This Saturday in Montgomery, Alabama is going to be an eventful one to say the least. The most anticipated event of the weekend is a parade meant to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Jefferson Davis becoming the president of the Confederacy.
The moment preceded some of the darkest years in U.S. history, with the South going to war to fight to preserve slavery as an institution, their livelihood and a moral right. The Civil war casualty count totaled close to 700,000 and is one of the bloodiest chapters in America’s memory. However, that’s not completely evident by the smiles on the faces of thousands of white residents reminiscing on the antebellum period.
It makes us think back to Phaedra Parks who, on last Sunday’s Real Housewives of Atlanta Reunion Special, made a valid point that the racial tensions in the South still exist. Though her form of “Southern Hospitality” isn’t always our cup of tea, this time our favorite entertainment lawyer was right on the money. There are certain cultural sensitivities blacks hold because of the history of slavery, racism and discrimination.
This is hardly the first time secessionists have made the news. Last year, the news was littered with stories from the South. The most recognized uproar was when Virginia Governor, Bob McDonnell an uber-conservative Republican, happily declared April “Confederacy History Month,” apologizing later for his ‘omission’ of slavery in glorifying that legacy.
The group behind Saturday’s parade, Sons of Confederate Veterans, claims that they are merely commemorating what they refer to as ‘the war for Southern independence.’ One member, Cameron Freeman Napier, spoke to USA Today about the recent outrage over the group’s plans saying that he felt the group was “walking on eggshells” because of some being overly sensitive. With the group’s plans for a “Secession Ball” this April, it hardly seems like the tipy-toeing around the issue has resulted in any more consideration at all.
Sidenote: We don’t know about his marital status or ‘tush,’ but if Atlanta’s Kim ever finds herself looking again, Cameron may be the guy for her.
The parade itself is a tour through America’s struggle with race relations. It starts near the spot where Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a public bus, goes past the location where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. lead his Voting Rights Act March, and passes by a stretch where several black Freedom Riders in 1961 were beaten by a white mob as police stood by watching. Many of those cultural touch points, elicit emotional reactions from Blacks in the south, and around the country.
Though the local chapter of the NAACP has taken to protest the parade, it seems in this battle of free speech, hate speech has again taken to the stage.