Southern Heritage of Freedom?
In the Caswell Co. (NC) Messenger, Rev. Helaina Hinson corrects several inaccuracies in Witcher Turner’s previous letter to the editor, in which Turner claimed that some whites overplay confederate flag waving." Rev. Hinson writes, "Mr. Turner should be aware that thousands of blacks, Hispanics and American Indians … fought for the Confederacy, and the Confederate battle flag means something entirely different from racism to them and their descendants." The complete response follows.
LET’S NOT EXCLUDE SOUTHERNERS WHEN RESPECTING RIGHTS
To the editor:
Mr. Turner’s letter ("What will it take to put racial prejudices to bed?" published December 7, 2005) contained several inaccuracies. First of all, the American Civil War did not begin as a result of President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation and the war was not fought to end slavery.
The war began in April of 1861 over a number of issues, slavery being only one of them. Other states such as Virginia did not vote to secede until Lincoln demanded that they furnish troops to invade other southern states.
The Emancipation Proclamation wasn’t issued until the fall of 1862 and its purpose was to keep England and France, who favored the Confederacy, out of the war. If one reads the proclamation one realizes that it in fact freed no one at all. Only "slaves in states in rebellion" are "freed"- meaning the Confederacy, where Lincoln had no authority. Paragraph three specifically EXCLUDES northern slave states and exempts southern territory retaken by the Union Army, such as the city of New Orleans.
Mr. Turner should be aware that thousands of blacks, Hispanics and American Indians (including my grandfather) fought for the Confederacy, and the Confederate battle flag means something entirely different from racism to them and their descendants. If we are going to respect everyone’s rights, the let’s not exclude Southerners, especially those whose ancestors WERE minority race members.
Reverend Helaina Hinson
— In NCSouth@yahoogroups.com, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
In the Caswell Co. (NC) Messenger, a guilt-ridden white Southerner claims that the War for Southern Independence was fought "to eliminate slavery from our United States for all time." He says that "whites [who] overplay confederate flag waving … need to stop the agitation."
You can respond to this with a letter to the editor at PO Box 100, Yanceyville NC 27379, by fax to (336) 694-5637, or via e-mail using the form at http://www.aconews.com/letters/index.php
WHAT WILL IT TAKE TO PUT RACIAL PREJUDICES TO BED?
To the editor:
I salute our National Anthem’s reference to our "land of the free" and the people like Rosa Parks who sought equal treatment for all Americans. We may be proud that we are the freest of all nations in speech, religion, politics and most activities and our country continues to be chosen by those from other lands, seeing such freedoms.
Historically, freedom has not always been "for all" and we should remember the consequences.Our early settlers were confronted by native American Indians, some savage, but most friendly which was not sufficiently recognized. We fought to eliminate them and later placed them on reservations which destroyed their freedom. If they had been encouraged to blend in with the settlers our country would have benefited in its growth, utilizing their talents and energies. Some have managed to move out, but most are stuck on the reservations.
A larger bridge of freedom came when African slaves were brought to our Southern Plantations. I am of this heritage and realize that this brought about the agricultural development of the southland, but I’ve never thought that slavery was right. The bloody Civil War between the states was fought on the issue followed by President Lincoln’s "Emancipation Proclamation" intending to eliminate slavery from our United States for all time.
It was not that easy. They were declared free, but they were given few opportunities to improve their status in white America. Segregation continued in the south, prompting many to move north, but they were not embraced there by all. In the 1960’s, violent race riots both north and south occurred. The federal government stepped in, enacting laws ending segregated schools and public buildings and also passed equal employment legislation. These laws left nothing more for the government to do and improvements in race relations have since been made, but many prejudices persist.
We can not rewrite history, but we can shape the future, and I believe that most of both races are ready to live and work together without regard to skin color.Some whites overplay confederate flag waving and some blacks, as Jessie Jackson, continue to cry for more attention. Both of these elements need to stop the agitation.
How many more people like Rosa Parks will it take to put racial prejudices to bed?!