Smithsonian Attacks on Confederate Heritage

(January 8, 2019) Two months ago Smithsonian Magazine published a misleading article claiming that a total of seven hundred Confederate memorials have received “at least” $40 million in taxpayer funding over the past decade. Even by the authors’ own accounting, a mere five memorials accounted for over 80% of the total. And over half of the 80% was used to restore the Jefferson Davis National Historic Landmark on the Mississippi Gulf Coast in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Except for the Sons of Confederate Veterans, I am unaware of any organization that has challenged the article’s one-sided analysis. Nonetheless, several points merit consideration.

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First, the Smithsonian itself obtains about $640 million of its $960 million annual budget from the federal government. Given that two-thirds of their budget is a taxpayer subsidy, Smithsonian managers should feel obliged to provide a balanced analysis. But, as noted below, they don’t.  

Second, during the past eighteen months Smithsonian has published at least eight articles, in its magazine or on its website, criticizing Confederate statues. Most explicitly state or imply that such memorials are inherently racist as are their present-day supporters. In contrast, the Smithsonian has yet to publish a single article defending the statues.

Third, for purposes of their spending analysis the Smithsonian authors include homes, parks, museums, libraries, and cemeteries, as well as statues, under the rubric: “Confederate memorials.” But taxpayer funds spent at a memorial such as Georgia’s Stone Mountain are used almost entirely for park services. They include the maintenance of biking and hiking trails and other recreational facilities. Little, if any, is spent on the stone carvings of Robert E. Lee, “Stonewall” Jackson and Jefferson Davis, which were completed nearly fifty years ago.

If you want to urge Smithsonian to publish at least one article presenting an argument in favor of Confederate statues you may wish to write:

Dr. David Skorton
Secretary
Smithsonian Institution
Two Massachusetts Avenue, N. E.
Washington, D. C. 20002

4 thoughts on “Smithsonian Attacks on Confederate Heritage

  1. Cotton Boll Conspiracy

    ” … during the past eighteen months Smithsonian has published at least eight articles, in its magazine or on its website, criticizing Confederate statues. Most explicitly state or imply that such memorials are inherently racist as are their present-day supporters.”

    That is an awful lot of ink – or space – devoted by a monthly magazine to a single topic. Methinks somebody may be pushing an agenda, but it’s just a hunch.

    Reply
  2. Harris Syed

    So their estimate according to them is based off tax and budget documents as well as interviews with state officials. So when I looked up Investigative Fund I found out that in the organization’s own words is to advance social justice and civil rights, do they not realize that this goal has been acheived since the 1960s and they are beating a dead horse.

    Anyway, I wonder they don’t seem to name any specifc documents like actually you know showing a PDF for these documents they’ve obtained or the interviews with the state officials where I don’t see the name of a single state official they interviewed they only mentioned it in one graph.

    Reply
  3. Sean Michael Chick

    “homes, parks, museums, libraries, and cemeteries” – This is the new frontier. Only a matter of time before cemetery statues come down through legal means and after lots of protests. Meanwhile, the Earth gets warmer and the rich get richer.

    Reply

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