Monday, April 2, 2007

It’s Confederate History and Heritage Month!

That’s right, y’all. Down yonder in the South, April is known as Confederate History and Heritage Month.

Not everybody is cool with this. In 2006, for instance, the mayor of Suffolk, Va., refused to sign a proclamation recognizing Confederate History and Heritage Month. And so the national Sons of Confederate Veterans boycotted that city’s annual Civil War Weekend.

But in Cobb County, Ga., last week, it was a black member of the county commission – one Annette Kesting – who announced the proclamation in honor of Confederate History and Heritage Month.

Kesting, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “said she had no trouble honoring the Confederate cause.”

“They were fighting for their families and their history,” Kesting said. “Everyone is entitled to their history.”

Can’t argue with that. And since my peoples all hail from Virginia – the capital state of the Confederacy – I aims to do my part throughout the month of April to recognize Confederate History and Heritage Month on this here blog.

Shall we start by listening to the voice of an actual freed slave?

Alice Gaston was born as chattel in Gee’s Bend, Ala., in 1853. She was still in Gee’s Bend in 1941 when ethnographer Robert Sonkin visited and recorded this three-minute interview. Alice Gaston had vivid memories of the end of “slavery time.”

It blows my mind to have this woman’s voice coming out of my laptop today, in an America she never could have imagined. I acquired this piece of living history – plus audio files and transcripts of 22 other former slaves – on CD-ROM from a website called Paperless Archives. Check ’em out, they have lots of great digitized artifacts.

Y’all come back now, hear?


itainteazy said...

Great stuff as always, UBM. And no one can celebrate Confederate History Month without pointing out the things that the Confederate Constitution has to say:

. . .(3) The Confederate States may acquire new territory; and Congress shall have power to legislate and provide governments for the inhabitants of all territory belonging to the Confederate States, lying without the limits of the several Sates; and may permit them, at such times, and in such manner as it may by law provide, to form States to be admitted into the Confederacy. In all such territory the institution of negro slavery, as it now exists in the Confederate States, shall be recognized and protected be Congress and by the Territorial government; and the inhabitants of the several Confederate States and Territories shall have the right to take to such Territory any slaves lawfully held by them in any of the States or Territories of the Confederate States.

eric o said...

hey dave -- I think you should swap out that flag for the battle flag, the stars and bars, st. andrews cross --that's the one they're still fighting over --

and a great quote from itainteazy -- the civil war was always about slavery, from the beginning -- from lincoln's election and the first secession -- despite decades of southern obfuscation after the war

Undercover Black Man said...

ItAintEazy: Thanks. I keep hearing the apologists and neo-Confederates say it wasn't about slavery. I never thought to read the C.S.A. constitution.

Eric O: Actually, what you see there is the "Stars and Bars." I'd always thought the Stars and Bars was the same thing as the familiar battle flag. But when I found out otherwise, the history geek in me said, "Put that fresh flag up." Haven't we all seen enough of that other one? ;^)

dez said...

Wasn't one of the driving forces behind the war economics? That is, it was less about preserving a "way of life" and more about keeping those slaves working and the $$$ coming in? I think the North didn't want to give up the Southern states' resources, either, even though they definitely wanted slavery abolished. Or maybe I've just become totally cynical because of our current war of "liberation"....

Anonymous said...

Fascinating. Thanks.

eric o said...

you're right -- never seen that one. so that's the official flag, huh? interesting.
the number of stars varies from csa flag to csa flag -- I think some of them -- the battle flag? --include the four border slave states that didn't secede

plez... said...

i have blog entries about Confederate History and Heritage Month in Georgia here and here... and I prefer to use the bars & stars, since that is the flag that raised all the hub-bub here in Georgia. thank God, the Senate bill to make it a state law didn't make it to a vote!

Lola Gets said...

Wow, thats some heavy stuff. The Civil War was about "states rights": the right of individual states to determine if they wanted slavery or not, lol. Anyone that tells you different is deluding themselves.

Billy Bearden said...

Sorry y'all,
But y'all are mistaken about your facts.

While secession was over slavery, the war was not. Sad but true.

While slavery was protected by the US Constitution since 1784, and slavery was practiced in America since 1655, please be glad that the Southern states left when they did, cause if they didn't, blacks would still be slaves today here in the US.

The original 13th amendment was ratified by 3 northern states, and was being considered by a few others. War stopped that debate, however, had it passed (with the south still intact) slavery would have been protected by that 13th amendment and it couldn't be revoked.

Speaking of treason, nobody ever went to trial much less convicted of treason. The yanks held Jefferson Davis for 2 years in limbo. The reason he was finally cut loose was this little quote:

"If you bring these leaders to trial, it will condemn the North, for by the Constitution, secession is not a rebellion. His [Jefferson Davis] capture was a mistake. His trial will be a greater one. We cannot convict him of treason."

-- Salmon P. Chase, Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court, 1867