‘Dixie’ anthem rests on the cornerstone of slavery

From: wildbill4dixie@yahoo.com
To: tonyaa.weathersbee@jacksonville.com

Re: http://www.jacksonville.com/tu-online/stories/050508/new_274788680.shtml

Your criticism of Ms. Johnson seems vaguely reminiscent of that old sign that was often found in Republican controlled polling places in the Reconstruction South, and which read, “DEATH TO COLORED DEMOCRATS”! It seems that being black means you have to think and act a certain way, huh? Some things never change!


As you can see from my article, and my research, your criticisms of Ms. Johnson predate you by 135 years. What you’re doing is nothing new.

Your column also contains a couple of errors

First, the Confederacy did not go to war to preserve slavery. They went to war because they were invaded. Where in Stephens’ speech does it say anything about war? It doesn’t.

Where do you see anything about slavery in Jefferson Davis’ comments below about the war? You don’t!

“We feel that our cause is just and holy; we protest solemnly in the face of mankind that we desire peace at any sacrifice save that of honor and independence; we ask no conquest, no aggrandizement, no concession of any kind from the States with which we were lately confederated; all we ask is to be let alone; that those who never held power over us shall not now attempt our subjugation by arms.” President Jefferson Davis – (29 April 1861)

Why were they fighting? A French news correspondent asked many Confederate soldiers and officers that very question. Here is an excerpt from his report. Tell me if you see the word “slavery” in there and I’ll eat the paper it’s written on.

They took high ground, which appeared to them above all discussion or controversy. They have vowed to the North a mortal hatred, they will wage against it an implacable war, because the North has made an armed invasion of their territories, their native land; because they are driven to defend against it their homes, their honour, and their liberty. From the general in chief to the lowest soldier, everybody held the same language with wonderful unanimity. (Howard Perkins et al., eds, Northern Editorials on Secession, 2: 573, New York, 1942 )

Second, regarding,

>>> In Section IX, for example, it reads: "No bill of attainder or ex-post facto law, or law denying or impairing the right of property in Negro slaves, shall be passed."<<<

For you to say that the Confederate Constitution prohibited the abolition of slavery displays one of two things. Either you’re not thinking things through, or you’re counting on your readers being unable to think for themselves. The Confederate Constitution applies to the central government created by the Southern Confederacy, and it represents the rules that this government was to operate under. Yes, the Constitution prohibited the CENTRAL GOVERNMENT from abolishing slavery. The decision to abolish or not abolish, was in fact left to the STATE GOVERNMENTS. Haven’t you ever heard of “states rights”? That was, after all, what the South was all about! Article 9 therefore, refers only to that central government passing any such laws, not the individual state governments.

And as regards Stephens’ contention that the “Negro” was not the equal of the white man, let’s just say he had a lot of company, and on both sides of the Mason Dixon line. Like it or not, this was how most white Americans at the time thought. And just because this was so does not mean that white folks have to hide their history to assuage your feelings.

I submit that if Ms. Johnson should be hesitant about singing “Dixie”, as you say she should, then she should be just as hesitant about singing “Battle Hymn of the Republic”.

“I like niggers well enough as niggers,” but only “fools and idiots” promoted their advancement.”
General William T. Sherman

”Gentlemen, Niggers and cotton caused this war, and I wish they were both in Hell!…”
General William T. Sherman

“They had taken all the money from every Negro on the plantation”, wrote Susan Dabney Smedes of Hines Coutny, Mississippi, recounting a raid on her home by United States troops. One crippled 63 year old slave was a preacher named Isaac. “Uncle Isaac had buried $80 in gold – the savings of years”, continued Mrs. Smedes. “This he was made to unearth. He had lately bought a new silver watch for which had had paid $40. This was taken from him.”
War Crimes Against Southern Civilians, Walter Brian Cisco, P. 173

A black nurse living on a plantation near Kingston found herself in the path of that army. “They’ve took everything I had,” she sobbed, telling her young mistress that her animals had been killed and her savings stolen by the soldiers. “Honey, I never knowed a Yankee that wasn’t mean as dirty. They would skin a flea for his hide and tallow. Everybody say the Yankees goin’ to free us. Like a fooI I believe ‘em and now this is what they do. I might a knowed it. What can you spec from a hog but a grunt?”
War Crimes Against Southern Civilians, Walter Brian Cisco, P. 175

“We do not like the negroes. We do not disguise our dislike.”
Senator John Sherman, Ohio, (General Sherman’s brother)

“The….niggers, as a general thing, preferred to stay at home, particularly after they found out that we wanted only the able-bodied men, and to tell the truth, the youngest and best looking women. Sometimes we took them off by way of repaying influential secessionist. But a part of these we soon managed to lose, sometimes in crossing rivers, sometimes in other ways.”
– Thomas J. Myers, Lieutenant, U.S., February 26, 1865

The next time you go to sing that song, I hope you remember what I’ve shown you here (I have many more examples), and that the words get stuck in your throat!

Finally, as regards your closing statement:

>>> Real courage would compel Johnson to build unity around things that unite. Not around the stuff that divides.<<<

The only things that “divide” are the rantings of people like yourself. Don’t take my comments too personally though. I did not single you out. There are, in fact, a lot of people like you out there.

Fortunately, there are a lot of people black and white, who don’t see things your way.


If what you see when you click the above link causes you to hyperventilate, please keep in mind that this condition can be remedied by breathing slowly into a paper bag.

Bill Vallante
Commack NY
Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp 3000 (Associate)
Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp 1506 (Associate)