Update: Thanks to Stuart W. Sanders, who at one time worked as a docent at the Lee Chapel, for providing some context to this discussion. Update #2: Here is W&L president’s response to “The Committee.”
Statement by “The Committee”
I first heard about this story on one of the Southern Heritage Facebook pages, but now a group of black law students at Washington & Lee University, who are demanding that their university distance itself from its Confederate past is gaining some traction [and here]. This push comes on the heels of the steps taken by the city of Lexington to limit the display of the Confederate flag on public property.
The group of students, who call themselves “The Committee” have published a list of demands that includes a formal recognition of MLK Day and an apology from the university for its participation in slavery. They are on shakier ground, in my opinion, with the following two demands. [click to continue…]
This past weekend a panel discussion was held at the annual meeting of the OAH on whether blogging ought to be considered scholarship. I didn’t travel to the OAH this year and even if I did I likely would not have attended this particular session since I don’t work in academia and the question and broader topic is largely irrelevant to me. Still, I do interact on occasion with academics and once in a while I have to deal with their skepticism about blogging. [click to continue…]
On July 20, 2014 the city of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania will commemorate the 150th anniversary of the ransoming and burning of the city by Confederate forces. This is not the first time that the city has engaged in such a remembrance. It looks like a tasteful commemoration that will likely both educate and bring together the community in and around Chambersburg.
[Uploaded to YouTube on April 12, 2014]
There is a reason why white supremacists align themselves with a history that includes individuals like Nathan Bedford Forrest and symbols such as the Confederate flag. The history and legacy of Forrest and the Confederate flag have not been sabotaged or rewritten by such people. They can both be found time and time again as salient symbols for individuals and organizations that embrace racism and antisemitism.
I am not surprised to find that Glenn Miller closely identifies with both. As we all learned yesterday and this morning, Miller is the alleged killer of three people outside of Kansas City, MO at two Jewish community centers. The killings took place on the eve of Passover. It’s a story that hits close to my school community and our thoughts go out to the families. None of the victims was Jewish, but Miller’s intent is clear.
People are free to celebrate and embrace Forrest and the flag, but they have no right to demand or even expect others to follow suit. It’s a lost cause and the sooner we as a nation dispense with celebrating both in public places the better.
Today is the 150th anniversary of the Fort Pillow Massacre. Should it be remembered as a Confederate massacre of black soldiers, a moment in the long history of racial violence between black and white Americans or both?