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Like many random things I see on the internet, the flyer below seemed like it could have been a gag that someone whipped up on Microsoft Word, took a snapshot of, and circulates every year just to rile up folks’ racial sensitivities for a cheap joke.

So we’re supposed to celebrate a man who fought to keep black people enslaved on the same day we celebrate MLK? I’ve never heard of such a thing! I had to wonder, are there people out there still so steadfastly attached to the Civil War that they would declare what we all know is Martin Luther King Day as both a celebration of the civil rights leader and of Robert E. Lee, the great Southern hero of the Civil War?

The answer is yes, and no. Arkansas, Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Mississippi all celebrate Robert E. Lee’s birthday as a state holiday, and depending on which date Martin Luther King Day falls, both might be observed on the same day. The celebration of Lee’s contribution to Southern history pre-dates Martin Luther King completely, having been first observed in 1943. So this sign is probably the real deal. But it’s hard to ignore the pro-Confederacy culture in these states that allows for the reverence of a man who was literally on the losing side of history, and that’s what shocks me.

I’m not from the South and have limited experience with it, so please enlighten me…other than simply wanting to return to “the good old days” when the South thrived because of a slavery economy and black folks knew their place (i.e. a racist undercurrent), is there a legitimate allure to notions of the Confederacy today?

 

 

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  • angela

    I would also like to take this chance to educate the author and many of those who commented. The civil war, was not a war of slavery. It was a war on States rights and to preserve the union. Slavery was a secondary ‘moral’ reason. It was only after this secondary reason came into play that the French and British changed sides. If you would take the time to read the Emancipation Proclamation, you will see, it had limitations of freeing slaves. Only states that rebelled would have to free slaves, those that were already under union control would be exempt.
    I am native American who’s step mother is Jewish Poland decent, mother in law Mexican and son in law African American. I am FAR from a bigot. I am however, an educated southern not only in our own history but that of the world. My hopes are that some of you will set aside the hatred you hold on to and expand your knowledge of our great country!

    By the President of the United States of America:

    A Proclamation.

    Whereas, on the twenty-second day of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-two, a proclamation was issued by the President of the United States, containing, among other things, the following, to wit:

    “That on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free; and the Executive Government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom.

    “That the Executive will, on the first day of January aforesaid, by proclamation, designate the States and parts of States, if any, in which the people thereof, respectively, shall then be in rebellion against the United States; and the fact that any State, or the people thereof, shall on that day be, in good faith, represented in the Congress of the United States by members chosen thereto at elections wherein a majority of the qualified voters of such State shall have participated, shall, in the absence of strong countervailing testimony, be deemed conclusive evidence that such State, and the people thereof, are not then in rebellion against the United States.”

    The Proclamation

    Now, therefore I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, by virtue of the power in me vested as Commander-in-Chief, of the Army and Navy of the United States in time of actual armed rebellion against the authority and government of the United States, and as a fit and necessary war measure for suppressing said rebellion, do, on this first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and in accordance with my purpose so to do publicly proclaimed for the full period of one hundred days, from the day first above mentioned, order and designate as the States and parts of States wherein the people thereof respectively, are this day in rebellion against the United States, the following, to wit:

    Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, (except the Parishes of St. Bernard, Plaquemines, Jefferson, St. John, St. Charles, St. James Ascension, Assumption, Terrebonne, Lafourche, St. Mary, St. Martin, and Orleans, including the City of New Orleans) Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia, (except the forty-eight counties designated as West Virginia, and also the counties of Berkley, Accomac, Northampton, Elizabeth City, York, Princess Ann, and Norfolk, including the cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth), and which excepted parts, are for the present, left precisely as if this proclamation were not issued.

    And by virtue of the power, and for the purpose aforesaid, I do order and declare that all persons held as slaves within said designated States, and parts of States, are, and henceforward shall be free; and that the Executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authorities thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of said persons.

    And I hereby enjoin upon the people so declared to be free to abstain from all violence, unless in necessary self-defence; and I recommend to them that, in all cases when allowed, they labor faithfully for reasonable wages.

    And I further declare and make known, that such persons of suitable condition, will be received into the armed service of the United States to garrison forts, positions, stations, and other places, and to man vessels of all sorts in said service.

    And upon this act, sincerely believed to be an act of justice, warranted by the Constitution, upon military necessity, I invoke the considerate judgment of mankind, and the gracious favor of Almighty God.

    A contemporary print of the Emancipation Proclamation and its effect

    In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

    Done at the City of Washington, this first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty three, and of the Independence of the United States of America the eighty-seventh.

    By the President:

    ABRAHAM LINCOLN

    WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.

    • Nikki

      And you managed to make yourself sound like you need to go outside and enjoy life. GAL

    • angela

      LOL, was written on smart phone, sitting next to my pool…. I can multitask.. :)

  • Socially Maladjusted

    @angela

    Well as a black british male I found the first part of your post a useful reminder of the issues at stake in the american civil war.

    I guess you’re confirming that neither side wanted to end slavery.

    Yeh, it’s kinda like my take on WW2 – one set of nazis beat out another set of nazis –

    but nazis won the war.

    american civil war, same thing –

    one set of oppressors beat out another set – but oppressors won the war.

    I’m sure you don’t see it that way – oh well.

    • angela

      @SM I didn’t state my opinions on the war at all. Just the facts. I think slavery is an unGodly evil in any country or race. (BTW, my grandpa and grandma were holocaust survivors)

      The opinion I stated was that of hatred goes both ways. Perpetuating the evil white south is indeed hatred. Especially if it is based on ignorance. This article is not historically correct and causes a very hurtful emotion in many people. I posted the facts to show how it did so. People were hurt, in their ignorance, of who Gen Lee was and fought for, which lead them to comment ugly remarks about southerers and white people. I feel the entire article was in poor taste and and extreme lack of research.

      The bottom line, there are bad people of all colors, do we really need have articles like this to create more distain, when not historically correct?

      Hate itself is unGodly! We are called to love EVERYONE!!! And more so the ones who do not ‘deserve’ it.

    • Socially Maladjusted

      angela

      “I feel the entire article was in poor taste and and extreme lack of research.

      I don’t think the article is poorly researched or in poor taste. Nobody black should celebrate the likes robert e lee

      simple

      The man should be a figure of hate to black people.

      and your “facts” don’t show robert e lee in any different light than he’s painted in the article.

      Ok so robert e lee championed the cause of state rights. What were the “state rights” he was trying to protect?

      Baring in mind that South was Slave economy?

      Oh yeh – that would be “states right” to enslave African people.

      FOH.

      The confederacy wanted to seceed to continue slavery on its own terms and free itself from the costs of being part of the Union.

      Kiss teet –

      bout there’s good and bad in everyone.

      please.

    • angela

      @SM, it is obvious you are choosing to read how you want to read. I have made very clear, 1. I am not white. 2. Slavery is unGodly. 3. Gen Lee, his wife, mother in law and daughter all were in illegal activities to free and educate slaves. 4. Hate is hate by whites or by black, its still hate.. The article was about why the sign is there and if the whites in the south want to go back to slavery days. Which, I do not believe is true. I think it is ignorant to assume a handful of bigots can speak for all white people and VISA VERSA!!!! I do not hate all Germans for their history, since you threw that in the logic…

  • real deal

    the real deal is many rascist people in the south had a problem celebrating a black heroe who fought for equality for all ,especially for blacks so in order to dim the already celebrated kings day ,and feel good about being off on this day certain officials made it thier business to whip up something a little more acceptable by them and their rascist counterparts. robert e lee’s history is indeed older than the Martin Luther King history but it was never a fed celebrated holiday .It also never represented an observed day off until after Martin Luther King Day was made an official holiday. That is pure unadulterated rascism in the 21’st century.I dont spend much energy on this subject because of the negative energy it puts out and im all about positivity and progression but facts are facts.I use this info as knowledge and awareness as so to know the real way these racist minded people think and work then turn that negative energy into positive energy to catapult.myself to new heights.iI SUGGEST YOU DO THE SAME. And thats just the real deal.

  • Socially Maladjusted

    but who are Lee’s ideological descendents, might they be the kind who want to “take back their country”, dismantle government, hate mexican immigration, scapegoat blacks and other vunerable groups in society?. . .

    Championing state rights doesn’t make you a humanitarian on a par with Martin Luther King if your ultimate goal is to maintain an unjust social order.

    robert e lee doesn’t even cut it as an honourable nationalist in my book. Just an all round scum bag, like the rest of the people farming scum bags of his day.

    f uck him

  • angela

    I would like to also add, I never gave an opinion on Martin Luther King. The article wasn’t about his courage, vision, heroic life. (That is my opinion of the man) The article was about the evil white south. Of which I chose to submit myself to the onslot of criticism, for posting historically correct information..

    Bigots are not confined to the southern states of the US or to one race. I feel we all need to be educated and full of love!!!!

    • Socially Maladjusted

      angela

      tell you what you do – why don’t you take your cumbayah message of peace love an tolerance to the people who need to hear it most –

      white people.

      If any humans on this planet have shown a propensity for hatred it’s them MORE THAN ALL OTHERS.

      and I think we can easily show this FACT to be true.

      btw – where did I suggest you are white?

      Where did that denial come from?

      _____________________________

      Once upon a time I naively believed that white people didn’t care what black people did or what we thought.

      I couldn’t have been more wrong. They watch and listen to everything blacks and other non-whites do and say.

      :-)

    • angela

      SM, I will pray for you. It is obvious you carry a heavy weight… I pray God can remove that from your burdens…

      Here is food for thought. If you celebrate Thanksgiving, which is a national holiday, should I assume you hate me? And want to continue take my home away and force my family to walk hundreds of miles, where some 4000 of my ansestors, Cherokee Indian, died. Am I to get angry when every store, restaurant, tv program, etc. puts out happy thanksgiving? Am I to hold on to the evil of some and pass it forward to all of you?

    • angela

      “Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.” Martin Luther King

      Very Kumbaya of him…..

    • angela

      @SM, your words have weighed heavy on my heart. What has made you so cynical? I have no idea, nor try to guess. Even though I would rather this be a private message, that isn’t an option here. So, the world gets to read.

      As a child I was repeatedly raped by a white man. As an adult, my white ex husband was abusive and a dead beat dad. As an adult and single mother, my house has broken into twice, both times by black men, thank God they didn’t expect me to be armed. My youngest daughter was so sexually harassed by a group of Mexican boys at school, the police and courts got involved.

      What is the common thread here? Men! So, should I hate all men and only trust women?

      No, wait… In high school a white girl stole my clothes. As an adult, a black lady I worked with stole my wallet. Hhmmm???? Maybe I should just hate all humans! Have no love for anyone and live in a very dark untrusting hole, scared to love….

      SM, I do not harbor hate. I trust everyone until they prove to me they aren’t trustworthy. But I love everyone!!! Everyone! Even those who harmed me. Harmed ME! Not my ansestors.. Me personally… What is the point of life without love and enjoyment? I enjoy every day to the fullest! I hope whatever bothers you about white people and their all wanting to know what you are doing all the time, will be healed someday soon… My heart is truly heavy, imagining what that must feel like, to have to trust and to live with no mental freedom…

      My prayers are sincerely with you and anyone lives captive to distrust.