Neo-Confederate hooey

Prof. Brooks Simpson sums up my position on the issue of Black Confederates quite nicely here. So what, indeed.

Neo-Confederates and Lost Causers like to argue that blacks served in the Confederate army willingly because it puts a more human face on the issue of slavery. A few may well have served for reasons entirely of their own. Most would have done so involuntarily for the simple reason that they were slaves.

At the end of the day, though, so what?

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Thanks to Prof. Chris Stowe for bringing this to my attention.

A fourth grade textbook that has been published draws on neo-Confederate doctrine to claim that there were thousands of black Confederate soldiers with the Army of Northern Virginia, including two full battalions under the command of Stonewall Jackson. The source for this drivel was the website of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, an organization which has lost all credibility in its drive to try to find some good in slavery as a means of advancing the neo-Confederate agenda. Instead of doing real research, the idiot author parroted this swill–flagrantly false swill–and has promulgated it to unsuspecting children, who are going to think that this nonsense is historical truth. We have to take a stand against it, and all other neo-Confederate hooey.

From today’s issue of The Washington Post:

Phony history controversies will swell with Lincoln, Civil War anniversaries

By Robert McCartney
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, October 20, 2010; 10:06 PM

Voltaire said history is a pack of tricks we play upon the dead. He should have added that the living are victims, too.

Virginia fourth-graders are the latest targets of historical misinformation. A textbook distributed to students last month included the gross falsehood that two battalions of African American soldiers fought for the Confederacy under famed Gen. Stonewall Jackson.

This wasn’t just a minor factual error, like saying that Jackson lost his right arm at the Battle of Chancellorsville when any self-respecting Civil War buff knows it was his left.

The passage represents a deliberate distortion of history driven by a political agenda. It was foisted on kids by a sloppy author using Internet research who mistakenly drew from works done by Confederate heritage enthusiasts.

The latter like to promote the canard that large numbers of African Americans carried arms willingly for the South. The rebel revisionists do so because it helps cover up two historical truths that put their Lost Cause in a bad light.

One truth is that blacks at the time were overwhelmingly pro-Union, and they fought in large numbers for the North because they recognized that a victory by that side represented their best chance at winning freedom. The second, larger verity – which, to its credit, the schoolbook did make clear – is that sectional disagreements over slavery were the primary cause of the war.

Carol Sheriff, a Civil War expert at the College of William and Mary, discovered the error in her daughter’s copy of the offending book, “Our Virginia: Past and Present.” Sheriff clarified the facts in a Web chat Wednesday on

“As far as we know from the historical record, not a single black person participated in a battle under the command of Stonewall Jackson,” Sheriff wrote. “There is historical evidence that individual blacks, usually servants who followed their masters to the front, occasionally picked up guns in the heat of battle. But it was illegal in the Confederacy to use blacks as soldiers until the waning days of the war (early 1865). A few companies . . . were raised then, but none saw battle action, as the surrender followed shortly thereafter. Stonewall Jackson had died in 1863, so no black soldiers could have served under his command.”

Sheriff said that thousands of blacks worked as laborers for the Confederate army, most of them involuntarily, including under Jackson’s command. But that’s very different from agreeing to risk your life in combat on behalf of a government committed to your enslavement, as some Confederate apologists would have us believe.

Such arguments have been going on for generations, and they are about to become more public and acute. One reason is that Nov. 6 is the 150th anniversary of the election of Abraham Lincoln, which led to the war because it prompted Southern states to begin seceding.

That means the nation is entering a nearly five-year string of commemorations – Fort Sumter, the Emancipation Proclamation, Gettysburg, Appomattox – full of opportunities to revive the controversies over the Civil War. (It will also familiarize many people for the first time with the word “sesquicentennial,” for a 150th birthday.)

In addition, it so happens that 2010 is a time when the nation is sharply divided by ideological differences that in some ways parallel those of 1860. I’ve heard the comparison made by participants in the Glenn Beck rally in August and in an interview with a Virginia leader of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

Both said resistance today to health-care reform and other alleged excesses of “big government” is reminiscent of the Southern states’ battle against what they viewed as Northern aggression. In a column in April, I quoted the Confederate veterans leader as saying the rebels of the 1860s “were fighting for the same things that people in the ‘tea party’ are fighting for now.”

Moreover, there’s been a surge in activity, especially among conservatives, to adjust history teaching to reflect contemporary political positions. One prominent recent effort occurred in Texas in May. The state school board revised social studies standards to increase study of Confederate leaders and reduce emphasis on the Founding Fathers’ commitment to separation of church and state. Some wanted to stop referring to the slave trade and substitute a euphemistic phrase, the “Atlantic triangular trade,” but that idea was, thankfully, dropped.

The Virginia Department of Education has conceded its error in allowing the misleading textbook to be used in classrooms. On Wednesday, it sent an e-mail to school superintendents and history specialists warning them that the offending passage is “outside accepted Civil War scholarship.” The department said that it anticipates teachers “will have no difficulty working around one objectionable sentence” in using the book.

I don’t think that’s enough. A lot of teachers will neglect to pass on the message about the mistake. Also, many fourth-graders are going to have a hard time understanding that one part of the book is wrong but that they need to learn the rest.

The state should yank the book and replace it with an accurate one as soon as possible. It should also investigate why a review committee approved the book and what steps are necessary to prevent such mishaps from occurring in the future.

The First Amendment protects Confederate sympathizers’ right to write this nonsense. But public schools should take greater care not to help spread such myths.

Staff writer Kevin Sieff contributed to this column.

The author of this tripe claims that she stands by her research, which speaks volumes for her, as it’s well known that there were, perhaps, a handful of black Confederate solders at best. Kevin Levin has led the charge in efforts to combat the neo-Confederate canard of the black Confederate, and I commend you to the good work that Kevin has done on his blog to fight this good fight.

The bottom line is that those of us who take the truth seriously–not neo-Confederate hooey–MUST fight this fight every day. Keep up the good work, Kevin.

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Kevin Levin has a post on his blog today about a new book that looks like a finalist for 2009 Neo-Confederate grand champion. Thanks to Kevin for bringing this prize to my attention.

The reasons why this is both preposterous and shockingly offensive ought to be obvious. Then again, Pelican is known for publishing garbage (as this little gem proves), so it doesn’t come as a huge surprise.

So far, this is my leading candidate for 2009’s grand champion.

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Texas Gov. Rick Perry is apparently a neo-Confederate. The Republican governor of Texas evidently believes that the question of the legality of secession was not resolved by either the Civil War, or by the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Texas v. White, 74 U.S. 700 (1869), which was argued before the United States Supreme Court in 1869. The Court held in a 5–3 decision that the Constitution did not permit states to secede from the United States, and that the ordinances of secession, and all the acts of the legislatures within seceding states intended to give effect to such ordinances, were “absolutely null”.

Yesterday, Perry said, “There’s a lot of different scenarios. We’ve got a great union. There’s absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what might come out of that. But Texas is a very unique place, and we’re a pretty independent lot to boot.”

Governor Nimrod also said:

AUSTIN – Gov. Rick Perry joined state Rep. Brandon Creighton and sponsors of House Concurrent Resolution (HCR) 50 in support of states’ rights under the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

“I believe that our federal government has become oppressive in its size, its intrusion into the lives of our citizens, and its interference with the affairs of our state,” Gov. Perry said. “That is why I am here today to express my unwavering support for efforts all across our country to reaffirm the states’ rights affirmed by the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. I believe that returning to the letter and spirit of the U.S. Constitution and its essential 10th Amendment will free our state from undue regulations, and ultimately strengthen our Union.”

Perry continued: “Millions of Texans are tired of Washington, DC trying to come down here to tell us how to run Texas.”

Anyone who has studied neo-Confederate hooey at all knows that this is a cornerstone of neo-Confederate doctrine.

Perry joins Texas Congressman Ron Paul, who has a well-established track record of spouting neo-Confederate hooey, as leading Texas neo-Confederates. Perry is also this year’s first nominee for neo-Confederate Grand Champion idiot of the year. Congratulations, Governor Perry–keep up the good work. You just might bring the wrath of the entire United States government and military down upon you.

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Regular readers of this blog know that I am constantly on the search for neo-Confederate idiocy, as I believe strongly that fighting this nonsense is one of the greatest services that I can provide.

On January 13, 2008, I made a declaration that the neo-Confederate grand champion for 2008 had been identified and crowned. Well, it turns out that that declaration was very premature, because the true grand champion has emerged. Thanks to Kevin Levin for finding this piece of work and bringing him to my attention.

From the website of the Southern Poverty Law Center, I give you Olaf Childress, the 2008 neo-Confederate grand champion and grand champion hater of the year:

The Last Word
Neo-Confederate ‘Buries’ 14th Amendment
By Sonia Scherr
Intelligence Report
Winter 2008

Don’t expect Olaf Childress to shed any tears when he puts the 14th Amendment six feet under.

And Childress isn’t speaking metaphorically, either. The neo-Confederate stalwart plans to transport a casket bearing a copy of the 14th Amendment from his southern Alabama home to the shores of the Potomac River for burial.

“Naturally, we’ll conduct a little ceremony, and we’ll have a caravan going to Washington, D.C.,” Childress, 76, told the Intelligence Report. “There’ll probably be quite a convoy by the time we get there.”

The vehicle carrying the deceased will be none other than Childress’ “Death to the 14th Amendment” hearse. After buying the 1995 Buick Roadmaster about a year and a half ago, Childress outfitted it with magnetic Confederate battle flags on both front doors and the words “Death to the 14th Amendment” on the rear doors. The back of the hearse directs fellow travelers to his website, (The 14th Amendment to the Constitution, ratified in 1868, granted full citizenship rights to all people born in the United States, including former slaves, and barred states from denying any resident “equal protection” under the law. The amendment is one of the legal foundations for desegregation and other civil rights initiatives.)

Childress, a 32-year resident of Silverhill, Ala., population 616, announced the amendment’s upcoming interment in the September issue of his newspaper, The First Freedom (motto: “Inviting the Zionist-controlled media’cracy to meet a rising free South”). Once he’s decided on a date, he said, he’ll publicize the funeral there and in like-minded media sources, such as the white supremacist David Duke Report and “The Political Cesspool,” a white nationalist radio show.

Those looking for a carnival atmosphere need not attend. “Anytime you’re conducting a funeral it should be a somber affair,” he said, “and we’ll try to make it fitting for the occasion.”

For instance, the ceremony will include plenty of eulogies for the 14th Amendment, which according to Childress is illegitimate because it was never ratified. “The Yankee Senate decided they were simply going to ram this down our throats,” he fumed.

Yet Childress believes that states will regain the sovereignty they once enjoyed when the 14th goes to its final resting place. “When we get the thing buried and everybody sees that it’s dead, that’s going to be the end of the 14th Amendment and the end of the federal government as it has existed since 1865.”

His grand plans ran into a roadblock, literally, on the evening of May 29, when Childress, behind the wheel of his hearse, encountered a police checkpoint on Highway 5. As he tells it on his website in a post headlined, “Alabama’s Mossad-trained stooges capture politically-incorrect hearse,” when Silverhill’s police chief asked to see his license and insurance, he informed her that she had no legal right to stop him. He even offered to show her where it says so in the Constitution, a copy of which he just happens to keep in the hearse. But the police chief wasn’t interested. Instead, because Childress refused to sign some papers, she hauled him off to jail. Not only did Childress have to spend the night behind bars, but also police impounded the hearse at Dixie Auto Body Repair. He had to pay $135 to retrieve it two days later.

That wasn’t the end of his problems. According to Silverhill Municipal Court, a judge found Childress guilty on July 2 of resisting arrest, driving without insurance, failing to obey a police officer and driving with an expired tag. Childress has appealed the verdicts to the Baldwin County Circuit Court.

Though Childress says he’s been too busy with his court case to finalize plans for the funeral, he clearly relishes his role as undertaker. His “Death to the 14th Amendment” hearse is a familiar sight around Silverhill.

“Every time people wave at it,” he said, “I press the little button that plays ‘Dixie’ on the horns.”

Claiming that the 14th Amendment is illegal and was not legally enacted is, of course, a mainstay of neo-Confederate hooey, and which does not have a single leg to stand upon legally. It is, nevertheless, one of the main rallying cries of the neo-Confederate movement, which means it has to be dealt with. This guy obviously doesn’t get it. Indeed, if this sort of ignorance was not so inherently dangerous, it would be hilarious. However, it’s dangerous, and it’s downright pathetic, and that makes it not very funny at all.

I also had no idea that the Mossad (the Israeli intelligence service, for those unfamiliar with it) was training local gendarmes in Alabama. None. That’s a new one on me…and here I thought they were off dealing with Islamofascist terrorists and regimes sworn to the destruction of Israel, and not training local police forces to pick on neo-Confederates in southern Alabama……

I’m going to go out way on a limb here and guess that our grand champion was not an Obama voter….

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