James Harrigan, an economics professor at the University of Virginia, had the following to say on Kevin Levin’s website Civil War Memory this morning.
I’m posting this here for the benefit of people who think that I might be a little over the top in my criticism of the Yankee and defense of the Confederacy.
Here is what our opposition sounds like in their own words:
“One of the problems with Kevin’s approach is that in Richmond, the white supremacists have taken up most if not all of the good memorial spots. The Arthur Ashe memorial is a perfect example of this: it is literally at the end of the line, behind a string of white supremacist icons. The civil rights memorial at the capital is another: it is in a corner of the grounds, and though it is a beautiful and successful piece of public art, it is overwhelmed by the rest of the grounds and the interior of the building. There is even a statue of Lee right on the floor of the old House of Delegates meeting room. The overall impression is of a city and state completely dominated by white people, with a couple of small concessions to African Americans on the fringes.
Here in Charlottesville it is the same story: Lee and Jackson Park with their heroic, militaristic equestrian statues dominate downtown, along with a statue of a Confederate soldier. At UVa there is now a really good installation documenting and commenting on the history of African Americans at UVa, but the central grounds are still dominated by a lily-white version of the University’s history, complete with plaques honoring UVa Confederates attached to Jefferson’s iconic rotunda. There is one very small, easily missed marker in the pavement that alludes to the workers “both free and enslaved” who actually did the labor to build “Mr. Jefferson’s University”.
My point is that a truly balanced, honest public accounting of the Civil War, slavery, Jim Crow, and the Civil Rights movement in Virginia and elsewhere in the South is going to require removing some of the old monuments built to celebrate and cement white supremacy. I don’t expect this to happen in my lifetime if ever (I’m less optimistic than Larry Cebula), but I can dream, can’t I?
To be specific, here’s my dream: the statue of Lee at the head of Monument Avenue is removed to The Museum of Racism, and is replaced by a statue depicting USCT troops marching into Richmond in April 1865. In Charlottesville, Jackson Square becomes Emancipation Square, with Jackson’s statue replaced by a piece of public art that celebrates the end of slavery in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The confederate soldier stays, but is shifted over a few yards to make way for his new neighbor, a statue of a freedman in his USCT uniform.”
I want to use James Harrigan’s comments to make several observations.
(1) First, Jefferson Davis and Alexander Stephens were clearly right when they said that slavery was the “occasion” of secession and the war, not the cause. The fundamental cause of the war were the irreconcilable differences between two antagonistic ethnic groups which were forced under the terms of the Union to live under the same government.
(2) Second, James Harrigan provides a flawless illustration above of the whole BRA mindset: a society that is explicitly run for the benefit of African-Americans at the expense of Whites, where the promotion of black people as an object of pity and sympathy has become the measuring stick which is used to evaluate every conceivable social practice and institution.
(3) Third, I have similar dreams of removing all the “civil rights memorials” and renaming all the streets that have been named after Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, Ralph Abernathy, etc. In fact, I would go far beyond that and advocate the removal of the Black Undertow and all other unassimilable ethnic groups from Dixie, starting with Yankees in the mold of James Harrigan who have no business teaching in our universities.
150 years later, you can see in these comments why Preston Brooks felt compelled to cane Charles Sumner, and why the South seceded from the United States. The same people are still to this day clearly distinguishable from other Americans by their trademark characteristics of arrogance, hypocrisy, greed, moralizing fanaticism, negro worship, and a pathological inability to mind their own business.
It is because of people like James Harrison that Black Undertow predators like Jerome Isaac have been unleashed in our communities.