You Just Might Be a Racist If…

The video below was uploaded just this morning. I have no idea where it was filmed. In fact, it doesn’t really matter whether it was filmed in Mississippi or Maine.

I have little patience for the discussion of whether every display of the Confederate flag on private property reflects a racist intent or message. Given the history of the Confederate battle flag, from the Civil War to today, apart from a few exceptions there is little reason to give anyone the benefit of the doubt.

At this point in time you own that past if you feel strongly enough to display this flag in a place where it can be viewed by the public as opposed to inside your home.

I am at a loss as to what might be said to convince this individual that her neighbors are not imparting a racist message with the display of the flag. She knows exactly what it means.

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Mississippi’s Meaningless Confederate Heritage Proclamation

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Over the past two days I have received three requests from media outlets to comment on Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant’s designation of April as Confederate Heritage Month. Given the amount of coverage received, you would have thought that this was the first time such a proclamation had been issued. This year’s proclamation is receiving more attention in light of the shooting in Charleston this past summer as well as the steps universities and localities in Mississippi have taken to remove the state flag, which still includes the Confederate battle flag in its design.

This is certainly not the first proclamation ever issued, but it fits neatly into the recent trend on the part of more and more Mississippians who no longer believe the Confederacy is worth celebrating. We see this most clearly in the push to change the design of the state flag. [click to continue…]

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The Confederate Battle Flag Was Not “Stolen From the South”

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Thanks to Al Mackey for posting this short clip of a recent talk in which Professor James I. Robertson responds to a question about the current debate about the display of the Confederate flag. I was surprised and disappointed that Robertson didn’t simply suggest that the battle flag belongs in a museum where it can be properly interpreted. That would have been the right answer. Instead we are treated to a muddled response that attempts to remove the Confederate soldier from discussions of slavery and race. [click to continue…]

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Let Me Know When the Slaves Arrive in the North

Nate Parker’s movie about Nat Turner’s Rebellion, The Birth of a Nation, caused quite a buzz at last month’s Sundance Film Festival. The success of recent Hollywood films such as 12 Years a Slave and Django, as well as the new television series, Mercy Street, point to a growing interest in stories about slavery, many of which are being produced and directed by African Americans.

Today I caught the extended preview for Underground, which was produced by John Legend and airs on WGN America on March 9. [click to continue…]

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New to the Civil War Memory Library, 02/19

hannah-mary-tabbs-webTwo important book prizes have recently been announced. First, Martha Hodes’s Mourning Lincoln (Yale University Press) won the Lincoln Prize and Ada Ferrer’s Freedom’s Mirror: Cuba and Haiti in the Age of Revolution (Cambridge University Press) won this year’s Frederick Douglass Prize.

I read and thoroughly enjoyed the former, but have not read the latter.

T.H. Breen, George Washington’s Journey: The President Forges a New Nation (Simon & Schuster, 2016).

Jonathan M. Bryant, Dark Places of the Earth: The Voyage of the Slave Ship Antelope (Liveright, 2015).

Donald S. Frazier, Blood on the Bayou: Vicksburg,Port Hudson,and the Trans-Mississippi (State House Press, 2015).

Kali N. Gross, Hannah Mary Tabbs and the Disembodied Torso: A Tale of Race, Sex, and Violence in America (Oxford University Press, 2016).

Allen Guelzo, Redeeming the Great Emancipator (Harvard University Press, 2016).

Harold Holzer, The Annotated Lincoln (Harvard University Press, 2016).

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