Monthly Archives: May 2019

“Lucky” Luciano’s Hot Springs Episode

(May 31, 2019) Several years ago AMC-TV made a docudrama titled, The Making of the Mob: New York. Presently it is available as a “free” stream on AmazonPrime. Episode Four of the First Season includes “Lucky” Luciano’s flee from New York prosecution and his capture in Hot Springs, Arkansas. The story is also covered in Chapter Three of The Devil’s Town, which is my book about Hot Springs during the gangster era.

The docudrama takes considerable creative liberty, but is still an interesting version of events. There was no filming in Hot Springs. Nonetheless, those interested in the topic might like to watch it.

Moreover, the entire eight-episode first season provides context that will help those wanting to understand how Hot Springs figured-into overall mafia activities. Be advised, however, that the producer seems to be following the Hollywood motto:  When given a choice between the truth and the legend, choose the legend.

To repeat for clarity, those with an AmazonPrime subscription will be able to watch the entire first season for “free” because it is included in your membership. Everyone else will have to pay for each episode. I do not know if AMC still makes it available on their cable TV network.

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Hostility Toward Confederate Heritage

(May 29, 2019) Today’s post is a guest article by Andy Schindler. Andy is active at online discussion forums about the American Civil War and Reconstruction. His article gives us a feel for the Wild West environment that prevails in such arenas. He also shares his perspective regarding the hostility toward Confederate Heritage so prevalent online.

Andy is responsible for the opinions in the article, which do not necessarily reflect those of this blog.

Origins of Anti-Southern History: An Online Debater’s Perspective
Andy Schindler

It’s basically rooted in political ideology. Those of us who defend the South in online debates have learned to identify the left-leaning politically activist historians from their blogs and Twitter feeds that reveal the true animosity behind their more cautiously worded books and articles. I need not mention them by name. Online debate newcomers will learn them soon enough.

The activist’s interactions with dissenters are woven with ridicule. They commonly act as a mob, marching around the Internet on dissenter search and destroy missions. They also often bridge historical topics to modern political topics.

For example, they like to throw jabs at Trump. Watch or read the entire transcript of the President’s comments regarding Charlottesville. Then, read what one of the politically-activist historians had to say. You won’t be reading subjective interpretation; you’ll be reading dishonesty.

Dishonesty by omission. They will point to the “fine people on both sides” remark but won’t mention the President’s condemnation of the white supremacists. Nor will they admit that the “fine people” opposite Antifa that Trump was referring to were those wanting to defend the Robert E. Lee statute, not the white nationalists.

In the same vein, their attempt to categorize President Trump as a racist, rings hollow. Instead they portray those folks who showed up with masks, clubs, tear gas and guns as innocent victims. Never mind that they had no permit to counter-protest. Never mind that they instigated the violence. That the vile racists were present is enough justification for the politically-active historians to excuse Antifa behavior, or to shrink from any pro-active effort to condemn it. No, they sit back and let the violence of their student acolytes decide which statues will populate America’s future landscape.

But Charlottesville is merely a high-profile example of their attempt to smear as racist anyone who disagrees with them. They reason that by classifying a debate opponent—or better yet, an entire group of opponents—as racists, they win the debate on moral grounds alone. That way they can ignore contrary evidence or facts.

The reality that most of these folks preach biased history isn’t the main problem. The bigger problem is their dishonest portrayal of themselves as neutral. It’s no coincidence that those contemptuous of Confederate Heritage are left wing political activists.

They are beyond liberal, which in the traditional sense is open-minded, well-rounded and perpetually open to free speech. In contrast, today’s politically-active historians are censors. They are the dominant “moderators” on Civil War discussion groups. It is always the people in power that censor. Moreover, they do it for a single reason: to retain power and control the narrative they prefer.

While, I’m not claiming all of the established authors, professors and historians are left wing activists they do seem to be dominant, especially online where they often abandon civility. It is always those in power who are most abusive. It wasn’t that long ago when most people in positions of respect and higher learning went to great lengths to appear neutral.

Disguising indoctrination as education is a great evil. Eventually it leads to contempt of minority opinion, for which free speech is the last line of defense. And that is why free speech is under attack in academia, the online forums and . . . well, everywhere.


Sinister Secret About Lincoln’s Black Soldiers

(May 28, 2019) Contrary to popular belief, many of the Blacks that went to fight for Lincoln during the Civil War went unwillingly, or were dragged in under false pretenses. In his master’s thesis, Kellen Starmer concludes that the recruiting abuses endured by Blacks are “inconsistent with the prevailing [academic] literature . . . which portray’s the experience in an overwhelmingly positive light. It is also inconsistent with popular films, such as Glory, which show only eager recruits, proudly lined up to volunteer.”

Almost 180,000 Blacks served in the Union armed forces during the Civil War, representing about ten percent of the total. Since Blacks were not initially subject to the draft they were “recruited” as volunteers. Only about 20% came from the Free States. The eleven states of the Confederacy contributed almost 55% while the Border States provided the final 25%. Recruiting abuses varied by region.

Notwithstanding minor activities in far-off Kansas, serious Black recruiting began in the Southeast after the Union Navy captured Port Royal, South Carolina in November 1861. Whites in nearby plantations abandoned their lands while most of the Blacks remained. Northern Whites took over the plantations and put the Blacks to work under the protection of a federal occupation Army headed by Major General David Hunter.

The following April, Hunter declared the Blacks “contraband” in order to qualify them as recruits for a new African-American regiment. The following month he ordered  “all able-bodied male Negroes [in his district] between the ages of eighteen and forty-five who were capable of bearing arms . . . to be sent to Hilton Head at once” where they were to be impressed into the Black regiment. Worried that Hunter’s actions might trigger Border States to join the Confederacy, President Lincoln ordered the general to disband the unit.  But Hunter had set a pattern of impressment that would impact Black recruiting in the South until the end of the War.

A year later, after Lincoln had officially authorized recruiting, Hunter ordered troops to surround a church meeting and impress every able-bodied Black man as he attempted to leave. That, and smilier techniques, were sometimes used throughout the region in the future as the occupation zone grew larger when Union forces gained control over more territory.  After Congress authorized Blacks recruited in the Confederate states to count toward draft quota’s up North in July 1864, agents swarmed into the Southeast. They offered Blacks bounties, which they often failed to pay, or only partially pay.

After Union Major General Benjamin Butler occupied the lower Mississippi River Valley in April 1862  a New Orleans regiment of free Blacks eagerly volunteered in August. Thereafter, however, recruitment proceeded as in the Southeast. Throughout the region, densely populated with Blacks, recruiters impressed contraband slaves, slaves-still-owned-by-masters, and many free African-Americans into service.

Later in 1862 when Major General Nathaniel P. Banks took over Butler’s Department of the Gulf enlistment of contrabands and slaves began in earnest. Many area planters claimed to be Union-loyal and thereby entitled to keep their slaves.  Nonetheless, as manpower needs increased recruiters frequently raided plantations where they impressed all the able-bodied slaves they encountered. As in Port Royal some of the plantations were operated under lease by Northerners. Louisiana’s various competing interests among planters, northern lessees, contrabands, and free blacks led to recruiting chaos resulting in a common denominator of abuse.

Border States recruiting was influenced by their closer proximity to the Free States. As war casualties grew and the Union’s manpower needs increased more recruiters showed up in Missouri, Kentucky and Maryland where Blacks were more accessible than in the occupied regions of the Confederacy. Just as in the South, however, many Border State Blacks were impressed into service against their will. Others who had been promised bounties were cheated out of them by crooked recruiting agents.

Free States began supporting Black enlistment as the war dragged on and casualties mounted. Northerners also argued that Black’s were more preferable cannon fodder than Whites. Early in 1863 Massachusetts became the first Free State to win permission to raise a Black regiment—the famous 54th. By the summer of ’63 Pennsylvania, Michigan, Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana also won approval.

Although Black recruitment progressed steadily through 1863 the initial enthusiasm wore off by 1864. In response agents increasingly used shady practices to get new Black recruits especially because Whites wanted to ease the burden of conscription quotas. As elsewhere, bonus swindling became popular.

As reports of fraud increased, Northern Blacks steadily grew more reluctant to volunteer. The enlistment shortage led recruiters to devise more coercive and deceptive methods. They went after younger recruits with alcohol, an effective method among those between the ages of fourteen and seventeen.

Although impressment was used less in the North than elsewhere there were, nonetheless, verified incidents. Most occurred in the Midwest where abolitionism was less rooted. Partly because of the region’s numerous White combat casualties, many residents thought it only fair to force Blacks to play a bigger role.

In sum, the Union Army’s recruitment of Black men was not as inspiring as has been popularly represented. Eager enlistees were often mistreated. Reluctant Blacks were many times pressed into service. Others were imprisoned or intimidated into “volunteering.”

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Sources: Willie Rose Lee, Rehearsal for Reconstruction (New York: Vantage Books, 1964), Kellen Starmer Reluctant Freedom Fighters: Coercion and Negative Recruitment Experiences of African-Americans in the United States Civil War (California State University at ChicoMaster’s Thesis, 2014)

Silent Sam and Carr Washing

(May 27, 2019) Silent Sam was a Confederate statue that stood on the University of North Carolina campus at Chapel Hill for 104 years after its 1913 dedication. A student mob toppled it in 2017 for being an allegedly racist symbol.

Student hatred had been growing since 2011 when UNC graduate student Adam Domby discovered an outrageously racist incident described by one of Silent Sam’s six dedication speakers. Specifically Confederate veteran Julian Carr (1845 – 1924) bragged of an event that happened only months after Appomattox upon his return to Chapel Hill at age nineteen. He personally horse-whipped an African-American “wench until her skirts hung in shreds [because] she publicly insulted and maligned a Southern lady.”

Student Mob Topples Silent Sam Confederate Statue.

Although the whipping is indefensible, it appears that neither Domby or anyone in the UNC History Department bothered to learn anything more about Carr. If they had, they would have quickly discovered that he was a major North Carolina business leader and philanthropist. Moreover, he was politically progressive in a number of ways. Susan B. Anthony, for example, praised him for supporting women’s voting rights and he gave generously to colleges including Duke University and UNC. One of his favorite out-of-state charities was the Training School for Colored People in Augusta, Georgia.

He was among the first Southern textile mill owners to employ blacks in production work as opposed to maintenance. His in-state donations to black education included the North Carolina College for Negroes, presently known as North Carolina Central University. The school’s black founder praised Carr: “I have never known the first time for him to fail to give to any enterprise which he thought would benefit the colored people or to lend his influence in their behalf. . .  I have known scores and scores of colored people who were the recipients of his kindness and generosity. . . I have never known a colored person too poor or ignorant who went to General Carr for assistance who did not receive the same.”

Carr also helped black educator Willam Gaston Pearson who was born a slave in 1858 and worked as a youth at the Carr Factory. Carr recognized his potential and financed his education at Shaw University where Pearson graduated in 1886 at age 28. Thereafter, Pearson began teaching in Durham. In 1922 he became principal of Durham’s Hillside Park High School. In 1931, Hillside was accredited by the Southern Association of Secondary School and Colleges, a major achievement for a black high school during the Great Depression. Pearson also made other major business, religious, and educational contributions to the Durham community.

Since academic historians negligently failed to provide their students more about Carr’s background after the one-sided Domby disclosure in 2011, their Wikipedia proxy has been scrambling recently to find more evidence of Carr’s racism in order to justify toppling the statue. Among such items are additional remarks in the dedication speech praise for the Anglo Saxon race. Yes, Carr was a man of his time and place. To expect differently is like criticizing Isaac Newton for failing to invent the light bulb.

But even Abraham Lincoln made similar points in his 1858 debate with Stephen Douglas:

. . . I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races . . . and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between [us] which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race. . .”

Earlier historians recognized that when Southerners of Carr’s era talked of the Anglo Saxon race they had a double meaning. To be sure, white supremacy was a part of it and common among much of America at the time. But there was a second component that modern historians fail to appreciate. Specifically, such remarks were interpreted as promoting an antidote against the return of Negro Rule or Negro Domination, by which Southern whites really meant the return of Carpetbag Rule. Herbert Agar expressed the point as follows in 1950:

It was wicked to force the Negro to rule the disfranchised white man [during the Carpetbag era] when everybody knew the position would be reversed as soon as Northerners grew sick of governing their fellow Americans with the sword. It was wicked to turn the Negro free . . . without thought for his future except that he must be bullied into voting Republican. It was extra wicked to commit both these cruelties simultaneously. . .

There is a limit beyond which only the mad moralists and the truly corrupt will go. It was the fate of the Negro . . .  to be sacrificed to an alliance between these two. He didn’t want to run the South . . . But his Northern friends wanted to prove their political theories, or they  simply wanted his vote. The moralist thought he could eat freedom . . .  the others didn’t think at all, beyond the next election. But . . . he gave them his vote, since they asked for it. And the white South has not forgiven him in eighty years . . .*

Nonetheless, today’s politically correct zealots are trying to remove Julian Carr’s name from everything where is was used originally to honor him. North Carolina advocates call it “Carr Washing.” As a result, they’ve circulated a petition to rename the town of Carrboro. Despite his crucial support for Duke University, the school removed his name from Carr Hall. Durham removed his name from a Junior High School. The list goes on and on.

It is impossible to imagine a circumstance under which nineteen-year-old Julian Carr’s “horse whipping” of a black “wench,” as he descried it, only months after Appomattox can be excused. Neither, however, can any UNC historian be excused for using Carr’s remarks to provoke a student mob to destroy Sam’s statue while leaving the students ignorant of the remarks from the other dedication speakers as well as significant contradictory evidence regarding Carr’s full racial attitudes.

* Herbert Agar The Price of Union, 466-67

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Where Does Such Contempt Originate?

(May 26, 2019) When feeling compelled to respond, most modern American history professors deny hatred of Southerners, including those of the ante-bellum era. They also deny any inclination to ridicule Southerners. Unfortunately, the voices of their students indicate that the profs are liars.

Consider the reader comments to Paul Duggan’s five-month old Washington Post article about Confederate Heritage titled “Sins of the Fathers”. Duggan bases his article on an interview with Frank Earnest who is a sixty-two-year-old Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) member.

The article generated over 3,200 reader comments. I inspected the top one-hundred or so based upon their rank order by number of “likes.” The only historians mentioned by commenters were Eric Foner and James McPherson. Both are hostile to the Southern viewpoint. Foner taught at Columbia and McPherson at Princeton.

Frank Earnest

I chose to examine reader comments at The Post because I assume that its readers are college educated and likely attended institutions where professors subscribe to the Foner and McPherson school of Civil War and Reconstruction history. Additionally, Democrat college history professors outnumber Republicans by over seventeen-to-one and Confederate Heritage advocates lean Republican.

The reader comments undeniably disclosed widespread contempt for both present-day and historical Southerners. Moreover, the attitude appears to reflect commenter narcissism based upon their assumed moral superiority to Southerners whom they regard as depraved, stupid or both.

Regarding SCV member Frank Earnest:

Does this yahoo not know that his “rebel ancestors” are what is known as traitors?

“I kept hoping Frank would croak before I skim-read to the last paragraph . . .

I feel bad for thinking the same thing . . .

Frank is a moronic fossil who’s dying of COPD.  No great loss. . .

Frank Earnest is an individual of adult age engaged in one of the oldest games played by stubborn, willful, adolescent boys –– “Bet You Can’t Change My Mind.” He lacks “Good Faith,” a fundamental quality required for what we call “Honesty.”

Manacle Frank and make him walk all the way to southern Mississippi while chained to a gang of others.

Make Frank pick cotton from daybreak to dark under a broiling sun.*

To quote Forrest Gump:  “Stupid is as stupid does.”

Enough said from the Deep South.

He wants to keep living in his fantasy identity because he’s afraid that if he didn’t have it he wouldn’t be anything.

There’s WAY too many of these clowns to ignore. We have to face these jerks head-on.

Southerners as losers:

One day [Richmond’s] Monument Avenue popped up as a subject of discussion. I referred to it as “Loser’s Row.”

When people want to talk about the Confederate statues, I repeat a phrase I read somewhere—”you mean the trophies to second place losers?”

The topic is (supposedly) beneath the dignity of The Post’s readers:

Why on Earth would wapo showcase a twisted nutjob like this with so much free press?

These stories of attempting to humanize the neo-trash modern day Confederates just makes me realize they really are dumb and evil.

Note to Paul Duggan and the Washington Post: My life is too short to read a marathon story about delusional people.

What a waste of space and ink. They are simply filthy traitors.

Southerners who disagree with the Foner-McPherson School are bigoted dummies:

Fortunately only a few of these dummies are still around.

You obviously don’t live in Tennessee.

Or Alabama, or Mississippi. There are plenty of these folks around. Far too many.

Or North Carolina. Or South Carolina. Georgia. Florida.

I went to grade school in Alabama years ago. They were sure squealing about their Lost Cause then and still are. It was trash then and it’s trash now.

At their core, they believe that they would be rich if only they could have lived off the work of others.  Lazy.

The widespread contempt for Confederate Heritage among Washington Post readers did not develop mysteriously like spontaneous combustion. It was taught. Although professors are entitled to disagree with Southern interpretations of the Civil War and Reconstruction, it is immoral and a breech of student-teacher trust to indoctrinate students to hate those who disagree with the profs.

Finally, writer Paul Duggan’s efforts to disguise his own contempt are only a nanometer deep. The Post should be ashamed to pander to such hatred. Their one-sided coverage of Confederate Symbols in article after article makes a mockery of the “democracy dies in darkness” motto.

* As late as 1940 two-thirds of Southern tenant farmer were white living under conditions comparable to Russian peasants.

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Defacing President Jackson’s $20 Bill

(May 24, 2019) Today’s Washington Post reports that one New Yorker is selling rubber stamps that enable buyers to overprint the image of President Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill with one of Harriet Tubman. Notwithstanding that he can be fined and imprisoned for up six months if his intent is to render the bill unfit to be reissued, so far the guy is enabling currency disfigurement with impunity. Perhaps that will prompt a Confederate memorabilia supplier to provide a rubber stamp with a Jefferson Davis likeness to overprint Lincoln’s image on the $5 bill.

Social justice zealots want to replace Jackson on the $20 bill for two reasons. First, he was a slaveholder. Second, he led the movement that passed the 1830 Indian Removal Act.

As to the first point, critics of Jackson’s status as a slaveholder should appreciate that he was a man of his time and place. When he was born in 1767 slavery was legal in all thirteen colonies. When he fought in the Revolutionary War, only Vermont had abolished it. When he was elected President in 1828 the first commercially viable abolitionist newspaper, The Liberator, would not be printed for another five years. Faulting George Washington, Andrew Jackson and other era-specific Southerners for failing to be abolitionists is like dishonoring Isaac Newton for failing to invent the lightbulb.

The Indian Removal controversy requires context. When Jackson was elected President, five partially civilized tribes occupied large parts of Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Florida. As the map below suggests those states could not develop their full economic potential with such large regimes operating independently within their borders. Certainly, such a situation would never have been tolerated up North.

Nonetheless, the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Seminole, Choctaw and Creek tribes had survived in the South as discrete societies. Over the years they increasingly adopted the way of the regional white man, including black chattel slavery.  To be sure, each of the Five wanted to remain in place as sovereign nations. But Jackson explained that was impossible because they were within the borders of previously admitted states. Section Three of the Constitution’s Fourth Article stipulated that no state could be subdivided without approval of its legislature.

Consequently, the Indian Removal Act set aside federal (not state) land in present day Oklahoma for each of the Five. It also enabled treaties to compensate the Indians for leaving their lands east of the Mississippi River.  Finally, Jackson explained that the Five Tribes should understand that they had been treated more respectfully than Northern tribes, which had typically been wiped out. Examples included the Yemassee, Mohegan, Pequot, Delaware, and Narraganset. The Removal Act would prevent such a possibility in the South.

The Choctaw, Creek, and Chickasaw moved first and without much controversy. Since the Seminole were deep in Florida’s swampy peninsula, they forcibly resisted for a number of years. But the biggest controversy involved the Cherokee who took their case to the Supreme Court. In two cases the court ruled that the Cherokee were a “domestic dependent nation” and that Georgia had violated their rights. But the rulings were narrow and required nothing of Andrew Jackson. They only required Georgia to release a couple of white prisoners. Thus, federal Indian Commissioners continued to negotiate for removal, eventually causing Tribe leadership to spilt.

A minority faction accepted a compensated removal treaty at New Echota on behalf of the entire tribe, while the dominant group under Chief John Ross continued to resist. Nonetheless, the U.S. Senate approved the treaty in 1836. Ross, who was only one-eighth Indian and also a slaveholder, protested until 1838 when President Martin Van Buren (a New Yorker) ordered federal soldiers to round up all Cherokees and send them to Oklahoma. Of the 16,000 thus collected an estimated 4,000 died on the journey that became known as the Trail of Tears.

Despite such dubious criticisms of Jackson, there are at least two overpowering reasons to honor him on U.S. currency.

First, he was the first President to be elected that was not a member of the aristocracy. As such, he as the first President to make the common man proud to be an American. If the succession pattern had continued as it was, our Presidents might still be selected only from the elite classes. His election galvanized the Democrats into a long-term political force.

Second, his loyalty to the American Union exceeded his loyalty to his geographic region. Specifically, he threatened to use military force against South Carolina if she attempted to nullify federal tariff acts by refusing to collect duties at her harbors in 1832. If he had put Southern sectional interests first, the Union might have fallen apart thirty years before the Civil War.

Thus, I will not dishonor Andrew Jackson by accepting $20 bills with a Harriet Tubman overprint.

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