The South has long lied about the Confederacy. They whitewash the brutality of the institution of slavery, and they fly Confederate battle flags, saying it is a symbol of “heritage” rather than “hate.” They also try to say that Civil War was not about slavery, where indeed it was. In fact, it is right in the Cornerstone Speech – meaning, the speech that defined the purpose of the formation of the Confederate States of America – that the Civil War was most certainly about slavery. Delivered by Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens, the speech explicitly said:
Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner- stone rests upon the great truth, that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery — subordination to the superior race — is his natural and normal condition.”
So, yes, it was most definitely all about white supremacy and slavery. This obvious fact is not stopping lawmakers in the South Carolina statehouse from trying to teach pro-Confederate propaganda to school children though – and they are doing it all under the guise of honoring the black men who fought in the Civil War. State Rep. Bill Chumley (R-Woodruff) and state Rep. Mike Burns (R-Taylors) are working together to build a memorial to the black veterans of the Civil War. However, what they want to slide into the bill that would get that ball rolling is beyond sinister.
The two Republican state lawmakers want to “recognize” the “sacrifices” of the black men who fought in defense of slavery – and they want it taught to kids in school. Rep. Chumley says:
We came to the realization there was a lot we didn’t know about the war and their sacrifices. These people were heroes and forgotten heroes.”
Of course, there’s nothing in there about the fact that these people fought under force, because they were property. They had no choice but to fight in favor of their continued bondage. Also, the bill mentions the “pensions” that were paid to the soldiers – but that isn’t true either. The soldiers never received pensions. According to Adam Domby, who teaches history at College of Charleston, those pensions were paid to workers in Confederate camps, not the black soldiers.
We must be clear about what this is: An attempt to downplay what the Civil War was about, the brutality and cruelty of the institution of slavery, and to justify the South’s continued reverence for its Antebellum period. It’s despicable to try to teach this nonsense to school children – especially while doing so under cover of trying to pretend they want to honor black soldiers, or that they care about black people at all.
Featured image via Sean Rayford/Getty Images
Shannon Barber is a self- described queer feminist and activist for racial equality, LGBT rights, women’s rights, and secular rights in America. She is a lifelong lover of words, though her educational background is in computer science. She currently writes for 2 liberal websites, and keeps her own humor blog for lesbians. She hopes to change the world, one mind at a time.