Those of you who have followed the coverage involving a petition by James Loewen and Edward Sebesta asking Barack Obama to end the practice of sending a wreath to the Confederate Monument at Arlington know the discussion has been heated. This was one of the reasons why I suggested in a recent post that the petition was a bad idea. As many of you know I am a regular target of those who interpret my commentary as offensive and that is to put it mildly. On occasion I share these comments with my readers, usually with a bit of humor thrown into the mix.
Unfortunately, a recent comment by Josephine L. Bass cannot be treated with such good humor. Her comment appeared as part of the discussion following Loewen and Sebesta’s petition at the History News Network:
I agree, and the Kevin Levin is one of their ilk! They are in to present ism, South Bashing, and hatred of the Sons and Daughters of the Confederacy. Levin is born in the North teaching students n VIRGINIA! Keep your eyes peeled for him and let him have it with both barrels.
For now I am going to attribute this to poor word choice, but I do want Ms. Bass and others to understand that such language will not be tolerated. We can and should disagree with one another, but it must be done in a respectful manner. Whatever differences there may be, and however offensive some may interpret my commentary, I have never used such language in reference to any group or individual. Please understand that I am prepared to take legal action if necessary.
You are free to post a response, but I will not approve any comment that exacerbates this situation in any way. Please do not address Ms. Bass on this forum. If you are a blogger I kindly ask that you refrain from allowing her to comment about me on your site. And I would appreciate it if the rest of you would keep a sharp eye out for any threatening references from Ms. Bass.
I apologize for having to bring this to your attention, but I wanted to have a public record of this on my site. Thanks for your understanding.
Every once in a while I like to share the love that comes my way. It is striking just how many of these emails revolve around the same silly points. Today a reader thought enough of me to send this along:
All you allow on your website is people to spew their hatred of the South just like you do. You are an egomanic. The South has been slandered by it’s victors, rednecks and people like you. I sent you the truths about the civil war and all you did was pulled it off to control people’s thinking and exposure to some real truths and not the negativity you publish. I feel very badly for the students who are forced to beleive the material you “teach”!! [unedited]
I just want to ask the following of these people:
Exactly which South do I supposedly hate? Is the question to be understood strictly along historical lines? Do I hate all time periods (all 400 years and beyond) of Southern history or just specific segments that make up the region’s rich past? Should we narrow it down by region? Perhaps there are regions of the South that I hate more or less than others. Is there a specific demographic that I hate more than others? Perhaps I hate wealthy white slaveowners, non-slaveowners or even poor whites. Come to think about it, maybe I hate slaves and other groups of African Americans along with a countless number of other minorities. Hmmm… Perhaps there is a cultural element to my hatred of the South. Do I hate the music, the food, the language? I could go on and on with this line of questioning, but hopefully you get the point.
All I can say is that if you really believe that I “hate the South” than you hold to an overly simplistic and even a childish view of the region, including its diverse history, politics, and culture. And for that you deserve to feel offended.
Luckily the rain held off long enough for an enjoyable tour of the Five Forks battlefield with historians Keith Bohannon and Peter Carmichael. We concentrated mainly in the area along White Oak Road and managed to locate and follow Pickett’s refuse line on his left flank. The terrain is difficult to interpret given the height of the trees, but the area around the Gravelly Run Church, which served as the jump off point for Warren’s April 1 attack, gave me a sense of the rolling landscape and a better understanding of just how vulnerable Pickett’s division was along the White Oak Road. From there we headed on over to the Five Forks intersection where we met NPS historian, Tracy Chernault. Tracy was kind enough to take us over to the new visitor center building which is slated to open in the next few months. It’s a marked improvement over the little shack that is currently being used at the intersection. That building will be demolished and the two monuments will be moved to the visitor center. From there we explored the Confederate right and drove to the approximate spot where Warren was relieved of command along with the field where Custer’s cavalry saw some heavy fighting. Finally, we stopped at Sutherland Station and Fort Gregg.
Keith and Peter did a first rate job of explaining the ebb and flow of battle to me. One can’t help but be impressed with their level of knowledge and their passion for battlefield interpretation. Click here for additional photos.
I‘ve never been to the Five Forks battlefield. Luckily for me, today I am spending the day with two historians who know the battlefield well. See you on Wednesday with a report and photographs. Let’s hope it’s not a total washout.
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