MOC: Southern Support In A Historical Context

Yesterday I briefly commented on my surprise surrounding the apparent lack of support for the Museum of the Confederacy by Southern Heritage organizations during as the  museum struggles with low attendance and financial problems.  Donald Thompson shared this newspaper article from the Richmond Times-Dispatch from 1936:

The fact that no Southern heritage groups have gone on fund raising missions for the Museum of the Confederacy won’t be surprising after reading this excerpt from the February 16th, 1936 edition of the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

40 Years Ago The Confederate Museum Opened
In Four Decades, Records Show That Many More Northerners Than Southerners Have Paid Homage at This Shrine of Shrines
By Ross Wells

Down from the North–the feet of thousands of pilgrims have worn a well-defined path to the White House of the Confederacy.

Up from the South–scarcely a twig has been broken or a blade bent in the trek to this greatest of all Southern shines as compared with the flow from Yankee-land.

This "Believe It or Not" condition has been observed casually through the years, but it remained for the close scrutiny of the register, made for the observance of the fortieth anniversary of the dedication of the Confederate Museum by the Confederate Memorial Literary Society, custodian of the historic building and collection, which occurs next Saturday, to reveal in all its startling clarity the fact that of the average 13,000 visitors annually to the Clay and 12th Street building, a large majority come from north of the Mason and Dixon line.

Nina Silber provides the best analysis of Northern visitation to Southern battlefields following the war and other sites, which lasted into the twentieth-century.  If I remember correctly, Silber argues that that as the North continued to develop economically many grew attached to this idealized image of the Old South, which culminated in the movie Gone With the Wind.  With more Northerners taking vacations by the mid-20th century perhaps there should be no surprise that they outnumbered their Southern friends at the MOC.  Hey Sarah, what do you think?

Searching for Black Confederates: The Civil War’s Most Persistent Myth

“Levin’s study is the first of its kind to blueprint and then debunk the mythology of enslaved African Americans who allegedly served voluntarily in behalf of the Confederacy.”–Journal of Southern History

Purchase your copy today!

1 comment… add one
  • Sarah Oct 21, 2006 @ 14:38

    Hi Kevin,

    I just saw your post. I’m going to give this question some serious thought and then post a response on my blog. Thanks for putting me on the spot. Seriously! I need pushes like this sometimes to actually produce ideas.

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