oklahoma). (Why Oklahoma?)

          Q: Is there any indication from the SPLC on why they ignored the discrimination against black Americans in Northern and Western states in this study? (It wasn’t just in the South…)
          Q: Does the chart (not the map) include those markers and memorials outside of the former Confederacy (other than Oklahoma)?

          It is almost like they focus ALL the blame for racism in America on Southerners, and blame the memorials for that racism also. I’ve only seen one or two memorials that specifically had inscriptions stating racist ideals. They are gone now (thankfully). The rest are just memorials to remember the soldiers and their sacrifices… not racist ideas or ideals, in spite of the times they were commissioned in.

          Thank you, Ken.

  • Albert Henry Dec 1, 2019 @ 21:34

    How does the timing for erection of Union Civil War monuments compare to the Confederate timing on the SPLC graph?

    • Kevin Levin Dec 2, 2019 @ 2:01

      There is a wonderful new book by Thomas Brown, titled Civil War Monuments and the Memorialization of America (2019).

      • Jamie Bain Dec 4, 2019 @ 10:59

        There’s also “Ghosts of the Confederacy” by Gaines Foster. I read it back when it first came out (1988).

        • Kevin Levin Dec 4, 2019 @ 12:02

          Still worth reading.

  • John R Parrish Dec 2, 2019 @ 8:35

    So why were monuments of “traitors” allowed to be erected at government facilities?
    Or parks, military bases, schools, etc allowed to be named after them?
    Greatfully awaiting post and reply…
    God bless

    • Neil Hamilton Dec 3, 2019 @ 14:54

      Perhaps reconciliation was a motive after a bloody, four year civil war?

      And most soldiers will tell you that they hated where they were stationed, regardless if the post was named Ft. Bragg or Ft. Devens.

  • London John Dec 7, 2019 @ 7:15

    All the confederate monuments I have seen depicted either one of the military or civil leaders of the Confederacy, or general confederate servicemen, with no special reference to the community in which they are located. Some, I believe, are in towns that didn’t exist at the time of the CW. But I haven’t seen many of them, so I wonder – do any of them specifically memorialise the dead from that particular community, or locally-recruited units, and do they ever include a roll of honour?

    • Scott Proctor Dec 7, 2019 @ 8:43

      And, on the other hand, nearly all of the Confederate monuments I have seen (other than specific hero-worship of leaders such as Stone Mtn) were dedicated to the memories of the locals who fought and/or died in the war, usually with reference to the defense of their homes. There are several located near me that state such sentiment. Silent Sam (in NC) is another excellent example of this, dedicated to the (listed) students, with no reference to the currently percieved reasons for their sacrifices. I guess it depends on where you are looking and what your perspective is.

      • Andy Hall Dec 9, 2019 @ 6:48

        Turns out the worst decision made by the folks who put up “Silent Sam” was to select Julian Carr to give the keynote address. #UnintendedConsequences

        • Scott Proctor Dec 9, 2019 @ 13:24

          Isn’t that the truth! But, as the largest single donor from within the community at that time, you could also say he bought his way to the podium to give that (d**nable) speach in contrast to the other appropriate sentiments expressed by the numerous other speakers that day.

          There is at least one in every crowd.

          And that is the one that is used to paint everyone else the same shade of bigotry.

          Ironic, isn’t it?

          • Msb Dec 10, 2019 @ 12:22

            What reason is there to think that he was the only violent white supremacist present on the day? Was there any public objection to his appalling speech? If not, perhaps silence equals (white) consent.

            • Scott Proctor Dec 10, 2019 @ 14:01

              None more than the reason to believe he was one of a very small minority of like minded individuals, similar to the distribution of them today… roughly less than 1/2 of 1% of Southerners (or rather, their descendants) according to numbers posted by SPLC a few years ago.

              Considering that racism was the norm throughout the country (both North and South) at that time, I would opine that the proportion back then was much greater than now, but for our purposes here, it is mere speculation on both our parts. Either way, a small minority always reflects poorly on everyone else around them.

              p.s. Whatever the common attitude was back then, the current heritage societies of the descendants of Confederates have unequivocally stated their opposition to racism and violence. Yet, they are the ones who are being punished now, using the past as a social weapon.

              • Kevin Levin Dec 10, 2019 @ 15:12

                Whatever the common attitude was back then, the current heritage societies of the descendants of Confederates have unequivocally stated their opposition to racism and violence.

                That is factually false.

              • Terry Klima Dec 10, 2019 @ 16:07

                Kevin,
                Perhaps you could elucidate for us what part of the above referenced comment is factually false by providing citations, hopefully from an unbiased source .

                For example, the National Sons of Confederate Veteran’s Constitution is explicitly clear stating “The Sons of Confederate Veterans, in furtherance of the Charge of Lieutenant General Stephen D. Lee, shall be strictly patriotic, historical, educational, fraternal, benevolent, non-political, non-racial and non-sectarian. The Sons of Confederate Veterans neither embraces, nor espouses acts or ideologies of racial and religious bigotry, and further, condemns the misuse of its sacred symbols and flags in the conduct of same.”

                OR

                (Elm Springs, TN) 14 August 2017 — The Sons of Confederate Veterans opposes the KKK and other racist organizations. The SCV condemns in the strongest possible way the actions, words, and beliefs of any racist group. These groups are filled with hatred and bigotry, and racism is counter to the American principles of freedom for all citizens. Neither white supremacists nor any other racist group represent true Southern Heritage or the Confederate Soldier, Sailor, or Marine.

                The SCV has a strict policy which forbids SCV members from associating with the Klan or any other racist organizations. The SCV supports and promotes a unity and respect. The U.S. is a nation of laws, and the SCV respects the Constitution our forefathers wrote and the government of our reunited country. There are no classes of citizens and the SCV is no different. We expect and demand that all Americans respect each other’s perspectives with civility, regardless of demographics.

                OR

                The United Daughters of the Confederacy have proclaimed “THEREFORE, BE IT KNOWN, that The United Daughters of the Confederacy® does not associate with or include in its official UDC functions and events, any individual, group or organization known as unpatriotic, militant, racist or subversive to the United States of America and its Flag, AND
                BE IT FURTHER KNOWN, that The United Daughters of the Confederacy® will not associate with any individual, group or organization identified as being militant, unpatriotic, racist or subversive to the United States of America and its Flag.”

                The above referenced organizations are the two premier Confederate heritage societies whose Constitutions and Proclamations clearly decry racism.

                Ironically, it was President Harry S. Truman, not Presidents Lincoln or Grant, who desegregated the United States military eight decades after the so called war for emancipation. It appears others, besides the generally maligned and demonized Southerners, held white supremacist views. Who would have imagined that a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, President Harry S. Truman, would have advanced some of the most sweeping civil rights legislation in US history?

              • Kevin Levin Dec 11, 2019 @ 9:58

                Where should I begin: Slate, SPLC, and here is an essay that I just co-authored with David Blight and Fitz Brundage.

              • Scott Proctor Dec 11, 2019 @ 12:55

                Kevin, please explain what connection that Slate, SPLC, David, Fitz, and you have with Confederate heritage groups? Surely you aren’t claiming to speak FOR them?

                THEIR message seems obvious. It also seems pretty clear to even a casual observer that it is NOT the heritage groups who are embracing bigotry and advancing racism in this matter.

              • Kevin Levin Dec 11, 2019 @ 13:32

                We could begin and end with the fact that the Sons of Confederate Veterans celebrate a failed rebellion whose only goal was the establishment of a slaveholding republic to protect and expand the institution of slavery. The articles speak for themselves. This discussion is over.

              • Scott Proctor Dec 11, 2019 @ 16:04

                You are holding the current Sons of Confederate Veterans responsible for what their great grandfathers did 165 years ago? Furthermore, you ignore the evidence before you of their own words? And then “This discussion is over.”?

                Disappointing, really. I had thought you to be more objective.

              • Kevin Levin Dec 11, 2019 @ 17:08

                I hold the SCV responsible for choosing to celebrate an immoral cause.

              • Scott Proctor Dec 12, 2019 @ 2:34

                “I hold the SCV responsible for choosing to celebrate an immoral cause”

                Reverence of their ancestors is immoral in your eyes? Because, there is nothing in their actions or words to suggest any other motive for their activities. Anything else that you attribute to them today is a reflection of your own thoughts and predjudice. In other words… your opinion.

                We were taught that in reporting the “facts”, the “5 W’s” were the guideline for getting those facts. You seem to do alright with “Who”, “What”, “When”, “Where”, and “How”, but have rejected the “Why” when it was clearly stated by the subjects of your research, and instead replaced THEIR explanation of “Why” with your own, based on conjectures and speculations.

                In other words, you are showing your own bigotry and hatred of Southern whites. I can’t say why you are that way, but your bias is obvious, and that alone has destroyed any semblance of objectivity on your part. Instead of trying to get to the “Truth” of the matter, you are advancing hatred and division through retribution and revenge for the past instead of focusing on how you can help make things better in the present and future.

                Unfortunately, I have to agree with your statement that “This discussion is over”, but for a different reason. It was over before it started. It is impossible to have a balanced discussion if one party is so calcified in their thinking that they reject any other opinion other then their own in advance.

                I have your book on order, but I now regret that decision.

              • Kevin Levin Dec 12, 2019 @ 13:30

                I think we fundamentally disagree about whether the Confederacy should be celebrated. I don’t. Yes, that is my opinion.

                The SCV’s connections with white supremacist groups like the League of the South and other organizations have been well documented. I have not heard you counter any of the claims made in the articles referenced.

                Thanks for ordering the book. I hope you enjoy it.

              • Scott Proctor Dec 12, 2019 @ 15:04

                Quite the opposite actually. I also don’t believe the Confederacy itself should be celebrated, but I see no reason to deny the descendants of Confederates opportunity to honor their ancestors memory. Neither do I see the need to deny them their perspective and opinions on the causes of the war. That their perspective is different does not make them wrong or evil, any more than yours or my perspectives make us self-righteous or irreverent… and they are entitled to their views just like you and I. First amendment and all that, don’t you know…

                In researching their association with League of the South and other noted hate groups, I found that decades ago those elements were kicked out of the SCV. The public statements, bylaws, and constitution of the SCV and UDC (as noted by Terry earlier) also make VERY clear that they no longer have affiliation with any of those groups, and any member who does would be kicked out.

                As to the articles referenced, they (and you) are entitled to the opinions stated, but that is all they were… opinion pieces. I found the interview with the one older gentleman mildly disturbing, but only in the fact that the interviewer seemed only interested in talking to him to be able to discredit him. Slightly unethical in MY opinion.

                Everyone deserves the same respect, regardless of who they are or what they think. The Confederate descendants are no different then the descendants of slaves, or you, or I in this matter. Call it “Freedom of Thought”, if you will.

                Until we can learn to give the same respect to others that we want them to give to us…

              • Kevin Levin Dec 12, 2019 @ 16:09

                I think we are going to have to agree to disagree.

              • Scott Proctor Dec 12, 2019 @ 18:19

                Agreed.

                I find it worthwhile to occasionally try and look at things and events from several different perspectives to more fully understand them. Hopefully, our discussions have provided such for you also.

                Enjoy your holiday season.

              • Kevin Levin Dec 13, 2019 @ 2:38

                Absolutely. And for you as well.

                Happy Holidays.

              • Scott Proctor Dec 10, 2019 @ 16:45

                Explain

              • Andy Hall Dec 17, 2019 @ 8:21

                “Reverence of their ancestors is immoral in your eyes?”

                Holding the immoral actions of one’s ancestors “in reverence” is itself immoral, yes.

                We owe our ancestors — real or figurative — nothing but the truth. We should judge them the way we judge our contemporaries, the good and bad together.

  • Michael Aubrecht Dec 16, 2019 @ 6:21

    Kevin,

    Just something that came to my mind and I may be way off but I wanted to get your take on it. Is it not possible to honor the soldiers who fought for a cause while not chastising them for the cause itself. I use for instance the Vietnam War. Many people were against that war but still respect the veterans that fought it. The same can be said for those who contested the war in Iraq. Once again, hate the cause but not the soldiers who fought for it. Can we compare the sin of slavery to the mass civilian casualties that are victims of the wars we wage? They are nameless innocent victims too. Thoughts?

    Michael Aubrecht

    • Kevin Levin Dec 16, 2019 @ 9:29

      Respect for veterans is very different from the scale of public veneration that took place during the postwar period. Soldier monuments throughout the former Confederacy were never understood narrowly about the veterans independent of the cause. In fact, I think it is best to see soldier statues and the larger memorials as part of the same family. Hope that helps.

      • Terry Klima Dec 16, 2019 @ 11:25

        Kevin, is there any evidence that soldiers monuments in the South were never understood narrowly as you contend? And isn’t it true that there were a myriad of motivations for individual soldiers, both Union and Confederate, fighting in the war? The inference that the sole reason Confederate soldiers fought was to preserve slavery is ludicrous, just as it is equally ludicrous to suggest that all Union soldiers were fighting to free the slaves.
        In my view, historical presentism should never diminish the sacrifices of the individual soldiers who are recognized and honored on the monuments. It is a very slippery slope.
        To wit: Will some group or individual take offense at monuments erected to honor the service and sacrifice of the Buffalo Soldiers, for example? Clearly, these individuals exhibited sacrifice, valor and bravery in the service of the United States. Yet, native Americans might justifiably take umbrage at such monuments, based upon the Buffalo Soldiers participation in the Indian Wars, including the Wounded Knee Massacre of December 29, 1890.
        Thoughts?

        • Kevin Levin Dec 16, 2019 @ 16:23

          And isn’t it true that there were a myriad of motivations for individual soldiers, both Union and Confederate, fighting in the war? The inference that the sole reason Confederate soldiers fought was to preserve slavery is ludicrous…

          Of course, soldiers were motivated by a wide range of factors. Many were in the army because they were conscripted. That doesn’t mean that they didn’t in some way acknowledge the importance of slavery. Slaveowners and non-slaveowners alike were surrounded by thousands of enslaved men in the armies. Enslaved men in the army made it possible for white men to shoulder a rifle on the battlefield. Everywhere they looked they likely acknowledged slavery as a “cornerstorne” of the army itself.

          • Scott Proctor Dec 16, 2019 @ 17:08

            I would have expected very few slaves to be present in the armies except in service to the wealthy officers. And only as necessary as servants to their specific owners, who would be loath to put such valuable “property” in harm’s way.

            The vast majority of soldiers were too poor to own another person, and if they were wealthy enough to own even one slave, you are correct that the slave would have allowed the master the oppertunity to go fight.

            Or, as happened frequently enough, if a person was sufficiently wealthy, they would pay someone else to fight in their place.

            As we are all aware, these occurrences happened in both armies, not just in the South.

            So, can the soldiers sacrifices be honored without continually being mocked for being on the losing side, or derided, demeaned, and demonized for being associated with a cause that they MAY NOT have shared?

            Many of the comments I have seen on forums and blogs seem to indicate otherwise.

            • Kevin Levin Dec 16, 2019 @ 17:30

              The number of enslaved men attached to Lee’s army in the summer of 1863 is estimated at around 10,000. This number includes body servants and impressed slaves.

              • Scott Proctor Dec 16, 2019 @ 18:32

                Most sources I have researched indicate that the numbers are difficult, if not impossible to determine due to loss of records. Therefore, I guess estimates have to do.

                Although there is not much more information about slaves attached to the Union army, after emancipation in the South, Northern officers were encouraged to give up their slaves also.

              • Kevin Levin Dec 17, 2019 @ 1:46

                Although there is not much more information about slaves attached to the Union army…

                I believe you are referring to contraband and free blacks attached to the Union army.

              • Scott Proctor Dec 17, 2019 @ 4:05

                “I believe you are referring to contraband and free blacks…”

                Nope, slaves. Numerous Union officers were from the Northern slave states. Not much written about it, but they were there anyway.

                Doesn’t excuse anything, but the point is, it was not constrained to Southerners.

                And racism… well, it was prevalent throughout the entire (divided) country.

                Of course, none of that matters in the current “blame game” being used to discriminate against the peaceful (and AVOWED non-racist) majority of those descendents of former Confederates these days. (Who were and are American citizens also.)

                At least, from an outside perspective, discrimination is what the removal of everything associated with “Confederate” appears to be instead of the ironic statements about “inclusivity” (except for certain Southern people) and “justice” (that looks more like revenge after 100 years of discrimination and 50 years of civil rights for black Americans).

                And, yes, denying someone the right to remember their relatives in their own manner is discriminatory.

                There will always be “haters” in our world. We should all try to keep from adding to their number. But, there are so many who are still trying to fight that war today… from both sides, it seems.

                Thank you again, Ken, for the discussion.

              • Kevin Levin Dec 17, 2019 @ 4:48

                Yes. Certainly, slaveowners from the Border states who served would have brought servants with them early in the war. And yes racism was and is alive and well throughout the country.

            • Msb Dec 16, 2019 @ 23:46

              I don’t honor the Confederate soldiers who kidnapped African Americans during the invasion of Pennsylvania for sale as slaves, or those who murdered surrendered USCTs at Fort Pillow and soldiers in the Crater. Or those who abused USCT POWs and their officers. All upholding their white supremacist ideology.

              • Scott Proctor Dec 17, 2019 @ 11:22

                I don’t know of any Southerner who honors war criminals. Those events you noted qualify for such. But those crimes cannot also be levied upon those soldiers who did not participate in the commission of those crimes. And, it is unjustified to attribute shared guilt to all Confederates, by association, as many have tried to do.

                However, white supremacy wasn’t just in the Southern ranks. Northern troops were just as committed to white supremacy as the Southern troops were. At the time, slavery was more than just racism, it was an economic model also. To those in control on BOTH sides, power and profits were more important than human rights before, during, and after the war.

              • Kevin Levin Dec 17, 2019 @ 11:57

                However, white supremacy wasn’t just in the Southern ranks. Northern troops were just as committed to white supremacy as the Southern troops were.

                I actually agree with the thrust of this comment, but in the end one side was fighting to establish an independent slaveholding republic built on white supremacy and the other side was fighting to preserve the Union–one that ultimately led to the end of slavery.

              • Scott Proctor Dec 17, 2019 @ 13:11

                “…but in the end one side was fighting to establish an independent slaveholding republic built on white supremacy and the other side was fighting to preserve the Union…”

                Ken, I believe the reasons for the fighting evolved and changed during the course of the war. Whereas tariffs and congressional representation (ie. money and power) were instrumental sources of the conflict at the beginning, slavery itself (the institution) wasn’t the prime issue, but rather, the expansion of that institution into new territories. While free states objected to that expansion, they were fine with keeping slavery (and blacks) in their places… in the agrarian South. Neither side expected the war to last more than a few months at the beginning. After 2 years, and emancipation (in the South), the institution of slavery itself became the primary reason for Southerners to fight (and pretty much the only reason that is incompletely given currently), but by the end of the war in the South, it was more a matter of survival, as the end of slavery, along with the end of the war, was increasingly obvious.

                The North had stated from the beginning that they fought to preserve the Union, but you left something out… the North also fought to preserve a Union that was built on white supremacy!

                In THAT regard, both sides were the same.

              • Kevin Levin Dec 17, 2019 @ 13:35

                I appreciate the response, but it sounds like we are reading entirely different books, articles, etc.

              • Scott Proctor Dec 17, 2019 @ 18:29

                I believe we also have differences in the scope as well as the perspective we approach the subject from.

                Your book arrived today. I look forward to seeing your work in the coming days.

  • Tom Pitcher Dec 16, 2019 @ 15:04

    Kevin, thank you for the post – especially the chart on confederate monuments erected by year. I thought it was interesting. I’m curious if you’ve looked at Union Monuments erected by year? Also, I noticed that 1911 was the peak year (with swells before and after). You also saw a smaller but similar spike in 1961. Any chance that the 50 and 100 year Anniversaries had some part in this? I’m sure you’ve looked into it, maybe even published something about it. I knew that surviving soldiers played a key role in erecting monuments at places like Gettysburg so I’m wondering if organizations like GAR were as involved in 1900-1920 as the Confederate Organizations. If they weren’t – it would strengthen your argument.

    • Kevin Levin Dec 16, 2019 @ 16:20

      On Union monuments, I highly recommend Thomas Brown’s brand new book.

  • Rob Baker Dec 17, 2019 @ 11:50

    Interesting insight. I’m curious if de facto segregation would be represented by the historical landscape had disenfranchisement not occurred. Certain communities would have become figurate (and possibly literal) battlegrounds over commemoration much as many are today.

Leave a Reply to Msb Cancel reply