Saturday, April 01, 2017

Confederate "Heritage" Month, April 1: What's it about?

I've been doing Confederate "Heritage" Month posts on the blog since 2004. And I'm doing it this year, too. It's a counter-observation of the event, which also know as Confederate History Month. It's ably explained (in its variation) in a new article by Ashton Pittman in the Jackson [MS] Free Press, What ‘Confederate History Month’ Really Is 03/29/2017:

In April, five states will officially celebrate Confederate History Month (or Confederate Heritage Month): Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. In Georgia, which stopped the celebrations after a neo-Confederate killed nine black churchgoers in neighboring South Carolina in 2015, a lawmaker is pushing to bring it back, citing Trump's election and the end of the era of "political correctness."

#To be clear, Confederate History Month isn't about remembering our past and taking lessons from it. Key proponents of the month's continued existence are the Sons of Confederate Veterans, whose revisionist history of the Confederacy and the Civil War minimizes and even denies the role of slavery in southern secession. On April 9, 1865, Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered in Virginia. Yet 152 years later, many in our region are still fighting the lost war. Some of us do it by flying Confederate flags, complete with lofty slogans like, "The South Will Rise Again!" and "Heritage, Not Hate!" Some of us do it in more insidious ways. For no good reason, we work overtime to make sure those "Yankees" don't come in and wreck our perfectly dead-last economies. We definitely don't want those federal Yanks telling us how to run our education system. And despite the fact that we are the region that most needs health-care options that the Affordable Care Act offers, we did everything we could to thwart any effort from the Obama administration to help improve our miserable condition.
In the 03/28/2017 version at the Deep South Daily Pittman edits, the headline is Call ‘Confederate History Month’ What It Really IS: 'White Supremacy Month'.

Last year, civil rights activists in Mississippi had the following reaction to Republican Gov. Phil Bryant's official proclamation of Confederate Heritage Month (Critics assail Mississippi governor for declaring April ‘Confederate Heritage Month’ Raw Story/Guardian 04/03/2016):

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) leaders in Mississippi reacted by proposing a civil war remembrance of their own: Union Army Heritage Month.

“These white and black Mississippi patriots fought for the continuation of the United States of America as one nation, under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all,” Derrick Johnson, president of Mississippi’s NAACP, wrote to the Clarion-Ledger.

“Should not these soldiers be honored, too?”

Scores rallied on the steps of the capitol, in Jackson. They were diverse. Kathleen Chambers personified a shift in the state’s mentality: she is young and white, and instead of a southern drawl she spoke with the universal up-talk of young people.

“Any white people I know? They’re not OK with this,” she said to the local television station WAPT.

Of Bryant, she said: “He’s trying to turn a Confederate heritage into a good thing, when it’s not. It shouldn’t be celebrated. Especially we shouldn’t celebrate owning people in the past.”
While we are marching through Georgia - Tennessee Ernie Ford:

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