Amanda Jennings Weeps for Confederate Monuments

This video is getting a good deal of attention at the Civil War Memory Facebook page so I decided to post it here as well. There is not much to this short video. Amanda Jennings, who apparently lives in New Orleans, is not happy with the recent decision to remove four Confederate monuments. Much of what she says is problematic, but it does a really good job of showing the ways in which our memory of the war overlaps with the present.

[Uploaded to YouTube on December 19, 2015]
117 comments… add one
  • H.S. Anderson Jan 6, 2016 @ 11:44

    “and I feel that much Confederate material culture is now the subject of a tug of war between polarised extremists”

    I’ve said much the same thing. The activist groups on either side will end up fighting it out in court, while most of the public sit there wondering what the fuss is about, if they even realize it’s going on.

    • Kevin Levin Jan 6, 2016 @ 12:58

      The activist groups on either side will end up fighting it out in court, while most of the public sit there wondering what the fuss is about, if they even realize it’s going on.

      Sounds a lot like what happens every four years when roughly 50% of the nation’s activists elect a new president. It’s called democracy.

      • Julian Jan 6, 2016 @ 19:16

        Kevin BTW an off topic question – with Donald Trump looking to be the last man standing for the GOP – democracy may not be the word – perhaps it is WTF or a word that is yet to be coined – no alternative/no option is not democracy .. perhaps it is the voters in the next US election for whom the world should weep …

        a good opposition should “keep the bastards honest”

        but countries are becoming ungovernable in this late capitalist era …

        however I do disagree with you a bit – as I think that democracy is a somewhat optimistic and perhaps a little evasive word to deploy in ongoing debates about Confederate material culture (such debates will not disappear soon but seem still to have much more mileage) – when there are myths and downright lies and self interested positions across the board not just at one end of the spectrum – the removalists certainly have their act together and can marshal evidence in a professional and calmer manner that outpaces their opponents and I think they gain the upper hand through their professional outlook not by any a priori moral truths – all moral truths I think are situational and fashion based ( the lost cause will fade for generational reasons as much political) – but no-one fesses up to self interest and evasive limited viewpoints

        BTW who would you cite as putting up a professionally assembled case for a position other than the removal or at least a position that speaks of compromise

        • Kevin Levin Jan 7, 2016 @ 2:48

          All I can say is that my understanding of Democracy and the reality of public spaces is incredibly messy, but that has always been the case.

          BTW who would you cite as putting up a professionally assembled case for a position other than the removal or at least a position that speaks of compromise

          Good question. I’ve read a number of editorials from individuals who lay out various compromise positions.

      • H.S. Anderson Jan 7, 2016 @ 4:48


  • Julian Jan 6, 2016 @ 9:31

    This is a painful video to watch and listen. Certainly it is painful because I think that it will catalyse no viable support for keeping the monuments or even a debate that is nothing other than a laid down mazere that the monuments ought to go – very few people unless they are true believers who already share her views would want to be associated in any way for concurring with her.

    I also find it quite emotionally disturbing to see that pain performed publicly (as I tend perhaps naively to read the emotion as real) – do feel free to correct me

    rather than baiting her – as – I do think that cagraham has the right idea – there is genuine pain and a sense of dislocation his point 2 says it as good as any other comment in this thread e,.g “but what I mean is how can we interpret the Civil War in a way that doesn’t compound their sense of embattled identity. How can we design programming in our institutions that recognizes and acknowledges their voices, even while doing solid history work? ”

    Certainly the real aim of this video is not to put up any substantial cultural argument for keeping the monuments but it betrays a number of commonplace modern fears about government and nationhood and power(lessness) in society – and removing the monuments is not going to change people’s fears and mistreating others because of their fears

    perhaps we should try and think about new ways of community building and encouraging a meaningful and empathetic dialogue between groups where people neither demand nor insult but respect each other – because the old ones seem not to have worked -did not Einstein say that doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is madness and indeed another post of Kevins talks about people feeling like they are living in the 1950s

    I do think that the small town white marble soldiers are about every day people and young people – perhaps even the occasional woman – dying violent unnecessary deaths – is it ironic that people who feel that their history has been and is obliterated, suppressed and erased – and there is no doubt about that erasure – then sees the answer is to demand other people’s history be shifted from the public gaze – two wrongs don’t cancel each other but compound the wrong

    – the New Orleans monuments are more about state identity and governance – so perhaps not such an intimate history – but it says something extremely conrete about how the state saw itself and also how people organised public space to make statements – which of course governments and corporations still do today and indeed the removal is another such act – it could be best dealt with interpretation and counter monuments – so the circle could become a space for in effect each to his own the space for multiple historic narratives, that the visitor could choose from – the monuments had already changed in white hands – as the extra – and more emphatically racist inscription was added in the 1930s as a reflection of belief then – so the fact ideas may shift again is something to document – and ideas may well shift again and again into the future – removing is narrow and short term thinking

    when thinking about the tenacity of such beliefs spoken of here – its not the Civil War that comes to mind as the vehemence of the anti vaxxers – they also refuse to believe research as understood in the academic and professional communities, they talk in terms of conspiracy theories and manipulation of sources and media when you present them with evidence based conclusions, they cause actual danger by lowering community resistance to disease – but interestingly they can’t be defined as ignorant trash as they range across the political spectrum including the far left and high up into the class strata – the antivax movement indicates how strange and untenable ideas gain traction – perhaps we should also think of some of the extreme pseudo beliefs of religious extremists everywhere from ISIS to Jesus rode dinosaurs – and I feel that much Confederate material culture is now the subject of a tug of war between polarised extremists

    you could note that there are many people out there in the US with highly strange personal and non factual driven visions of history what about this claim that basically everything in the history of mankind was invented by African{Americans] and stolen from them by white people – which is farcical and erase’s the contributions of many races not just Caucasians – but there are people out there who hold such distorted views


    to my mind there are many similarities in the emotive and personalised visions of history and the refusal of any corroborating facts

    or do you think that one is more culturally acceptable than the other

    does ethnicity license factoids as being part of an accepted mode of performance communication – but for some and not for others

    how reliable would be anything that Gazi says about civil war history and memory any more than Amanda? yet both also claim a handed down folk memory truth

  • H. S. Anderson Dec 23, 2015 @ 5:11

    The thing I find so fascinating about this type of discussion is just how deep feelings run about a conflict that occurred a century and a half ago. The generation who personally experienced it are all dead now, and the generation once removed is becoming a smaller and smaller number of people as the years go by. You’d think there would be some degree of detachment and objectivity about the Civil War and the Confederate States, but it’s still such an emotional topic.

    • MSB Dec 23, 2015 @ 7:19

      “The past isn’t dead; it isn’t even past” – (I paraphrase)

    • Andy Hall Dec 23, 2015 @ 7:58

      You’d think there would be some degree of detachment and objectivity about the Civil War and the Confederate States, but it’s still such an emotional topic.


      It helps to recognize that a great deal of what passes for “Confederate heritage” today is a sort of historical rationalization for cultural/political/religious views that folks like Ms. Jennings hold today. It’s a subset of the present-day culture wars, more so than having anything to do with actual events of 1861-65. There was a good example of this in Roanoke the other day when some gun-totin’ Second Amendment activists showed up to march with the SCV is the city’s Christmas parade. (Because Jesus loved Him some guns, I guess.) “Confederate heritage” is almost entirely grounded in modern cultural/political/religious grievance.

      • H. S. Anderson Dec 23, 2015 @ 9:05

        “It helps to recognize that a great deal of what passes for “Confederate heritage” today is a sort of historical rationalization for cultural/political/religious views that folks like Ms. Jennings hold today. It’s a subset of the present-day culture wars, more so than having anything to do with actual events of 1861-65. ”

        I’ve lived in the South all my life, and I was always aware that the South was looked down on by those who don’t live here. You still see it in the stereotypes of the entertainment industry, where Southerners are more often than not depicted as dumb, racist, redneck hillbillies, or religious fanatics. You hear or read plenty of comments from those in the north and out on the west coast expressing the same views. Lois Lerner’s opinion of the South is one recent high-profile example. I wonder if in many cases that attitude has helped keep the South and the rest of the country at odds with each other, and therefore given the Confederate flag and history resonance with modern day Southerners? The old South had a conflict with the rest of the country, and in one form or another it’s continued to this day.

      • cagraham Dec 23, 2015 @ 9:10

        Dead on, Andy. I’ve noticed in the last six months or so that an uptick in a sensibility and language that excoriates “Social Justice Warriors,” political correctness, campus politics, and chronic offended-ness at large, is being used by our neo-Confed friends to understand and explain the post-Charleston move to modify public Confederate iconography. It’s not about the past, it’s about a sense–justified or not–of embattled identity. Us coming at it with good academic history doesn’t alleviate that sense, but makes it worse.

        The question, then, remains… how do we engage this bad-to-dangerous use of the past (not history, but use of the past) in healthy and productive ways? (If that’s even possible?) How can we meet it in a way that contributes to a reduction in the tension and distrust that … well, our audience… feels? Holding the critical high ground isn’t an effective strategy.

        • MSB Dec 23, 2015 @ 13:19

          Andy can probably, as usual, answer better than I, but I would say that all we can offer is the facts, delivered calmly and courteously.

          • cagraham Dec 23, 2015 @ 18:23

            MSB… I agree, but I don’t think that’s enough. Clearly fact-delivery isn’t going to get through to Mrs. Jennings and her friends, no matter how courteous. These folks represent an anti-intellectualism that is much bigger than we can solve here, but if we define our place as public historians interpreting the Civil War, there are a few things to keep in mind.

            1. As has been expertly demonstrated in this comment thread–it’s not about the history; it’s about modern culture war politics. That has to be prioritized in our interpretation.

            2. As public historians we should place the expectations of our audience at the center of our interpretation. That means that should look past the ludicrous history they promulgate, recognize point #1, and speak to that. I find it compelling that the late public dialog has threatened (justified or not) them with becoming, in their minds, “heritage orphans”–a people without an identity. I’ll get the citation on that phrase some other time, but what I mean is how can we interpret the Civil War in a way that doesn’t compound their sense of embattled identity. How can we design programming in our institutions that recognizes and acknowledges their voices, even while doing solid history work?

            3. More importantly, these folks represent a diminishing population. (Well, maybe as Confederate revanchists, but maybe not as conservative culture warriors.) As stewards, teachers, and public historians we have a wider and rapidly diversifying audience that we are responsible to that, mostly, doesn’t agree with them. I’d really rather that we ignore these folks and talk about serving that larger population. Here is where some good old fashioned audience research would be useful, but no one is doing it.

            • Julian Jan 5, 2016 @ 18:54

              cagraham – I will write more when I have more time but your postings are getting to the heart of the matter – it is about today and today’s politics – and people’s feelings of being silenced or disinherited and there is no easy solution. The monuments are a lightening rod even more than being the ostensible subject of debate. Solutions need to engage with these issues – and the sad thing is the first and major casualty is the chance to have any reasonable informed defence or debate about the monuments and stuff like this video actually does the exact opposite of what is intended

  • Bryan Cheeseboro Dec 23, 2015 @ 3:52

    Trying to reason with Amanda Jennings and anyone else of her mindset (which is very cult like) is like trying to teach algebra to a seven year old. For those of us who have the courage and ability to understand the deep issues of race and slavery, consider yourselves very fortunate.

  • Annette Jackson Dec 22, 2015 @ 11:05

    We could all agree to gather on the same hilltop with flashlights and contact the Mothership to pick up the conspiracy folks…

  • Annette Jackson Dec 22, 2015 @ 9:53

    If I had based all of my historical knowledge on family lore, I would still believe that my 3rd great grandfather was General John Logan, that I am 4th cousin to the actor John Wayne, and that my paternal grandfather was the son of a wealthy Kentucky planter who lost everything in the war. None of it is true, but rather attempts by family members to make my family important. The truth was so much better than the fiction!

  • Ken Noe Dec 22, 2015 @ 6:24

    The saddest thing about this, and the most revealing at the same time, is how people can be so proud of not reading.

  • Brad Dec 22, 2015 @ 4:13

    This whole thing would be funny if it wasn’t so sad and, yes, frightening that there are people out there who not only think like that but have no understanding of our history (or simple facts).

    All I can say after viewing the video and reading some of the comments is “Wow!”

  • Erick Dec 22, 2015 @ 1:08

    So according to Amanda I was “brainwashed by Obama” from 2004-2006 when my perspective on the Civil War changed from that of the Lost Cause narrative to a more factual, historical perspective on the era and its issues. For some reason I don’t think Obama had the powers to brainwash the American public as the Junior Senator from Illinois at the time. As much as I have disagreed with his politics I’m not going to give Obama that much credit.

    I attribute the change in my perspective and attitude towards the Civil War to the time I had the privilege of studying the Civil War under another “black historian” Bruce Levine from 2004-2006. In my time studying the era with Bruce through 30 weeks of study, and countless hours of discussion during his office hours Professor Levine skillfully and considerately helped me remove the blinders I had placed on my focus of studying strictly the military history of the War with a large dose of Lost Cause perspective thrown in for the heck of it.

    Really what it came down to for me was studying what the people of the time had to say for themselves. To the bitter end Lee and Davis both fought to create the independent slaveholding republic the South seceded from the Union to form and we have documented proof of this it’s irrefutable. We can respect them for who they were and for fighting for what they believed in all we want, but at the end of they day they were who they were and they were proud of it.

    I’m not some Yankee just spouting off about this either I have deep family ties in the South, primarily in Texas and Arkansas, but I can still acknowledge the facts that even when they couched it in other terms the central driving force behind secession, and subsequently the War the South started (which Jefferson publicly declared in speeches) was the divisive issues entangled in the peculiar institution and the white supremacy the peculiar institution and a majority of the United States, both North and South, were steeped in.

    All of this was publicly declared throughout the South in newspaper articles, speeches, and correspondence which is why so many here continue to ask for attribution to primary sources because we have such a large amount of primary sources to study to find what people actually said for themselves at the time. Currently I’m finishing volume four of one such anthology which was put together for the sesquicentennial of the War with upwards of 3,000 pages worth of primary sources from the war years alone (November, 1860 – May, 1865) “The Civil War Told by Those Who Lived It” Anthology published by the Library of America. I highly recommend it to anyone who’s interested in understanding the perspectives of those on both sides of the war’s perspective of what they were going through at the time.

    • Kevin Levin Dec 22, 2015 @ 4:16

      Hi Erick,

      Thanks for sharing. Bruce Levine is a dynamite historian and you are certainly lucky to have spent time with him. I also recommend the Library of America series.

  • TFSmith Dec 21, 2015 @ 19:29

    I saw the video and thought it had to be a put-on, and then I saw the comments.

    Tell me it’s a hoax …

    • Kevin Levin Dec 21, 2015 @ 19:37

      She is the real deal.

      • TFSmith Dec 22, 2015 @ 18:12

        We have our own historical blinders out here at Random Directional State, but cripes … The South is another country.

        • Andy Hall Dec 22, 2015 @ 18:19

          “The South is another country.”

          Don’t encourage them.

          • TFSmith Dec 23, 2015 @ 18:34

            Fair point. ,)

            I did say another country, not another nation.

  • Annette Jackson Dec 21, 2015 @ 19:06

    Don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Blacks fought for the Confederacy because of taxes has to win some sort of award for creativity if nothing else.

  • Roger E Watson Dec 21, 2015 @ 11:25

    Well, honey…., I mean Kevin, this is a great way to lead into the holidays ! I just looked up “bat shit crazy” in the dictionary and, would you believe it …… Amanda’s picture is right there !!

  • lunchcountersitin Dec 21, 2015 @ 10:36

    This video is so unfortunate. This was a chance to make a spirited and profound defense of the monuments. But instead, we get this: something which devolves into a modern-politics rant that ends with “Obama is a Muslim.” She is her own worst enemy and doesn’t realize it.

    This shows why there is an ongoing need to challenge the “Black Confederate” narrative. Jennings says “Black fought for the Confederates because of taxes.” Uh… what? Somebody is going to believe that simply because she said it. We must continue to educate ourselves, and pass that learning on to others.

    Alan Skerrett
    Jubilo! The Emancipation Century

  • Boyd Harris Dec 20, 2015 @ 13:34

    Elephant in the room that no one is talking about: The Dukes of Hazzard. She clearly has been misinformed about “…them going after the Dukes of Hazzard.” I’m willing to believe everything else, but I will not sit idly by while she spreads such misinformation about Bo and Luke. Those guys are doing great. The Auto Trader commercials were just the beginning. I know for a fact that they already got Willie lined up for the third movie, in which both Tom Wopat and John Schneider will finally reprise their roles on the big screen. Amanda Jennings is just flat out wrong on this one little thing.


    Happy Holidays, Kevin! 😛

    • Kevin Levin Dec 20, 2015 @ 14:33

      Thanks for standing up for truth, Boyd. Happy Holidays.

    • woodrowfan Dec 23, 2015 @ 18:14

      Hey, what about “the Bandit” and his Trans-Am??? or did they represent the “New South” to Bo and Luke’s “Lost Cause”???

  • Andy Hall Dec 20, 2015 @ 11:17

    Looks like you’ve been outed as a “black historian,” Kevin. It there something you’re not telling us?

    • Kevin Levin Dec 20, 2015 @ 11:21

      You all keep asking what you can do…..stand behind me and lets UNITE…

      Yes, let’s unite around some of the most bat shit crazy statements that we can come up with. She is certainly giving Connie Chastain a run for her money in any number of categories. 🙂

      • Jimmy Dick Dec 20, 2015 @ 12:28

        I love the words “bat shit crazy.” Right on target. If the Confederate Heritage (TM) folks want to rally around a 911 conspiracy nut that’s their right to do so. They might have a problem getting anything done because they have to shovel all the guano out of the way to get to the door or even find their phones.

        It just shows these people are living in a fantasy world. They can’t separate fact from fiction. When confronted with facts they just go into an incoherent rant. There really is no point in dealing with them because they refuse to accept facts. The butt hurt is strong in their self-deluded fantasies of victimization.

        They basically illustrate the need for psychological help in America.

    • Al Mackey Dec 23, 2015 @ 14:47

      But she’s not a racist, right? LOL

  • Zippie Dec 20, 2015 @ 10:44

    History was and always will be written by the Victor. The side of the losing party is never given from that sides point of view. It’s very disgraceful that the government wants to destroy Southern history and heritage. It all boils down to keep race relations at an all time high level of tension. Before any one trys to take down the battle flag and Confederate monuments they need to do some research about the history of the war. Most people only know what they are taught in school. They have never picked up and read a book on the topic outside of what they are taught in school. The South fought the war over states rights. You cannot judge the entire region on a small percentage of its population. Far more Southerners did not own slaves than did. And something for you all to think about, why was the emancipation proclamation put in to act 2 years after the start of the War of Northern Aggression if it was about slavery and not states rights? Our government is setup to where the individual state has more authority than the federal government. So I would like someone to explain this to me outside of northern historians take on it and what you were taught in school.

    • Kevin Levin Dec 20, 2015 @ 10:56

      History was and always will be written by the Victor.

      This is simply not the case if you bothered to look at the influence of some of the earliest histories of the war. Thanks, Zippie.

      • woodrowfan Dec 21, 2015 @ 10:10

        No, he’s right. In Amazon there are 21 books on the US Civil War written by someone named “Victor.” Several are on Texas so I bet Andy has them….

        • Andy Hall Dec 21, 2015 @ 10:54

          I keep telling my dearest wife that there are actually more Civil War books that I don’t own, than ones I do.

          She doesn’t believe me.

          • woodrowfan Dec 21, 2015 @ 17:42

            yeah, then they give you “that look” when you explain why you really need to get this new book. 😉

    • woodrowfan Dec 21, 2015 @ 10:17

      To give a serious answer to a common argument by the lost causers. The reason why the Southern states seceded is different from the reason why Lincoln decided to use force to stop secession. The 11 states in the CSA left to protect slavery. They were quite specific on that point in late 1860-early 1861. Lincoln’s initial task was to preserve the Union. Two different decisions, two different reasons. Lincoln later decided to use the war to end slavery, a third decision,a third reason. Declaring that the South could not have tried to secede because of Lincoln’s subsequent decision is a non sequitur.

  • Larry Cebula Dec 20, 2015 @ 10:41
    • Kevin Levin Dec 20, 2015 @ 10:53

      All are welcome, Larry. Even you. Happy Holidays. 🙂

  • NPC Dec 20, 2015 @ 8:32

    This woman is shockingly ignorant. She can and should be ignored. Really, what’s the point of even talking to or about her? You ask her to support her arguments with facts and we all know she cannot. All of her anxieties are about modernism and multiculturalism and globalization. She’s worried about gun control and Islam. She’s demonstrated total ignorance about how the abolition of slavery via the 13rh amendment in Dec 1865, eight months after the end of the War.

    Anything that historians can do here is perhaps become motivated to do better work so that future anxious white Americans don’t harbor ignorant views in order to validate their racist politics. But frankly this kind of responsible history happens in class rooms and I sincerely doubt she had more than a 2 day Civil War oberview in a 3 hr US survey if she even went to college at all.

    Frankly these videos only make me want to hold conversations about the past with other professional historians and intelligent laypeople because the public has a responsibility to come to the conversation with basic knowledge, critical thinking skills and healthy reason. She has none of this. She’s wrong on the facts, closed to inquiry, and conspiratorial minded. There may be no nuts in her utopian govermet but surely this disqualifies her from service.

    • Kevin Levin Dec 20, 2015 @ 8:35

      Frankly these videos only make me want to hold conversations about the past with other professional historians and intelligent laypeople because the public has a responsibility to come to the conversation with basic knowledge, critical thinking skills and healthy reason.

      I am sorry to hear this. For me, these videos reinforce my commitment to find ways to share my interest in history with as broad an audience as possible. Thanks for the comment.

      • Sherree Dec 21, 2015 @ 10:18

        “I am sorry to hear this. For me, these videos reinforce my commitment to find ways to share my interest in history with as broad an audience as possible…..”

        That is what makes you, you, Kevin, and Brooks, Brooks.

        Happy Holidays!

  • Brian Dec 20, 2015 @ 8:26

    Why do only a certain few get decide the fate of these monuments? Why don’t they have a state wide vote to decide? All this whining is going to do is destroy American history. Next thing you know Mecicans will be wanting the Alamo torn down because they are offended. If these can be be taken down because they offend someone then every single monument in the country can be taken down because anybody can make a claim that it offends them.

    • Kevin Levin Dec 20, 2015 @ 8:30

      Hi Brian,

      Why don’t they have a state wide vote to decide?

      I think it’s important to remember that the city council and mayor are both elected positions. The people who are directly impacted by these decisions do have a voice if they choose to exercise it. I think you mean to refer to Mexican-Americans and yes they have a right to voice their concerns and campaign for certain changes if deemed to be necessary. That’s how the country works.

      Finally, I don’t believe any Confederate monument was ever erected as a result of a general vote, especially a vote that included a community’s African-American population.

      • Wes Dec 20, 2015 @ 10:45

        Levin ? !! Hmmm Your name tells all with your subversive attitude and speech. The Marxist Ideology of erasing history of a culture and attacking anything that could remind the people and give them reason to question the Totalitarian lies being perpetrated against them is indeed worthy of a good Communist/Marxist/Zionist. You are either STUPID..or a LIAR because the truth is not what has been told or is being told. So which one is it Levin ? Stupid or a Liar ?

        • Kevin Levin Dec 20, 2015 @ 11:10

          So which one is it Levin ? Stupid or a Liar ?

          Probably a little of both. Happy Holidays, Wes. 🙂

          • Jimmy Dick Dec 20, 2015 @ 12:21

            Don’t you just love the racism in the poster’s comment? I particularly liked the way the poster conflated communism, socialism, and zionism in the same concept. Once again, the lack of intelligence is appalling.

            • Andy Hall Dec 21, 2015 @ 10:58

              I got a kick out of the Flagger group that put up a podcast angrily denying the allegation that they were somehow racist, which quickly devolved into a detailed discussion of all the things wrong with “the blacks.” Good times.

        • Marian Latimer Dec 20, 2015 @ 14:49

          Gee, Wes, my late grandmother’s maiden name was Forrest and her family went way back in TN. What does that tell you? You’d be wrong, let me assure you. And yeah, he’s kin.

        • Bryan Cheeseboro Dec 21, 2015 @ 13:08

          Hi Wes,
          If “the Marxist Ideology of erasing history of a culture” is your concern, then how do you explain how in 1988, the year before the movie “Glory was released,” most Americans had no real idea that 180,000 African-American men fought for the Union Army as soldiers in the Civil War? How do you explain how so many people are still so unaware of so much of Black history? And how do you explain how the only Black “history” some people seem to be able to articulate is that thousands (I wasn’t sure exactly which number to assign because the figure keeps changing) of African-Americans fought for the Confederacy as soldiers?

          I’m sure you’re a great guy Wes but you make it sound like this changing of the historical narrative has never happened before.

    • Annette Jackson Dec 20, 2015 @ 12:40

      Well, since the Mexicans won the battle at the Alamo I am guessing they like it just fine where it is…

  • gothamette Dec 20, 2015 @ 8:15

    What is the purpose of your argument with Amanda Jennings? I feel that you are baiting her, and that you are not truly communicating in good faith.
    What is the ultimate purpose of removing these Confederate memorials? Let’s say for the sake of argument that a committee scoured New York City, where I live, to remove everything that is objectionable to current sensibilities. I wouldn’t like that at all.

    Shouldn’t the real goal to be to create a society where we can look back and take it all in, the good and the bad? Removing the monuments doesn’t remove the emotions behind them. The people who support the Confederate Memorials are simply going to interpret your hostility as a power play and this will make them even more resentful of you.

    Removing Confederate Memorial strikes me of what happened in communist countries, where memorabilia from the past was nationalized or destroyed. That’s un-American.

    • Kevin Levin Dec 20, 2015 @ 8:19

      What argument? Ms. Jennings chose to leave a comment on this site and I responded. As for my thoughts on the monuments you can read my recent essay at the Atlantic for yourself. Thanks for the comment.

      • gothamette Dec 20, 2015 @ 8:48

        Kevin, you are very disingenuous and it’s obvious that your stock in trade is provoking people into arguments, which you have no intention of engaging in, in good faith. It is obvious that you are a deeply hostile and confrontational person and I have no wish to engage with you further.

        I don’t waste my time reading articles in the Atlantic.

        • Kevin Levin Dec 20, 2015 @ 8:50

          Thanks for taking the time to stop by and Happy Holidays.

    • Jimmy Dick Dec 20, 2015 @ 8:24

      Why would you want to leave a monument up that celebrated a dictator who altered the past to suit his ideology and was meant to prop up his authority? That is what most of the monuments erected by communists were.
      In the case of the confederate monuments, they celebrated a false history that was passed off to support white supremacy. I don’t care if they come down or stay up, I’m teaching my students about what actually happened and why the lost cause myth was created.

  • cagraham Dec 20, 2015 @ 6:11

    I think the value of this is that it’s a perfect demonstration that these folks’ thinking on the Civil War is not about history at all, but about contemporary cultural politics. To that end, we can spill ink contesting her version of the “forensic history” here. We’ll be right and that will make us feel good, but it’s completely beside the point and won’t do any damn good because what she’s dealing with isn’t history, but an embattled identity.

    How to counter her poor history? I have no idea.

    Does this represent the majority of white people in New Orleans? How can we find out? Certainly getting the juiciest and most viral stuff from the internet isn’t a valid sampling method. The risk here is that we take Jennings’ opinion as the counterpoint to all of our own work, and we miss opportunities to identify and work with reasonable, and perhaps unexpected, partners.

    When can we start ignoring this?

    • Kevin Levin Dec 20, 2015 @ 6:23

      Hi Chris,

      I completely agree that this has little to do with history and that it makes little sense to even engage in a discussion on that level. In addition, I have no idea to what extent it is representative of a specific position beyond exploring social websites where it has been shared. It easy to make generalizations, which I believe we should resist.

  • Annette Jackson Dec 20, 2015 @ 5:03

    One of the monuments is to an 1874 massacre where white supremacists killed 150 black men and three white men. This woman is unfortunately far too representative of a certain type of southerner, although this weird combination of past and present is found elsewhere as well. We know that there have been people just beside themselves in their anger that a black man is in the White House. Everything is a conspiracy….remember when, under Jade Helm, Obama had the military put Texas under martial law, throw gun owners into FEMA camps, after personally taking their guns? I don’t remember it either, but the government must have put the state under a spell that has not yet been lifted.

    When I was 17 years, I started ny freshman year in college. This was back in the early 1960s, and my assumptions were very naive. I would have done better consulting the Magic 8 Ball, as I thought right wing politics would become a thing of the past, religion would cease to be a divisive force in our country (dogma would disappear and we would work together for the betterment of human rights), and many other very idealistic programs would develop. 2015 is the nightmare I hoped would never happen. Ignorance is abounding in this country.

    • Kevin Levin Dec 20, 2015 @ 5:08

      Ah, the 1960s. You might be very interested in reading Kevin Kruse’s new book, One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America. It’s a tightly argued book that shows that even by the time you entered college the shift toward what you now lament was well under way.

      • Michael Conlin Dec 20, 2015 @ 6:12

        I’ve read that book. As a church-going person, it made me angry. People used the faith to further a particular political/economic agenda (vis. to dismantle the New Deal). The book really tells the origin of “supply side Jesus.” What I find interesting (and a bit disturbing) is the way that this religious narrative is interwoven with a neo-Confederate memory of the Civil War.

      • Annette Jackson Dec 20, 2015 @ 12:46

        Thanks! I will put that in my memory bank. My son loves to kid me about my flying car that never materialized.

  • Patrick Young Dec 20, 2015 @ 4:46

    What is disturbing is that she is talking about future violence against the Federal government. A Muslim saying the same thing would be target of a Federal probe.

    “Rebels Agaist Govermet” (she says there are “no Ns in it’) sounds like a proto-terrorist group.

    • Kevin Levin Dec 20, 2015 @ 4:58

      As the previous reader pointed out, the video gives you a pretty clear sense of the kinds of things she is reading and watching. There is a good deal of hysteria wrapped up in her very limited understanding of history. Again, the fact that this video has gone viral in the Confederate heritage community speaks volumes.

      • M.D. Blough Dec 20, 2015 @ 5:13

        Saying she has a very limited understanding of history is being kind. It’s a compendium of absolute perversions of history. My favorite was her belief that the Confederacy freed the slaves.

        • Kevin Levin Dec 20, 2015 @ 5:14

          Saying she has a very limited understanding of history is being kind.

          It’s the Christmas season, Margaret. 🙂

        • Amanda Jennings Dec 20, 2015 @ 8:01

          I NEVER said that confederacy FREED the slaves…I flat out said that they were already free and the reason the blacks and whites united was to fight against the taxes and blocking of our products because we couldn’t afford to pay the free men wages….that was the point of the war never had a damn thing to do with freeing slaves or keeping them slaves it had already been agreed and the whites and blacks stayed together because they didn’t give out foodstamps then and they had no education and no where to go and they were took into the families you want to slander the truth….look at the date it was signed and the dates of the war obviously you people need to do your history alittle better. LOL!

          • Kevin Levin Dec 20, 2015 @ 8:03

            I flat out said that they were already free and the reason the blacks and whites united was to fight against the taxes and blocking of our products because we couldn’t afford to pay the free men wages… that was the point of the war never had a damn thing to do with freeing slaves or keeping them slaves…

            Of course, this would have been news to the very men leading the Confederate government.

          • cagraham Dec 20, 2015 @ 8:08

            Hi Amanda,

            When you say “it was signed,” what specifically are you referring to?

            • Amanda Jennings Dec 20, 2015 @ 8:59

              When slaves were free, when was it actually signed you are so into the history thought you might know? I don’t do internet or tv and I DAMN sure don’t go by the history books. I am sure there is an actual document maybe Lincoln didn’t sign it till AFTER the war since they couldn’t hash out the money part for the products from the south and the shipping of it? I mean that is something you have to think about…you got all these people here that were slaves BEFORE they got here and you are just releasing them to go die in the woods>? Really? Hell no we wouldn’t ever agree to that…..the taxes had to go down so we could afford to PAY people and HELP them build homes and get an education….you act like it was a bunch of hot heads saying NO I GOT TO HAVE MY SLAVE…PLEASE?!~ Now there was some jealousy between the quarter slaves and the house slaves because they were given extra things…naturally but jeeze there was so much more to it. and YES there were some that didn’t even want you here to begin with they wanted you sent back to your previous country BUT the government promoted it to help build Americas ECONOMY then when they started talking about you being FREE well then NATURALLY you got to have wages and be able to PAY somebody.

              • Kevin Levin Dec 20, 2015 @ 9:09


                You are certainly entitled to your position re: the Confederate monuments in New Orleans. I know many very smart people who are also very disappointed about the recent vote. As an educator, I value them as well. Thankfully, it looks like they will not be destroyed, but placed in a museum setting where they can be properly interpreted.

                I say this because your understanding of this history is very confused. You don’t seem to have even a basic understanding of the relevant history. You admit to not reading history books and with all due respect, it shows. You are doing nothing to increase your credibility. 🙁

                • Amanda Jennings Dec 20, 2015 @ 10:45

                  Kevin Levin with all due respect NOT READING the mess that the government has put out there makes me SOOO much more educated on the subject please go see the proof for yourself I HONESTLY want TO SEE YOU DENY WHAT I AM SAYING AFTER YOU LOOK AT MY FACEBOOK PAGE…YOU CAN VISIT AND BE GONE…COMPLETELY UP TO YOU. BUT THERE IS PROOF AND WHAT I AM SAYING is truth….I DON’T SPEAK FOR THE GOVERNMENT OR THE BULLSHIT THOUGHTS OF THE LEADERS…I am talking about the REAL people and what they were told and what LED to them fighting FOR the generals.. just saying. OBVIOUSLY MY HISTORY IS MUCH MORE SUPPORTED. Just saying.

                  • Kevin Levin Dec 20, 2015 @ 10:54

                    Thanks for the reassurance, Amanda. However, the content of your video speaks for itself.

                    • Matthew Dec 20, 2015 @ 11:47

                      Interested to find from Amanda’s heroic revelation that all books that say the Confederacy had slaves were written by “The Government!”

              • Jimmy Dick Dec 20, 2015 @ 9:10

                Have you bothered to look up the facts?

          • Jimmy Dick Dec 20, 2015 @ 8:18

            Taxes? What taxes? Blocked products? What blocked products? Could you please elaborate on this?

            • Amanda Jennings Dec 20, 2015 @ 8:46

              Let me use the word TARIFF (instead of tax) the northern army was blocking and preventing the sale of our produce and goods they were blocking our ports. There is an old Waylon Jennings video (yes Jennings in my name to honey) that has the map featured and it was an ACTUAL war map, exists in a museum somewhere today that was used by the confederacy SHOWING where their lines were….you don’t even KNOW what the north did to the south Lincoln was a tyrant the government were the ones that agreed for you to be here AND sold slaves and the south already agreed for the slaves to be free as a matter of fact several including our generals had already freed their slaves SOME may have had a problem but honestly it was about money because after slaves were free there was no money, they had no where to go, no education, and they had to eat, therefore wages came into the mix….couldn’t pay wages when the big government was taking over 40% for tariff. I found that headstone picture Kevin Levin going up on my page. I really would like you to watch my NEXT video the government is brainwashing you and been teaching it for years and you deserve to KNOW the truth…….I am just putting it out there for you. They censored 911 and they censored your history to but go figure the government slaughtered over 200,000 and a big percentage of African americans in that war and it was ALL about money. They don’t want a single sign left that people ever stood up to the big government.

              • Jimmy Dick Dec 20, 2015 @ 9:17

                The tariff in 1860 was on imported good only. It was put into place by representatives from the slave states. It was the lowest tariff on record. It protected many of the products created in the slave states.
                A blockade was put into place AFTER the war started, not before and it was conducted by the US Navy, not the Army.

                As for the rest, it is pretty clear you believe in conspiracy theories, don’t know history, are trying to tie Waylon Jennings to your fantasies (he would have laughed you out of the room), and generally are a raving lunatic.


              • Al Mackey Dec 23, 2015 @ 14:36

                Ms. Jennings obviously doesn’t know what a tariff is or how it was applied in the 19th Century. A tariff, Ms. Jennings, is a tax on imports, not exports. So it was only on foreign-produced items. The tax was paid by the importer and the cost of that tax was passed onto the consumers who purchased those foreign-made products. Over 90% of the tariff was paid in NORTHERN ports. In 1860, Charleston only had $2.0 million in imports, Savannah had only $800,000 in imports, Mobile had only $600,000 in imports, New Orleans had only $20.6 million in imports, and other southern ports had only $3.0 million in imports. In the same year, New York City alone had $231.3 million in imports and all other northern ports had $95.3 million in imports. New Orleans was the southern port that collected the most in the tariff, and it was only $3.1 million. The total south only collected $4.0 million in tariff revenues, whereas New York City collected $34.9 million in tariff revenues and the total for northern ports was $48.3 million. These figures come from the tariff returns by port published by the US Government in 1861. Now, who were the consumers who paid increased prices for the tariff? Primarily they were outside the South. Rural areas consumed far less foreign-produced products than urban areas. Also, the South itself consumed much less in the way of foreign products than the rest of the nation. The most one can say is that Southerners paid the average per capita amount that everyone in the nation paid, but since they consumed fewer foreign goods, that is giving them credit for paying more than they actually paid. The percentage of the population in the 11 states of the confederacy was 29% of the total US population in 1860, according to the US Census, and 40% of THAT population were slaves who didn’t use imported goods. So we have the most Southerners in the confederate states would have paid being just about 17%. And this is an overestimate. Your claim of “big government taking over 40% in tariff” has no basis in reality. There was no “big government” at the time, and as I’ve shown the 40% figure for the tariff is completely false.

                See, that’s the problem when “I don’t do internet or tv and I DAMN sure don’t go by the history books.” One is then stuck with fantasy versions of history that have no basis in the real world.

                • Craig Swain Dec 27, 2015 @ 8:42

                  Al, I would take the analysis one step further. Tariffs were not levied on all imports, but on specific imports. I say one needs to chase those details in order to understand the role of tarrifs on the secession movement. IIRC, the tarrifs on wool, sugar, and iron proceeded enough revenue to fund the War and Navy Departments in 1860. Yes the “defense budget.” And even that set of figures deserves analysis. Example: for every one dollar spent on northern sea coast and garison posts, just over $2 were spent on construction and provisioning of posts in the south. (The balance was more pronounced with Ordnance Department purchases for things like cannon and projectiles, 1850-60.)

                  And the nature of those tariffs speaks to the intended purpose… Form following function, as regulations are apt to do. For instance there was a strong lobby pressing for tarrifs on iron products. Among those at the fore of that lobby was JR Anderson, president of Tredegar Iron Works, later Confederate general and leading arms producer for the Confederacy. Anderson wanted a big tarrifs on iron (both before and after Virginia secession, BRW) to gain favorable market share for his business…of course.

                  In many ways the tarrif cry, as it was in 1861, was much like any easily-spun ancillary political issue. It was not that southerners suffered under oppressive tarrifs. Rather that spin of the dialog provided a wedge issue to cleave one demographic from the other, with aim to solidify power. We see similar wedge issues today, do we not?

                  • Jimmy Dick Dec 27, 2015 @ 10:41

                    That is exactly why you know you’re dealing with someone who knows next to nothing about the actual history of the Civil War. The very second someone says the tariff (and usually they say taxes instead) hurt the South you know you have someone who is merely repeating what they’ve been told. They don’t even know what the tariff was. They think it was a tax on what was produced in the South and that reflects their utter lack of Constitutional knowledge as well.

                    Do they stop talking when they’re proven wrong? NO! They keep repeating themselves like parrots. They are not interested in facts, only their beliefs.

                    On top of that, it is like Andy and others have said repeatedly. It really is not about the Civil War. It is about their modern political ideology and self-identification. They don’t like the reality that awaits them as we kick the false and rotten foundations of their belief structure out from under them.

                  • Ken Noe Dec 27, 2015 @ 14:49

                    The irony here, of course, is that Louisiana sugar planters were very pro-tariff, as they couldn’t compete with foreign suppliers otherwise. So many of them opposed secession because they feared being stuck in a free trade Confederacy.

                    • Andy Hall Dec 27, 2015 @ 17:35

                      . . . which is why the Confederate states adopted a 20% tariff on all forms of sugar, 15% on cotton manufactured goods, and 10% on raw tobacco.

                      I really do doubt that one in ten people who shout “TARIFFS!” as a cause of secession in 1860-61 could actually describe, in concise layman’s terms, what tariffs actually are an how they worked.

          • Al Mackey Dec 23, 2015 @ 12:12

            Ms. Jennings is obviously a stranger to American History. “The war wasn’t about slavery. The slaves were already free.” What nonsense. If it was about taxes, why is it that the Declarations of Causes published by the seceding states all overwhelmingly said it was about slavery? Mississippi was clear: “Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery.” Did Obama go back in time and write those declarations for them? It’s strange that the confederates at the time of the war didn’t say it was about taxes. They were all agreed it was about slavery. I guess Obama brainwashed them.

            • Kevin Levin Dec 23, 2015 @ 12:16

              Did Obama go back in time and write those declarations for them?

              You know, I am not sure how Ms. Jennings would answer that question. Frightening.

            • Andy Hall Dec 23, 2015 @ 13:12

              I guess Obama brainwashed them.


              It wasn’t Obama alone, of course. The Illuminati had a hand in it, too.

        • Jimmy Dick Dec 20, 2015 @ 9:08

          I always love it when they say something about taxes or tariffs. It really shows they are only repeating the words that go with their ideology and have not bothered to look up the facts.

      • Amanda Jennings Dec 20, 2015 @ 7:57

        The video CLEARLY states that ALL my knowledge comes from ancestors, family, friends, and the REAL PEOPLE that lived it passed down the years..dare I say my heritage? The NORTH won and made it what they wanted it to be and it was censored honey because it was anything BUT a civil war….any book, tv, internet, NONE of that influences the true history no matter how hard you try to make it so.

        • Kevin Levin Dec 20, 2015 @ 7:59

          Thanks for the response. Could it be that the history that has been passed down to you is wrong? Slavery continued in this country til 1865. Much of what you state in the video is simply wrong.

    • Amanda Jennings Dec 20, 2015 @ 7:50

      LOL No honey I work in the legal field and I am all about working the system just like Al Sharptons goons do….seriously go check out my most RECENT video it is a slap in the face because they don’t know their history because there is a symbol they EMBRACE, they LOVE, and it was a hell of a lot bigger than anything to do with the confederate war….and YES we are going to have a revolution at election time….don’t make it out to be something that its not.

      • Kevin Levin Dec 20, 2015 @ 7:53

        Nice of you to leave a comment. You make a number of claims about the history of the Confederacy and the Civil War that have been challenged. I am specifically interested in your claim that slavery ended by the time of the war. Can you share the source of this information? Thank you.

        • Amanda Jennings Dec 20, 2015 @ 8:09

          Actually I CAN…..there is a headstone that I took a picture of because my black lady that basically RAISED me and I was good friends with ALL of her family told me the truth and her grandmaw who I got to meet told me the truth….she had an ancestor that fought WITH the confederacy as a free black man and I went to that grave and I took a picture and it PLAINLY says a free man of color engraved in stone……..the south already agreed slaves should be free and the war was over MONEY they didn’t give out foodstamps then honey and if you didn’t work you didn’t eat, with no education, with no money, they stayed with families even after free and fought the war and we bound together back then because the north burned fields, houses, raped people, I AM TRYING TO UNITE our country again. I AM NOT A RACISTS PERSON. I will go back through my facebook and I WILL FIND that picture it was several years ago but its there. Written in stone I don’t care what the Government teaches you and has written it can’t speak for the REAL history. They censor everything and write it to their terms. Please go to my facebook page Amanda Jennings or Rebels against government I will have the pic there by noon today. 🙂

          • Kevin Levin Dec 20, 2015 @ 8:21

            Thanks again for the response. The Confederacy never freed its slaves. You should understand that your inability to grasp this basic fact is undercutting your credibility, at least on this site. Again, this is basic historical knowledge.

            • Amanda Jennings Dec 20, 2015 @ 11:02

              AGAIN THE HISTORICAL KNOWLEDGE IS WRITTEN BY THE GOVERNMENT THEY VERY ONES THAT STARTED SLAVERY….if you don’t open your eyes no one can tell you different but book smarts aren’t everything honey, seriously, I WISH you knew the true history and LIVED it like myself and all my previous generations we were slaughtered for standing up to the government and they want to erase the fact that it ever even happened so our future generations, after they update the constitution, will never know that there was EVER a time when the people united to fight big government #unitedwestanddividedwefall and then the third world moves in. Thank you for allowing me to spread some truth I can not help it if your ears are closed to it, I tried. If you don’t want to view the evidence that you requested pretty obvious you are to closed minded regarding the issue as am I because I KNOW I am right.
              Much love and respect to you. Have a wonderful day that the lord has made. 🙂

              • Kevin Levin Dec 20, 2015 @ 11:06


                It’s because of statements like this that undercut your credibility and make you look rather silly. Slavery started before the founding of the United States Government.

                You have a wonderful day as well.

              • Matthew Dec 20, 2015 @ 11:54


                What does the second sentence of the Mississippi Declaration of Secession say?

                Never mind the government problem used its time machine to go back and plant that.

              • Bryan Cheeseboro Dec 21, 2015 @ 5:08

                Ms. Jennings,
                Do you know what primary sources are and have you ever read and analyzed any actual documents from the period?

                • Kevin Levin Dec 21, 2015 @ 5:13


                  This involves reading so the answer is likely, “No”.

                  • Jimmy Dick Dec 21, 2015 @ 7:17

                    I am still trying to figure out just what capacity she works as in the legal profession.

          • bob carey Dec 20, 2015 @ 13:51

            If the government censors everything, than how do your thoughts get out on facebook, and how do they appear in this blog

      • Patrick Young Dec 20, 2015 @ 8:00

        Ms. Jennings said in the video that the Confederates “were fighting against a tyrant government exactly like we’re going to be doing very very soon in the near future.” Sounds like a prediction and a call for violence against government officials.

      • Jimmy Dick Dec 20, 2015 @ 8:09

        My advice would be to stop the revolution talk. First of all, if anyone takes up arms against the United States of America they’re going to be put down hard and fast. I don’t give a rat’s butt who does it or for what reason.

        Second of all, the people running their mouths about a revolution don’t know their history about the American Revolution or the Civil War. They just don’t like the reality around them and they seem to think that the idea of a democracy is a bad one.

        You cannot wave an American flag and call for a revolution against democracy without being ignorant.

        • Bryan Cheeseboro Dec 21, 2015 @ 9:30

          “The people running their mouths about a revolution don’t know their history about the American Revolution or the Civil War. They just don’t like the reality around them and they seem to think that the idea of a democracy is a bad one.”

          Hi Jimmy,
          I appreciate your comment. I’ve wondered about the “I hate the government” crowd and if their hatred can be boiled down to a serious resentment towards the post-Civil Rights Era achievements of African-Americans. In other words, I wonder if in, say, 1927, you had a whole bunch of people going around claiming to hate the government like you do now.

          • Jimmy Dick Dec 21, 2015 @ 10:52

            I would say that is true to some extent for a portion of that group. I really think most of it is due to rhetoric uttered by people who are just trying to manipulate others for political and financial gain. I also note that education plays a big role in who is saying what.

  • Matthew Dec 20, 2015 @ 2:53

    This is a perfect example of what I think is the #1 issue/question of memory studies, and one which I don’t think has any single answer: How do you get people to “know” what they “don’t know”?

    Amanda Jennings video here really demonstrates the hurdles. It devolves quickly into an emotional rant that just parrots things she’s heard on TV or the internet. There’s obviously little substantive subject knowledge.

    In the world of Civil War memory when evidence doesn’t move people, what does?

    • Kevin Levin Dec 20, 2015 @ 3:02

      It devolves quickly into an emotional rant that just parrots things she’s heard on TV or the internet.

      The video is making the rounds on a number of Confederate heritage websites, which suggests something about how the larger community views this issue. There is certainly a good deal of fear out there.

    • Amanda Jennings Dec 20, 2015 @ 7:54

      You should check out the evidence in my most recent video honey. Flat out proves that these paid protestors are starting the shit and that African Americans that LIVE in New Orleans embrace those statues because the BIGGEST symbol of slavery and oppression is something they eat, live and BREATH in New Orleans and I dare say they will defend it with their life and there is a new video that completely calls it out. I challenge you to view it and contradict it because I KNOW FOR A FACT its true and there is documented proof ATTACHED for viewing AND THAT video is the one that is fixing to go viral. LOL! Jokes on you.

    • Amanda Jennings Dec 20, 2015 @ 10:49

      Memory studies are part of the problem you know you won’t EVER ERASE what has been passed down generation after generation now you have half way managed to brainwash half the country mostly younger generations because they haven’t had ancestors and parents they are getting brainwashed by the federal government and incorrect censored history. Those racial sensitivity projects in colleges are going really swimmingly aren’t they? Got complete and utter chaos just like our government intended.

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