Public Education During Upcoming WBTS (Civil War) Sesquicentennial
To: Compatriots on Southern Heritage News and Views (SHNV)
Posted below is correspondence related to educating the public during the upcoming sesquicentennial of The War Between The States (Civil War).
I encourage readers of SHNV to e-mail your ideas, opinions, thoughts and suggestions on this subject direct to me at firstname.lastname@example.org with permission to repost your input on several SCV e-mail forums that I am a member of.
James W. King
Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp 141
Lt. Col. Thomas M. Nelson
Suggestions by James King:
The development of the computer and internet has opened up a low cost method of putting the facts about the Old South, the Confederacy, the War Between The States and Reconstruction before the American public–indeed the world. It is my opinion that SCV has not taken full advantage of this tool.
Over the past 7 years I and others have posted comments to many anti-Confederate articles in newspapers thanks to Southern Heritage News and Views (SHNV) daily reports (demastus@aol. com) that furnish a link to the article and contact information. One of the comments I posted was my article "The 10 Causes of Southern Secession" or "The 10 Causes of the War Between the States". It is now being read all over America. I know because I frequently receive e-mail from people stating that they read the article.
It is my opinion that SCV at the National level should establish an individual website for each subject that we want to educate the public on. Examples– Causes of Southern Secession, Causes of the Civil War, Development of Slavery in America-Who’ s Responsible, Treatment of POW’S in Confederate and Northern Prisons, The Constitutionality of Secession, What are States Rights? There is a long list of topics we need to be educating the public on and the internet is the only cost effective method to reach millions. And if I am correct ? SCV has allowed the "facts" on various subjects on WIKIPEDIA to be posted by primarily socialist Northern professors who do not share our perspective.
My article "10 Causes of the War Between the States" can be accessed with a google search by entering the aforementioned title. But it is not individual SCV members like myself that need to be acting as spokesmen for SCV. National headquarters needs to take the facts, data etc. and write accurate articles and summaries for each topic and make this information available to the American public with a website for each topic.
John Griffin did a super job with "The Other Side Of The Coin" in both book and CD and former SCV National Chaplain Pastor John Weaver in combination with the Georgia SCV Camp Chattahoochee guards produced the CD "The Truth and History of the Confederate Flag" and I understand that near 50,000 copies have been distributed.
All are to be commended and thanked for their efforts and work who have contributed to the education of the public. This includes Calvin Johnson’s Confederate History and Heritage Minutes and newspaper articles. I know many others have been involved in public education in various ways and this includes Steve Scroggins, Jeff Davis and Jim Dean. (Media Specialists)
Still, it is my opinion that SCV is not using the internet at anything near the level that this opportunity presents. Instead of all acting independently we need to function as a consolidated group utilizing our best educated and qualified spokesmen and writers to put National Headquarters approved perspectives and facts out for the world to read on the internet. Along with this National front line offensive we can all continue our individual, camp, and division work.
What are your thoughts on this matter?
What are the thoughts of all others on the GaSCV discussion forum?
Response from Jim Dean-SCV Media Specialist:
James, This has been discussed. But we will have a new cmdr coming on board at the SC convention and I believe he will be rolling out his plans. How to link it all together and coordinate it without creating a tower of babble is the trick part. Divisions are better at organizing some parts, National others…the PR committee others, etc.
One major change that got cranked up while Chris Sullivan was in…creating a professional PR committee where personnel does not change every two years where you are starting all over. That is when press releases began to all be drafted by the PR committee that was organized like a ready response team,..first draft being assigned to someone with known background knowledge and then helpers and editor to polish it up real quickly for final edit and review by the Cic. This had never been done before.
For example, the VA CHM poll press release had six people working on it for 48 hours…with the CiC and CoS coming in on Sunday morning after spending all of Saturday on the road for events. We had a split on whether and how much to mention the slavery aspect change. There was a glitch in the poll, too. So we ended up having to draft two versions of it with the rationale for each.
I was assigned the first draft and fortunately I had a light Friday work day. Most are easier. But the jam up that you are usually trying to piggyback something else that is in the news so you need as fast a turnaround as possible. Jeff Davis, 80 now, is an old pro at this so we have been lucky to have him teaching the rest of us.
One of the things we are really going to be needing is to have someone in each state join the state press association as a dues paying member so we can get all the media contact information, and keep it updated. And this would include the small local papers who often are looking for free donated written material or ‘guest columnists’. That is a gold mine of free publicity, but like mining you have to work the vein a while to get some gold out the other end. Jim
Here is an example of fabulous multimedia. Desmond Doss won the Medal of Honor like a 100 times, but they could only give him one.
Unfortunately it never got picked up by a movie distributor and the filmmaker was just crushed. All he really ended up with was video and DvD sales. But production costs were reasonable for something like this.
I bumped into it one night while switching channels on a PBS station. I immediately tried to contact him for an interview, but he had died.
Response by Jeff Davis-Media Specialist:
Much of what you’re suggesting has been floating around my errant mind for some time. We are not alone. Note I’m copying Compatriot King in Albany who recently posted on the Georgia group some very thoughtful suggestions.
Also included are folks who have made serious contributions to this subject in the past including John Griffin, Calvin Johnson, Don Shelton, Wild Bill, Lew Regenstein, Dr. Douglas Young at Gainesville State, Mark Simpson and several members of the PR Committee who have the type skills you describe.
Here is a very broad and open draft of what I have been working on. It can be further implemented by any or all of the group designated, and more that can be added.
It is a larger assault than what has been advanced. That’s the reason we need a number of people who can take assignments a few weeks in advance.
It is truly multi-media which hinges much on Jim getting the MM website ready by the kick-off late this year. It also divides our effort in three directions.
1. A print media column This Week In History or the Sesquicentennial, once a week of about 500-600 words, four or five paragraphs, to be released to the divisions for distribution. We recognize some may not distribute, so we’ll need back up release list. This has been a wekaness in the past and we need to get serious about it.
My plan would be for all submissions to go to Steve Scroggins for polishing, including possible graphics, before release.
2. The completed column would go to Jim Dean for the weekly Sesqui feature on the multi-media website.
3. The column would go to me well in advance to format a half hour radio program utilizing phone lines to have field reports from whomever we select to handle them. Example, week of April 12, Fort Sumter. Health permitting I can serve as an anchor for a tentative arrangement with a radio station I am working on for a once a week half hour that can be picked up by stations throughout the nation for play at a time convenient to them.
We have some protocol to observe in what we’re doing. For instance, we don’t want to step on the toes of our Sesqui Committee, rather be a adjunct or service for them.
We must realize we are under the direction of the SCV Executive, as you note which will be changing over the period of four years. I believe it will be essential that our program effort feature some of our leaders as much as we can.
With the help of divisions and local camps encouraging newspapers to run our "This Week in History", and getting local radio stations aboard, I believe we could make the most dramatic media blitz in our history. It won’t be exactly a cakewalk to coordinate.
In the weeks where there is no battle to be reviewed we can get into a number of topics, some of which both you and Brother King have suggested. This is an ideal place for some of the fine work John Griffin has done along with the work Calvin Johnson has done.
The radio versions can be recorded and also used on our multi-media and archived.
We need to develop an aggressive group to help get newspapers and radio stations lined up. Then, we need another group that can see to it our product gets in to libraries and schools. As you can see, I want it to be first class professional. With that in mind I think we could develop a pilot of the newspaper and radio programs which can be used to promote what we’re doing and get media folks to agree to run it.
In the event my age catches up with me, Jim Dean could handle the anchoring of the radio aspect. We have other talented members of the PR Committee who I know would be willing to help.
I should point out that we have done some work in editing Wikipedia. The problem is our enemies can follow us and undo what we have done. Also, don’t underestimate the value of the SCV Blog. It has been slowly growing into a wonderful archive which certainly has a place in these plans.
Well, that’s the beginning. Now what we must do is get a green light from the CiC and the CoS and the consolidate our plans with the good input from each of you.
Steve, you might be thinking of a time sequence for each of these ideas so that we can prepare enough in advance to be professionally effective.
Above all, you know I welcome the input of each of you. You are all a pleasure to work with.
Let me just say this. If each of us wants to do something to make a lasting legacy to the cause we are devoted to, there can be no better memorial or monument to be left for future generations than what we, together, can make of this.
From: Steve Scroggins
Sent: Friday, May 7, 2010
Response From Steve Scroggins:
I realize that we’ll undergo several CiC elections during the sesqui and that your place as PR chair is by no means certain if for no other reason than health and events changing, us from proactive to reactive, etc. For some of this, we need to be PROACTIVE. We know a lot of good books will also come out for the sesqui as it did in 1960-1961.
Had a talk with Al Perry a year or two ago and his idea was to begin work NOW to gather local stories ASAP, for publication as the events happened throughout the five year period.
In other words, events that happened in 1861, say April 30, we’d want to release the story on April 30, 2011 — 150 years ago today. If it’s Sep 1, 1862, then we’d want to release Sep. 1, 2012, and so on (with a week or two of lead time for editing copy, corroboration,etc.).
His overall idea is to focus on LOCAL events, with meaning and interest to LOCAL people, which in theory would be MORE of interest to local editors, local newspapers because they would know their readers would like it — especially where it involved ancestors of locals.
I’m sure there’s a sesqui group/committee and I’m not sure if their focus is memorial events, or if there is a PR and publishing wing to their plans. ???
LOCAL HUMAN INTEREST BLITZ
Obviously, people from Georgia participated in events in other states (locations) throughout the war and prep was going on throughout….but actual battles (Pulaski and Savannah having blockade events all long) for Georgia on Georgia soil would dominate 2014 — 150 years after 1864. We need to have a LOAD of stories to flood the media, local and national, with 150 years ago, today (or next week), Sherman’s troops did such as so, reports said this, the O.R. says this, etc., etc.
I’m ready to pull together the events of July (Stoneman’s Raid to Macon, the Battle of Sunshine Church, etc.) 1864 — the call for troops to defend GA and the Griswoldville battle in Nov. 1864 while Sherman was on his "Massacre to the Sea". Local areas across Georgia should emphasize their own local events and atrocities. National may try to censor or ignore, but I think the LOCAL editors would be interested because they KNOW their local readers would be interested. For Macon & central Georgia I picture a headline:
Sherman’s Torch Wipes Griswoldville off the Map (Jones County)
45 Farms Destroyed in Washington County, etc., etc.
This Clyde Wilson article got me thinking of it….
As Jim suggested, we need to mine Wilson’s writings for great quotes to sprinkle in our works. Also DiLorenzo and others. I have a copy of Sherman’s Horsemen
We need to scour the Official Record for letters and documents that record who was doing what in GA at that time. We need to scour Cisco’s book (War Crimes Against Southern Civilians) and others for details to mix in.
We need to be calling for this work NOW. We need to get our writers doing their research now and putting together drafts for review and sharing (keeping credits intact).
As Billy suggested, we need to have legions of members ready to step in the gap with LTTE to rebut the trash that will be thrown our way. We need to have troops taking these hits and forming counter attacks, so that the advance corps, the cavalry, the special forces, etc., can focus on having a local interest, human interest blitz ready.
There are events galore that will be easier to document and research in Virginia, Tenn, etc., but nothing will have the appeal, the human touch of exposing Sherman’s Massacre to the Sea and his followup pillaging of S.C. We, SCV, need to make sure every local paper across GA and SC have local stories on the editor’s desk documenting the events that are two often swept under the rug and sanitized.
If we can tie these in with real people, real churches, real cemeteries, real places, and have the stories written by descendants and relatives…that will be even sweeter.
What was it they called the standing chimneys of burnt out homes? Sherman’s sentinels?
There is no photographic record of ruins except for larger cities. We need some good sketch artists who can put together drawings of scenes depicted in written memoirs and diaries. Can we find a group of sketch artists who could create newspaper and print quality work to accompany our writings? For VISUAL people, a picture with the story would much more impact.
Is this something for PR ? Or does this fit under the Sesqui Committee tent?