Should Black Americans Celebrate Lee-Jackson Day?

After all, Stonewall Jackson was an active member in Lexington’s Presbyterian Church.  He even worked to teach enslaved and free blacks to read the Bible.  All of this should appeal to black Americans, who to this day and as a group closely identify with Christianity.  Robert E. Lee spent the last few years of his life in Lexington where he served as president of Washington College.  During Reconstruction and beyond black Americans identified the crucial role that education would play in their collective success.  Taken together both Lee and Jackson have been singled out as embodying Christian virtue and whose lives have been held up as worthy of emulation.

So, should black Americans celebrate Lee-Jackson Day?

The Lincoln Conspiracy (1977)

Some of you may remember this classic docudrama, The Lincoln Conspiracy, which poses the theory that President Lincoln’s Secretary of War, Edwin Stanton, was behind a plot to kill him at Ford’s Theater. His motive was his opposition to Lincoln’s adamant refusal to allow the North to punish the South for its actions. The “official” assassination goes awry when another would-be assassin, the second-rate actor John Wilkes Booth, learns of the plot and decides to beat the government to the punch, for reasons of his own. In the movie, it is Stanton’s assassin who is mistakenly captured and killed, rather than Booth.  Click through for all 9-part episodes.

A Challenge To Mike Simons

In response to a recent post on the subject of black Confederates regular reader Mike Simons had this to say:

We see blacks mentions in all areas of the war but no defentive evidence has been found. I believe as I have read about the Confederate Marines the evidence was lost in the fog of war. I hope someone some where will find the smoking gun to prove these pictures and letters right.

Mike then went on to add the following after I asked why he had a need to see these stories vindicated:

Because I want all those old colored people who told me about their kin fighting for the South to be vindicated in the academic world that thus far had derailed and denyed the truth of their oral history.

Well, here is your chance Mike.  I would like you to cite at least one historian in the “academic world” who has, in your view, “derailed” and “denied” the truth of the stories that you believe prove the existence of black Confederate soldiers.  In addition to a name, I would also like a reference to the book or article as well as the page numbers.  Finally, I would appreciate an analysis of the text in question that demonstrates an attempt to deny the past.  Take your time and be careful because permission to participate in this community is at stake.  I am tired of these off the cuff comments that engage in sweeping generalizations and condemnations of historians without any attempt to support said charges.

They Even Got the Right Arm + Links

Why I Don’t Celebrate Lee-Jackson Day

A number of readers took issue with last week’s post in which I reduced the celebration of Lee-Jackson Day, here in Virginia, to free parking.  I guess I could have provided some thoughtful analysis about the almost complete lack of interest in this particular day as a result of changing demographics as well as other factors.

So, since I didn’t make my own personal view sufficiently clear, let me do so now.  The reason I don’t celebrate Lee-Jackson Day is because I don’t celebrate the cause for which Lee and Jackson are remembered.  They are remembered for their service in an army that functioned as the military extension of a government that was committed to perpetuating slavery and white supremacy.  I find it simply impossible to distinguish between the individuals in question, including their many virtues, and the cause for which they attached themselves to.  Because I abhor slavery I am glad that the Confederate government, along with Lee and Jackson, failed and that our national sin of slavery was abolished.

I don’t think I’ve stated anything controversial here.  I do hope, however, that it clarifies things.