From Colonel Michael Kelley, CSA:
Shall we try a history lesson instead of a hysteria lesson? http://www.cato.org/dispatch/12-30-02d.html#3
The problem is the comment made by Mr. Boaz that, "As long as the violence and cruelty of slavery remain a living memory to millions of Americans, symbols of slavery should not be displayed by American governments."
There are actually two problems with that one.
First, there are no living slaves (and even very few living children of slaves) therefore there can be no "living memory" of slavery. The thoughts, recollections, and opinions of living slaves survive in the "Slave Narratives" compiled in the 1930s under the FDR make-work edicts. If one actually READS them it becomes evident that about 70% of the surviving slaves did not have memories of "violence and cruelty" and many who did have such recollections also pointed out, "But Massa was a Yankee."
The connection with Yankees leads us to the second problem with Mr. Boaz’ statement and further points out the hysterical nature of his statement. Simply, the connection of the United States flag to slavery in America is much stronger by reason of historical records which reflect both the duration and nature of involvement.
The New England shipping companies, sailing under the United States flag from 1781 until 1835, were the main agents of the only "Black holocaust" connected with slavery – the deaths of the "Middle Passage." It is popularly estimated that anywhere from 250,000 to 1,000,000 Africans died and were tossed overboard from ships owned by "compassionate" Yankees.
During the 1830s when importation of Africans was made illegal and the advantages of exploiting European (mainly Irish) immigrants became clear, the practical Yankees did not gleefully free their slaves (more than a million of them) en masse. To recover much of their expenses and to provide the labor force needed to enable the sparsely-populated South to meet growing Northern industrial demands for raw materials, they "sold them down the river" on the Mississippi.
Again, however, the assumption that by the beginning of the War Between the States – the official term adopted by the Federal government which reflects their recognition that there was no "civil war" – the North was a happy land in which only Free Blacks and Free People of Color lived their lives in blissful harmony is similarly flawed.
In the Union at the beginning of the War there were about 225,000 Free People (Black and "colored") and about 450,000 slaves in the North. These "Free People" were governed and restricted by some of the harshest "Black Laws" seen until the South adopted them following Reconstruction as "Jim Crow Laws" and people conveniently forgot their origin.
As only one example, in Illinois in 1863 (after the "Emancipation Proclamation) it was illegal for any Free Black or Free Person of Color to reside in the state for longer than ten days. To violate this law meant arrest, trial, and a fine of $50 plus court costs. Failure to pay the assessed fines and fees meant being sold into slavery to meet that debt and this law WAS enforced and records can be found in Chicago newspapers announcing the sale of such men.
Now for the big shocker to most people (except historians): The so-called "Emancipation Proclamation" did not only specifically not free anyone, it absolutely protected slavery in the Union states, any and all areas of the South controlled and governed by Union forces, and even in the Confederate state of Tennessee.
In simple terms, it was symbolic and meant to make the War a "moral issue" while maintaining slavery in Union states and other specified areas for NINE MONTHS after the War ended. When the Confederate government fell slavery was ended in the "states now in rebellion" but continued as a Federally-protected institution in the Union states, Tennessee, and other areas specified in the "Emancipation Proclamation" until December, 1865, and the ratification of the 13th Amendment.
I could go on further about the United States Colored Troops and how they were used as cannon fodder and left wounded on the battlefield when their white comrades were taken away by Union forces (Battle of Olustee, Florida), or when they were shot by their fellow white Union soldiers (Battery Wagner), and bayoneted by white Union soldiers when they retreated (Battle of the Crater, Petersburg, VA). I could go on, but my point has been proven.
What has been shown in just this small space is that Mr. Boaz does not have the slightest clue about history and that the arguments made are specious. While the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia has come to symbolize racism and extremism, this has been a modern phenomenon of the past 40 years and not based on solid historical fact.
That good Southerners have by their silence allowed the meaning of this and other Confederate symbols to be hijacked and twisted is fact. That the "free ride" enjoyed by the extremists is ended is also fact:
"The first law of the historian is that he shall never dare utter an untruth. The second is that he shall suppress nothing that is true. Moreover, there shall be no suspicion of partiality in his writing, or of malice." – Cicero (106-43 B.C.)
We simply ask that all act upon the facts of history.
Your Obedient Servant,
Colonel Michael Kelley, CSA
Commanding, 37th Texas Cavalry (Terrell’s)
"We are a band of brothers!"