An African-American politician says we should stop bickering and start commemorating

Read all about it.  Here’s a sample:

Ford said senators should get involved in anniversary commemorations to encourage understanding, to prevent misinformation and the spread of hatred.

“If people died, and we’re going to have this celebration, I want everybody in South Carolina to be united on it, to understand each other, to talk to each other,” said the 62-year-old New Orleans native. “Don’t be just mean-spirited. Be willing to talk to your white colleagues. Be willing to talk to your black colleagues. Be willing to go to the schools and talk to students, say, listen, we’ve got to move forward from what you think happened between 1861 and 1865.”

 An NAACP spokesman is calling him a “Confederate apologist.”  I think that’s quite an overstatement, but maybe that’s just me.  Anyway, check out the news story and see what you think.

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2 Comments

Filed under Civil War, History and Memory

2 responses to “An African-American politician says we should stop bickering and start commemorating

  1. An NAACP spokesman is calling him a “Confederate apologist.”

    Yeah, that kind of rhetoric doesn’t help.

    I don’t know enough about Ford specifically to know where he’s coming from or exactly where he’s going with this. But it would do everyone a favor to step out of the standard responses they’ve had for years, decades, and try to engage the other side.

    I don’t see much chance of that happening, though. The Southron heritage folks seem to be as entrenched as ever in their position, and given that they deem any other historical interpretation or analysis to be an existential threat — seriously, they toss around phrases like “cultural genocide” when describing the dark forces of “political correctness” supposedly aligned against them — I don’t see much likelihood of movement there.

    One thing I did find interesting, though, is that the NAACP chapter in Montgomery (as I understand) decided not to picket or protest the Jefferson Davis swearing-in thing several weeks ago. That seems to me, in retrospect, like a remarkably wise move, and quite different than one might expect. I imagine their calculation was that the event was going to happen anyway, and their active protest of it would only give it more press coverage. It can also be seen as the ultimate insult to the SCV — you’re not worth the trouble — although I may be reading more into that than is actually there.

    Given that there’s unlikely to be much change in the different players’ positions on the war, its causes and outcomes, the best solution may be for all sides to do as much as they can to commemorate the war in their own way, and get their chosen narrative out there. The Southron heritage crowd certainly is, and counter-narratives that get people talking and reading on their own can only be a good thing.

  2. Michael Lynch

    I’d say that if the NAACP in Montgomery had a problem with the swearing-in, then giving it the cold shoulder was the best move. Nothing gets headlines like a controversy, and I suspect that if counter-SCV protests died down, then neo-CSA events would essentially become non-events, ignored by everybody except the folks on their mailing list. They’ve already pretty much alienated themselves from scholars and public historians.

    –ML

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