New Orleans To Remove Four Confederate Monuments

Earlier today the New Orleans city council voted 6 to 1 to remove four Confederate monuments. The vote was preceded by a lengthy and heated public forum that you can see here. I decided early this morning to write up some thoughts assuming that the vote would go the way it did. You can read my essay at the Atlantic.

Regardless of your position, a good case can be made that this decision is the final act of our Civil War sesquicentennial.

St. Paul’s Episcopal Takes a Stand on Confederate History and Memory

St. Paul’s Episcopal in Richmond has announced that it will remove many of the objects that venerate the Confederacy, including specifically those items featuring the Confederate flag. Items that will be removed include six plaques. Plaques honoring Davis’s wife and daughter will be modified as will the church’s coat of arms. The church also plans to erect a memorial to those slaves that were members of the community. [I wrote about the public history side of this controversy back in early October.] Continue reading “St. Paul’s Episcopal Takes a Stand on Confederate History and Memory”

MLK Soon To Top Stone Mountain

Update: Thanks to those of you who pointed out my rookie mistake re: “the mountain top” reference in King’s speech. I guess it doesn’t really matter what speech of his they etch into that monument.

Over the summer, individuals and organizations protesting the removal of Confederate flags from public places gathered numerous times at Stone Mountain, Georgia in view of its relief monument to Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson and Jefferson Davis. Protesters may think twice about doing so in the future since it was announced that a monument to Martin Luther King, Jr. and a museum exhibit about the service of United States Colored Troops will be funded with visitor entrance and parking fees. Continue reading “MLK Soon To Top Stone Mountain”

Jefferson Davis Goes, While Robert E. Lee and Albert Sidney Johnston Stay

The debate at the University of Texas at Austin over the presence on campus of monuments to Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee and Albert Sidney Johnston is not a new one. In 1969 a group calling itself Afro-Americans for Black Liberation made a list of demands on the campus administration that included removing these statues. Jump to August 2015 and in the wake of the mass shootings in Charleston and the very public and emotional debate about the place of Confederate iconography, including monuments, in public places it should come as no surprise that action would be taken. Continue reading “Jefferson Davis Goes, While Robert E. Lee and Albert Sidney Johnston Stay”

Quote of the Day

Ron Sydnor
Ron Sydnor Addressing SCV and UDC

On Tuesday night the local chapters of Sons of Confederate Veterans and United Daughters of the Confederacy of Murray, Kentucky came out to commemorate Confederate Memorial Day.  The keynote address was offered by Ron Sydnor, who is the park manager at the Jefferson Davis Historic Site.

He was a man ahead of his time. But because of that one moment in time, his legacy has been tainted. My grandmother used to say, ‘You can have a million ‘atta boys, but just one awe shucks, and that one can ruin them all. None of our history books talk about what he did before the Civil War. What he did helped shape this country. He’s the scapegoat for everything, but he gets no credit for the positive things that he did.

Yes, it is unfortunate that this one moment (which happened to involve leading a rebellion against the United States to ensure the future of slavery and white supremacy) overshadows all of the positive contributions made by Jefferson Davis.

Davis may not be getting the credit he deserves, but I have no doubt that for the amount of time it took Mr. Sydnor to share his views on Tuesday evening all was right with the world for the members of the SCV and UDC.