The Secesh category archive
Still remembering Professor Shade, I wonder whether he would find irony in the Republican Party’s transformation into the party of the Secesh.
Nancy LeTourneau explores Donald Trump’s intent to deny the reality of racism as part of America’s past.
It is worth remark how the “Lost Cause” keeps getting found again.
In The Roanoke Times, an old white man (I can identify) tells of his journey to discover the lie of the myth of the Lost Cause which he absorbed during his upbringing. It is a powerful piece; here’s a bit:
Now 60 years later I understand that the Confederacy lost the war but won the peace. Those white people terrorized Black people, stifling their efforts to participate in American democracy, and promulgated myths about the Confederacy effectively hiding the real nature of their policies fomenting white supremacy. How their statues and monuments did rise above to shadow the truth! Remember the Alamo? I read “The Half Has Never Been Told” . . . to learn that yes, Santa Ana was a dictator and that yes, he did ‘invade’ Texas, but this was to prevent Southern whites from establishing a slave-based cotton economy. Mexico, it turns out, had outlawed slavery 20 years earlier.
Methinks The Roanoke Times editorial board has a point. They suggest that “social” media is not connecting persons, it’s separating them. Here’s snippet:
This process of self-isolation is hardly new. Bill Bishop and Robert Cushing wrote a book about this back in 2008. “The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America is Tearing Us Apart” looked at how people have been self-segregating themselves by ideology in a way we haven’t seen before.
Follow the link for the entire article.
At the Greensboro News and Record, Joanna Winston Foley, descended from a Revolutionary War hero who was also a slaveholder, struggles with a renewed awareness of her ancestry in the light of the death of George Floyd and the cascade of events it triggered. It is a sensitive and moving piece, well worth your while.
I have long believed that one of the elements that make the myth of the lost cause and of the land of gracious living so tenacious is a desire of many Southerners to avoid facing the reality of what their ancestors did so as to profit from stolen labor.
I can empathize. Both of us are Southerners, both of us had ancestors who fought in the Revolutionary War and other ancestors who wore the grey. I think my turning point–not as regards my stand on civil rights or on treating other people like people, but as regards my view of my family’s history–came when, at the Harper’s Ferry Wax Museum, we were looking at an exhibit depicting one of my forebears defending slavery.
As we looked at it, one of my children said, “. . . he was on the wrong side?”
I had to agree.
Yes, he was.
In every possible way.
Here’s a bit from her article:
During my heritage visit to Greensboro seven years ago, these two aspects of his life — Joseph Winston’s public service to help build the new American nation and his private moral failure to live up to his Christian faith — sat side by side in my consciousness without quite connecting.
This blind spot, big as a boulder, remained in place until June 2020. The word “privilege” comes to mind — the white privilege of avoiding discomfort.
As those statues came crashing down, so did that blind spot that separated my feelings about my ancestor.
*Of course, that does not explain why those whose families did not participate in the war, indeed, whose families had not yet arrived here when the war was fought, bought into the lies. For that, look to a century and a half of one of the most successful propaganda campaigns in history, perhaps best represented by that over-the-top potboiler, Gone with the Wind.
At The Roanoke Times, Robert Myers recounts how he came to realize the picture of the Old South fed to him in his Virginia elementary school was
a somewhat sanitized view of the South and slavery a Confederate crock of lost cause myth-making (my words, not his).
It is extremely likely that he and I had the same textbook.
(Misplet wrod correx.)
At The Roanoke Times, Reggie Figard responds to those who protest the removal of Confederate monuments; he reminds them that their treasured “Southern Heritage” is not what they would claim it to be. Here’s an excerpt:
Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton don’t cotton to no truth tellin’ about dem ole cotton fields back home.
At the Bangor Daily News, historian and pastor the Rev. J. Mark Worth shreds the long-standing Southern propaganda effort to protray secession as somehow a noble and worthy cause. He points out that there are not statues to Benedict Arnold ans asks why we have monuments to Confederate generals.
Here’s a bit of his answer (emphasis added):
The answer lies in the myth of the “ Lost Cause,” a pseudo-historical ideology that claims the Confederate cause was a just and noble one. Central to the Lost Cause myth is the idea that the South was fighting to preserve states’ rights and Southern culture against Northern aggression, not to defend slavery.
Did Southerners also want states’ rights? Yes, when it meant their right to enslave other human beings. But they opposed states rights when Northern states didn’t want to return black people to enslavement in the South.
The New Secesh have embraced today’s technology.
My local rag published the letter I wrote to the editor on Monday. You can find it on their website, but I’ll save you the trouble. Here is the text:
I find myself bemused by those who refer to the removal of Confederate monuments as “erasing history.”
Let’s consider the history.
Almost all of the monuments in question were erected in the 1890s and early 1900s coincident with the imposition of Jim Crow and the rise of the second Ku Klux Klan. They were intended to remind freed slaves and their descendants of their “place” and of who was in charge. They memorialized, not gallantry on the battlefield, but racism, oppression, and theft of labor in daily life.
When invoking history, invoke the history that was, not the history that was made up.
Monumental mayhem in the Tar Heel state. Here’s a bit from the report:
Competing demonstrations over a Confederate monument in Alamance County ended after two supporters of the statue were arrested for assault and disorderly conduct, according to police and media reports.
Police said one of the men, 39-year-old Christopher Overman, hit Elon University professor Megan Squire, who was protesting a statue in Graham, about 55 miles northwest of Raleigh. Squire researches online right-wing extremism at the university, according to the school.
And, in more news of still rising again . . . .
In Maine, you might expect to see a moose, but a noose?
At Psychology Today Blogs, Claire Jack suggests that many tactics we see in our political you-can-hardly-call-it discourse are “emotional and manipulative tactics” that amount to gaslighting on a societal level. An excerpt, referring to the current reaction to the police murder of George Floyd (emphasis; follow the link for the rest.
Some of these protests have culminated in forcibly removing the statues of Confederate generals and men who built their wealth on the slave trade, and calling for the removal of others. People have been calling for the removal of these monuments for years, in some cases. Retaining these monuments – when they are a daily reminder of the atrocities which were carried out in these men’s names and which are highly offensive to some sectors of society – is a form of gaslighting. It’s a way of communicating to a black person whose ancestors died on the ships coming from Africa or who were forced into slavery, that your experience is less important than mine.
By the way, the last sentence above captures succinctly why those monuments were erected in the first place.