Letter to Senator Spencer Coggs Regarding His Objection to the Playing of "Dixie" at the Wisconsin State Senate Inauguration Ceremony

From: mtgriffith1@yahoo.com (mailto:mtgriffith1@yahoo.com)

Dear Senator Coggs,

I am writing about your expression of shock and outrage at the playing of a >few bars of the song "Dixie" at the Senate’s inauguration ceremony in Madison a few days ago.

I write to you as someone who supports affirmative action and minority set-asides, and as someone who has worked with the NAACP in my local community to fight police mistreatment of minorities.

I think it’s sad that some people have such a negative perception of Confederate-American heritage that they get offended at hearing the song "Dixie" or at seeing the Confederate flag.

I wonder if you’re aware that by 1864 the Confederacy was moving toward abolishing slavery. In fact, even pro-Northern historians J. G. Randall and David Donald conceded there were indications that there was a "strong possibility" the Confederacy would have ended slavery even if it had survived the war (THE CIVIL WAR AND RECONSTRUCTION, Lexington, Massachusetts: D. C. Heath and Company, 1960, p. 522).

I wonder if you’re aware that at least three to four thousand African Americans fought for the Confederacy, along with several thousand Hispanics and Indians.

I wonder if you’re aware that the Confederacy’s leading general, Robert E. Lee, said slavery was "a moral and political evil," that he favored gradual emancipation, and that he ordered that black soldiers in his army be treated with dignity and respect. Another famous Confederate general, Stonewall Jackson, was known for his kindness and respectful attitude toward blacks and was heard to say that he hoped the slaves would be free one day. Before the war, Jackson started a Sunday school for slaves. When news of Jackson’s wartime death reached his home town of Lexington, Virginia, the city’s black Baptist church, whose pastor had attended Jackson’s class, donated money for a bronze statue to be placed at Jackson’s grave

I wonder if you’re aware that the Confederate Constitution permitted the admission of free states into the Confederacy, that it banned the overseas slave trade, and that it allowed Confederate states to abolish slavery within their borders.

If you would like to read more about the Southern side of the story regarding the Confederacy and other issues relating to the Civil War, I respectfully invite you to read my article "The Southern Side of the Civil War: Facts Your History Teacher May Not Have Mentioned About the War Between the States," which you can find at:

http://ourworld.cs.com/mikegriffith1/southernside.htm

When viewed in their original context, Confederate songs and symbols stand for honor, courage, duty, limited government, the rule of law, and faith in God.

I thank you for your time.

Mike Griffith