Today the South Carolina Secessionist Party held a rally on the Columbia State House grounds to mark the anniversary of the lowering of the Confederate battle flag in the summer of 2015. The group was allowed to raise a battle flag for a few hours, which itself symbolizes the waning influence of the Lost Cause in public life. A Robert E. Lee impersonator was accompanied by Arlene Barnum, who played the role of the loyal slave. Continue reading
H.K. Edgerton is currently walking across the state of Florida in support of Confederate heritage and the battle flag. Yesterday, while paying his respects at the Hemming Park Confederate Monument in Jacksonville, H.K. was approached by a couple members of a local KKK chapter, who took issue with his embrace of the Confederate flag. Fortunately, the situation was quickly defused. Continue reading
It should come as no surprise that H.K. Edgerton helped to dedicate a new Confederate Memorial Park in Tampa, Florida this weekend that includes a marker honoring black Confederate soldiers. In the past I have suggested that it is best to understand Edgerton’s presence at these events as a form of entertainment, not entirely unlike the presence of former camp slaves, who attended parades and veterans reunions at the turn of the twentieth century. Continue reading
One of the topics that I take up in the final chapter of my book about Confederate camp slaves and the Myth of the Black Confederate Soldier is the presence of a very small number of African Americans in social circles that subscribe to this myth. I have written extensively about H.K. Edgerton as well as Karen Cooper and Anthony Hervey.
Update: The Tallassee Tribune is reporting that the flag will not be placed on property referenced in initial reports.
I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating that Confederate heritage groups like the Sons of Confederate Veterans are their own worst enemies when it comes to promoting their preferred interpretation of the battle flag. News that three such organizations intend to erect a 50-foot flagpole off of I-85 and within eyesight of Alabama State University (a historically black college) in Montgomery undercuts any denial of racist intent.
Despite claims to the contrary, cheers erupted when one group announced the proximity of the flag to the university. Continue reading
I frequent a number of Facebook pages that attract people who, for one reason or another, cling tightly to the Lost Cause narrative. You will not be surprised to learn that one of my favorites is called, “Black Confederates in the Civil War.” One of the reasons I visit is because members regularly post excerpts from Confederate Veteran and other publications and even primary sources from websites such as Fold3. It’s like having an army of researchers at your disposal. I’ve collected hundreds of such sources for my book project.
These postings are rarely accompanied by any attempt at interpretation. It’s understood by the members of the group that the postings offer undeniable proof of the existence of black Confederate soldiers. One of the more frequent posters in recent months has been Teresa Roane, who at one time worked as an archivist at the Museum of the Confederacy and is now apparently working for the United Daughters of the Confederacy. A few years ago Ms. Roane sent me a package of requested materials related to camp servants and impressed slaves from the MOC.
You may find it interesting that she is African American. Continue reading
The gradual erosion of open celebrations of Confederate heritage throughout the United States stands in sharp contrast with a vibrant memory for the residents of Santa Bárbara d’Oeste and neighboring Americana, in Brazil’s south-eastern São Paulo state. Following Confederate defeat somewhere in the neighborhood of 5,000 white Southerners left for the promise of land and even the possibility of one again attaining slave-owning status in a foreign country. For close to thirty years the residents of this community have organized a celebration of their Confederate roots.
The images are right out of the Civil War centennial era, including the uniforms, dresses, dance, and large Confederate flags. All of it has a campy feel at best. Their memory of the Confederacy and the South is framed by a love for buttermilk biscuits and the “Dukes of Hazzard.” Very little attention appears to be focused on their ancestors themselves, many of whom were absorbed into Brazilian culture shortly after arrival. In fact, it’s not even clear what percentage of male immigrants actually served in the Confederate army. It also makes me wonder just how many of their ancestors wanted to put the whole Confederate experiment behind them and move on with their lives. Continue reading
Yes, the people who gathered in Lexington, Virginia are incensed about the removal of replica Confederate flags from Lee Chapel. They view it as a threat to their preferred narrative of the history of the Confederacy and the symbolism of the flag both during and after the war. The fact that the replicas will be replaced by original flags appears to have been lost by just about everyone. It suggests to me that this is not entirely about the removal of flags, but about who instigated it. Continue reading