Confederate Heritage
Mr. Collins,
Your article in the AJC seems to miss the whole point of why we celebrate Southern heritage in April.  No one views slavery as anything but pernicious and inhumane.  Lincoln’s father-in-law and U.S. Grant were both slave owners.  The New England Merchant Marine brought the slaves over and the Northern mills, banks, and insurance companies had a financial interest in keeping this abomination going.  Lincoln never made any attempt to end slavery.  Read his 1860 inaugural address and the so called "Emancipation Proclamation" which didn’t free anyone.
We celebrate Southern heritage for the same reason we celebrate the 4th of July.  Our country was founded on the principle of the right of secession.  Lincoln spoke of this right in 1848 before Congress.  You stated that four Southern states considered slavery a reason for seceding.  Eleven states seceded and at least three more would have but for Lincoln’s heavy handed tactics.  It matters not why the states wanted out, but that they had a right to leave and form a new federal government.  The South had been providing 85% of the revenues for the US Federal Treasury and most of that money was being spent up North.  If you need the real reason for secession and Lincoln’s illegal invasion, there it is. 
April is the month we honor those who fought and suffered greatly to defend their homeland from a Union Army that behaved as badly as Hitler’s Waffen SS.  Be proud of your Confederate ancestors Mr. Collins.  They deserve it.
Joe Jordan
PS  I will be happy to furnish you with a list of reference materials.