Remember Confederate History


Whereas, the years Two Thousand Eleven through Two Thousand Fifteen mark the Sesquicentennial commemoration of the War Between the States; and

Whereas, South Carolina became the first state to adopt an Ordinance of Secession on December 20, 1860; and

Whereas, South Carolina cast her fate with her sister southern states in ratification of the Confederate Constitution and became a faithful partner in the Confederate States of America; and

Whereas, South Carolina provided proud examples of leadership during truly trying times such as the statesmanship of Governor Francis Pickens and the heroism of General Wade Hampton, III whose dashing cavalry exploits were known far and wide; and

Whereas, the men and women of South Carolina, both civilian and soldier alike, sacrificed so much and contributed so greatly in the defense of their state; and

Whereas, the commemoration of South Carolina’s invaluable role to the Confederacy is still today a source of pride among our people and a major reason for citizens and visitors alike to explore the history of our great State; and

Whereas, the lessons to be learned from this period of our history are so important, even in matters facing America today. Now, therefore,

Be it resolved by the Senate:

That May is officially designated as Confederate History and Heritage Month in South Carolina and to encourage all citizens and guests of our State to learn more about this crucial time in the history of our people.

So, did South Carolinians do a good job of remembering their Confederate history this weekend?  I would say so.

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!

25 comments… add one
  • Kevin Levin May 16, 2012 @ 11:40

    Some of you will notice that not all of your comments are being approved. I am growing tired of the petty little jabs at one another. Let’s not get so bent out of shape about a single comment and stick to the substantive points. Thank you.

  • GDBrasher May 13, 2012 @ 15:42

    Wait, I thought one of our most prominent historians just recently declared the battle over the Lost Cause to have been won? What gives?

    • Kevin Levin May 13, 2012 @ 16:45

      To say it’s been won may be premature, but the events in South Carolina commemorating Robert Smalls reflects that we’ve come a long way in the past few decades. I tend to see these proclamations almost as little more than rear guard actions. For most people they mean nothing.

  • Andy Hall May 13, 2012 @ 8:05

    I gather that South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley (last seen being interrogated on her commitment to Confederate heritage by the Palmetto Patriots, here) is increasingly being seen as not especially friendly to big, brassy displays of the Confederate flag and commemorations expressing sentiments like those in the resolution above. She’s joining a long line of Southern governors who are deemed “traitors” and “scallawags” for distancing themselves from the hagiography of the Lost Cause. A very incomplete list of such politicians include Rick Perry (Texas), Bob McDonnell (Virginia), George W. Bush (Texas), George Allen (Virginia), Haley Barbour (Mississippi), Roy Barnes (Georgia), and David Beasley (South Carolina). Mitt Romney has publicly distanced himself from Confederate symbology, as well. (Meanwhile, an African American, Democratic president continues to send memorial wreaths to the Confederate section of the National Cemetery at Arlington.)

    A more perceptive group might look at all the politicians (governors and others, at all levels) who have distanced themselves and their jurisdictions from the old tropes of unalloyed Confederate idolatry, and ask themselves who it is, exactly, that’s genuinely out of the mainstream of public thought and values when it comes to lionizing the Confederacy. But I’m not holding my breath; careful introspection and self-awareness has never been a guiding principle among True Southrons.

  • James Harrigan May 13, 2012 @ 5:41

    Some edits to this bit of neoconfederate nostalgia in italics:

    Whereas, the white men and women of South Carolina, both civilian and soldier alike, sacrificed so much and contributed so greatly in the defense of their state; and

    Whereas, the commemoration of South Carolina’s invaluable role to the Confederacy is still today a source of pride among our white people and a major reason for citizens and visitors alike to explore the history of our great State; and

    • Marc Ferguson May 13, 2012 @ 8:25

      I wonder if the efforts of enslaved black people to achieve and fight for their freedom is a source of pride in South Carolina?

      • Lyle Smith May 13, 2012 @ 15:15

        Probably for some South Carolinians.

    • Lyle Smith May 13, 2012 @ 15:13

      The slave-owning class of South Carolina wasn’t universally white. It was just about universally white, but there were actually a handful of free blacks in South Carolina who were slave owners and who supported the Confederacy.

      • James Harrigan May 13, 2012 @ 17:13

        Lyle, I have heard statements like this (about free black slaveowners) a few times and have always been a bit skeptical. Do you have a source for this?

        • Lyle Smith May 13, 2012 @ 19:50

          Yeah, a lecture given by Dr. William Cooper that I attended in college.

          If I recall correctly he specifically spoke about a man named William Ellison. Here’s the academic work on William Ellison. His history is one history.

          wiki page for whatever it is worth

          There were also notable free black slaveowners in Louisiana.

          • James Harrigan May 14, 2012 @ 5:26

            Lyle, thanks for the very helpful reply. Fascinating.

            While we’re on the subject of slaveowning blacks, I hope everyone who read’s Kevin’s blog has read one the greatest American novels of the past decade, The Known World by Edward P. Jones.

            • Kevin Levin May 14, 2012 @ 5:27

              I will put this on my summer reading list.

          • Rob Baker May 15, 2012 @ 3:59

            The South: A Concise History, Volume I by Jeanette Keith also talks about slave owning blacks. I don’t have the book on me now but I will post a direct quote with page number later.

        • Kevin Levin May 14, 2012 @ 3:08

          Many of these cases involve the purchasing of family members still enslaved.

          • Michael Douglas May 14, 2012 @ 4:42

            Thanks for pointing this out. That is exactly the case with one set of my great-great-great grandparents in North Carolina.

          • Brian May 16, 2012 @ 6:50


            So what you are suggesting is that these black slave owners were merely mislabeled statistics based on fact they bought their own relatives?

            I have read this southern hating blog for sometime, it helps keep in perspective the extremes modern history goes to, to continue the lie…

            This anti-south agenda must continue because it would be far worse to view the true “racist” agenda of the north when it came to policy of free and slave states… As well as the war crimes commited against the soutern people of ALL races, ages and genders… Either the Confederacy was it’s own country or it was part of the union… can’t have it both ways and in either perspective the north has some serious actions to answer for…
            But of course if we through “slavery” as a safe word then all that falls away Right? WRONG…

            I consider myself a realist when it comes to the war (no matter what you call it) and if you only take the time to search period documents it doesn’t take long to find them… Find what?
            Find the lies…

            I don’t buy into either extreme viewpoint… But having been educated with the current northern view of “good vs evil” PC history, I must take sides against that lie….
            As we sit in 2012 its very hard to step into the mindset and life of the times prior to and during the war… The political climate leading up to the war as well as the war itself and the complex, YES complex relationships between people of the times. Don’t buy into the war being about slavery… There are just too many facts pointing against this long held myth… Instead view that slavery was a “condition” of the times, but not a cause…

            To continue to brand the southern people as a bunch of rabid racist zombies is ludicris at best… at the least it’s ignorant. These are and were AMERICANS in every sense of the word, and to some they representate more of what our revolutionary brethren fought for than its northern counterparts…

            I love when people say, why are you still fighting the war or that it’s a lost cause… Problem is that it’s these lies we are told about our history that fuel this debate. Plain and simple, history is not Politically Correct… The rose color glasses of how we view the races today can not be applied to the war of 1861-65…

            Every civilized country of the times abolished slavery without a war… Confederate soldiers towards the end of the war were barefoot and starving in mass, throwing rocks and bayoneted rifles as spears at their enemies when cartridges were gone…
            This is not the desperation of men who wanted to continue living with slavery… This was the desperation of men who stood and did lose it all, their homes, families and yes their freedoms… Mr Lincoln’s war ripped up the Constitution and enslaved all the states under the Federal government.

            I will point to and in the search blog type the word negro, you will be suprised what you find… names of USCT, service records of black confederates as well as claims against the US government by civilians who had their property stolen, burned or destroyed… Southern free black men. In these you find lots of black slave owners making claims against the US… One such person is a Virginian by the name of James Robinson, A FREE black man with a farm with over 200 acres… (did I say Free black man? with a farm? over 200 acres?) how can that be? that would have to mean that the south recognized Free black men…..
            Oh this is but 1 example.

            Facts are terrible stubborn things…. Free your mind ….do your own research… Dont take what youve been taught and lied to about American History…

            • Kevin Levin May 16, 2012 @ 6:53

              So what you are suggesting is that these black slave owners were merely mislabeled statistics based on fact they bought their own relatives?

              I am simply stating what historians have shown through careful research.

              Other than that I thank you for airing your emotions and I do hope you now feel better.

              • Brian May 16, 2012 @ 8:08

                What historians? and careful research? thats funny Kevin…

                I suggest readers look to fold3 and the national archives, archived newpaper articles and it wont take much “careful research” to find……..

                As for my emotions?
                Maybe your right… maybe it’s my constant use of ellipses… But No, your right, I am pissed off, Im pissed off that I have been lied to my entire life by so called history professors and teachers like yourself…

                It’s like waking up in the Matrix…

                I state this having done my own thoughtful research because I am a seeker of knowledge and I enjoy the balance…

                The viewpoints you have are yours and although I wont say your completely 100 wrong, I will say you feed into the anti-southern lie… Historians pilfer with choice the bits and parts to advance this bias or that to prove some point they believe, but it doesn’t all fit…

                Jim Crow laws, race relations and what we still struggle with today have more to do with radical Reconstruction than with abolishing slavery in the south or the so called Civil War.

                I have ancestors who fought for the north, south and in the revolutionary war… I AM american history and therefore I have the right to be pissed, Kevin. Not pissed about what right or wrong side that my ancestors fought on but that they are degraded by the lie… They are my ancestors regardless of which side they fought on… Therefore they are a part of me… They deserve to be honored as American’s not degraded on a myth…

                I have a confederate ancesto buried at Pt Lookout MD which was only 40 miles from DC but whose occupants suffered similar tragedies as did northern prisoners at Andersonville, yet Andersonville gets all the noteriety… Without too many details you know what I am refering to… My ancestor’s bones lie in a mass grave because the original graves were dug up by men paid by the skull to move them… so they separated remains by leg bone, arm bone etc, until they were just bones… They deserved better…

                They deserve to be remembered for their sacrifices, to peddle this lie is to dishonor all of them and ourselves.

                The Southern infantry man didn’t fight for slavery and the nothern infantry man didn’t fight to free the slave either…
                The arguement will continue Kevin… But I do enjoy reading your blog… I must however call out BS when I see it…

                To suggest that these “Free” blacks that owned farms and owned Slaves were only buying their families is as I said before Proposterous…

                It doesn’t do us any good as Americans to pick and chose the history we please to suit ourselves… America was a slave nation many more years before and for longer than there was even a Confederate States of America…

                Ending slavery would have taken a Constitutional amendment regardless of the war… The free state, slave state arguement makes no sense because once the states of the Confederacy seceeded they had ZERO claim to those properties outside of it’s own…

                IT just doesn’t fit…

                What of their own words, Lincoln, Grant, Lee concerning slavery and the war… The writings of the times, the political climate etc, on and on… is that all ignored???

                IT doesn’t fit…

                When America embraces all of it’s history, the good, the bad and the ugly- and it does so indifferently then and only then will I feel better.

                • Kevin Levin May 16, 2012 @ 8:28

                  I appreciate the comments, but please spare me the dramatics. Your comments are all over the place and impossible to respond to without a more careful presentation of your thoughts. Much of what you present here is little more than a straw man argument. That said, thanks for taking the time to read.

                  • Brian May 16, 2012 @ 8:54

                    Well Kevin this is a blog, and without writing an entire novel I tried to hit the major points, which would be that the modern war over slavery motiff doesn’t fit all.

                    Seeing as this is my personal passion I would not shy away from a debate on the war with anyone. Regardless of their resume.

                    Thank You for keeping the blog open for all of us to reply

            • Rob Baker May 16, 2012 @ 9:00

              To continue to brand the southern people as a bunch of rabid racist zombies is ludicris at best… at the least it’s ignorant.

              Wow Kevin….I never knew you thought of me this way.

              • Kevin Levin May 16, 2012 @ 9:10

                I am not sure that was meant for me. Of course, I have never said anything that remotely reflects such a view. I wouldn’t make too much of it.

            • Michael Douglas May 16, 2012 @ 11:11

              ***So what you are suggesting is that these black slave owners were merely mislabeled statistics based on fact they bought their own relatives? Proposterous!***

              I can’t recall that I’ve ever seen Kevin speak in the absolutes that you attribute to him. I believe his exact words were “Many of these cases. . .” You, on the other hand, appear to believe it preposterous that such a thing occurred at all. The “suggesting” of which you accuse him seems to be a phantasm of your own making.

              My g-g-g grandmother was a free woman of color (this is census designation of the time, not a “politically correct” one) whose families had been free since the colonial era. Her grandfather had fought in the Revolutionary War. She did, in fact, own at least one slave by whom she had at least three children *before* she purchased him. This was in North Carolina.

              If this type of situation occurred once I’m sure it (and various permutations of it) occurred many times over. And yet you go into a froth to deny it, erecting straw men to bolster your pent up rage.

              You say, “. . .I am pissed off, Im pissed off that I have been lied to my entire life by so called history professors and teachers like yourself…” Well, I can’t say I’m pissed, per se. . .but I’m certainly not happy about the collective obfuscation (for generations) by an entire society (including certain history professors) of the history of my people at the hands of the Confederacy and its cultural descendants and apologists.

              The Lost Causers had their day. It’s done. And not all the accusations of intellectual dishonesty, south-hating, etc. can change that. When you say things like, “Jim Crow laws, race relations, etc. . .” had more to do with Reconstruction, rather than admitting the parts that bitterness over the perceived loss of white supremacy and the fear of black vengeance played. . .well, let’s just say it speaks less to history and more to agenda and the very bias of which you are so ready to accuse others.

              • Kevin Levin May 16, 2012 @ 11:36

                Like I said before, it doesn’t reflect anything close to what I’ve said on this site, which is why I don’t believe it is anything to really worry about. He is just blowing off a little steam.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.