Update: The battle flag erected outside of Lexington is in violation of Rockbridge County’s zoning ordinance.
I think it is perfectly fitting that the Virginia Flaggers were led down the streets of Lexington, Virginia this past weekend by an individual portraying Stonewall Jackson, who (as of 2015) is also a member of the League of the South. I love the way it ties a war to expand slavery and protect white supremacy with organizations that continue to openly profess white supremacy. [click to continue…]
By now most of you know that just a few days ago President Obama designated Beaufort, South Carolina as the Reconstruction Era National Monument. A community of historians and politicians have worked hard to push the president to make this decision and I could not be more pleased that he has done so as one of the final acts of his presidency. [click to continue…]
Update: Virginia Flaggers were led down the streets of Lexington by a member of the League of the South.
From all of the reports, photographs, and videos that I have seen it looks like the Virginia Flaggers and Sons of Confederate Veterans were upstaged by CARE this weekend in Lexington. The Flaggers managed to attract the same roughly 200 people – most of whom do not live in Lexington – to this annual event. Reports indicate that CARE’s march in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. attracted around 2,000 people. [click to continue…]
The annual parade in Lexington, Virginia celebrating Lee-Jackson Day is going to look very different today. That’s because the local Sons of Confederate Veterans camp and the Virginia Flaggers were peacefully outgunned by the Community Anti-racism Education Initiative, a local organization, which applied for a permit to reserve the day before the other two organizations. CARE will march to commemorate Martin Luther King, Jr. [click to continue…]
This past week The Washington Post added its name to a growing list of individuals and institutions who would like to see President Obama designate a federal monument to Reconstruction. Most believe that it should be located in Beaufort, South Carolina. The area in and around Beaufort is an ideal setting in which to teach this neglected and misunderstood period of American history following the Civil War.
Most people who learn about Reconstruction, however, will do so by reading a book. There are a number of very good books available by Eric Foner, Mark Summers, Douglas Egerton, Charles Lane, and Philip Dray, to name just a few. . [click to continue…]
Confederate Veteran magazine is filled with stories of camp slaves, who in one way or another demonstrate their unconditional loyalty to their masters. This often takes the form of rescuing their master’s injured body during or after a battle or in the event of his death escorting the body home for proper burial. These stories follow a standard form and the vast majority of them are not worth sharing.
This one is, not because of the dramatic re-telling of the securing of the body, but because of the setting in which it was shared:
Gen. Bob Toomb’s Pleas For Jim: The story is told that a negro under the charge of murder was being tried in a Georgia court. Much testimony had been taken, and it seemed to be very serious for the defendant, whose plea was self-defense. An old man in the court room arose and, addressing the court and jury, said: ‘Please your honor and gentlemen of the jury, years ago my only brother fell wounded on the battlefield of Gettysburg. He lay there bleeding to death, with no one to help him. Shot and shell, the fierce, fiery stream of death were sweeping the earth about him. No friend dared go to him, no surgeon would approach him. The singing of bullets and the wild music of shells were his only requiem. My brother had a body servant, a negro man, who waited on him in camp. The negro saw his master’s danger, and straight out into that hell of battle and flame and death he went. A cannon shot tore the flesh from his breast; but on he went gathering my brother in his arms, the blood of the man mingled with the blood of his master, he bore him to safety and to life. Jim, open your collar.’ He did so, and the jury saw on his breast long, jagged scars where the shell had ripped its way. Continuing, General Toombs said: ‘Jim’s skin is black; he is a negro; but the man that would do what Jim did for my brother has a soul too white ever to have killed a man except in defense of his own life.’ Jim was cleared.
Confederate Veteran, Vol. XVII (September 1909): 476.
This has to be one of the best discussions about the place of Confederate iconography in our public and private spaces that I have seen. This panel discussion took place at the National Cathedral, which recently removed Confederate battle flags from its stained glass windows. The question of whether the full windows depicting Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson will be removed has yet to be decided. That is the setting for this discussion. [click to continue…]
This has to be one of the more interesting postwar references to Confederate camp slaves that I have uncovered. Henry Grady was an Atlanta newspaper editor, but he was best known as a leading voice in the “New South” movement, which embraced industrial development through northern investment. The challenge for men like Grady was in reassuring white southerners in the period following Reconstruction that such changes would not threaten traditional values or upset what was a fragile racial hierarchy. [click to continue…]