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?