Traitors Celebrated?

My question is why can southern states, who lost the Civil War, get away with having holidays and memorials to those who rebelled against the USA? Clint Smith, writing for The Atlantic, says, “I was struck by the many people I met who believe a version of history that rests on well-documented falsehoods. For so many of them, history isn’t the story of what actually happened; it is just the story they want to believe. It is not a public story we all share, but an intimate one, passed down like an heirloom, that shapes their sense of who they are. Confederate history is family history, history as eulogy, in which loyalty takes precedence over truth.  How many of the visitors to the cemetery today, I asked Ken, are Confederate sympathizers?” “I think there’s a Confederate empathy,” said Ken, the tour guide at Blandford Cemetery in Petersburg, Virginia. “People will tell you, ‘My great-great-grandmother, my great-great-grandfather are buried out here.’ So they’ve got long southern roots.”

The Anthemic Allure Of ‘Dixie,’ An Enduring Confederate Monument

September 20, 2018 3:41 PM ET Heard on All Things Considered


“[Dixie is] a nostalgic song about missing your home in the South. It’s really a wonderful song, if you ignore all the racial and political overtones,” says Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Tony Horwitz. He traced the enduring legacy of the Lost Cause, interviewing descendants of Confederate soldiers and contemporary reenactors for his celebrated book, Confederates in the Attic: Dispatches from the Unfinished Civil War.

“In contrast to the Union’s anthem, ‘Battle Hymn of the Republic,’ invoking God’s wrath, ‘Dixie’ is sentimental and elegiac, recalling this land of cotton fields and buckwheat cakes and a kind of slow-moving world that can seem appealing through rose-colored glasses,” he says. “[It] speaks to a bygone, slow-paced world that some white Southerners felt had been snuffed out by a brutish, industrial North. And it was another way of steering memory away from slavery, toward a war between what Southerners call ‘a different way of life.’ “

“While “Dixie” can work inside the parameters of a reenactment, Horwitz says, in real life the song is tangled up with the cultural revival of white supremacy in the 20th century. ” ‘Dixie’ was part of the score of Birth of a Nation, the movie that helped revive the Ku Klux Klan. It was embraced by the segregationist Dixiecrats in the 1940s. And in the 1950s, it was sung by white women protesting the integration of schools in Arkansas and elsewhere,” he says.

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