Monday, May 30, 2011
Unfortunately they didn't run our 2010 or 2011 letter.
You can read all three letters by using the links on the side bar to the right of this blog.
There will be a 2012 letter to President Obama. We are thinking of taking up the topic of the massacre of African American troops.
Incidentally, I strongly recommend this essay by David W. Blight on the first Memorial Day. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/30/opinion/30blight.html?_r=2&hp=&pagewanted=all.
Saturday, February 19, 2011
You can view his website and see a short video on the movie at http://www.floridaslave.com/.
The 2011 Letter to the President and background information on it can be found through the links in the right side bar.
Co-signatures are coming in and we are ahead of where we were last year.
Thursday, February 3, 2011
2011 Letter to President Barack Obama Asking Him to End UDC Awards Ceremonies at U.S. Military Academies. UPDATE. This letter is mentioned in an article about UDC awards given at Universities.
May 1, 2011
Edward H. Sebesta email@example.com
President Barack H. Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Obama:
I am writing this letter with two requests:
1. Do not send a wreath to Arlington Confederate monument on Memorial Day.
2. End the practice of allowing the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) to distribute awards at U.S. Service academies and military academies that provide officers to the U.S. military.
By ending these two practices, the Office of the President can demonstrate its commitment to an egalitarian, democratic United States and challenge the growing political power of neo-Confederate ideology. In the pages that follow, I will outline how and why I believe the Office of the President should take these steps and stop honoring the slave-holding Confederate States of America, whose supporters, in groups like the UDC, continue to oppose civil rights and promote a discriminatory and erroneous understanding of U.S. history. Unfortunately, to date the Office of the Presidency has actively enabled neo-Confederacy by sending a wreath to the Arlington Confederate monument, a monument that depicts scenes of white supremacy and African-American subservience. I urge that you end this practice.
Secondly, as one the oldest and most powerful neo-Confederate organizations, the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) has a long history of opposition to the values of a multiracial democratic United States of America.[i] Since its formation in 1894, the UDC has consistently acclaimed the Ku Klux Klan, opposed civil rights, and challenged racial and social equality.[ii] These political opinions are not confined to the UDC’s past; they continue and yet the organization is permitted to issue eight annual awards at U.S. service academies:
* The Robert E. Lee Sabre at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York
* The Commodore Matthew Fontaine Maury Award at the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland
* The Lieutenant General Claire L. Chenault Award at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colorado
* The Admiral Raphael Semmes Award at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, New London, Connecticut
* The Matthew Fontaine Maury Award at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, Kings Point, New York
* The Stonewall Jackson Award at the Virginia Military Institute, Lexington, Virginia
* The William Porcher DuBose Award at the Citadel, Charleston, South Carolina
* Wade Hampton Sabre award at the Citadel given by the South Carolina Division UDC.
Permission for the UDC to give these awards to U.S. servicemen and servicewomen must be discontinued. Their annual distribution continues to legitimate the Confederacy and, by appropriating the prestige of the United States military in exchange for small gifts, the UDC both honors themselves and the Confederate leaders who fought against the U.S. military to sustain slavery and white supremacy.
The UDC’s veneration of white supremacy is not just historical. In recent years the UDC has promoted the neo-Confederate Southern Partisan magazine, pro-Confederate books like So Good a Cause: A Decade of the Southern Partisan in which Richard M. Weaver refers to Chicago as an “evil flower,”[iii] Michael Andrew Grissom’s Southern By the Grace of God, which states slaves were well-treated servants, and lauds Thomas Dixon’s notorious, racist 1905 novel, The Clansman.[iv] Authors in UDC publications continue to correct what they state are American “misconceptions” about the horrors of slavery,[v] and promote anti-democratic, pro-secessionist bodies like the Abbeville Institute, [vi] an organization whose leaders are closely associated with the League of the South, described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a ‘hate group.’ It is clear, therefore, that even in the 21st Century, members of the UDC continue its tradition of racism and opposition to equality, yet the United States military tacitly supports and enables this neo-Confederate ideology by allowing the UDC to award honors at U.S. Service academies and other military schools.
The toleration of this activity by the U.S. military reflects poor judgment. Future military officers of the Republic should not be given awards named after individuals who lead an insurrection against the United States to preserve slavery, by an organization dedicated to the glorification of this insurrection. Additionally, several of these awards are named after notorious racists.[vii] Raphael Semmes, for example, erected a tombstone in Mexico with the inscription “In memoriam of Abraham Lincoln, President of the late United States, who died of nigger on the brain, 1st January 1863,” and yet Semmes is honored with an award given to an exemplary cadet of the U.S. Coast Guard academy.
In summary, the UDC promotes a neo-Confederate ideology that challenges American democratic practices, praises and promotes racist books, and offers defenses of slavery. Consequently, in addition to ending the practice of sending a Presidential wreath to the Confederate Monument in Arlington Cemetery on Memorial Day, I ask you to end the practice of the UDC granting awards at America’s service academies and end their involvement in the affairs of the United States Military. Rather than annually celebrating the Confederacy, the United States of America needs a national conversation about the Confederacy, the Civil War, the overthrow of Reconstruction and neo-Confederacy. With the start of the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War, 2011 would be an ideal time to begin such a discussion to acknowledge the historical truth about these issues. With a false understanding of the historical past we poison the future. Or, as the great W.E.B. Du Bois angrily explained in regards to the upcoming Civil War Centennial celebrations in 1960:
Thus we train generations of men who do not know the past, or believe a false picture of the past, to have no trustworthy guide for living and to stumble doggedly on, through mistake after mistake, to fatal ends. Our history becomes “lies agreed upon” and stark ignorance guides our future.[viii]
I would be happy to provide further documentation as you require.
Edward H. Sebesta
[i] The online publication, Black Commentator, has an article about some of the more contemporary UDC promotion of neo-Confederacy at (http://www.blackcommentator.com/274/274_clinton_udc.html). For more background on the UDC’s promotion of racism information is provided online at http://www.confederatepastpresent.org/ in conjunction with the Winter Institute at the University of Mississippi for both the Nader Period and the Modern Civil Rights Era, additionally a brief summary of the history of the racism of the UDC can be found at http://arlingtonconfederatemonument.blogspot.com/2011/02/united-daughters-of-confederacy-and.html.
[ii] Fannie Selph, The South in American Life and History, Nashville Chapters of United Daughters of the Confederacy, 1928, pp. 372-374, praised the KKK; for the Susan Lawrence book on the KKK see, No Author, “Memorial Fund to Honor Wilson Boosted by U.D.C,” Atlanta Constitution, 11/22/1924; in the UDC’s official publication, Southern Magazine, see Walter Henry Cook, “Secret Political Societies in the South During The Period of Reconstruction,” The Southern Magazine, pages 3-5, 42-43, Vol. III No. 1, July 1936, News Publishing Company, Wytheville, Virginia; for Mildred Rutherford’s address praising the KKK see, Mildred Rutherford, an address, “The Thirteen Periods of United States History,” delivered as UDC Historian General to the UDC convention, November 13, 1913, from a section titled, “The Humiliated South of The Reconstruction Period.” These articles can be found at http://www.confederatepastpresent.org/ a web site in conjunction with the Winter Institute.
For article attacking school integration see Bruce Dunstan, Jefferson Davis – The Man America Needs Today,” UDC Magazine, June 1958, pp. 19, 23, 26, 27; Attack on school integration at UDC convention see Gen. Sumter Lowry, UDC Magazine, serialized over two issues, February 1959 pp. 32, March 1959, pp. 15, 22, 24, a speech at a UDC convention. The complete text can be read in The Confederate and Neo-Confederate Reader: The ‘Great Truth’ about the ‘Lost Cause, University Press of Mississippi, Jackson, 2010. The United Daughters of the Confederacy ran numerous articles attacking Civil Rights and school integration during the 1950s and many of these can be read at http://www.confederatepastpresent.org/.
[iii] Erath, Clara, “Confederate Notes,” page 11, United Daughters of the Confederacy Magazine, Vol. 58 No. 7, August, 1995.
[iv] Grissom, Mike, “The Mystery of John Hunt Cole,” pages 27-29, United Daughters of the Confederacy Magazine, Vol. 51 No. 9, September 1988.
[v] Lee, Dr. Walter W., III, “The African Slave Trade,” pages 18-19, United Daughters of the Confederacy Magazine, Vol. 52 No. 4, April 1989.
[vi] Erath, Clara, “Confederate Notes: The Value of Southern Tradition,” page 17, United Daughters of the Confederacy Magazine, Vol. 68 No. 7, August 2005.
[vii] Wade Hampton, for example, was the leader of the Red Shirts who conducted a violent and successful campaign to restore white supremacy in South Carolina ending the multiracial democracy of Reconstruction. Wade Hampton is a hero to the UDC South Carolina Division precisely because he restored white supremacy to South Carolina and overthrew Reconstruction. United Daughters of the Confederacy, South Carolina Division: Golden Anniversary 1896-1946, no author. The UDC South Carolina Division issued a publication with the cover, “United Daughters of the Confederacy, South Carolina Division: Golden Anniversary 1896-1946.” In it on page 13 is an article titled, “Oakley Park, Edgefield’s Red Shirt Shrine.” Oakley Park is an old Plantation house which the South Carolina UDC division had decided in October 1944 to restore. The importance of this house for restoration is stated in the article, “Oakley Park was the home of General Martin Witherspoon Gary, who with his Red Shirts, in 1876, did so much to restore white supremacy in South Carolina.” The article explains further that “The “Red Shirts” were largely ex-Confederate soldiers under the leadership of their one-time military commanders,” and that “Conditions were desperate! The Democrats were determined to get the government back into the hands of the white people.” The UDC article praises the success of the Red Shirts says that they “… accomplished the overthrow of that “blackest abomination” – The Radical Government of South Carolina.”
In the 21st century the UDC continues to promote the “Red Shirt Shrine,” the UDC run Oakley Park Museum in Edgefield, South Carolina. In the June/July 2001 issue of UDC Magazine, the cover illustration is a photo of the Oakley Park plantation house for an article in the issue about it.[vii] The UDC raised money for this museum in the 1940s and has promoted them as heroes over the years, including the aforementioned Wade Hampton Sabre award.
The racism of others for whom these awards are named is given online at http://arlingtonconfederatemonument.blogspot.com/2011/02/biographical-background-of-racism-of.html.
[viii] W.E.B. Du Bois, “The Lie of History as It Is Taught Today (The Civil War: The War to Preserve Slavery), February 15, 1960, from “W.E.B. Du Bois: A Reader,” edited by Andrew Paschal, Collier Books edition, New York, 1993, pp. 115-120.
If you wish to be a co-signer email me.
UPDATE: The Chronicles of Higher Education has mentioned this letter in an article about universities, including the U.S. Military academies which work with the United Daughters of the Confederacy. The link is: http://chronicle.com/blogs/ticker/bowdoin-ends-confederate-heritage-award-like-many-still-offered-by-u-s-service-academies/106066
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
The the racism of the persons for whom the UDC names its awards to the U.S. Military service academy students
The following is about the racism of the individuals for whom the UDC names the awards that they give to the U.S. Military service academy students.
Wade Hampton, was the leader of the Red Shirts who conducted a violent and successful campaign to restore white supremacy in South Carolina ending the multiracial democracy of Reconstruction. Wade Hampton is a hero to the UDC South Carolina Division precisely because he restored white supremacy to South Carolina and overthrew Reconstruction.[i]
The UDC South Carolina Division issued a publication with the cover, “United Daughters of the Confederacy, South Carolina Division: Golden Anniversary 1896-1946.” In it on page 13 is an article titled, “Oakley Park, Edgefield’s Red Shirt Shrine.” Oakley Park is an old Plantation house which the South Carolina UDC division had decided in October 1944 to restore. The importance of this house for restoration is stated in the article, “Oakley Park was the home of General Martin Witherspoon Gary, who with his Red Shirts, in 1876, did so much to restore white supremacy in South Carolina.”
The article explains further:
The “Red Shirts” were largely ex-Confederate soldiers under the leadership of their one-time military commanders. Forbidden to organize into military companies and regarding the gray uniform of the Confederacy as inappropriate, the men arrayed themselves in red shirts and formed mounted bands which patrolled the State in the interest of the Democratic nominee for Governor, which was Hampton, against the Republican nominee, Chamberlain. “A white man’s government”, they said. Then followed a long struggle for control. The Republicans held the State House, and were sustained by United States troops. Conditions were desperate! The Democrats were determined to get the government back into the hands of the white people.
The Red Shirts, who gathered at Oakley Park and rode out from there were a great factor in achieving this, and in the election of Hampton in 1876, and thus was accomplished the overthrow of that “blackest abomination” – The Radical Government of South Carolina.”
In the 21st century the UDC continues to promote the “Red Shirt Shrine,” the UDC run Oakley Park Museum in Edgefield, South Carolina. In the June/July 2001 issue of UDC Magazine, the cover illustration is a photo of the Oakley Park plantation house for an article in the issue about it. .[i] The UDC raised money for this museum in the 1940s and has promoted them as heroes over the years, including the aforementioned Wade Hampton sabre award.
Raphael Semmes erected a tombstone in Mexico with the inscription “In memoriam of Abraham Lincoln, President of the late United States, who died of nigger on the brain, 1st January 1863,” is somehow honored with an award given to an exemplary cadet of the U.S. Coast Guard academy.
Professor Gerald Horne, in his book, “The Deepest South: The United States, Brazil, and the African Slave Trade,” discusses the obsessive racism of Semmes. Brazilian society displeased Semmes because of racial antipathies. Horne quotes Semmes in his rejection of post-war colonization of Brazil as follows:
‘The effete Portuguese race,’ he sputtered, ‘has been ingrafted [sic]upon a stupid, stolid Indian stock in that country … this might be a suitable field enough for the New England schoolma’am and carpet-bagger, but no Southern gentleman should think of mixing his blood or casting his lot with such a race of people.’
Horne explains that while Semmes, as a Confederate naval officer during the Civil War, was hosted and feted by Brazilian society he was obsessed with their racial composition. Horne writes:
He was disgusted with “amalgamation” in Brazil, thinking it provided a poor example for North America, as it was leading to “mongrel set of curs” that would “cover the whole land.” He was more pleased with South Africa where “the African has met the usual fate of the savage, when he comes in contact with civilized man. He had been thrust aside, and was only to be seen as a straggler and stranger in his native land.” As he saw it, “the inhabitants of the Cape Colony seemed to resemble our own people” in their penchant for white supremacy.
Horne also questions Semmes being considered a hero and writes:
The “damage done by Raphael Semmes to the commerce of the United States” amounted to “ten millions of dollars.” Yet despite this mayhem he inflicted on the U.S. during the course of his treasonous revolt, after the war his “statue” was placed prominently on “Mobile’s busiest thoroughfare, standing near the sea he so long loved and dominated.”[ii]
Following the defeat of the Confederacy, Matthew Fontaine Maury attempted to recreate the slave-era Old South in Mexico. As noted by Gaines M. Foster in his book, “Ghosts of the Confederacy,” Maury and his comrades planned to:
Bring with them a proportional number of “negro skilled laborers in agriculture” who would enter the country as “peons” – a concession that caused Maury to consider himself an abolitionist. Together, the best families and faithful peons would build a “New Virginia” in a part of Mexico that reminded Maury of the Valley of the Shenandoah.[iii]
Maury also worked at length for a scheme to colonize the Amazon basin of Brazil with African- American slaves. Maury’s contempt for Brazilians and his plans for this slave expansion are shown in these excerpts in a letter of instruction to Herndon who he sent to Brazil as a scout for his scheme:
Who shall people the Great Valley of this Mighty Amazon? Shall it be peopled with an imbecile and an indolent people or by a go ahead race that has energy and enterprise equal to subdue the forest and to develop and bring forth the vast resources that lie hidden here?
… That valley is to [be] the safety valve for our Southern States, when they become over-populated with slaves, the African Slave Trade will be stopped, and they will send their slaves to the Amazon. Just as the Mississippi Valley has been the escape valve for the slaves of the Northern, now free, States, so will the Amazon be to that of the Mississippi.[iv]
To further promote this expansion of slavery Maury resorted to the fear mongering of race war, in De Bow’s Review in an article advocating the transfer of African American slaves to the Amazon.[v]
A columnist in the UDC Magazine in 1958 writing about an article praising Maury, lists this as an example of Maury accomplished intellect. Further the columnist quotes Maury writing to his cousin that transferring African American slaves to the Amazon “…would be relieving our own country of the slaves, it would be hastening the time of our deliverance, and if it would be putting off indefinitely, the horrows [sic] of that war of races, which without an escape is surely to come."[vi]
Despite his iconic status in the South, Robert E. Lee was a racist who worked against African Americans after the Civil War. His attitudes are best described by his son Robert E. Lee Jr. The 1904 book Recollections and Letters of General Lee, written by his son, R.E. Lee, Jr., includes the following remark by General Lee:
I have always observed that wherever you find the negro, everything is going down around him, and wherever you find the white man, you see everything around him improving.
Robert E. Lee wrote the notorious White Sulphur Manifesto to undermine and oppose the Republican Party civil rights policies in the presidential election of 1868. In this letter Lee wrote:
It is true that the people of the South, in common with a large majority of the people of the North and West, are, for obvious reasons, inflexibly opposed to any system of laws that would place the political power of the country in the hands of the negro race. But this opposition springs from no feeling of enmity, but from a deep-seated conviction that, at present, the negroes have neither the intelligence nor the other qualifications which are necessary to make them safe depositories of political power. They would inevitably become the victims of demagogues, who, for selfish purposes, would mislead them to the serious injury of the public.
At the Congressional hearings on Reconstruction Lee expressed support of slavery and believing that Virginia would be better off without African Americans.[vii]
[i] “United Daughters of the Confederacy, South Carolina Division: Golden Anniversary 1896-1946,” no author. Also, Harris, Donna, “Oakley Park: Only Shrine of its Kind,” page 23-24, United Daughters of the Confederacy Magazine, Vol. 64 No. 6, June/July 2001.
[ii] Gerald Horne, “The Deepest South: The United States, Brazil, and the African Slave Trade,” pp. 190-91, New York University Press, New York, 2007.
[iii] Foster, Gaines M., “Ghosts of the Confederacy,” page 16, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1987.
[iv] Gerald Horne, “The Deepest South: The United States, Brazil, and the African Slave Trade,” pp. 113-16, New York University Press, New York, 2007. Maury’s plan is discussed from page 112 to 127.
[v] The fact must be obvious to the far-reaching minds of our statesmen, that unless some means of relief be devised, some channel afforded, by which the South can, when the time comes, get rid of the excess of her slave population, that she will be ultimately found, with regard to this institution, in the predicament of the man with the wolf by the ears—too dangerous to hold on any longer, and equally dangerous to let go.
To our mind, the event is as certain to happen as any event is [sic] which dependents on the contingencies of the future, viz.: that unless means be devised for gradually relieving the slave states from the undue pressure of this class upon them—unless some way be opened by which they may be rid of their surplus black population,—the time will come—it may not be in the next nor in the succeeding generation—but, sooner or later, come it will, and come it must—when the two races will join in the death struggle for the mastery,” from Matthew Fontaine Maury, “Direct Foreign Trade of the South,” De Bow’s Review, Vol. 12 No. 2 Feb. 1852, pp. 147.
[vi] Col. John C. Lawton, “Matthew Fontaine Maury,” UDC Magazine, Vol. 21 No. 3, March 1958, pp. 6-7, 10, 17.
[vii] Robert E. Lee, “Memoranda on the Civil War,” Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine, Vol. 36 No. 4, August. 1888, 600-01 for his views on slavery; ---, Report of the Joint Committee on Reconstruction at the First Session Thirty-Ninth Congress, (Washington: GPO, 1866), 135-36 for his views of ridding Virginia of African Americans.
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
As one the oldest and most powerful neo-Confederate organizations, the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) has a long history of opposition to the values of a multiracial democratic United States of America.[i] In the UDC’s early years it promoted the Ku Klux Klan as being the heroic accomplishments of Confederate heroes. The Tennessee Division UDC did this in its book “The South in American Life and History,” declaring, “The Ku-Klux Klan’s great achievements were: The inevitability of Anglo-Saxon supremacy; the virtue of the courage and patriotism of the Confederate soldier; and that at last, ‘truth will prevail.’” [ii] Susan Lawrence’s book, “Authentic History of the Ku Klux Klan,” was praised at a UDC convention as a book every Southerner should read.[iii] S.E.F. Rose wrote the book “The Ku Klux Klan or Invisible Empire,” which was “unanimously endorsed by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, in convention,” in 1913, with a dedication which says:
This book is dedicated by the author to the Youth of the Southland, hoping that perusal of its pages will inspire them with respect and admiration for the Confederate soldiers, who were the real Ku Klux, and whose deeds of courage and valor, have never been surpassed, and rarely equalled in the annals of history.
In the 1930s in the UDC’s Southern Magazine they published a lengthy defense and justification of the Ku Klux Klan by Walter Henry Cook.[iv]
Mildred Rutherford, a great hero of the UDC and their historically most prominent Historian General in a speech to the UDC convention in 1913, said:
The Ku Klux Klan was an absolute necessity in the South at this time. This Order was not composed of the “riff raff” as has been represented in history, but of the very flower of Southern manhood. The chivalry of the South demanded protection for the women and children of the South.[v]
When the modern civil rights movement started in the United States, the UDC in its magazine campaigned strenuously against integration and civil rights. In a typical article, “Jefferson Davis – The Man America Needs Today,” by Bruce Dunstan, he informs the reader that the principals of Jefferson Davis are needed to oppose civil rights and oppose:
… forced shameful race-mixing, that causes lowered educational standards, immorality, and finally a mongrelized people, will bring about the downfall of America, as integration of races doomed the once cultured, and prosperous cities and nations of Carthage, Athens, Rome, and Sparta.[vi]
In another issue of UDC Magazine in the Civil Rights Era, the speech of rabid segregationist Gen. Sumter Lowry, notorious candidate for Florida governor is reprinted, evidently meeting the UDCs approval. Lowry tells the UDC:
Now there immediately occurred a violent and bitter reaction against the idea of forcing white and colored children to associate together in public schools and institutions - there have been millions of words written and every conceivable reason given why the people of the South so violently oppose the integration of the races. But when you get right down to the underlying cause, it leads to just one place, that is the definite and certain knowledge that if you mix male and female together in intimate, social relationship from childhood to maturity, it will bring on intermarriage-it will do this regardless of race or color.
Now the conspirators who wish to destroy our nation well know if you mix people of different color in marriage and if you infuse the blood of fourteen million negroes into the blood stream of the white American, you will breed a mongrel race, neither white nor black, and the history of the world shows that when a nation becomes mongrelized, it dies.[vii]
Other articles from the UDC Magazine attacking civil rights in the 1950s can be found at the website http://www.confederatepastpresent.org/. [Note to reader this website will have the material put online in time for the mailing of the letter May 1, 2010, however, it planned to have the material online during February.]
In modern times, the UDC promotes the neo-Confederate Southern Partisan magazine and the books it published, and other neo-Confederate books. Clara Erath first mentions Southern Partisan in 1989 in discussion of an article in it about a speech by M.E. Bradford, in her regular column, “Confederate Notes, in UDC Magazine.
In a 1995 article UDC Magazine columnist Clara Erath recommended to her readers the book, “So Good a Cause: A Decade of Southern Partisan” and which had an essay by Richard M. Weaver referring to urban Chicago as a “evil flower.” Erath, in reference to the essay, concludes, “At a time when this kind of ‘evil flower’ seems to have spread over the nation, membership in the UDC reinforces our knowledge of who we are and from whence we came, and it gives us a sense of community with those who share our heritage.”[viii]
Similarly, in 1999 Erath discussed an issue of Southern Partisan devoted to providing a extensive list of books for Southerners to read and recommends some specific racist works from that list including: “Remembering Who We Are,” by M.E. Bradford; “The Southern Tradition at Bay,” by Richard Weaver; and “I’ll Take My Stand,” by Twelve Southerners, the Southern Agrarians.[ix] Southern Partisan also advertised in the UDC Magazine in the 1980s.
The UDC helped launch the book publishing career of neo-Confederate Michael Andrew Grissom by the inclusion of a section of his shortly to be published work, “Southern By the Grace of God,” with ordering information in the UDC Magazine, in 1988. This is a volume that has sections defending the Ku Klux Klan, holding up lynching as a heroic civic virtue, and recommends the books of Thomas Dixon, such as “The Clansmen.”[x] It was one of the two books founding the modern radical neo-Confederate movement.
Clara Erath enthusiastically recommended Richard M. Weaver’s “The Southern Tradition At Bay” to her readers, a book originally published in 1968 by Arlington House and republished by Regnery Gateway in 1989.[xi] Erath effusively praises it gushing:
The Old South may indeed be a hall hung with splendid tapestries in which no one would care to live; but from them we can learn something of how to live.
This book was key in the origins of the modern neo-Confederate movement advancing many of its core ideas and concepts. Since it was either promoted or quoted in the UDC Magazine repeatedly it would be instructive to examine it.
The book was originally Weaver’s dissertation, “The Confederate South, 1865-1910: A Study in the Survival of a Mind and a Culture,” at Louisiana State University for his doctorate in English in 1943. Weaver died in 1963, and in 1968 it was posthumously published with two editors, George Core and M.E. Bradford, the latter a campaigner for George Wallace. The Forward was written by segregationist and Southern Agrarian Donald Davidson. It was critical to founding the modern neo-Confederate ideology by claiming that Southern traditions and ways had failed to be developed into a philosophy but that it could be done and should be done which he does so in his book.[xii]
Weaver sees the southern culture as being anti-modern, anti-democratic, hierarchal, religiously pre-modern, and feudal in origins. Weaver advocates the restoration of this culture as a solution for what he sees as the problems of modern society. In his book he paints slavery and large plantations as idyllic, for example.
The feeling of being bound to a locality, which has been almost wholly lost by the deracinated population of the modern metropolis, was a part of the plantation dweller’s daily consciousness and an important factor in his self-respect. In the midst of traffic in human beings there was, paradoxically, less evidence of the cash nexus than in the marts of free labor, and even the humble could have the deep human satisfaction that comes of being cherished for what one is. Between the expression “our people,” euphemistic though it may have been, and the modern abstraction “manpower” lies a measure of our decline in humanity.[xiii]
Another defense for slavery and expression of his racism is as follows:
The Northern public has generally displayed a strange credulity with respects to stories of abuses emanating from the South, and when these are multiplied tenfold, as they were in Reconstruction days, it is little wonder that many Northerners of good will, whom a visit to the South would have undeceived, went on believing that slave holders had subjected their Negroes to deliberate and systematic brutalizing. Somewhere between two opinions distorted by passion lay a truth: on the one hand, Southerners had done less than they might have toward civilizing the blacks, and on the other hand, Northerners, accepting the dogma that the Negro had the white man’s nature and capacities, had conceived an imperfect notion of the problem.[xiv]
Emancipation is seen as a problem for African Americans, Weaver writing:
That the presence of the African had been the chief source of Southern misfortunes was a common admission; yet his very childlikeness, his extraordinary exhibitions of loyalty, and his pathetic attempts to find his place in the complicated white man’s civilization rather had the effect of endearing him to his former owners.[xv]
Curious for a book advocated by a women’s organization, in Weaver’s epilogue he advocates the revocation of suffrage for women arguing;
Distinctions of many kinds will have to be restored, and I would mention especially one whose loss has added immeasurably to the malaise of our civilization – fruitful distinction between the sexes, with the recognition of respective spheres of influence. … Southerners were adamant, and even today, with our power of discrimination at its lowest point in history, there arises a feeling that the roles of the sexes must again be made explicit. … and I think that women would have more influence actually if they did not vote, but, according to the advice of Augusta Evans Wilson, made their firesides seats of Delphic wisdom.[xvi]
The UDC attitude towards the Middle Passage of the slave trade is revealed by an appalling speech by Dr. Walter W. Lee III on the transatlantic slave trade presented at the convention of the New York Division of the UDC in 1988 and reprinted in the UDC Magazine in 1989. The speech seeks to correct what Lee feels are “misconceptions” about the Middle Passage. Starting out with biting sarcasm attacking the movie “Roots,” Lee argues that most of the slaves transported were already slaves living in terrible conditions, so the Middle Passage wasn’t that much worse. The slave trade was blamed on local African rulers who sold Africans into slavery rather than the slave traders and plantation owners. The death rate of the Middle Passage is alleged not due to the terrible conditions that the slaves endured, but as Lee explained, “… due to the immense psychological shock of being ripped from surroundings that, if brutal, were at least familiar …”
Further Lee explains:
Much is made of the horrors of the Middle Passage, and it was in truth horrific. But it may be commented that the sixteen inches of deck space allotted each slave is not all that much smaller that the eighteen inches that the Royal Navy allowed for each sailor’s hammock and the slaves rapidly had more room due to the much higher death rate.
Lee argues that the efforts by the British to stop the slave trade were harmful. He also feels that the sailors on the slave ships were treated worse than the slaves. Lee concludes his speech by saying:
I have said and will say little about the morality of the trade. Like it or not, before machines, there was no replacement for forced labor, and of its various forms slavery was the easiest to use. I will say this: condemnation is easy and there is always enough blame to go around. … ‘judge not lest we also be judged.’[xvii]
More recent and note worthy promotion of neo-Confederacy by the UDC is the promotion of the Abbeville Institute (http://www.abbevilleinstitute.org/) by Clara Erath[xviii] and the UDC awarding its director Donald Livingston, leading neo-Confederate intellectual, the Jefferson Davis Gold Medal.[xix] Donald Livingston was formerly the head of the League of the South Institute until he broke away and formed the Abbeville Institute. The new institute is largely the same people who were formerly in the League of the South Institute and comprises the who’s who of neo-Confederate professors. He is also a contributor to the racist website “Stalking the Wild Taboo.”[xx]
Another prominent UDC Magazine columnist named Retta D. Tindall recommended Michael Andrew Grissom’s book, “Southern By the Grace of God,” in a 2007 column titled “Confederate Classics: For Research, Reference, or Refresher.” According to Tindall, “If you have a child or a grandchild or a UDC friend or family member who loves Confederate history, these books are sure to become treasures, too.”
In reviewing Grissom’s writing and making it clear what she considers “heritage,” Tindall states:
Mr. Grissom wrote this book for four reasons: to offer a firm understanding of our heritage, to instill pride in being Southern, to pursue the elements that characterize the South, and to rally Southerners to defend and preserve their heritage.
It is clear that even in 2007 the UDC continues to define “Southern heritage” as white nationalism.
[i] The online publication, Black Commentator, has an article about the UDC’s racist history at (http://www.blackcommentator.com/274/274_clinton_udc.html).
[ii] Fannie Selph, The South in American Life and History, Nashville Chapters of United Daughters of the Confederacy, 1928, pp. 372-374.
[iii] ---, “Memorial Fund to Honor Wilson Boosted by U.D.C,” Atlanta Constitution, 11/22/1924.
[iv] Walter Henry Cook, “Secret Political Societies in the South During The Period of Reconstruction,” The Southern Magazine, pages 3-5, 42-43, Vol. III No. 1, July 1936, News Publishing Company, Wytheville, Virginia.
[v] Mildred Rutherford, an address, “The Thirteen Periods of United States History,” delivered as UDC Historian General to the UDC convention, November 13, 1913, from a section titled, “The Humiliated South of The Reconstruction Period.”
[vi] Bruce Dunstan, Jefferson Davis – The Man America Needs Today,” UDC Magazine, June 1958, pp. 19, 23, 26, 27, quote on page 23.
[vii] Gen. Sumter Lowry, UDC Magazine, serialized over two issues, February 1959 pp. 32, March 1959, pp. 15, 22, 24, a speech at a UDC convention. The complete text can be read in “The Confederate and Neo-Confederate Reader: The ‘Great Truth’ about the ‘Lost Cause,” University Press of Mississippi, Jacksonk, 2010.
[viii] Erath, Clara, “Confederate Notes,” page 11, United Daughters of the Confederacy Magazine, Vol. 58 No. 7, August, 1995.
[ix] Erath, Clara, “Confederate Notes,” page 9, United Daughters of the Confederacy Magazine, Vol. 62 No. 11, December 1999.
[x] Grissom, Mike, “The Mystery of John Hunt Cole,” pages 27-29, United Daughters of the Confederacy Magazine, Vol. 51 No. 9, September 1988.
[xi] Erath, Clara, “Confederate Notes,” page 9, United Daughters of the Confederacy Magazine, Vol. 53 No. 10, October 1990.
[xii] Weaver, Richard, “The Southern Tradition At Bay,” pages 388-389, published by Arlington House, New Rochelle, New York, 1968.
[xiii] Weaver, Richard, “The Southern Tradition At Bay,” page 52, published by Arlington House, New Rochelle, New York, 1968.
[xiv] Weaver, Richard, “The Southern Tradition At Bay,” page 168, published by Arlington House, New Rochelle, New York, 1968.
[xv] Weaver, Richard, “The Southern Tradition At Bay,” page 169, published by Arlington House, New Rochelle, New York, 1968.
[xvi] Weaver, Richard, “The Southern Tradition At Bay,” page 394, published by Arlington House, New Rochelle, New York, 1968.
[xvii] Lee, Dr. Walter W., III, “The African Slave Trade,” pages 18-19, United Daughters of the Confederacy Magazine, Vol. 52 No. 4, April 1989.
[xviii] Erath, Clara, “Confederate Notes: The Value of Southern Tradition,” page 17, United Daughters of the Confederacy Magazine, Vol. 68 No. 7, August 2005.
[xix] Erath, Clara, “Confederate Notes: Abbeville Institute Co-Founder & President Honored,” page 18, United Daughters of the Confederacy Magazine, Vol. 68 No. 10, November 2005.
[xx] Livingston, Donald, “Secession and the Modern State,” http://www.lrainc.com/swtaboo/taboos/dwliv01.html, printed 1/29/11. The white supremacist ideology of this website and be read at this main page, http://www.lrainc.com/swtaboo/index.html.
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