Am I Really A Confederate Apologist?

I can’t tell you how often I receive emails from folks who believe that my blog reflects a personal assault against the Confederacy and all things southern.  Yesterday I received the most bizarre email from a Frederick Douglass impersonator who took issue with my blog’s banner.  I should point out that the banner was part of a redesign back in 2009 by a custom theme developer.  I supplied the images of Lincoln, Lee, and Douglass.

Pray, tell me why the HELL is the great Frederick Douglass’ portrait positioned BEHIND the left shoulder of the traitor, CSA General Lee? Lee was not only a traitor but a flawed mistake prone popinjay who as a man and a military strategist and intellect would be on no par with Douglass…

I have portrayed Douglass since 197- and am now producing a series about him. I find your mural and the positioning of FD’s portrait to be distasteful and historically inaccurate! FD should be on more of a par with Lincoln. If any military commander should be there, it should be the supreme Union commander at the end of the war or a cabinet member. FD’s advice to Lincoln brought an end to the war and severed Lee’s armies in half…. Please remove one or the other. And if you keep FD, and decide not to anyone else there then place Douglass closer to Lincoln where he belongs… This was a war to end slavery and property in man… please respond…

I took the time to respond and encouraged this individual to spend some time with the content assuming that this would give him a very different perspective on what it is that I am doing here.  That apparently did not work.

Thank you for returning with a response. I have spent plenty of time on your FB site. The banner is problematic for one who is the direct descendant of those who were held as slaves here in North America and who is from two root wings of a family of black people here on the American continent since 1730. Evidently, “Civil War Memory” is really about the greater glorification of the South’s aim in that war which was property in man. All over the South and in many parts of the midwest there are memorials to Confederate veterans and none (though one is planned somewhere in VA, I imagine!) to the slave or bondmen and women. Lee in front of FD on your banner IS an insult. I am sorry to see you won’t do anything about it.

Oh well.

22 comments… add one
  • Bryan Cheeseboro Apr 22, 2012 @ 17:11

    I have to wonder how Lee and Douglass would both feel about being placed next to one another.

    I guess it’s no surprise that many African-Americans are very sensitive about Civil War memory (note the lowercase “m” here) and its portrayals. Having said all this, I can’t say I agree with the Frederick Douglass impersonator, who can’t see beyond the juxtaposition and size disparity of Lee and Douglass’ heads and has chosen to reject the enitre site.

    This story is not necessarily related but this man’s reaction reminds me of what I saw when I attended the ceremony to dedicate the African-American Civil War Memorial Monument in Washington, DC in July 1998. The banner above the stage featured only the US flag. This was the first time I had ever attended a Civil War event and not seen the Union and Confederate flag logo- the crossed-swords; the equalized, reconciliation-esque logo. To this point, I had taken for granted that it would always be there. I just saw the two crossed flags as the Official Logo of the American Civil War. Of course, I quickly realized that those (i.e. African-Americans) dedicating a monument to Black men who fought for the Union and an end to slavery wanted nothing to do with recognizing and glorifying the Confederate flag.

    This man’s stance is very much like that of King Salim Khalfani, the Virginia NAACP President who, as was blogged on this site before, wants nothing to do with the Museum of the Confederacy. Apparently, it’s about the same as a museum to the Third Reich.

    • Kevin Levin Apr 23, 2012 @ 4:20

      It’s difficult to take him seriously on any level when he claims to be familiar with the content of the blog.

  • David Woodbury Apr 22, 2012 @ 12:31

    Rather than complain about the positioning of FD’s image, I’m surprised your correspondent didn’t take you to task for featuring Lee repeatedly at the expense of other important figures. REL’s visage is the only one to appear in your banner TWICE. What are you trying to say, Kevin?

  • TF Smith Apr 22, 2012 @ 11:41

    There should be a “harrumph” somewhere in all this…

  • marooned Apr 22, 2012 @ 8:55

    “Oh, well.” is about as good a response as possible.

    Of course, Kurt Vonnegut’s “So it goes,” falls in the same area.

  • Michael Douglas Apr 22, 2012 @ 6:32

    What a silly person. I think he needs more reenactment gigs, as he’s obviously got too much time on his hands.

  • Seth Owen Apr 21, 2012 @ 16:11

    I guess it also escaped notice that your banner features significantly more African Americans than whites It’s a safe bet that’s not the case on an actual “Lost Cause” site.

  • Woodrowfan Apr 21, 2012 @ 14:18

    No doubt the gentleman was confused by the amazing number of CSA flags on your site’s banner.

    • Kevin Levin Apr 21, 2012 @ 14:56

      Actually, I positioned Lee in the middle of Lincoln and Douglass so that the two could keep an eye on him and watch out for any future mischief. 🙂

      • Neil Hamilton Apr 21, 2012 @ 20:47


        As one of your replies states above, “You can’t please everybody.”

        Nor should you try to do so. 🙂


  • Mike Kendra Apr 21, 2012 @ 11:57

    Don’t take it personally, at my forum I get monthly emails that I’m to pro-Northern because I’m a native of New Jersey, or that I’ve turned pro-Southern because I refuse to close a thread about secession. I guess that’s how you know you’ve struck a good balance when you get criticism from both sides.

    • Kevin Levin Apr 21, 2012 @ 13:37

      Believe me when I say that I do not take it personally. 🙂

  • Roger E Watson Apr 21, 2012 @ 10:11

    “I find your mural and the positioning of FD’s portrait to be distasteful and historically inaccurate”

    Pray tell how “positioning” would make something “historically inaccurate” ? I think my lady doth protest too much !!

  • Mike Golch Apr 21, 2012 @ 8:40

    well you cannot please matter what you do.

  • Dan Apr 21, 2012 @ 8:32

    >>Lee was not only a traitor but a flawed mistake prone popinjay who as
    >>a…military strategist…would be on no par with Douglass…

    Amazing…I had NO idea that Douglass had actually commanded Union forces in their great victory at Shiloh; or that he had devised the winning strategy by which Union forces took Vicksburg; or that he had overseen the defeat of Bragg’s army at Chattanooga; or that he had pressed Lee back into his trenches at Petersburg, captured that city as well as the Confederate capital, Richmond, and then finally forced Lee to surrender. All of that while also overseeing the development of African-American military participation, AND advising Lincoln on all of his policies. Wow…so what exactly were Grant or Sherman doing that whole time? Acting as Mr. Douglass’ personal aides?

    I have been ENLIGHTENED!


  • Brad Apr 21, 2012 @ 8:18

    If you have the diehards on both sides ticked off at you, that means you’re doing a good job.

  • Rob Baker Apr 21, 2012 @ 7:39

    Someone has to get that guy and Connie Chastain together.

    • Woodrowfan Apr 21, 2012 @ 14:16

      I’d pay good money to watch that!

  • Eric A. Jacobson Apr 21, 2012 @ 6:34

    You just can’t win sometimes. Believe me, I understand this all too well.

  • Larry Cebula Apr 21, 2012 @ 6:33

    Some people wake up in the morning all pissed off, and spend the day looking for a reason to hang it on.

  • Margaret D. Blough Apr 21, 2012 @ 4:33

    I don’t think Freud actually said it but it’s still valid. Sometimes, “a cigar is just a cigar.”

  • Shanon Hays Apr 21, 2012 @ 4:15

    Some people just can’t see the forest for the trees, I guess.

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