NASCAR and track officials canceled plans to have pro golfer Bubba Watson drive the car from the television series “The Dukes of Hazzard” at Phoenix International Raceway because of concerns about a negative reaction to an image of the Confederate flag.
At a time when tens of millions of Americans are honoring their Union and Confederate ancestors during this Sesquicentennial of the Civil War, NASCAR has chosen to dishonor those Southerners who fought and died in that terrible conflict by caving to ‘political correctness’ and the uninformed concerns of corporate sponsors.”
Janie Maders, owner of AJ’s Cycles and Service, said she had posted the flag on a pole just outside her store a few weeks ago along with two American flags and an Arizona one, because she got it for free and it looked good.
Not even in Minnesota:
It’s disappointing given that it is such a pretty banner.
In a recent speech, Ed Ayers suggested that “the enemy of Civil War history is everything people think they know about the conflict.” We could just as easily point to what people don’t know as that enemy. I am not going to say anything new about this most recent case of a slave being honored by the Sons of Confederate Veterans for his “service” to the Confederacy. You may even wonder why I bother to bring it up. I believe it matters that the descendants of a slave have been duped into believing that their ancestor somehow served as a soldier or was acknowledged in some official capacity within the army.
I have a copy of Aaron Perry’s pension and as it states in the article he was a slave. The jump from acknowledging Perry’s status as a slave to honoring him for his service in the Confederate army, however, suggests that some people have a very limited grasp of the institution. Let me break this down for you:
Perry was legally tied to his master’s family. He left home as the legal extension of the man who owned him. His master likely took Perry to many places in addition to the army during the period of his life in which he was property.
Only citizens of the Confederacy were eligible to volunteer or be drafted into the army.
At no point did Perry’s status as a slave change while with the army. He was there to serve his master and not the Confederate cause.
The extent of Perry’s movements while with the army were legally dictated by his master and not by military regulations.
Perry’s pension was given for his service as a slave and not as a soldier in the 37th NC. In fact, the unit is irrelevant.
As the military extension of a government that was pledged to protect the institution of slavery it seems to me that a more fitting ceremony for the SCV would include an apology rather than an honor that has absolutely no basis in history. After all, if the Confederate army had proven to be successful, Perry would still have been a slave.
Today I had the pleasure of skyping with a Civil War class at Marquette University High School in Milwaukee. Chris Lese and his class have made good use of my blog over the past few weeks so I offered to spend some time with his students to field questions. In addition to utilizing the blog the class has read a chapter from David Blight’s book, Beyond the Battlefield: Race, Memory and the American Civil War and they are making their way through a critical evaluation of Ken Burns’s Civil War documentary. It’s always nice to see high school kids engaged in serious study of American history and it made for an entertaining and informative 45 minutes. I am planning on visiting with this class in person during my trip to Milwaukee in April for the annual meeting of the Organization of American Historians.