Tag Archives: Confederate Statues

Why Confederate Monuments Were Erected

(June 19, 2018) The diagram below graphs the number of Confederate statues erected between 1870 and 1980. Since the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) compiled the data, they suggest the memorials were most frequently constructed during periods of blatant anti-black activities in the South. In short, they imply that racism was the chief motive for Confederate monument building. To the objective observer, however, the genuine explanations obviously fail to conform to the SPLC’s assumptions. 

The two most notable peaks of were 1900-1915 and 1957-1965.

As the graph indicates, the SPLC implies that the first wave was due to “lynchings, ‘Lost Cause Mythology,’ and a resurgent KKK.” But the facts don’t support their conclusion.

First, the KKK’s resurgence was in the 1920s, at least five-to-ten years after the first peak had already past. Moreover, Indiana had more Klan members during the 1920s than any other state, yet it is north of the Ohio River. Second, the number of lynchings was steadily declining during the 1900-1915 period. Third, a regionally popular Civil War interpretation that the South was fighting for a correct Constitutional principle and heroically lost only against overwhelming odds (Lost Cause Mythology) was was not concentrated in the 1900-1915 period. It remained a popular concept in the South until at least 1950.

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In reality, four factors that the SPLC failed to consider caused the first surge during the 1900-1915 interval. First, the old soldiers were dying and survivors wanted to honor their memories. A twenty-one year old who joined the Rebel army at the start of the war was sixty years old in 1900 and seventy-five in 1915. Second, 1911 marked the fiftieth anniversary of the start of the war and 1915 was the fiftieth anniversary of its end. Third, post-war impoverished Southerners generally did not have enough money to erect memorials until the turn of the century. The region did not even recover to its level of pre-war economic activity until 1900. Fourth, until about 1895 Union veterans often opposed displays of Confederate iconography, an opinion they effectively promoted through their Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) lobbying organization.  The GAR was so powerful that it impelled the federal government to grant generous pensions to Union veterans, while excluding former Confederates. In 1893 Union veterans pensions totaled nearly 40% of the entire federal budget and annual disbursements did not top-out unit 1921.

As for the second surge between 1957 and 1965, the SPLC dubiously attributes it to Southern resentment over public school integration and the 1960s civil rights movement. But it was more likely due to initiatives that memorialized the Civil War Centennial. The U. S. Post Office, for example, issued five commemorative postage stamps during the period. Similarly, the federally sponsored Centennial Civil War Commission issued a commemorative medal featuring reliefs of Grant and Lee on the obverse with opposing infantrymen peacefully depicted on the reverse.

Sources: Leonard J. Moore, Citizen Klansman: The Ku Klux Klan in Indiana, 1921-21; Ludwell Johnson, Division and Reunion; Jill Quadagno, The Transformation of Old Age Security; City University of New York, “Bar Graph of African American Lynchings: 1890-1929,” American Social History Project [https://herb.ashp.cuny.edu/items/show/1884]; William J. Cooper and Thomas Terrill, The American South: A History-Volume 2; William H. Giasson, Federal Military Pensions in the United States


California Racism & Confederate Statues

(June 9, 2018) Notwithstanding that California gave Hillary a larger percentage of its vote than any other state save Hawaii, the first six minutes of the video below show that racism may be more prevalent in the Golden State than is commonly believed. It is one of a series of videos produced by a group of Los Angeles male YouTube pranksters. They approach attractive young ladies in a public setting to strike up conversations. Their purpose is to invite the girls to lunch, or a cup of coffee. Failing in that they try for the phone numbers. Initially the guys are turned-down until the girls realize that the boys own Lamborghinis. Then the young ladies invariably want to go for a ride. But the boys bluntly tell them that they are no longer interested because the girls demonstrated that they are merely gold diggers.

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In the instance below a black youth tries to initiate a conversation with a beautiful white girl inside a convenience store. The girl soon flatly says, “I don’t really talk to black guys.” The shocked and hurt young man leaves the store to stand next to his Lamborghini in the store’s parking lot. When the girl walks by the car she has a change of heart and begs the guy to take her for a ride. She even suggests that he take her to his house. When he tells her that he changed his mind because of her earlier racist remark, she audaciously denied ever speaking it.

While the alt-left academic historians and their acolytes dedicate themselves to the mass removal of Confederate statues as their method of attacking contemporary racism, they piously ignore present racism outside the South. Presumably, California’s one-sided vote for Hillary partly reflected her disdain for Confederate symbols. When asked about the Rebel Flag then flying on the state capitol grounds in Columbia, South Carolina she said, “I don’t think it should fly there and I don’t think it should fly anywhere.”

The social justice warriors that want to erase Confederate heritage by removing Confederate statues and symbols should first focus on the planks in their own eyes instead of piously condemning Southerners as uniquely evil racists. But that’s about as likely as a Cherokee Indian getting elected Pope.

Letter to CWTrust about Ruined Confederate Monuments

June 1, 2018

Mr. James Lighthizer
American Battlefield Trust – Civil War Trust
Suite 900
1156 Fifteenth Street, N. W.
Washington, D. C. 20005

Dear. Mr. Lighthizer:

Provided below is a photo of a vandalized monument for Texas and Arkansas Confederates at Virginia’s Wilderness National Battlefield Park. Notwithstanding that the overwhelming majority of subscribers to your Hallowed Ground magazine showed in a recent survey that they want such monuments preserved, your failure to support your readers and donors with any action, or even a vigorous statement of agreement, has contributed to the intolerance responsible for such mutilations.

Although you state that your objective is to preserve battlefields and not monuments, I wish you to understand that I would rather see the battlefields returned to nature than become a place where Confederate monuments are merely a collection of mutilated stone memorials.

Sincerely Yours,

Philip Leigh
My Amazon Author Page 

“A man who would not defend his father’s grave is worse than a wild animal.”
~ Chief Joseph

Historians Discuss Confederate Monuments

(May 26, 2018) The YouTube below is a panel discussion about Confederate Monuments from the Sacramento convention of the Organization of American Historians earlier this month. Ed Ayers of the University of Richmond moderates three panel members: John Kuo Wei Then, Turkiya Lowe and Christy Coleman. Ayers is Chairman Emeritus of Richmond University, Wei Then is with New York University, Lowe is the chief historian for the National Park Service, and Coleman is CEO of the American Civil War museum, which is the successor to the Museum of the Confederacy.

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Four points prevail.

First, none of the participants were sympathetic to Confederate symbols. It was an almost entirely one-sided presentation. The Southern viewpoint was ignored on the dais except when Coleman revealed three reasons that Southern proponents had shared with her to explain why they felt the monuments should remain.

Second, all participants generally wanted the statues either removed, or left in place accompanied by new, explanatory stone-and-bronze markers or some other form of “interpretation.” Naturally, panel members seemed to expect that they, and others who think like them, will provide the interpretations.

Third, all explanations for removing the monuments boiled-down to race. Coleman did add, however, that the statues should also be removed because they celebrate “traitors.” But even in that case her argument devolved to race when she opined that Southerners were exercising white privilege when they initially erected their monuments.

Fourth, Lowe and Coleman are young and likely to hold their offices for decades to come. Notwithstanding that Coleman runs a private museum, they are typical of Deep State agenda-driven government employees who expect to control matters pertinent to their domains even as different Presidents come and go. Consider, for example, that despite the opinions of the panel members, a recent survey of readers of the Civil War Trust’s Hallowed Ground magazine strongly favored keeping Confederate monuments in place. 

In addition to the above, Ayers and Coleman made erroneous or egregiously misleading statements.

One happened when Ayers commented that last summer’s Charlottesville riot accelerated the statue-removal trend after white supremacists tried to appropriate the Lee statue. First, he implied that the violence was mostly caused by the heavily outnumbered white supremacists instead of the far more violent  and much larger mob of protestors and Antifa members. Second, while he may have accurately said that a young lady was in a peaceful group when a white supremacist ran her down and killed her with his car, Ayers wrongly leaves the impression that most of the Charlottesville violence originated with the white supremacists instead of the protestors and Antifa.

The second falsehood was Coleman’s claim that Southerners have been increasingly using  public lands to hoist giant Confederate flags along the heavily travelled portions of Interstate-95 Highway in the South. In truth, most of the flags are located on private property.



Black Family Refuses to Condemn Confederate Flag

(May 9, 2018) “Ed” is a forty year resident of a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania suburb who sequentially flies various flags from a pole on his property. Often it is the American flag and sometimes a “Steelers”  or other flag. Recently, however, he hoisted a Confederate flag. That prompted neighbor Beth Bowles to contact a Pittsburgh television affiliate (WTAE) of ABC Broadcasting because she considered the flag hateful.

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WTAE leapt like a $100 prostitute at a $1,000 offer to send a television crew to Ed’s house in order to shame him into taking it down. Ed explained his long-standing practice to alternate the flags he hoists. As for the “stainless banner” he flew Ed said, “It’s history. To me, it’s nothing about racism. It’s history.” The WTAE article never clarifies whether Ed had previously hoisted a Confederate flag.

When the WTAE news crew realized that Ed had little to say, they interviewed a next-door neighbor. They chose a black homeowner named Corey Harris who has lived next to Ed for years. Corey said the flags are not meant to be racist, and the owner [Ed] switches them out with a lot of different flags throughout the year. “This [Ed] is like my father. He has different flags he puts up, like the Steelers flag and Pirates flag,” Harris said. I applaud Corey for thinking for himself instead of caving in to politically correct pressures.

Oooops, for social justice warriors Beth Bowles and WTAE.

Confederate Statue Trashing Spreads to Buffalo Soldiers

(May 8, 2018) In a Shane Anderson FaceBook post, I learned that Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s removal of Confederate statues in New Orleans appears to have had an unintended consequence. Last week city officials discovered that someone had defaced a stone and bronze memorial honoring the nineteenth century African-American Buffalo Soldiers who helped settle the western states. The defacers complained (in sidewalk spray paint) that the Buffalo Soldiers contributed to the genocide of Native-Americans.

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Buffalo Soldier was a nickname given by the Indians to members of black cavalry regiments from 1867 to 1896. Their duties included escorting stagecoaches, trains, and work parties and policing cattle rustlers and illegal traders who sold guns and liquor to the Indians, but their principal mission was to “control” the Indians of the Plains and Southwest.

They represented about twenty percent of the U. S. Cavalry on the frontier. In nearly thirty years of service in the region Buffalo Soldiers fought in almost 200 engagements. From 1870 to 1890, fourteen won the Medal of Honor.

Nonetheless, for years officials from the American Indian Genocide Museum have spoken out against honoring Buffalo Soldiers.

This latest New Orleans incident underscores how Americans with different backgrounds might interpret statue meanings differently. A better solution than destroying the memorials is to encourage all groups provide memorials to their own ancestors. Thus, African-Americans can celebrate Buffalo Soldiers and Native-American can celebrate statues such as “Appeal to the Great Spirt” in Boston. Similarly, Southerners should be permitted to memorialize their Civil War soldiers just as Northerners memorialize theirs. The destruction of Confederate or Buffalo Solider monuments is a chilling policy, apparently with increasingly divisive results.