Over the weekend I was informed of an editorial on black Confederates that appeared in The Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Virginia by Calvin Crollier and Kevin Crowder. I have no idea who these individuals are or why they felt a need to wade into this discussion. In fact, I probably would not have taken the time to write a response except for the fact that I am referenced, along with Bruce Levine, as examples of historians who have “attempt[ed] to set the record a little too straight.” I have no idea what this is suppose to mean. I have no problem with publishing a wide range of opinion on any subject in a newspaper’s opinion column, but it seems to me that there is a difference between thoughtful and responsible commentary and commentary that does little more than obscure and mislead the public. It is safe to say that this essay by Crollier and Crowder is an example of the latter. You can read my response here.
The other day my friends at Facebook’s SHPG page got all worked up about a stupid video that I posted on Thursday. Apparently, the members of this group have completely lost their ability to laugh in their zeal to stamp out the enemy that they see all around them. Funny that they never speak out when I post videos about Abraham Lincoln that others have found problematic. Oh well. Lucas looks like he is right out of high school and I suspect he has little in common with the political and cultural baggage that the majority of these members carry around with them. I anticipate that he won’t last long in this group. Either Lucas will leave on his own or he will be forced out. Good luck, dude.
Update: James Loewen responds…well…sort of.
Since Edward Sebesta recently came up in a previous post I decided to check out his blog earlier today. Some of you may remember that not too long ago Sebesta publicly declared that he would not accept an award from the Museum of the Confederacy for his co-edited book with James Loewen, titled The Confederate and Neo-Confederate Reader: The “Great Truth” about the “Lost Cause”, which had been submitted by their publisher for the Jefferson Davis Award. Why? According to Sebesta, the MOC’s mission is to further the”Neo-Confederate” agenda. By accepting their award Sebesta believes that he would be legitimizing the museum as a legitimate historical institution. Yes, this is quite bizarre, but it gets even better. At the time Sebesta promised that he would explain his stance in a more detailed essay, which is exactly what I came across at his blog today. The post includes a link to a 4-part essay that was published at the Black Commentator. I am going to leave it to you to read through as I simply do not have the patience to do it. It is an incredibly incoherent rant and as far as I can tell there is no indication that Sebesta has ever visited the MOC or talked with its museum staff.
Edward Sebesta seems to think that there is a Neo-Confederate boogeyman lurking around every corner. His reading of a post by Ta Nehisi-Coates on my recent visit to Harvard to listen to a talk on black Confederates by John Stauffer led him to post the following at H-Afro-American:
Henry Louis Gates is promoting the neo-Confederate nonsense of black Confederates at Harvard. You can read about it here. I am not sure what else is happening at Harvard, perhaps the physics department is promoting the idea of caloric fluids, or the chemistry department is reviving the idea of phlogiston. Perhaps the biology department is going to be teaching creationism. Maybe the geology department is going for a six-day creation. The astronomy department might be re-considering Ptolomeic spheres.
I won’t go into how the overwhelming weight of historical evidence is against it. What I think is of importance is what this reveals about Henry Louis Gates. There is a current effort to get Confederates memorialized at Harvard. It might be that the rationalization will be that persons of African ancestry fought for the Confederacy so it is okay. That is the underlying point of this Black Confederate nonsense.
Sebesta’s attempt at humor only serves to highlight his ignorance about the presentation and Gates’s interest in the subject. He doesn’t even seem to be aware that the talk was presented by John Stauffer. Gates simply hosted the event. I’ve already shared what I perceive to be some major problems with Stauffer’s presentation as well as Gates’s comments during the Q&A. To assume that Gates is providing the “rationalization” to have Confederates memorialized at Harvard Memorial Hall, however, is patently absurd and irresponsible on his part.
I still don’t quite understand how a city of Southerners can discriminate against themselves, but logic probably isn’t a top priority when you are marketing to the fringes of society. The other question is why did the designers choose to substitute the First National for the Confederate battle flag?