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Confederacy


  • Originally published 08/08/2013

    Jamelle Bouie: What Links the Neo-Confederate Virginia Flaggers, Barack Obama & Race

    Jamelle Bouie is a staff writer at The American Prospect and a Knobler Fellow at The Nation Institute. In addition to The American Prospect, his reporting and analysis has appeared in The Nation, The Atlantic, CNN.com, and The Washington Post. He covers campaigns and elections, as well as policy and public opinion. He is based in Washington, D.C. You can follow Jamelle on Twitter at @jbouie, at The American Prospect, or at his website.

  • Originally published 07/22/2013

    Sidney Blumenthal: Romanticizing the Villains of the Civil War

    Sidney Blumenthal is a former assistant and senior adviser to President Bill Clinton, a former senior adviser to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, and the author of the forthcoming book The Man Who Became Abraham Lincoln.When Gone with the Wind had its premiere in Atlanta in 1939, the governor of Georgia declared a state holiday. One million people turned out to watch the arrival of Clark Gable, Olivia DeHaviland and Vivien Leigh. The night before, a costume ball of leading citizens dressed in the finery of the Old South was serenaded by a "negro boys' choir" dressed as slaves standing against the newly constructed backdrop of a plantation mansion. One of its singers was six year-old Martin Luther King, Jr. Hattie McDaniel, who acted as Mammy, was prohibited from joining the other stars inside the theater. It was segregated just as movie houses and other public facilities were throughout the South. Angry about McDaniel's exclusion, Gable threatened to boycott, but she persuaded him to attend. She would go on to win an Academy Award.

  • Originally published 07/19/2013

    Steven I. Weiss: You Won't Believe What the Government Spends on Confederate Graves

    Steven I. Weiss is an award-winning journalist, and is anchor, managing editor, and executive producer of news and public-affairs programming at The Jewish Channel.On June 19, an array of top government officials gathered for the unveiling of a statue of Frederick Douglass, the 19th-century African-American man born a slave who rose to be a vice-presidential candidate. That politicians and the federal government continue to memorialize black leaders and abolitionists of that era surprises no one, but few are aware of the other side of that coin: how much Washington pays to memorialize the Confederate dead.

  • Originally published 07/08/2013

    Virginia Museum of Fine Arts plans to rehab pre-Civil War house, turn it into visitor center

    RICHMOND, Va. — The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is planning to turn a pre-Civil War house on its Richmond property into a regional visitor center.Officials plan to complete the work to rehabilitate the historic three-story, 9,000-square-foot Robinson House by the summer of 2015. The building currently serves as a storage facility.Once complete, the circa-1850 building will include a visitor center on the first floor as well as a gallery interpreting the site’s history going back to the days of American Indians....

  • Originally published 05/28/2013

    Jamie Malanowski: The U.S. Army Maintains Bases Named After Men Who Killed American Soldiers

    Jamie Malanowski is a contributor to The New York Times’s Disunion series and the author of “And the War Came,” an account of how the Civil War began, at byliner.com.IN the complex and not entirely complete process of reconciliation after the Civil War, honoring the dead with markers, tributes and ceremonies has played a crucial role. Some of these gestures, like Memorial Day, have been very successful. The practice of decorating the graves arose in many towns, north and south, some even before the war had ended. This humble idea quickly spread throughout the country, and the recognition of common loss helped reconcile North and South.But other gestures had a more a political edge. Equivalence of experience was stretched to impute an equivalence of legitimacy. The idea that “now, we are all Americans” served to whitewash the actions of the rebels. The most egregious example of this was the naming of United States Army bases after Confederate generals.

  • Originally published 05/16/2013

    Attorney fights to move Confederate soldier statue from Virginia courthouse

    A statue honoring Confederate soldiers that has stood for more than 100 years outside a Leesburg, Va., courthouse is now at the center of a battle between an attorney and residents.The statue, which reads “In memory of the Confederate Soldiers of Loudoun County, Va. Erected May 28, 1908,” shows a soldier standing guard with his rifle, WTOP reports.John Flannery, an attorney who regularly hears cases inside the courthouse, said the statue intimidates clients and should be moved into a museum or graveyard."It deters people. It chills them from believing they can get a fair shake in court," Flannery told WTOP....

  • Originally published 05/06/2013

    It's Not You, Stonewall, It's Me

    1864 portrait of Stonewall Jackson by D.W. King.Dear Stonewall,I still think of you fondly sometimes. I cared enough about you to spend eight years of my life researching and writing about you and your friends. In my opinion, I wrote a pretty good book: Inventing Stonewall Jackson:  A Civil War Hero in History and Memory. I examined the assumptions that shaped your historical image, and the ways that image morphed into popular cultural in the twentieth century. In this way, I raised some questions about you, and forced me to think hard about how biography works as a genre, often coming perilously close to historical fiction.

  • Originally published 04/02/2013

    John Avlon: Georgia Is Celebrating Confederate Heritage and History Month? Really?

    John Avlon is senior columnist for Newsweek and The Daily Beast, and the anchor of Beast TV. A CNN contributor, he won the National Society of Newspaper Columnists’ award for best online column in 2012.I thought it was an April Fools’ joke.There in my inbox on the morning of April 1 was an email from something called Ray McBerry Enterprises announcing the official start of “Confederate Heritage and History Month” in Georgia.Apparently, former Georgia governor Sonny Perdue signed the annual celebration into law in 2009, joining six other Southern states in official monthlong “celebrations.” My folks live next door in South Carolina, and I’m a bit of a Civil War nerd, so there’s no inherent shock in the impulse to recognize local history, however painful the legacy.But what did shock me was this quote from the press release: “So much is portrayed by Hollywood today that Georgia and the South were evil; when, in reality, the South was the most peaceful, rural, and Christian part of America before war and Reconstruction destroyed the pastoral way of life here.”

  • Originally published 04/01/2013

    NC removing Confederate flag from capitol

    RALEIGH, N.C. –  A Confederate battle flag hung inside the old North Carolina State Capitol last week to mark the sesquicentennial of the Civil War is being taken down after civil rights leaders raised concerns.The decision was announced Friday evening, hours after the Associated Press published a story about the flag, which officials said was part of an historical display intended to replicate how the antebellum building appeared in 1863. The flag had been planned to hang in the House chamber until April 2015, the 150th anniversary of the arrival of federal troops in Raleigh."This is a temporary exhibit in an historic site, but I've learned the governor's administration is going to use the old House chamber as working space," Cultural Resources Secretary Susan Kluttz said Friday night. "Given that information, this display will end this weekend rather than April of 2015."...

  • Originally published 03/21/2013

    KKK to protest park renaming

    Officials in Memphis, Tenn., are girding for a rally called by a faction of the Ku Klux Klan at the end of the month, to protest the City Council's decision earlier this year to change the name of three Confederate-themed city parks.The council voted Feb. 5 to change the names of Confederate Park, Jefferson Davis Park, named for the Confederacy's president, and Nathan Bedford Forrest Park, named for a Confederate lieutenant general who was also the KKK's first grand wizard. The new names are Memphis Park, Mississippi River Park and Health Sciences Park, respectively, though the council may change those names later.The council's move came in response to a bill moving through the Tennessee Legislature this year that would forbid local governments from changing names of any parks or monuments named for wars or war heroes, including those involving the Civil War....

  • Originally published 03/01/2013

    TN ban on renaming Civil War parks passes over Dems' objections

    Legislation that would prevent the renaming or moving of war-related monuments in Tennessee passed the state House last night. The bill comes as city officials in Memphis have renamed three Confederate-themed parks.Democrats tried to get the bill’s sponsor – Republican Steve McDaniel – to admit he was responding to the name changes in Memphis, which he denied.Rep. Johnnie Turner asked what if Jews hadn’t been allowed to tear down Nazi statues....

  • Originally published 02/11/2013

    Confederate flag mistakenly raised over Mississippi Supreme Court building

    The Confederate flag was mistakenly raised for a few hours over the Mississippi Supreme Court in Jackson on Friday.A replacement was needed a Mississippi state flag that was tattered and torn, Kym Wiggins, public information officer for the state Department of Fiance and Administration told the Clarion-Ledger.Calling the incident, "highly unusual," Wiggins explained to the paper that a local vendor was tasked with the job of purchasing new state flags to replace the one that was torn. Wiggins claims they were given two boxes labeled "Mississippi State Flag," but the boxes actually contained Confederate battle flags. After a maintenance worker raised the flag, the mistake went unnoticed for a couple of hours....

  • Originally published 02/07/2013

    In Memphis, discord over renaming parks and dropping their associations to past Confederacy

    MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The legacy of onetime Confederate fighter and slave trader Nathan Bedford Forrest has sparked new discord in Memphis amid moves to rename parks whose very names recall the Old South.Fresh division arose before the Memphis City Council voted recently to rename Nathan Bedford Forrest Park in Memphis, where a statue of Forrest stands and the general is buried. The council also voted to rename two other parks whose names evoke the Confederate Civil War heritage.The fight over Forrest highlights a broader debate over what Confederate figures should represent in the 21st century. Other U.S. cities also have wrestled with the issue of naming parks and buildings after Confederate figures....

  • Originally published 07/05/2011

    The Surprising Story of How Stonewall Jackson Became a Mythical Figure for the Religious Right

    Next week will mark the 150th anniversary of First Bull Run, the initial major battle of the Civil War.  The combat that day remains memorable for several reasons, including the importance of the telegraph and the use of trains to transport troops.  Few images in Civil War history are more compelling and tragic than the panic of green Union soldiers running away from the field. 

  • Originally published 02/07/2011

    On Going Viral: Reflections on Why the South Really Seceded

    1865 cartoon.On Sunday, January 9 [2011], the Washington Post published my op-ed article, "5 Myths about Why the South Seceded."  Even before it appeared in print, I knew it had touched a nerve. At its website, the Post dates the article at the stroke of midnight Saturday, but by 7:00pm that evening I had received at least thirty emails about it, a portent of the torrent to come. By Monday, the piece had received more than half a million hits, more than any other Post story. During the next week, almost four thousand other sites, from Forbes to The Times of India, linked to it or discussed it. Still other sites simply reprinted the article, which now appears at, for example, the Black Pride Network and the South Carolina Agricultural Trade News. 

  • Originally published 07/18/2014

    The Constitutional Havoc of the Income Tax Amendment

    Some days back I offered an interpretation of the motives and political economy behind the adoption of the 16th Amendment, noting at the time that it also caused extreme constitutional havoc by altering the relationship between the tariff system and the generation of federal tax revenue. While it is certainly possible to read this as a statement of political aversion to the modern income tax system, my characterization was actually an intended reference to certain very specific constitutional consequences of the income tax amendment that actually have little to do with any personal preferences regarding the validity of progressive income taxation.

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