The Museum of the Confederacy
Recently, a couple of compatriots told me that they’d heard that Edward Sebesta had become a member of the Museum of the Confederacy. Y’all remember little Eddie. He was the one who wrote the letter to Obama asking him to not lay a wreath at the Confederate monument in Arlington National Cemetery. He is a long time gadfly who’s been ranting about “neo-confederates” for the last 10-15 years. He and co-lunatic, James Loewen, recently authored a book called “The Confederate and Neo Confederate Reader.”
The source which shows him to be a museum member is a fairly reliable one – the Museum of the Confederacy’s email newsletter. It lists him and his location, Dallas Texas, on the page entitled “Welcome New Members.”
In following up on this up however, I find nothing about it on Sebesta’s blog, http://newtknight.blogspot.com/. Indeed, what I find is a post from December 2010 in which Sebesta was irate about the Museum wanting to nominate his book for the “Jefferson Davis Award” for “outstanding scholarship.” According to the December post, he didn’t want the nomination, he didn’t want the book sold in the museum’s bookstore, and he wrote 5 letters to the museum informing them of such. To read the December post, it would seem that he hates the MOC.
In researching this topic further, I encountered this post from Kevin Levin dated December 2010, in which Levin admits to being a “big fan of the museum” and a member, and that he thinks Sebesta should accept nomination for the award. http://cwmemory.com/2010/12/06/which-museum-of-the-confederacy-are-you-protesting/
And if you thought it couldn’t get much weirder than this, there is something in Sebesta’s blog that says he debated James McPherson on the Pacifica Radio Network about the MOC. http://newtknight.blogspot.com/2010/12/trying-to-reject-museum-of-confederacy.html
In that debate, Sebesta criticized the Museum while McPherson, who once compared the Confederate soldier to the “Germans and the Japanese,” defended it.
Ok, by now I guess your collective heads are spinning, so let’s sum up what we actually know.
1 – According to the Museum of the Confederacy’s email newsletter, Edward Sebesta is a “new member.” There is no mention of this on Sebesta’s blog however. Any mention of the museum on his blog occurs in posts dated from 3 months ago, and at that time, “Mr. Ed” wanted nothing to do with it. It is possible that he might have had a change of heart since then. Who knows?
2 – Kevin Levin, who has a blog called “civil war memory” (or as I like to call it, “civil war amnesia”), is both a supporter and a member of the museum – the very museum that houses artifacts of your ancestors – artifacts which were donated to the museum by the families of Confederate soldiers.
3 – James “Battle Cry of Freedom” McPhearson may or may not be a Museum member but has gone on public record as being a supporter of the Museum.
4 – Finally, the Museum itself has extended a warm welcome to these people and has publicly expressed a desire to consider Sebesta’s “Confederate and Neo Confederate Reader” for the “Jeff Davis Award” for “outstanding scholarship.”
I suppose I could go into my bag of caustic commentary and whip out some Waite Rawls or John Coski jokes or continue to rag on “Mr. Ed” or Mr. Civil War amnesia… but I think I’ll skip it this time. Southern Heritage News and Views has seen more than its share of commentary over the years on the Museum of the Confederacy and there isn’t much left to be said on the subject so I’ll skip that as well.
I will however leave you with a question. Read points 1-4 and then ask yourself what has become of your museum?