A Museum Closes Without the Confederate Flag

Wayne,

Here’s an article, confusing I thought, about a battlefield museum a little southeast of Atlanta at the site of the final battles of General Sherman’s Atlanta campaign. Parts of the battlefield are a county park, and there is a museum and museum shop. Evidently, one of the County’s commissioners requested that they “not offend anyone” and get rid of the Confederate flags:

Atlanta Journal Constitution A Henry County commissioner requested a few months ago that a local Civil War museum remove its Conf…

Hmmmm. The spokesperson for the County said that the County had not made such a request.

While I don’t agree with removing flags from an historical museum, I also don’t agree with the last person cited.

Bernard L

Bernard,

You don’t agree with this? 

“You have a museum in this time period to honor both Union and Confederate veterans,” Chuck Johnson said. “No matter which side they fought on, they were all Americans.”

 I do agree with it. They tried to become Confederates but were forced back into being just Americans. They fought alongside other Americans in all later wars. They pay taxes like all other Americans. They take care of their families like all other humans. They’re not fundamentally different from other Americans.

 I think you have a problem. As long as you think of them only as traitors you will continue to have a problem. You seem unable to forgive.

Wayne

Wayne,

Well, we have to be careful with our words. Do we mean people who live in the Americas? Do we mean people who are citizens of the United States or legal residents? If the latter, then the white Confederate people of the 1860s would have denied that they were citizens of the United States. The Dred Scott decision settled the question about black people. They were not citizens and could not be citizens, even if they were free and living in northern states. It took the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments to overturn this decision.

Now that guy is good-hearted, and his sentiment is fine, as far as it goes. In all such statements it is necessary to try to infer his mental picture for who is an “American”, or who is “we”, or “our.” As in “we just want to remember our history.” I’d guess, but I don’t know, that his picture does not include black people.

Besides, aside from this confused and odd case of a county park near Atlanta, no one wants to “erase” history by removing these monuments. The reason three of the New Orleans monuments should be removed is that “we” and “our” must include black people. (And those white people of New Orleans who supported and fought for the United States.) The fourth monument, you will recall, honored a white supremacist mob who attacked the integrated police force of 1874 Reconstruction era New Orleans. Why do you suppose that the people who put up that monument didn’t honor the police killed and wounded by the mob?

Bernard L

Bernard,

You ask:

>Why do you suppose that the people who put up that monument didn’t honor the police killed and wounded by the mob?

Because those people were human beings, and humans don’t erect monuments to enemies, only to people on their own side. So forgive them and get on with life. Hopefully the overall arc trends positive, and do what you can to help it arc that way. Harping on past sins and insisting that sinners are/were one-dimensional purely-evil humans is not useful. Forgive … but don’t forget.

Wayne

Wayne,

“Those people” have every right to honor anyone they perceive as being on “their side” on their property. If they wish to put up a monument to these rioters on their front lawn, that’s fine.

As I’ve mentioned before, here in Hillsborough County the Sons of Confederate Veterans have some property close to the intersection of I-75 and I-4 where they placed a massive flagpole to display Confederate flags. It’s a few miles east of downtown, but I-75 is the main north-south highway along the west coast and I-4 is the main east-west highway from Tampa to Orlando to the east coast. Those Sons get to honor their ancestors for all to see. That’s entirely different than requiring black people to walk to the courthouse past a city-owned monument to Confederate fighters. Those soldiers fought to keep black people enslaved, and the monument was paid for and given to the city by people asserting that their ancestors’ cause was right and just.

I tend to doubt that the rioters’ monument was put up by people who just wished to honor their forebears’ bravery. They don’t have a right to compel the government to honor the rioters. When that monument, and all the others honoring Confederate soldiers and leaders, was put up, “those people” didn’t ask black people what they thought of the matter.

As the government represents all citizens, it ought not to be honoring the ancestors of one sub-group at the expense of another sub-group.

I’d also say that the term “those people” shows that this really is about racist and white supremacy, not honoring “our” ancestors.

If “those people” were thinking that their group was, say, Floridians and Tampans, and not white Floridians and white Tampans, then their memorials to their forebears would have been to all soldiers who fought on either side of the war, black and white. But these monuments never are, and “those people” object to any attempt to widen the circle of honorees.

Remember, too, that this type of thinking, known as neo-Confederate or Lost Cause ideology, specifically involves wistfully or bitterly remembering the defeat of white Southerners. Not moving on. It is not those who wish to remove the monuments who refuse to move on.

Bernard

Tampa Flag site- Confederate Memorial Park

Confederate Memorial Park in Tampa, Florida is home to the world’s largest 3rd National Flag and the world’s largest flying Naval Jack.

Confederate Memorial Park was a vision that began to take shape in 2007 when the land on the southwest corner of I-4 and I-75 was purchased. The journey wasn’t an easy one. City, County, and FAA regulations and codes had to be met; not to mention those in the media and public that were detractors. Construction began in 2008. The park is adorned with 75 Confederate jasmine on chain link fencing bordering 18 pallets of Pensacola Bahia sod on the grounds with an additional 300 feet of flower beds, The center piece of this historical park dedication is the world’s largest Confederate battle flag, 30 feet by 60 feet.

It is beautiful and waves 139 feet in the air on the southwest corner of I-4 and I-75 at exit 261 in Tampa, Florida. The 139-foot tall flagpole was manufactured in Texas and delivered to Florida in four sections. The pole base is 14 feet in the ground surrounded by an eight foot diameter sleeve filled with 12,000 pounds of concrete. The base of the flagpole itself is two feet in diameter with six inches diameter at the top, and an internal halyard for raising the flag. In the center of the park stand 10 granite monuments bearing the names of those who helped make the dream a reality. There is also a very nice bench that was donated by the Order of Confederate Rose Florida Division.

The front of Confederate Memorial Park is ringed with 12,000 red bricks resting on 300 inner concrete blocks along with the installation of 240 feet of wrought iron at the parking area. Mega spotlights for the flag and pole accentuate night visibility as cars, 18 wheelers, and vans honk in recognition day and night of their beloved Dixie flag. When the park was dedicated, April 25, 2009, there were nearly 2000 guests in attendance to see the “World’s Largest Flying Battle flag” raised in tribute to the soldiers and citizens of the South during years 1861-1865. Florida Division Sons of Confederate Veterans assumed ownership of the park in 2012.

On June 9, 2012, with General Order #2-2012, Florida Division Commander Jim Davis named the General Jubal A. Early Camp #556 as the Sentinels of Confederate Memorial Park in Tampa, FL. They have been tasked with maintaining the site, the flags, and making Confederate Memorial Park an enjoyable place for everyone to visit.

To visit the General Jubal A. Early SCV Camp’s Confederate Memorial Park page click here.

Bernard

Yes, those people down south still smart mightily for having lost their power, their wealth in the form of slaves, and their cause. But they’re just people, no more and no less. Specifically, they are no more and no less honorable, smart, virtuous, humble, stupid, vicious, saintly, miserly, and any other adjective, than the people up north who won the fight. Or the black people who still feel hatred from the southerners and often from northerners too. I was an overt racist myself from before I can remember, through my 30s and beyond, after which I gradually became aware of my reflexive thoughts and actions and began to clean them up, with much shame and regret about my past behavior. I wish I had learned sooner but I did not. People get formed before they can think for themselves. We’re not yet into the tenth generation since the slaves were freed. It just takes time. We are collectively getting there. I say let’s be matter of fact and not cast stones lest we be found wanting ourselves.

    Wayne

 

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