On Confederate Memorial Day
April 28th, 2008 by Joe Windish
It’s worth noting that today — the day on which the Reverend Jeremiah Wright soaked up so much of the media spotlight — was the day that several southern states (including Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia) observed Confederate Memorial Day.
Some of us wonder why. Matthew Yglesias:
It seems that April is Confederate Heritage month. Why one would want to celebrate a heritage of violent rebellion against a democratically elected government in order to perpetuate a system of chattel slavery is a bit hard for me to say.
When I was growing up in New York City, for example, I don’t remember any mass campaigns to celebrate the 1863 draft riots as the city’s finest hour. The states of the Old Confederacy are hardly unique in that elements of their historical heritage involve discreditable treatment of African-Americans. But they do seem unusual in their insistence on celebrating these historical episodes and in insisting that portraying them in a positive light is integral to a proper understanding of their local identity. Even odder, as best I can tell these days (it was different in the past) most of the folks who like to wave the Confederate flag are perfectly genuine when they get offended that others see them as waving a banner of violent white supremacist ideology. But if that’s not the ideology you mean to associate with, then why not drop the flag and adopt some less provocative emblem of Southern folkways?