Dixie Heritage News – Fri, Oct 27, 2017
The RULE OF LAW is no more!
Go to: http://www.nyc.gov/monumentscommission to give your statements about preservation of public monuments.
Those of you who do not reside in New York can indicate that you have family or friends there, or that you will not spend your tourist dollars there if statues are removed.
IN SCHOOL NEWS
A school board member wants a northern Virginia high school named for a Confederate general to be renamed Justice High.
The Fairfax County school board is scheduled to pick a new name for J.E.B. Stuart High on Thursday. The board voted in July to change the name but delayed selecting the new name.
The Washington Post reports board member Sandy Evans plans to suggest Justice High because the word promotes tolerance, diversity and inclusion. At least three others on the 12-person board support the idea.
A nonbinding community vote came up with five alternatives. The top choice was to simply remove “J.E.B.” and call the school Stuart High. The second choice, former Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, conflicts with a nearby school named for statesman George C. Marshall.
AND ON THE OPPOSITE COAST
A high school in Anaheim, California’s Confederate soldier mascot has stirred up controversy.
Since the school was founded in the 1960s, students have rallied around Johnny Rebel, a Confederate soldier. Though sometimes depicted as a cartoon, in many places on the school’s campus he is portrayed with a photo of a Confederate soldier, brandishing a gun as he appears to charge into battle. Elsewhere, including the school’s website, it is declared as the “home of rebel pride.”
A statue of the figure previously stood in the school’s quad from 1964 until 2009, when it was removed due to decay, according to the Orange County Register.
In 2015, the removal was made permanent when the Anaheim Union High School District board struck down a bid to restore the statue due to its controversial nature, Savanna Principal Carlos Hernandez said in a statement.
That same year the school also took down a Confederate Flag that flew above the campus, OC Weekly reported.
But the debate surrounding Johnny Rebel did not disappear.
The school district could potentially make its final decision at a Nov. 2 board meeting, where community members will also be able to give their input, Hernandez said.
IN THE COURTS
A local chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy has sued San Antonio and city officials over the removal from Travis Park of the statue memorializing fallen Confederate soldiers.
In a federal lawsuit, the organization’s Albert Sidney Johnston chapter No. 2060 said it did not receive due process to challenge the decision.
It accused the city of damaging the monument during the removal and said officials have yet to disclose what was done with it or hold a public discussion about the removal.
The suit claims violations of the First, Fifth and 14th Amendments, and seeks unspecified monetary damages and attorney’s fees.
Chapter President Robin Terrazas of Helotes tried to meet with Mayor Ron Nirenberg prior to the statue’s removal but he declined.
Crews removed the statue of a Confederate soldier, with its inscription dedicating it to “Our Confederate Dead” and its two accompanying cannons, on Sept. 1 shortly after the City Council ordered it by a 10-1 vote.
Besides the city, the lawsuit names as defendants those who voted for its removal – Nirenberg and nine members of the City Council: Roberto Treviño, William Shaw, Rebecca Viagran, Rey Saldaña, Shirley Gonzales, Greg Brockhouse, Ana Sandoval, Manny Pelaez and John Courage.
The lone dissenting vote was by District 10 Councilman Clayton Perry, who had expressed issue with the timing be so close to Hurricane Harvey, and that the decision circumvented the Historic Design Commission, which handles historic monuments in San Antonio.
A spokesman for the mayor said Wednesday that Nirenberg was out of the country, had not seen the lawsuit and wouldn’t be able to comment on it. The city declined comment because the suit had not been officially served, adding that the City Attorney’s office can’t comment on pending litigation.
The suit said members of the now-defunct Barnard E. Bee chapter of the UDC held bake sales and other public fundraisers to earn $3,000 in the 1890s to help pay for the statue, which was erected in 1900. In today’s dollars, it would cost more than $81,000 to replace the monument, the suit says.
The suit also said the Bee chapter placed a time capsule under the statue’s foundation that included a roster of the chapter’s membership, Confederate currency and coins; a Confederate flag bearing the name “Jeff Davis” in a wreath of violets; pressed flowers from the coffin of Confederate President Jefferson Davis’ daughter, Varina Anne “Winnie” Davis; newspapers; and an Old Testament kept by a Confederate soldier in a Union prison.
It was unclear if the city was aware that that a time capsule had been buried under the statue.
“The city of San Antonio gave use of the land underneath the monument to the Barnard E. Bee chapter in 1899 in ‘perpetuity,'” the lawsuit states.
The Bee chapter closed because of declining membership, but the Johnston chapter “succeeded to the property and interests” of the Bee chapter, and neither chapter “ever gave or donated the common Confederate soldier monument to any entity,” the suit said.
The suit defended the statue, saying it did not contain markings or signage referring to the former Confederate States of America or to any of its leaders.
“The Daughters have no idea where their statue is or in what condition it may be,” the suit said. “The members of the ASJ chapter No. 2060 have no idea where their time capsule is or where the contents are. The UDC has been excluded from the community discussion.”
JUDGE EXTENDS INJUNCTION
On Tuesday, a Charlottesville, Virginia judge signed an order extending indefinitely an injunction protecting the city’s Confederate statues while a lawsuit against the city continues in court.
The injunction, originally entered on June 6, prevents the city from removing the statues of Gens. Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson after the city council voted to take them down.
The original injunction was set to expire next week, but the new order extends it “until entry by this court of a final order in this case,” according to court documents.
Last week, plaintiffs in the lawsuit against the city filed an amended complaint that more comprehensively spells out who Lee was in a historical context and why his statue should be considered a memorial. It also addressed the statue of Jackson, following the council’s vote last month to remove it from Justice Park.
SCV LAWSUIT LOST ON APPEAL
The Sons of Confederate Veterans suffered another legal loss Wednesday in its efforts to reverse the renaming of three parks in Downtown Memphis.
The Tennessee Court of Appeals in Jackson, affirming a February ruling by the Shelby County Chancery Court, found that the city had the authority in 2013 to rename Forrest Park as Health Sciences Park, Confederate Park as Memphis Park, and Jefferson Davis Park as Mississippi River Park. Memphis Park is now known as Fourth Bluff Park.
Lee Millar, a spokesman for the Sons of Confederate Veterans Nathan Bedford Forrest Camp No. 215, said the group is still digesting the 18-page ruling it received Wednesday and has yet to decide whether to appeal the court’s decision to the state Supreme Court.
“They’ve been known for their history and historic naming for decades and decades,” Millar said of the parks. “They shouldn’t be frivolously renamed. They’re part of our history – Memphis’ history as well as America’s history.”
Wednesday’s ruling doesn’t affect the city’s legal efforts to remove a statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest or the graves of he and his wife from Health Sciences Park. The city still plans to argue for the statue’s removal in Davidson County Chancery Court in November following the state Historical Commission’s Oct. 13 rejection of a waiver.
Even if the Sons of Confederate Veterans appeals the ruling to the state Supreme Court, applications are “rarely granted,” City Council attorney Allan Wade said. “In any event, we are prepared to vigorously oppose any further efforts by the Confederates,” Wade said.
Brandy Parrish-Wade, Wade’s wife and an attorney at his firm, is also representing the city in the case.
The Sons of Confederate Veterans challenged the 2013 renaming in court and most recently argued that the City Council doesn’t have authority to rename parks. However, the Court of Appeals said the city charter explicitly gives the council control of parks and their names.
The council approved the resolution renaming the parks a day after state lawmakers introduced legislation to block cities from renaming or rededicating parks and other monuments that were named for historical military events, people or groups. Similarly, after the council voted to remove the statue of Forrest in 2015, the legislature moved to allow the Tennessee Historical Commission to block removal of monuments to military figures in 2016. Previously, the law only covered monuments to wars.
The City Council also voted in 2017 to seek a waiver from the Historical Commission for removal of a statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis from Fourth Bluff Park. City Attorney Bruce McMullen has said the city will focus first on Forrest – who, like Davis, was a resident of Memphis for part of his life.
DALLAS WANTS TO VOTE ON IT
On Wednesday evening, Dallas City Council hosted a public forum to allow residents to express their opinions on a Mayor’s Task Force recommendation that outlined a potential plan to relocate confederate monuments, rename some streets and memorialize the site of a lynching.
58 speakers were slated to speak at the meeting, but some were absent. Each speaker was given two minutes to plead his or her case to council members. For two hours, speakers pleaded their cases for and against the task force, while others, like Elaine Everitt, demanded the decision be put to a popular vote.
“I would ask that, because over 60 percent of the citizens of Dallas do not want these statues removed, denying the citizens the right to vote cannot be considerate and inclusive,” she said in her address to the council. “I implore you to put this on a referendum and give the citizens of Dallas the right to make the decision on how their city should move forward.”
Citizens who reside on Lee Street explained to the Council that they did not want to endure the hassle that would come with changing the name of the streets, many citing the expenses and time commitments necessary to change addresses on passports, drivers licenses and IRS forms.
Many citizens requested that the state of Confederate memorabilia remain unchanged in Dallas. Some suggested that removing the monuments would equate to trying to erase history; others claimed that a focus on proper education in regards to the Civil War would be more effective than simply removing monuments and renaming streets.
GEORGIA COUNTY PRESSING TO REMOVE MONUMENT
The DeKalb County Commission voted Tuesday to attempt to move a 109-year-old monument honoring the Confederacy.
If successful, the county could be one of the first communities in Georgia to expel a Confederate monument.
The resolution, approved on an 6-1 vote, orders the county’s attorneys to find a legal way to remove or relocate the 30-foot obelisk located outside the former county courthouse in Decatur.
State law prohibits such monuments from being “relocated, removed, concealed, obscured, or altered in any fashion,” but governments are allowed to take action to preserve or protect monuments. The resolution notes that the monument has been recently vandalized twice.
The county government will try to determine if it actually owns the monument, then explore how it can be moved.
DeKalb Commissioner Nancy Jester cast the only vote against the resolution. She said monuments should be put in their historical context instead of being moved.
NEW MONUMENT NEARLY COMPLETED
In the small town of Orange, on the Texas-Louisiana border, the privately funded Confederate Memorial of the Wind is nearing completion. Stretching across a half-acre, the monument’s 13 pillars, each representing a Confederate state, rise from a circular base. It will eventually be surrounded by poles flying Confederate battle flags.
PRESIDENT ENTERS VIRGINIA POLITICS
President Donald Trump endorsed the Republican candidate for governor of Virginia on Thursday, “Ed Gillespie will turn the really bad Virginia economy’s around, and fast. Strong on crime, he might even save our great statues/heritage!” Trump tweeted.
He added a swipe at Gillespie’s Democratic opponent Ralph Northam, saying that he “doesn’t even show up to meetings/work, and will be VERY weak on crime!”
The Gillespie campaign has branded the Democrat, Virginia’s sitting lieutenant governor, “No-show Northam” for his habit of skipping board meetings of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership.
Republican Ed Gillespie, left, is running against Democratic Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, right
Trump’s praise for Gillespie on crime and the economy will be lost in a sea of concern over his returning to the ‘statue’ issue
Northam, the Democrat, has prevailed in most polls this month. But in response to the President’s tweets and support, the most recent Virginia survey, released by Hampton University, suddenly put Gillespie in the lead by 8 percentage points.
Former president Barack Obama campaigned for Ralph Northam in Richmond on October 19. That is when President Trump first jumped into the Virginia race with an attack on Northam, linking him to violent gangs: “Ralph Northam, who is running for Governor of Virginia, is fighting for the violent MS-13 killer gangs & sanctuary cities,” Trump tweeted. “Vote Ed Gillespie!”
Gillespie, a consummate Washington insider, has sought to keep Trump at arm’s length throughout the campaign while also trying to rally Trump supporters with hard-edged attacks on Northam over immigration.
One of our readers from across the pond writes:
re Is anything still sacred.
I am an English reader of your news letter and am contacting you to say how disgusted I am to read that a memorial to those who gave their lives in the First World War is “unconstitutional”. Just how can honouring men who gave their lives in one of the last centuries great struggles against those who would wish to suppress freedom of speech, freedom of worship or freedom of self determination be anything but exactly what the American people stand for.
Travel the “Western Front” as I have and you will find the graves of men and very occasionally women from all the then free nations of the world and of most if not all the worlds major religions. I am minded of a small battlefield grave on the Somme interred are a relatively small number of “Tommies” men like me from northern England and a Mauri from New Zealand. To quote the King of Belgium when he opened the New Zealand Memorial at Messines they came from “The Uttermost Ends of the World”.
These brave men were at that time serving the “Colonial” powers but just as the brave African Americans who fought on both side in the War Between the States were paving the way (even if they did not know it) for the rightful place they now have in the world community.
Those who attack Confederate war memorials are suffering from a clear misinterpretation of; or are attempting to rewrite US political and military history, they are extremely misguided. Those who attack memorials to those who gave their lives in the free worlds great struggles against totalitarian states are reaching a new low in this form of extremist behaviour.
Keep up the good work in publicising the depravities of these extremist groups. What has happened to tolerance in the modern world?
James King from Georgia writes:
Finally, I wanted to give a big Flagger shoutout to all of the Antifa, Black Lives Matter, Take Em Down, and other various leftist activist groups for what has been an unintended, but happy consequence of their actions. Whenever they desecrate one of our monuments the memorials end up getting a (in many cases) much needed cleaning.
The Stonewall Jackson monument at Manassas was vandalized a few weeks ago, and after the NPS was finished with the clean up (within 24 hours) the photos of the monument after the restoration were stunning! These folks are unwittingly contributing to the much need cleaning up and restoring of our monuments, all across the country!
John Wayne Dobson submits the following:
November 11, 2017 @ 4:00 p.m. – Annual Veterans Day Memorial Service at Fort Hawkins
Fort Hawkins is hosting its Annual Veterans Day Memorial Service on Saturday, November 11 at 4:00 p.m. This somber and moving ceremony will feature Flag retirement and a patriotic speaker. Multiple lineage societies will be presenting Flags for retirement.
NON “HERITAGE” NEWS EFFECTING THE SOUTHLAND
Speaking during his weekly cabinet meeting last Sunday, Netanyahu commended President Trump and the United States for standing up for Israel in the United Nations after it officially announced its withdrawal from UNESCO last week, as well as President Trump’s decision to not recertify the Iran nuclear deal.
On Friday, October 14, President Trump reiterated his Administration’s stance on the nuclear deal as “one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into,” stating on Iran’s ongoing violation of the nuclear deal and advances in its missile program “We cannot and will not make this certification. We will not continue down a path whose predictable conclusion is more violence, more terror and the very real threat of Iran’s nuclear breakout. I am directing my administration to work closely with Congress and our allies to address the deal’s many serious flaws so that the Iranian regime can never threaten the world with nuclear weapons.”
Addressing Trump’s announcement, Netanyahu stated: “It is completely clear, if one examines this agreement, if nothing changes, that Iran will have an arsenal of nuclear weapons within a few years. This agreement does not block this. It creates a sure path to the production of an enrichment system that could quickly bring Iran to dozens of atomic bombs and even more; therefore, the decision is very important.”
On Trump’s decision to not recertify the nuclear deal, as well as his decision to place sanctions on Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, he stated, “President Trump’s decision creates an opportunity to fix the nuclear agreement and stop Iran’s increasing aggression in our region. I believe that any responsible government, and whoever seeks to promote peace and security in the world, needs to take advantage of the opportunity that President Trump’s decision has created in order to improve the agreement or abrogate it and, of course, stop Iran’s aggression. It is self-evident that the President’s decision to impose sanctions on the Revolutionary Guards needs to be supported. The Revolutionary Guards are Iran’s main arm in spreading terror around the world and, of course, in spreading its aggression throughout the Middle East.”
On UNESCO, the prime minister confirmed that Israel is withdrawing from UNESCO following the United States. He reported “I instructed the Foreign Ministry to prepare for Israel’s withdrawal from UNESCO, which has become a platform for delusional, anti-Israeli and – in effect – anti-Semitic decisions. We hope that the organization will change its ways but we are not pinning hopes on this; therefore, my directive to leave the organization stands and we will move forward to carry it out.”
Populist tycoon Andrej Babis and his Eurosceptic political party have won the Czech Republic’s parliamentary election – by a landslide – making the “politically incorrect” billionaire businessman the main contender to become prime minister after coalition negotiations.
With all of the votes counted, Babis’s anti-establishment party ANO (which stands for “Action of Dissatisfied Citizens” and is also the Czech word for “yes”) won nearly 30% – almost three times its closest rival – in elections held on October 20. The Eurosceptic Civic Democratic Party (ODS), the anti-establishment Czech Pirates Party and the anti-EU Freedom and Direct Democracy party (SPD) came second, third and fourth, with around 11% each.
The Communists came in fifth with 7.8%. The Social Democrats, the center-left establishment party that finished first in the previous election, came in sixth with just 7.2%. The Christian Democrats, the center-right establishment party, won 5.8%, just enough to qualify for seats in parliament. In all, nine parties competed in the election.
The election outcome, the result of popular discontent with established parties, is the latest in a recent wave of successes for European populists, including in Austria and Germany. The populist ascendancy highlights a shifting political landscape in Europe where runaway multiculturalism and political correctness, combined with a massive influx of unassimilable migrants from Africa, Asia and the Middle East, have given rise to a surge in support for anti-establishment protest parties.
Babis’s victory will also strengthen the role of the Visegrad Group (V4), a political alliance of four Central European states – the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia – committed not only to resisting mass migration, but also to opposing the continued transference of national sovereignty to the European Union. A stronger V4 will accentuate the divisions between the pro-EU states of Western Europe and the increasingly Eurosceptic states of Central and Eastern Europe. The European Union consequently will struggle to maintain an outward semblance of unity.
In his victory speech at the ANO party headquarters, Babis, who campaigned as a centrist, refused to speculate on the composition of a coalition government, but said he wanted the cabinet to be set up as quickly as possible: “This is a huge opportunity to change our country. I would like to assemble a government that will be of the people and for the people and promotes policies that are in their favor.”
Babis also tried to reassure the public that he would not put the Czech Republic on the path to authoritarianism, as some of his detractors have charged:
“We are a democratic movement. We are a solid part of the European Union and we are a solid part of NATO. I do not understand why some people say we are a threat to democracy. We certainly are not a threat to democracy. I am ready to fight for our national interests and to promote them.”
Babis has been sharply critical of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s open-door migration policy and has repeatedly denounced EU-imposed migrant quotas and other “EU meddling” in Czech politics. Those positions resonate in the Czech Republic, where citizens have the second-lowest trust in the European Union of all 28 member states (only Greeks have less trust in the EU), according to the latest Eurobarometer poll, published in August.
During the campaign, the 63-year-old Babis, one of the country’s wealthiest people, presented himself as a non-ideological results-oriented reformer. He pledged to run the Czech Republic like a business after years of what he called corrupt and inept management. He demanded a return of sovereignty from the European Union and rejected Czech adoption of the euro single currency. He has also promised to cut government spending, stop people from “being parasites” in the social welfare system, and fight for Czech interests abroad. Babis is often referred to as “the Czech Donald Trump.”
Babis does not want the Czech Republic to leave the EU; he has repeatedly stressed that unimpeded access to the European single market is essential to maintaining the health of the Czech economy, which has the lowest unemployment rate in the EU: “We have six thousand German companies here, investing with us and employing people.”
At the same time, Babis is opposed to the country adopting the euro because doing so would, he believes, constrain national sovereignty and competitiveness:
“No euro. I don’t want the euro. We don’t want the euro here. Everybody knows it’s bankrupt. It’s about our sovereignty. I want the Czech koruna, and an independent central bank. I don’t want another issue that Brussels would be meddling with.”
Babis has pledged to reform the European Union from within, especially regarding migration policy: “I want to play a more important role in Europe. But we have to fight for our interests and make proposals. If I were a prime minister, I would say: ‘Close this cursed external European border at last.'”
Babis has expressed his opposition to mass migration: “I have stopped believing in successful integration and multiculturalism.” He has also insisted that the Czech Republic alone should decide who will work in the country and who will receive humanitarian aid: “I do not want to have a French or German migration policy; we want our migration policy to be completely different from other countries. Every state has some interests, we have to fight for Czech national interests, we do not want to have that multicultural model.”
Babis has rejected pressure from the European Commission, which has launched infringement procedures against the Czechs, Hungarians and Poles for refusing to comply with an EU plan to redistribute migrants:
“I will not accept refugee quotas for the Czech Republic. The situation has changed. We see how migrants react in Europe. We must react to the needs and fears of the citizens of our country. We must guarantee the security of Czech citizens. Even if we are punished by sanctions.”
In June 2017, Babis reiterated that the Czech Republic would not be taking orders from unelected bureaucrats in Brussels:
“We have to fight for what our ancestors built here. If there will be more Muslims than Belgians in Brussels, that’s their problem. I don’t want that here. They won’t be telling us who should live here.”
In an interview with the Czech daily Pravo, Babis said:
“It is unthinkable that the indigenous European population should adapt themselves to the refugees. We must do away with such nonsensical political correctness. The refugees should behave like guests, that is, they should be polite, and they certainly do not have the right to choose what they want to eat. Europe and Germany in particular are undergoing an identity crisis. There is a deep chasm between what people think and what the media tell them.”
As prime minister, Babis would share government with Czech President Milos Zeman, who has described political correctness as “a euphemism for political cowardice.” In an interview with the Guardian, the 71-year-old Zeman recounted a recent conversation with Angela Merkel: “My first sentence in the meeting with Madam Chancellor was: ‘If you invite somebody to your homeland, you do not send them to have lunch at your neighbors.'”
In an interview with Czech Radio, Zeman, who has called mass migration to Europe an “organized invasion,” said: “The Muslim Brotherhood cannot start a war against Europe, it doesn’t have the power, but it can prepare a growing migrant wave and gradually control Europe.”
Like Babis, Zeman has also expressed skepticism about Muslim integration: “The experience of Western European countries which have ghettos and excluded localities shows that the integration of the Muslim community is practically impossible.”
Slavery and the Confederacy
By Kirkpatrick Sale
Kirkpatrick Sale is an independent scholar and founder of the Middlebury Institute. He is the author of dozens of books and scholarly publications
What happened in the unseen labyrinth to which the pneumatic tubes led, he did not know in detail, but he did know in general terms. As soon as all the corrections which happened to be necessary in any particular number of ‘The Times’ had been assembled and collated, that number would be reprinted, the original copy destroyed, and the corrected copy placed on the files in its stead. This process of continuous alteration was applied not only to newspapers, but to books, periodicals, pamphlets, posters, leaflets, films, sound-tracks, cartoons, photographs – to every kind of literature or documentation which might conceivably hold any political or ideological significance. Day by day and almost minute by minute the past was brought up to date. In this way every prediction made by the Party could be shown by documentary evidence to have been correct, nor was any item of news, or any expression of opinion, which conflicted with the needs of the moment, ever allowed to remain on record. All history was a palimpsest, scraped clean and reinscribed exactly as often as was necessary.
Thus Orwell described the pneumatic tubes that fed the “memory hole” into which all of unwanted history, all facts and figures that were currently in disfavor, were consigned to the deep dark fires and erased for good.
And now, mimicking that total totalitarian state, a whole rabid movement wants to put first slavery, and then the Confederacy, down that same hole. These are currently in disfavor with this crowd and by toppling statues and renaming schools it plans to erase them from history.
Of course that may not be quite so simple. Eliminating a statue may eliminate the occasion for a thought that might discomfort, but it will hardly eliminate the fact that causes that discomfort. Suppose all the statues are consigned to museums to which these people will never go, and all the schools, streets, parks, buildings are now named after different heroes now in favor with these people, is slavery omitted from history and no record of it to be found, calming the fluttering hearts that are outraged at the thought of it, will the Confederacy never have been, easing delicate minds that are pained by its memory?
I think that would take some supreme act of mental and emotional distortion to achieve.
Let’s look at slavery first. It is an institution that has existed in all civilizations, just as armies and aristocracies, from the beginning of history. The Egyptians, the Greeks, the Romans, the Russians all had slaves, and it was they that built the great monuments that are the lasting images of those societies. (Tear down the pyramids, the Parthenon, the Coliseum, and then of course those civilizations will be forgotten, and good riddance, too.) The trans-Atlantic slave trade of the 16th-19th centuries fostered slave societies throughout the Americas, of which that in the U.S. was a minuscule part: at its height slavery in this country accounted for only about 5 percent of the Africans who had been brought to the Americas, the great bulk of whom were sent to Brazil and the Caribbean. (And where, incidentally, they were emancipated without any warfare.)
And just so that you know that it was not some sort of peculiar historical anomaly, slavery exists today. According to an Australian Walk-Free Foundation, which studies such things, there are 30 million people today in slavery-forced laborers, forced sex workers, forced child marriages-in 162 countries, more than any time in the past. Most are in Africa, proving that it is not inherently racist, and in India, but surprisingly there are some 60,000 in the United States, sex workers as well as illegal immigrant laborers forced to work or be turned over to authorities. Not only an ancient institution but an enduring one.
Slavery by its nature involves violence, one person controlling another. But in certain instances, as generally in Greece and sometimes in Rome, slaves were treated with a certain benevolence, a magnanimity even, so as to promote good work and faithful service even while holding them as property. In the U.S. South the record is spotty, but it is clear that in general it paid plantation owners to keep their charges healthy and willing, and not to keep them from the fields with physical cruelty or impinge or their labors with physical injury; they were fed, clothed, and housed (albeit on a second-rate level) and given medical care. Life expectancy was fairly high-after all, slaves might cost the equivalent of $40,000, so it made sense to keep them living as long as possible-and, like illness in general, it declined sharply after the war. Moreover, it was common for slaves to operate with gang-style labor, the foremen being slaves themselves, and in the case of rice plantations, the whole operation-like the opening and closing of sluices-was entirely in the hands of slaves, who knew the workings better than the owners did.
In the American case, it is important to realize that slavery was an institution that formed the backbone of the economy of the entire country since its foundation, nurtured by the North as well as the South-Northern shipowners created and enriched themselves on the slave trade and the subsequent cotton trade to the North and England, and the national government depended on Southern prosperity for some three-quarters of its budget in the antebellum years. It was an efficient economic system, and it was the primary engine that made the U.S. the fifth-largest economy in the world.
As for the Confederacy, it was created so as to prolong that economy and prevent anyone from destroying it. It was a well-thought-out polity, with a constitution better than the nation’s in many respects, it would have served the South well if it had been allowed to continue, and there’s a good argument that it could have eventually replaced slavery with a wage system, gradually and with compensation, without a diminution of its economy-and indeed the only institution that could have done so.
To call it racist is really to extend that term beyond meaning. It was certainly built on the belief that blacks were meant for labor, and as workers they were indeed more efficient and profitable than white laborers in the North, but blacks were an intimate part of plantation life, most particularly in the main house, and blacks and whites grew up together, sometimes worked together, and often prayed together. The racism in the North, where blacks were unwelcome and ill-treated-the race riot in New York in 1863, when some 120 blacks were murdered, is illustrative-was far greater and deeper than anything in the South.
Take all the statues down, rename everything connected to the South, and you will still not erase that history. It is important history, and knowing it does not promote but rather serves to diminish racism.
The Maryland Historical Trust has concluded that Baltimore officials didn’t have the legal authority to remove three monuments to the Confederacy in the early hours of Aug. 16. While acknowledging it doesn’t plan to, the State agency reserved the right to order the City to put them back.
Elizabeth Hughes, Director of the Maryland Historical Trust, shared those conclusions in an October 20th letter to the head of Baltimore’s architectural preservation agency. She cited a 1984 contract between the State and the City that gave the trust final say on any changes to the monuments. The contract also doesn’t apply to the statue of Taney.
The future of the monuments remains unclear. They are in storage.
And in Florida it has now been two months since vandals twice defaced a Confederate monument formerly located in Woodlawn Cemetery with red paint, then proudly tagged their criminal act with the name Antifa – a far-left-wing group specializing in anarchist tactics. No arrests have been made and the crime remains unsolved for lack of investigation. Many in the community hope the defacing of a cemetery war memorial will soon be forgotten, too.
It has now been two months since the Mayor of West Palm Beach arbitrarily ordered the private Confederate monument, honoring 20 Civil War soldiers buried in the City’s cemetery, removed from the graveyard and stored in an undisclosed location. The Florida Statutes (F.S. 872.02) prohibit the adverse removal of the cemetery monument without first holding a public hearing by the City Commission. No such hearing was held.
It has also been two months and the State Attorney has failed to investigate the desecration of a cemetery monument, nor has he taken action against a politician responsible for its possible illegal removal. Under current Florida law, both acts are third-degree felonies.
While we are supposed to be a nation of laws and equal justice – not thought police – it would appear that equal protection under the law does not apply to anything Confederate.
Ignoring existing laws is a slippery slope leading to chaos in a diverse society.
Until Next Week,
P.O. Box 618
Lowell, FL 32663