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.