Category Archives: Lost Cause

Has the Lost Cause Lost? (Redux)

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Stained-Glass Window at Richmond Memorial Chapel

In 2010 I was asked by the Wilson Quarterly to write a short response to an essay on the Civil War and historical memory by Christopher Clausen. I suggested that there is reason to think that the Lost Cause’s influence on the general public, with its emphasis on states’ rights as the primary cause of the Civil War, is gradually being supplanted by slavery. In the latest issue of Civil War Book Review, Gaines Foster briefly explores the landscape of Civil War memory studies and along the way suggests that this may indeed be the case.

For many scholars and journalists, the idea of a persistent and powerful role for the Lost Cause extends beyond the 1960s; they claim to find in the contemporary South a widespread and deep commitment to the Lost Cause or see various examples of the white South still fighting the Civil War. The continuing battle over the Confederate flag and other Confederate symbols would seem to support such views, although the flag fights may be even more immediately shaped by matters of race than the Lost Cause celebrations of the late nineteenth century. Continue reading

 

“With a Rebel Yell, She Cried More, More, More…”

Maurice Bessinger, Dixie OutfittesNot even the best legal minds in the Confederate South seem to be able to stem the tide of anti-Confederate flag legislation and sentiment.

Even the flags that once adorned Maurice Bessinger’s chain of barbecue restaurants in South Carolina fly no more.

The elder Bessinger, who ran unsuccessfully for governor in the ’70s, has not been involved in running the business for several years. Most of the flags at the restaurants quietly came down more than a year ago, Lloyd Bessinger said.

The family-run operation wants to stay neutral politically, appealing to Republicans and Democrats, Bessinger said. “Dad liked politics,” he said. “That’s not something we’re interested in doing. We want to serve great barbecue. “We want to get past that.”

In honor of this move, I leave you with this classic Stephen Colbert interview with Bessinger that was done while working for Jon Stewart. Oh well, he will always have his Dixie Outfitters t-shirt.

 

Former Slaves in the Spotlight, but With No Vote

black confederate, ludwell brownThis morning I was perusing some of my favorite Facebook pages when I came across this gem of a photograph. The image of three elderly black men waving Confederate flags is accompanied by the standard comments from the Southern Heritage crowd. It’s not particularly interesting given the number of photographs that clearly point to the presence of black men at Confederate veteran reunions and other public events throughout the postwar period. Continue reading

 

“Confederate Kids Have No Rights The Courts Are Bound to Respect”

Today Chief Trial Counsel Kirk Lyons of the Southern Legal Resource Center announced that the Supreme Court will not hear a case involving Candice Hardwick, who ten years ago was sent home for wearing a t-shirt to school with a Confederate flag. He is apparently quite upset about the court’s decision given his firm belief that his client has a rock solid case.

I have to say that I am very disappointed that we have been deprived of the opportunity to hear Kirk Lyons argue in front of the highest court in the land. As for precedent, Lyons argues that this “case is a lot like the Dred Scott decision.” He goes on to suggest that, “Confederate kids have no rights the courts are bound to respect.” Oh, what fun.

 

Virginia Flaggers To Fly Historically Inaccurate Flag

Update: The more I think about it, the more I agree with a commenter below that on this particular issue I am splitting hairs. Perhaps I’ve allowed my disgust for this project to get the better of me. Take a listen to NPS Ranger, Christopher Young, who just finished commemorating the 150th anniversary of the battle of Chickamauga. He has the right idea when it comes to remembering and commemorating our Civil War soldiers. Finally, let me be clear that I am not offended by the sight of this flag. What I find offensive is how it is manipulated and abused by these people.

Next weekend the Virginia Flaggers will unveil their Confederate battle flag somewhere along I-95 in Chesterfield County, near Richmond. This week they unveiled their new flag on the steps of the Virginia capital. It appears they went with something that resembles the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia. I say resembles because if you look closely something is very, very wrong.

Virginia FlaggersIf you look closely you will notice that the stars are not spaced properly. Continue reading