Tolerance

(June 11, 2019) The photograph below was taken in Richmond on April 3, 1905, which was fortieth anniversary of the fall of the Confederate capital. Notwithstanding that 100,000 or more Confederate veterans were still living and despite today’s popular impression of Jim Crow totalitarianism, the picture shows many Richmond blacks marching without fear to celebrate Emancipation.

Richmond Blacks Marching in 1905 to Celebrate the Fortieth Anniversary of the fall of Confederate Richmond

Excerpted below are remarks from a contemporary white-owned newspaper summary of the march:

Negroes Cheered “Dixie” on Their Emancipation Anniversary. Nearly every colored man, woman and child in Richmond, and the surrounding territory, took part in or viewed the big emancipation parade yesterday.

The crowd was orderly and was the subject of favorable comments from all who saw the line as it passed along to the music from several bands. The parade consumed something like twenty minutes in passing a given point, and was made up of various negro clubs and societies. An amusing incident was the cheering of “Dixie” on this occasion.

After the principal streets of the city had been marched over the crowds centered in the ball park, where the orators addressed the multitude on the subject most in mind. . .  Last night there was a banquet of the leaders at Price’s Hall, and at True Reformer’s Hall and a colored opera company held forth. The colored hotels and boarding houses were full to overflowing with excursionists and the ward was a dense mass of people all day and far into the night.

Late in the afternoon a party of disorderly negroes got in a fight on Cary Street between Seventh and Eighth Streets. The row created some excitement, and four of the negroes were arrested and carried to the Second Station. The men engaged in the fight were on holiday and it was stated that the fight arose over comments on the parade. This was the only affair of the kind that marred one of the largest negro demonstrations the city ever saw.

Although Jim Crow restrictions were a reality in the 1905 South, Richmond’s black Emancipation march shows that the era was not as tyrannical as many modern historians indicate. In reality, Southern society inscrutably contained contradictory elements of good will and intolerance toward blacks. Thankfully, Jim Crow has long been abandoned.

Unfortunately, it has been replaced by an intolerance toward Confederate memory and hatred of anyone wishing to defend it. Notwithstanding, that nearly all monuments to her soldiers were erected chiefly to honor their defense of home & hearth, today’s cultural demonizes them as racist. Moreover, the elite demand that soldier statutes be censored by removing them, or at least “re-contextualized” so that Johnny Reb may redefined as wicked.

In today’s society it the elites—media, Hollywood, academics—that boast of their tolerance and inclusion who are actually intolerant and exclusive. They have switched roles with the hsitorical bigots they condemn, although they have not the excuse of living in an earlier time, under different mores. Just imagine, for example, the cultural outrage that would greet any effort by Confederate descendants to hold a march in 2019 Richmond, or most any sizable Southern city.

It is always those in power who censor, which they do for a solitary reason: to retain power.

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3 thoughts on “Tolerance

  1. Pingback: North Carolina’s Endless Penance | Civil War Chat

  2. Bobby Edwards

    The Richmond Planet, a Black Newspaper of Richmond, Virginia – From the late 1880’s through the turn of the century would include hundreds of favorable stories about Confederates from the war of 1861-1865, and often featured Confederate veterans of the R. E. Lee Camp, No. 1, C.V. such as Richmond City Engineer, Wilford E. Cutshaw, who did much to design and engineer good projects for the Richmond community. As there are hundreds of historicalyl and accurate reports in the Planet of Confederate narratives, for those interested in understanding this cultural accomodation need to search the Library of Congress digital newspaper project http://www.chroniclingamerica.loc.gov – and do an Advanced search for the Richmond Planet Newspaper, with the key index word of ‘Confederate’ – There are over 435 hits, and if you read some of the reports, you will be amazed at the reporting of the Confederate narrative. An amazing story for the so called Jim Crow era.

    It’s easy to see how in a Parade in Richmond, attended by blacks that they could cheer ‘Dixie’, as their understanding of their neighbor’s Confederate history had been provided by the Planet for decades. Remember, they were there to help erect the Confederate monuments and museums in Richmond, so they had a brick and mortar participation.

    Reply
    1. Phil Leigh Post author

      Rather that merely condemning Southerners from the Jim Crow era, academic historians might also plumb the depths of race relations that included contradictory elements of goodwill and restrictions.

      Reply

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