Later today, I’ll visit with my friends at the North Carolina Civil War Roundtable. Rather than a traditional program on some aspect of the war, they’ve asked me to follow up on some comments I made after Lee-Jackson Day in Lexington, Virginia last January. The topic of tonight’s discussion: “Confederate Heritage: Heaven Knows, a Hard Topic to Discuss.”
And, indeed, I intend it to be a discussion rather than a lecture.
It’s been nine and a half months since my visit to Charleston, South Carolina, in the wake of the tragedy there. A racist shooter ravaged a church service, catapulting to America’s forefront discussions of heritage and race. If there was any silver lining to that tragedy, it’s that it did far more to spark a national conversation than four years of Civil War Sesquicentennial.
I offered a few thoughts on race and heritage in the wake of my visit, and ECW spent the summer following the unfolding Confederate Culture Wars. What started as appropriate horror over racial violence evolved into what some have characterized as a pogrom against Confederate heritage. Flags came down. Bans went into effect. Schools got renamed. License plates got discontinued. Issues of free speech came into direct conflict with issues of hate speech. A lot of shouting, hurt feelings, and recriminations resulted.
Heavens knows, it’s a hard topic to discuss.
While compiling my thoughts for tonight’s program, I spent some time tooling about on the web for some things that might tie in. I’ll share those images now without commentary. While I’ll provide links to the source of each photo, I don’t endorse any of the websites I retrieved the pictures from; they are the result of a Google search and nothing else. My purporse for sharing them now is to put some things in your head and stir them around a bit to get you thinking, just as I hope to get tonight’s crowd thinking, too.
After I see how tonight’s discussion goes, I’ll circle back and let you know.