Resources Related to This Week’s Headlines

Confederate culture—and what, if anything, to do about it—has dominated headlines this past week. I wanted to wrap up our Sunday with a hodge-podge of stuff, some serious and some not-so-much, that might provide readers with additional food for thought.

I’ll start with a meme that I’m sure many folks have seen on Facebook this week:

Noodle Man Monument

I admit, this image made me laugh. It was a much-needed tension-breaker for me!

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ECW addressed Confederate monuments in four posts this week:

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In 2017, when Confederate monuments were last at the center of national controversy, ECW put together a series we called “Monumental Discussion.” More than a dozen historians contributed a variety of posts with a lot of different perspectives. We offered no “company line” but, instead, tried to give readers lots of things to think about. We also tried to offer readers opportunities to respectfully express their own thoughts. I’m still very proud of that series, and I encourage you to take a look at it for yourself.

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From ECW’s Chief Historian, Chris Kolakowski: “I’ve seen some mention of Memento Park in Budapest and Coronation Park in Delhi during [the monument] discussion. If you like, feel free to re-share this (on the blog or on social media) at an opportune time: “Delhi and British Monuments.”

Chris’s post referenced a post from Bert Dunkerly: “Eastern Europe’s Monument Dilemma.”

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I want to share a blog post from outside ECW written by my friend Emmanuel Dabney, a historian who works for Petersburg National Battlefield. Emmanuel put together a wonderful suggested reading list for “people of all backgrounds who are interested in the struggles, successes, failures of Black people to be treated with dignity and humanity.” Check out Emmanuel’s “A ‘New Freedom Summer and Beyond’ Reading List.”

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NASCAR announced it was going to ban the Confederate flag from all races. Meg Groeling, ECW’s resident NASCAR fan, touched on the relationship between the sport and Confederate culture back in 2015: “Confederate Culture Wars at NASCAR: Meg Thompson.” (We may be hearing from her on this topic again soon, BTW.)

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Finally, I’ll end on a light note from ECW reader and longtime supporter Larry DeMaar, who emailed me yesterday with an idea inspired by the artist formerly known as “the artist formerly known as Prince”:

“There are some people that want to rename the forts that are named after Confederates. I have come up with a compromise. Fort Bragg would be renamed ‘The Fort formerly called Bragg,’ Fort Hood would be ‘The Fort formerly called Hood,’ etc.”

Larry adds that he means no disrespect. “It might bring a smile,” he hopes.

28 Responses to Resources Related to This Week’s Headlines

  1. “Confederate culture—and what, if anything, to do about it”

    I think the first question to ask would be: Who feels they are qualified, or entitled, to pass judgements on what “‘Confederate culture” is? Much less pass judgement on what to do about it.

  2. As individuals, we all have flaws; and it has been the failure of State and Community school systems (those that still attempt to teach History and Civics) to portray National Political, and Military and Business leaders as without flaws. [An individual is much more impressive, who achieves in spite of his or her flaws, than a person who was “born perfect.” U.S. Grant comes to mind…] When the masses cotton on to the truth, that their leaders are not without flaws, they are unhappy with having been lied to.
    In the same way, every NATION has flaws: many resort to Kingly decree, and suppression (and rebellion) to remedy those flaws and short-comings. The United States was blessed to benefit from flawed men writing Her Constitution. And those men, recognizing that National systems had flaws, incorporated mechanisms in the document by which it could be changed, without resort to bloody suppression and rebellion. [It could be argued that the 1861 Civil War was an attempt to “work outside the system, without first resorting to the Courts” …but that’s an argument for another day.] In the meantime, the United States is a nation of Laws; and due process; and “equal justice under the Law.” But haste makes waste: the next election is just around the corner… There are failings on occasion, but the system of democratic rule, conducted by representatives decided by the vote of the People, in accordance with agreed procedures, has the means available within the structure of the system, by which to enact change… as demanded by the majority of Citizens.
    Arbitrary acts by a handful of thugs wielding sledgehammers and tow chains are not due process; “First speech” is not freedom of speech (where is the opportunity for discussion and rebuttal?) What is taking place in Spring/Summer 2020 is mob justice, nay, vengeance, for crimes committed by persons long dead, with retribution enacted against the innocent; the intent is destruction vice improvement, and this mob is commanded by a faceless, self-appointed leader… who is flawed.
    Mike Maxwell

  3. This is not about any Confederate culture. And it not a political issue.

    This issue, is all about American History. In no way, do these monuments represent and commemorate the American Civil War. What they do commemorate, is an erroneous interpretation of the Civil War. If anything, they commemorate the darkest chapter in American History.

    Pure and simple, these monuments represent white supremacy during Reconstruction after the Civil War. Erected in the years after the Civil War, in the late 19th and early 20th Century they represent what is called the Lost Cause interpretation…..the belief that the war was about States Rights, that Black slaves were content on the plantation, and the North only won because of a greater population and industrial base.

    These monuments also represent in addition to white supremacy, the disenfranchisement of Afro-American citizens…removing their right to vote , in violation of the 15th Amendment. These monuments represent the South of Afro-American voter suppression, and segregation.

    The monuments can remain on Civil War battlefields, as they represent the positions od Rebel troops, and thus have an educational value.

  4. While you joke, France takes action…France !
    NEW: @EmmanuelMacron on statues

    “I will be very clear tonight, compatriots: the Republic won’t erase any name from its history. It will forget none of its artworks, it won’t take down statues,” he said in a televised address to the nation (AFP)

  5. There is no ” Confederate Culture.” The South has a southern culture. It is a mish-mash of stock car racing, pickup trucks, Bud Lite, and Copenhagen. We like country music, pretty girls in cut off jeans, and a bottle of Southern Comfort on occasion. We talk slow, drive fast, and make the most of Friday and Saturday nights, then go to church on Sunday morning and pray for peace on earth, and our fellow man. We are a “REBEL CULTURE”! What are we rebelling against? Watch’ya got? Our lifestyle is what the Battle Flag of Northern Virginia is a symbol of. It’s a look, it’s a sound, a sight, a smell. It’s the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Shenandoah Valley, Southern Fried Chicken, Myrtle Beach, raw oysters and beer, camp fires and guitars. We flew our flag proudly until the Yankees came. They didn’t like where they were so they moved down here. Now they’re making here, just like it was there. They seem to do that everywhere they go!

  6. Confederate monuments are one part of a battle to destroy not just American history but Western heritage and culture. At the same time Confederate monuments were attacked St. John’s Church was burned, the Lincoln and World War II memorials were vandalized, and statues of Columbus, abolitionist Mathis Baldwin, and Gandhi, yes Gandhi, were defaced.

    1. the monuments represent an erroneous interpretation of American History, one based on the Lost Cause interpretation, while denying the Afro-American, newly freed, his right vote.

      1. I’m afraid that all things are relative. Though you may believe these statues were erected by White Supremacists, though at that time everyone were white supremacists, they were of historic figures who participated in the bloodiest war in our history. Historical figures who were respected by their union counterparts. True, many did own slaves, but it was not illegal to own slaves, even in the Northern States. Joe Biden used to brag he lived in a border state that didn’t end slavery until the 13th Amendment was passed. In fact, arguments have been made that Lincoln abused his Executive Power by forcing the Southern States to remain in the union. Even though it can be argued that the slavery was not the sole cause of the war, it is indisputable that the war was fought over States rights. How and why and at whose expense the statues of these southerners were erected does not matter. I repeat, it does not matter, except to those who want them torn down. The statues have existed where they are for more than a century. Why must they be removed now? Because some people who may or may not be descendants of slaves take offence at their presence? No, because the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a self-styled enemy of “Hate Groups,” who’s list includes such notable purveyors of hate as, The American College of Pediatricians, the American Family Association, the Center for Immigration Studies, the Family Research Council, the Jewish Defense League. Honestly they should include themselves on their own list of hate. The SPLC, has demonstrably declared war on all things southern! They are trying to erase the memory of the Antebellum South. Why? It seems more like a crusade of spite and revenge. Repayment for a wrong that should, after a hundred-fifty years, should be forgiven rather than stoked, and avenged in a most tawdry way! If you find it difficult to believe, visit their web site and review the “Community Action Guide” they have prepared for NAACP and SPLC organizations throughout the nation to track down and eliminate street names, highway names, building names, school names, flags, posters, books, and movies, statues, and monuments.
        What is their purpose? To punish instead of educate! To defame instead of reconcile! To divide instead of unite! My own personal opinion is that this sickness that threatens our Republic can only be healed by Blacks forgiveness of Whites, and Whites forgiving themselves. We all must decide to let go of our hate and guilt and live our lives in peace. But, that will never happen so long as there are interest groups and political parties who grow rich by keeping us in a constant state of agitation!

      2. I disagree with your premises.

        The monuments are not to historical figures, but to men who were traitors to the United States.

        No White Supremacists in the North erected any statues to defenders of the lost cause. Those statues were only erected by White Supremacists on the South. Recall that these statues were erected after the Reconstruction Amendments were gutted in the South ,because the Republican Party abandoned the Afro-American , to win the 1876 election. White Supremacists denied the Afro-American the right to vote, passed Jim Crow Laws under the wrong interpretation of “separate but equal”, and then erected monuments to the erroneous interpretation of the Civil war. Recall that 90 years after the Civil War, that Brown v Board of Education , reversed and separate but equal laws. And recall that the 24th Amendment made and poll tax, erasing any Southern impediments to Afro-American voting rights.

        In 1861, The South left the Union because of slavery. In 1865, they changed the reason the States Rights….and don’t forget that the State Right they were claiming was to bring their “property” ( aka slaves) into any State.

        The over-whelming majority of Northern States had out-lawed slavery by1860.

        Those statues give the false interpretation of Civil War, and should be removed.Only on Civil War battlefields should these monuments be erected, and only to show troops movements, …thats the educational value.

      3. Claim and counter-claim. My interpretation versus your interpretation… Until determination via due process, the Courts should demand the memorials and statues be restored to their original condition; and the Bill presented to the thugs with sledgehammers.
        Macron of France finally got something correct…

      4. Actually…it is the actual interpretation of American History, that does show that the South was defeated, and that they continued to disenfranchise Afro-Americans, denying them their rights under the Constitution…thats a fact. Better to pay the descendants of slaves, who were denied their Rights.

      5. Much as I LOVE History… Law trumps History. If a Law is enacted, requiring the removal of Historical artifacts, I am bound by the Law. In accordance with the First Amendment to U.S. Constitution, I am Legally permitted to Peacefully Protest and air my viewpoint: and this includes painting up and writing slogans on Public Property (which can be cleaned off, afterwards.) But, one crosses the line when arbitrary destruction is initiated: this is not Freedom of Speech, but First Speech. “I exercise my right, and deny Your right” …to move the statues elsewhere, or argue my case to leave them in situ.
        Mike Maxwell

  7. The law does not allow the defacing or painting of hand written slogans on Public Property no matter if it can be cleaned or not. Public property also belongs to people who do not agree with you, who share ownership of that property with you and whose tax dollars will be necessary to clean or repair the public property you have defaced. People seem to live with the mistaken belief that “If I believe something others MUST know and I MUST be allowed to tell them what I believe using any means necessary.” Your belief is yours, mine is mine. No one is required to listen to you, and you have no right to force them to. That is not supported by the 1st amendment! You cannot go around painting your beliefs on OUR property. That is an extremely childish and immature action! Speak, shout, write letters, pamphlets, flyers, buy time on the radio, take out an add in the news paper, request to speak to local citizens groups and clubs, advertise on TV, run for political office, write a song and perform it, but leave public property alone!

    1. Freedom of Speech means free discourse: You state your opinion; I state mine. We both ignore each other (choose not to listen) at our peril, because the only recourse is for the Thug to appear with his sledgehammer.
      As for graffiti… anywhere… it has been years since I saw anyone arrested for writing slogans on a wall. How about you?
      Have a Great Day!
      Mike Maxwell

  8. The Mob, has been part of the United States since we were a British Colony, and is as American , as apple pie. Those who marched with the Mob on Guy Fawkes Day in Boston turned around and then marched on Pope’s Day.

    Recall the Mob action of a bunch of Patriots, who dressed as Mohawk Indians, and looted British ships laden with tea, that was taxed, during Boston Tea Party.

    And since we are Civil War Buffs, recall the mobs of the NYC Draft Riots.

    Macron’s comments have to be taken in context….on my 2 visits to Normandy and Paris, I have yet failed to see a monument to those who collaborated with the Nazis, and aided them in sending Jews to Concentration Camps to be exterminated. There are no memorials to Marshall Petain, , who collaborated with Nazi Germany in the Vichy Government, and helped send Jews to Germany. Those who are traitors, don’t deserve a monument. Only the Far Right in France is the sole and only group to continue upholding Pétain’s name in France today! The only reason is because they follow the same nationalistic and xenophobic ideology as the Vichy regime.

    Pétain, a traitor, was beaten in 1945, and the Rebels, traitors to the US, in 1865. Morality triumphs…too bad for them and for their cause. However, victory alone cannot determine commemorations. Morality also has a role to play. The racism of the Confederates and the Vichy regime, now promoted by white supremacists in the United States and the Front National in France, continues to make Blacks and Jews suffer in both countries.

    As to graffiti, in Ebbets Field ,the advertising sign .. ” The Dodgers use Life Joy Soap” had AND THEY STILL STINK…added to it.


    1. 1) The mob in 1773 was an angry group of British subjects that dumped tea; then they expanded their movement, dumped the British, and pushed for creation of a New Nation (which eventually became the USA)
      2) The mob in 2020 dumped the USA and became CHAZ. Then they dumped CHAZ and became CHOP. Next week, they may become TEA.
      3) Just for information, the first Civil War draft riot took place in Nashville…
      4) EVERYTHING Macron says has to be taken with a grain of salt; but even a broken clock gets it right twice a day.
      5) Please stop comparing apples to oranges: there were no NAZIs in 1860. But there were Marxists (some of whom served with the 32nd Indiana – think Willich and Mank.)
      6) Thanks for mentioning the graffiti at Ebbets Field: you made my day!
      Mike Maxwell

      1. “Macron of France finally got something correct…” opened the door to Nazis, when you brought Macron into the conversation, which brings in French History. A traitor is a traitor.

        Glad I made your day though!

      2. Without the French, there likely would be no USA.
        Without the French need for cash, no Louisiana USA.
        Without the French recognition of CSA, it died.
        France got a few things right…

  9. Actually, if it wren’t for Koscioszko who designed the field fortifications at Saratoga which led to the American victory, there would been no French intervention

    Actually, France didn’t have the resources to fight Britain and the US in 1803.

    Without British recognition of the CSA….The French would not have acted on rather own.

    Actually, the CSA were defeated by the USA….thats why it died.

    1. There were nine ways the Secessionists could have achieved their goal (Independent/ New Nation)
      1) No definite winner in NOV 1860 Presidential election, throwing outcome to House of Representatives to be decided;
      2) Kidnap President Buchanan and hold him in seclusion (forcing appointment of Secession supporter and VP, John C. Breckinridge into role as acting-President before Inauguration of Lincoln)
      3) Assassinate President-elect Lincoln before Inauguration;
      4) Get the USA to fire the first shot (and assume the High Moral Ground)
      5) Capture the Capital at Washington in April 1861;
      6) Win the war;
      7) Convince the USA to abandon the war;
      8) Help defeat Lincoln’s re-election in 1864 (and then negotiate for Peace)
      9) Gain recognition by a leading world power (preferably with inclusion of Mutual Defence Treaty)
      You are correct: recognition by France (preferably combined with Defence Pact) was only one of many ways to achieve success.

      1. There was one way for the North to defeat the traitors….which they accomplished….Case closed!

        How did that Mutual Defense Pact work out?

        Gladstone commented that the goal of Great Britain was to keep the United States, one nation. Seems they accomplished their goal too!

      2. Nine possible methods… seven attempted (but all nine considered.) Guess they should have gone to the Courts…

      3. Well Mike, they could have used the Scott v Sanford ,Supreme Court decision, which would have allowed the taking of property into Free States, since Taney decided that the Missouri Compromise exceeded Congress’s powers.

        I’ll agree with you on that!

      4. Exactly! The pro-South Taney Court should have been approached in 1860; and the statue question should be decided by the Courts in 2020.

      5. Question: “Why did the South not approach the Supreme Court in 1860?”
        Answer: “They would not have been happy with with the decision, whether For or Against them.”

      6. Is the question whether the South would have sued to leave the Union, in 1860?

        1. They already had the 1857 Scott v Sanford decision, in their favor

        2. Possibly, like today, they just did not know how a jury of 9 men would decide the case?

        3. Could Lincoln and the Republicans have added an Amendment to the US Constitution, banning slavery? Would 22 states have voted for it?

        4. Was the South willing to wait 4 years and vote Lincoln out of office, and elect a President more accepting of slavery?

        We already know the cost, for the path they picked…750,000 dead.

  10. If the South had not left the Union, the statues to the Lost Cause would not exist.

    The statues weren’t built by the Federal Government, the issue isn’t decided by the Supreme Court, since there is no violation of the Constitution.

    And since the statues were erected during Jim Crow, when the rights of Americans were Violated, and the fact that the statues are to traitors to the American way of life, They have no historical value.

    The statues were erected to further a White Supremacist future, and not to honor fallen soldiers. If you chart out the erection of these monuments, one will see that the erection of monuments to traitors coincides with times of extreme civil rights tension.

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