We have heard quite a bit from Sons of Confederate Veterans over the past week in response to the debate over the Confederate flag on the state house grounds in Columbia, South Carolina and beyond. Members claim a direct ancestral connection to Confederate soldiers, which they believe translates into some kind of privileged status regarding all things heritage.
This particular incident is unfortunately tailor-made for this myth. In a statement released by the South Carolina Division, SCV they maintain that neither the Confederate flag nor the history of the Confederacy has anything to do with the reasons behind Dylan Roof’s actions.
Historical fact shows there were Black Confederate soldiers. These brave men fought in the trenches beside their White brothers, all under the Confederate Battle Flag. This same Flag stands as a memorial to these soldiers on the grounds of the SC Statehouse today. The Sons of Confederate Veterans, a historical honor society, does not delineate which Confederate soldier we will remember or honor. We cherish and revere the memory of all Confederate veterans. None of them, Black or White, shall be forgotten.
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.