Tag Archives: Barack Obama

A Presidential Inauguration for the Civil War Sesquicentennial

The Presidential Inauguration exercises have been filled with references to the Civil War era, including President Lincoln, Union, the 150th anniversary of emancipation and the unfinished capitol dome.  I just saw Frederick Douglass and reenactors from the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry march by the president’s reviewing stand.  We even heard a reference to Stonewall, though I don’t think it was in recognition of Lee-Jackson Day.  It’s a wonderful opportunity to make these references and remind the country that our history does include significant progress.

On a slightly different note, here is an interesting and even entertaining video of V. Bozeman singing Lynyrd Synyrd’s “Freebird” in a Confederate flag dress.  Here is what she had to say about the choice of song and dress:

I fell in love with the lyrics and thought it would be a great song to cover. When I discovered the band’s previous connection with the confederate flag, I was even more compelled to re-record this song and give new life to it.  Music is so powerful, it’s important for artists such as myself to use our platform to make a positive impact on the world. When I first heard the lyrics in this song, I could relate to its overall message, as I too have the desire to be a “Free Bird.”  The beautiful and most riveting thing about Art is that it speaks to the individual and everyone gets something different from it.

To me, the overall message in “Free Bird” is LOVE!  Something the world needs more of!  Something we ourselves need more of!  LOVE is accepting and understanding…  It’s healing; amongst many other powerful things…essentially, it’s FREEDOM!  Through my expression of “Free Bird,” I wanted to send a visual message to break the chains of negative stereotypes, racism, poverty, war, sexism, self hatred, etc. that hold us back as a people, as a nation.  I decided to release this visual during President Barack Obama’s inauguration because the significance of this historic moment aligns with the overall theme of the song. As an artist I’ve always had a perspective and a voice and its important to me that I always be authentic to not only my fans, but myself in my expression.

As President Abraham Lincoln Explained…

secession

Jon Carson does a wonderful job of responding to the recent flurry of White House Petitions requesting that individual states be given the right to secede from the Union.

Thank you for using the White House’s online petitions platform to participate in your government.

That sentence alone defuses any credibility that these silly petitions might enjoy.  There is just a little irony in Americans utilizing their Constitutional rights through a website that encourages participatory democracy and that is maintained by taxpayer dollars.

But just in case you slept through your American history and civics classes Carson follows up with a reminder that the sacrifice paid by Americans during the Civil War and beyond guarantees your right to petition your government.

Our founding fathers established the Constitution of the United States “in order to form a more perfect union” through the hard and frustrating but necessary work of self-government. They enshrined in that document the right to change our national government through the power of the ballot — a right that generations of Americans have fought to secure for all. But they did not provide a right to walk away from it. As President Abraham Lincoln explained in his first inaugural address in 1861, “in contemplation of universal law and of the Constitution the Union of these States is perpetual.” In the years that followed, more than 600,000 Americans died in a long and bloody civil war that vindicated the principle that the Constitution establishes a permanent union between the States. And shortly after the Civil War ended, the Supreme Court confirmed that “[t]he Constitution, in all its provisions, looks to an indestructible Union composed of indestructible States.”

It’s almost as good as the White House response to the Death Star petition.

September 22, 1862 – 2012

That on the first day of January in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any state, or designated part of a state, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free;  and the executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will  recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom. – Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation

[Image: President Obama views Emancipation Proclamation in Oval Office]

Obama to be Renominated in the Last Confederate Capital

Next month President Obama will be renominated by the Democratic Party in Charlotte, North Carolina.  Charlotte lays claim as the last Confederate capital in April 1865.  It is here that Jefferson Davis learned of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.  At first glance these two events may seem unrelated but not to the folks interviewed in this article.

“Charlotte is a New South city,” said Tom Hanchett, staff historian at the Levine Museum of the New South. “It existed during the Civil War and had some importance, but this city’s character has been shaped by reinvention since the Civil War. That spirit of reinvention is one of the reasons why the DNC decided to come to Charlotte. It is a city with a history but has never been a prisoner of its history.”

James Ferguson, a Charlotte attorney who has been heavily involved in the civil rights movement, said Obama’s renomination “is a historic event that is even more historic than the Confederate cabinet’s last meeting here.  “The nomination comes at a time when Charlotte is seeking to identify itself as a world class city, as a city coming into its full identity after a period of phenomenal growth,” Ferguson said. “In terms of African-Americans, there is this whole question of whether we are reaching a point where there is full equality or are we still dealing with having a first African-American this or that, and (saying) ‘that seems to be enough.’”   The continuing quest for full equality is symbolized by the renomination, Ferguson said, adding: “This election is equally important if not more important than the first election of President Obama, because it takes two terms for a president to really push forward a full program.”

David Goldfield, a history professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, said the Charlotte renomination is compelling because “the Confederacy was born as a defense of slavery, and yet here in the last capital of the Confederacy we’re nominating a black man for president.  “It’s something we should feel very proud of,” Goldfield said. “We have come a long way as a region and we have come a long way as a country. White supremacy was not confined to the South — it was a national ailment.”

I tend to think that the attempt at irony here is weak given the emphasis on Charlotte’s evolution since the end of the war.  As the article suggests, there are so few reminders of Charlotte’s Confederate past that unless you look for it you are likely to miss what is there.  Obama won Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, and Florida in 2008.  If anything gave us a sense of the evolution of the history of the South after 1865 it was the results of that election.  We already know this narrative.