Confederate history doesn't always travel well





For many tourism marketers below the Mason-Dixon Line, old times are not forgotten — they're promoted.

But as Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell discovered when he proclaimed April as Confederate History Month without mentioning slavery (an omission he corrected after a volley of protests), pitching Dixie's past during the run-up to next year's 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War could be challenging.

"The Civil War sesquicentennial is going to be a minefield throughout the South. It's going to take a near miracle to tiptoe through it without serious injury, (and) this McDonnell incident has made things much worse," says Larry J. Sabato, a native Virginian and director of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics.

Virginia — where the current capital of Richmond was also the capital of the Confederacy, and an estimated one in seven tourism dollars come from visitors interested in the Civil War — isn't the only government to put a spotlight on the Lost Cause.

Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi also have Confederate History Month proclamations this year, and at least seven states celebrate Confederate Memorial Day, says Calvin Johnson of the Sons of Confederate Veterans....

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