This morning I was reminded that today is the first day of the sesquicentennial of the War in 1864. As I alluded to this past spring, it is going to be very interesting to see how the final sixteen months of the war will be commemorated and remembered. There are practical issues of funding, but there is also the turn that the war itself took in 1864. Those of us on the education/public history side of things will have to think long and hard about how we engage the public about some of the more important and challenging issues of the war. Continue reading
Richmond, Virginia is an ideal location for a slavery museum. The project would give Gov. Robert McDonnell the opportunity to leave office with a solid legacy of promoting Richmond’s rich heritage and history. It would also serve as the perfect bookend to McDonnell’s earlier misstep and thoughtful turnaround in connection with his Confederate History Month proclamation back in 2010. [see here, here, and here]
THREE MONTHS after he took office in 2010, Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell plunged headlong into a public relations debacle of his own making by omitting any mention of slavery from a proclamation he issued during Confederate History Month. After some ham-handed damage control, he apologized for airbrushing history, amended the proclamation to refer to the “abomination of slavery” and said he would be a “champion for racial reconciliation” as the state prepared to commemorate the Civil War’s 150th anniversary.
Mr. McDonnell, a Republican, has gone some distance to make good on that promise. Recently, he announced that his final budget, to be submitted to the General Assembly before he leaves office next month, would include $11 million for the construction of a museum and other sites to commemorate slavery, all in Richmond.
[Read the rest of the Post's Editorial]
Want to know why the Virginia Flaggers are not taken seriously in Richmond? It’s because underneath the rhetoric of “Restore the Honor” and “Heritage Not Hate” there is a great deal of racism. Grayson Jennings is a vocal member of the Flaggers. Here is his response to the recent decision in Jacksonville, Florida to change the name of Nathan Bedford Forrest High School. Yes, and that is Barry Isenhour, another prominent Flagger. You could spend quite a bit of time unpacking Jenning’s post.
Sometimes I wonder why Karen Cooper (only black Flagger) associates with these people. What a shame. It seems like just last week that I was applauding the Flaggers.
Update: Interesting story on the pressure that is being exerted by McConnell’s allies on College of Charleston.
The College of Charleston is looking for a new president and a number of state legislators are pushing the school to consider Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell. The question raised in this article is whether his involvement with Confederate heritage groups and support of the Confederate flag reflects the school’s values and commitment to diversity. McConnell has to apply for the position by Jan. 14, but if he does the outcome of his candidacy will tell us a great deal about the state of Confederate heritage in South Carolina politics and culture. Continue reading
Perhaps Tripp Lewis of the Virginia Flaggers is trying to get a head start on what will hopefully become an annual contest over at Brooks Simpson’s Crossroads blog of the best in Confederate Heritage Follies. I give the VMFA’s security force a great deal of credit in how they handle Mr. Lewis. For the life of me I don’t know how they keep themselves from laughing hysterically given Lewis’s Confederate soldier costume. The guy is a real hoot.
[Uploaded to YouTube on December 20, 2013]