Brooks D. Simpson has noticed the recent post here about Robert E. Lee’s support for the expulsion of African-Americans from Virginia.
He also cited a comment that I made a few days ago about Facebook groups like the “Southern Heritage Preservation Group” and the “180 Degrees True South.”
These groups are typically composed of Baby Boomers like Connie Chastain who are highly invested in the project of propagating a false and disingenuous account of the Confederacy and Southern heritage on the internet.
The real Confederates would have been shocked by their liberal racial views which were well known in the South at the time and which were denounced as “Black Republicanism” and “Radicalism” and which were commonly associated with John Brown, William Lloyd Garrison, Thaddeus Stevens and “the Radical party” that was seen as the enemy of White Southerners.
They would have certainly found it strange to hear their descendants rambling on about “Black Confederates” and denouncing “racism” and “white supremacy.” After all, it was Confederate veterans who formed the Ku Klux Klan, the White League, the White Line, the Red Shirts, the Regulators and the other race based paramilitary organizations which violently overthrew Reconstruction in the Lower South.
Every former Confederate state was given the opportunity to rejoin the United States on the terms of the 14th Amendment. The White majority in every Confederate state (with the exception of Tennessee, which was under “Parson” Brownlow’s dictatorship) overwhelmingly rejected the 14th Amendment.
If the Confederacy was this multicultural utopia that these liars on the internet make it out to be, why did the ex-Confederates violently overthrow Reconstruction, demonize Lincoln and John Brown, vilify General Longstreet for joining the Republican Party, describe the overthrow of Reconstruction as the “Redemption” of the Southern states, and work tirelessly to create the Jim Crow South?
It would be accurate to say that the racial views of the “180 Degrees True South” and the “Southern Heritage Preservation Group” are objectively to the left of Andrew Johnson and the scalawags. They are also to the left of the White population of Kansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Ohio, New York, and Connecticut which all voted down negro equality in the first years of Reconstruction. Ohio even rescinded its ratification of the 14th Amendment in 1868 for being “contrary to the best interests of the white race.”
The Confederacy was unabashedly based on the defense of slavery and white supremacy. The vast majority of White Southerners believed that negroes were an inferior race who lacked the capacity for equal citizenship in a republican government. They were horrified by the thought that fanatics in the North like Charles Sumner and Thaddeus Stevens wanted to degrade them by making negroes their social, political, and civic equals.
The typical White Southerner believed that the free negro was nothing but a curse and a burden upon civilization. It was a common belief in the South that the free negro wouldn’t work without coercion and would die out after the abolition of slavery from his own stupidity and laziness. Nowhere was the prospect of black majority rule greeted in the South with anything but disgust and opposition from the White population.
As late as 1964, White Southerners in Congress filibustered the Civil Rights Act of 1964 for over fifty days and voted 9 to 1 in the House and Senate against integration. White Southerners also voted down the Civil Rights Act of 1957, the Civil Rights Act of 1960, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the Civil Rights Act of 1968.
The only reason these bills ever passed Congress is because Northerners and Westerners united across party lines to vote for them by greater margins than Southerners could oppose them. Anyone who claims that “anti-racism” or “multiculturalism” are in anyway “Southern” or “Confederate” is either grossly ignorant of Southern history or a mendacious liar trying to mislead the public.
It is highly significant that no Southern generation before the Baby Boomers (and this includes Jefferson Davis, Alexander Stephens, Robert E. Lee, and Confederate veterans) ever attempted to defend the Confederacy in such a disingenuous way. Previous generations were unconflicted about their racial values and defending the memory of their ancestors.
“Southern heritage” is synonymous with racialism, slavery, segregation, and white supremacy. The tension between the Baby Boomer counterculture and Southern heritage is why there is a market for black eccentrics like H.K. Edgerton to earn a $15,000 speaking fee to sing Dixie and pose with a Confederate flag.
This need for social approval from the liberal establishment media is also why Baby Boomer conservatives are always slobbering over the likes of Tim Scott, Allen West, Herman Cain and Marco Rubio. The existence of BRA is why there are all these silly Facebook groups trying to prove they are “not racists” by desperately searching through archives to find “Black Confederates.”
In reality, there were probably more “Gay Confederates” than “Black Confederates.” There isn’t a search for “Gay Confederates” though because the whole project is driven by Southern Christian neocons who still object to homosexuality for religious reasons. It says far more about contemporary Southern culture than the mindset of the generation that created the Confederacy.
Real Confederates wouldn’t have recognized “Southern heritage” as it is presented by the “Southern Heritage Preservation Group” and the “180 Degrees True South.” No generation of White Southerners before the Baby Boomers accepted their racial views. There are Gallup polls going back to 1940 that have tracked Southern racial attitudes for the past 72 years that confirm this.
The only thing these people have ever successfully accomplished is making themselves look ridiculous and losing virtually every battle they have ever fought in defense of “Southern heritage.” Their unprincipled defense of Southern heritage has actually undermined their own cause and made it less attractive than it otherwise would be.
Those of us who have never known any world other than BRA have no use for such apologetics. We have no use for people who defend that system that was imposed upon us without our consent either.