Ben “Cooter” Jones Fires Up The General Lee

Most of the emails that I received over the weekend in response to my interview for a story about Mattie Rice Clyburn were predictable. The responses included references to the fact that I am “from” Boston even though no true Bostonian would agree with such an assessment since I’ve only lived here for three years. And, of course, many of the emails include the tired mantra that I “hate the South.” I filed the emails away with the rest of the hate mail that I’ve received over the years. Continue reading “Ben “Cooter” Jones Fires Up The General Lee”

What Confederate Defeat Ought to Mean to One Family

Mattie Clyburn RiceI see three generations of the Clyburn-Rice family in attendance for yesterday’s service in honor of the family matriarch, Mattie Clyburn Rice. It looks like a strong and loving family. Regardless of the nature of the relationship that the family has forged with descendants of Confederate soldiers, we should never forget that it was the defeat of the Confederacy that made Weary Clyburn free. It allowed him to build a family that no longer ran the risk of being forcibly separated.

In short, it was the defeat of the Confederacy that helped to make possible the family you see here.

That is all.

R.I.P. Mattie Clyburn Rice

For those of you who linked to this site from the AP story about Mattie Clyburn Rice and are visiting for the first time, welcome. For those of you interested in reading further about the subject of black Confederate soldiers I put together this page, which includes some of the many posts on this blog as well as external resources. One of the most popular examples of so-called black Confederates is that of Silas Chandler. In 2012 I co-authored an essay about Silas and the famous photograph of him with his owner, Andrew Chandler, for Civil War Times magazine.

Here is what we know about Weary Clyburn:

  • Weary was owned by Frank Clyburn and brought into the war.
  • Weary applied for a soldiers pension after the war.
  • Nowhere in his obituary was he recognized as a Confederate soldier.
  • Weary’s pension application was denied after his death. In other words, the state of North Carolina recognized him as a slave in the 1860s.

Again, those are the fact as I understand them. Thanks for stopping by.

Quoted in AP Article About Mattie Clyburn Rice

Update: “You Sir are No Gentlemen; as a matter of fact you are the definition of a Northern Yankee Son of a Bitch! The South will Rise Again!” Definitely not happy.

Tomorrow Mattie Clyburn Rice’s ashes will be laid to rest in her father’s grave. A color guard from the Sons of Confederate Veterans will be there because they believe (as did Ms. Rice until the end of her life) that her father was a Confederate soldier. He wasn’t and even a cursory glance at the relevant documents confirms it. Yesterday I spent about 30 minutes chatting with AP Reporter, Martha Waggoner, about the myth of the black Confederate soldier and Weary Clyburn specifically. Continue reading “Quoted in AP Article About Mattie Clyburn Rice”

Southern Style Before the Yankees Came

Update: Check out Joshua Rothman’s take on this story.

Allure of AntebellumWhat better way to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the release of the movie, “Gone With the Wind” than with a Fall fashion spread inspired by life on an antebellum plantation. That’s exactly what some actress by the name of Blake Lively is doing. I guess this is how one gets old because before today I never heard of this person. Having just finished Baptist’s new book, I have very little patience for such nonsense.

Georgia peaches, sweet tea, and the enticement of a smooth twang…we all love a bit of southern charm. These regional mainstays, along with an innate sense of social poise, evoke an unparalleled warmth and authenticity in style and tradition.

The term “Southern Belle” came to fruition during the Antebellum period (prior to the Civil War), acknowledging women with an inherent social distinction who set the standards for style and appearance. These women epitomized Southern hospitality with a cultivation of beauty and grace, but even more with a captivating and magnetic sensibility. While at times depicted as coy, these belles of the ball, in actuality could command attention with the ease of a hummingbird relishing a pastoral bloom.

Like the debutantes of yesteryear, the authenticity and allure still ring true today. Hoop skirts are replaced by flared and pleated A-lines; oversized straw toppers are transformed into wide-brimmed floppy hats and wool fedoras.

The prowess of artful layering -the southern way- lies in inadvertent combinations. From menswear-inspired overcoats to the fluidity of soft flowing separates, wrap yourself up in tactile layers that elicit a true sense of seasonal lure.

Embrace the season and the magic below the Mason-Dixon with styles as theatric as a Dixie drawl.

Just don’t ask where their allowance for clothing came from or the raw material itself.