The Confederacy Was Not a Con Job

Over the weekend the Richmond Times-Dispatch published an editorial on the current debate about Confederate iconography by Frank Hyman. It’s an interesting editorial in that it doesn’t fall into any of the popular categories on the subject. After establishing his bona fides as a white Southern male Hyman gets to his point. The problem with revering the Confederate flag and the Confederacy generally comes down to the following:

The Confederacy — and the slavery that spawned it — was also one big con job on the Southern white working class. A con job funded by some of the antebellum one-percenters, and one that continues today in a similar form…. With low wages and few schools, Southern whites suffered a much lower land ownership rate and a far lower literacy rate than Northern whites….

My ancestor, Canna Hyman, and his two sons did own land and fought under that flag. A note from our family history says: “Someone came for them while they were plowing one day. They put their horses up and all three went away to the War and only one son, William, came back.”

Like Canna, most Southerners didn’t own slaves. But they were persuaded to risk their lives and limbs for the right of a few to get rich as Croesus from slavery. For their sacrifices and their votes, they earned two things before and after the Civil War. First, a very skinny slice of the immense Southern pie. And second, the thing that made those slim rations palatable then and now: the shallow satisfaction of knowing blacks had no slice at all.

Certainly northern and even some southern observers before and after the Civil War offered their assessments about the extent to which the institution of slavery stymied economic opportunity for non-slaveholders, but we should be cautious about applying our own value judgments to the past. Continue reading “The Confederacy Was Not a Con Job”

Virginia Isn’t For Confederate Flags

This has been a tough week for folks who reduce the history of the South and Confederate heritage to the display of the flag. Yesterday evening the Danville City Council passed a flag ordinance with a vote of 7 to 2 limiting the flying of flags on city-owned property to the national, state, city and MIA/POW flags. I believe this is what the city of Lexington did as well to bring closure to this issue.

The Department of Motor Vehicles will also begin recalling specialty license plates featuring the Confederate battle flag. Continue reading “Virginia Isn’t For Confederate Flags”

“They Preserved the Anglo-Saxon Civilization of the South”

A monument in Charlotte, North Carolina commemorating a Confederate reunion, which took place in 1929, has been vandalized for the second time this summer. While the tag #BlackLivesMatter has been seen on other Confederate monuments the message left in this case relates directly to the Charleston murders. The names of all nine victims were spray painted on one side while the message, “‘The Cause For Which They Fought—The Cause of Slavery Was Wrong'” was left on the other.

Confederate Monument, Charlotte
Continue reading ““They Preserved the Anglo-Saxon Civilization of the South””

Confederate Heritage Has Its Day at Stone Mountain

Jonathan Lee Krohn is posting some wonderful photographs on his Twitter feed at Stone Mountain, Georgia, where a Confederate flag rally is underway. It looks like everyone is having a good time. As to what exactly is being commemorated…well…that has yet to be determined.


Continue reading “Confederate Heritage Has Its Day at Stone Mountain”

There She Is, Miss RebelFest 2015

Miss RebelFestCongratulations to Taneka Lewis, who has been crowned Miss RebelFest 2015. Beyond this I don’t really know what else to say.

Perhaps I should just let the organizers speak for themselves:

On behalf of the Carolina Rebels Motorcycle Club – Sumter Chapter, we would like to congratulate the newly crowned Miss Rebelfest 2015, Taneka Lewis. Taneka was chosen Miss Rebelfest by the attendees of this year’s event. We look forward to having her as Miss Rebelfest for the upcoming year. Her strong spirit, along with her contagious personality, not to mention, she’s easy on the eyes, should make for a fun and exciting year! In a society that has labeled the confederate flag and the flag’s supporters a symbol of racism and divide; we feel we must also address what will eventually be ask sooner or later: Why is a organization that is called the Carolina Rebels which supports the Confederate flag as a symbol of Southern heritage, have an African American woman as their representative? Well, that is easy. Ms. Lewis was not denied nor was she chosen on her skin color. She was chosen by the many in attendance simply because she best resonated with them. She won with 80 percent of the votes. We are very excited and proud to introduce you to our new reigning Miss Rebelfest 2015, Taneka Lewis!

Taneka’s coronation will…oh why bother.