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.