I understand the need to whitewash history. After all, that is what brought about the Lost Cause and altered the history that every southern student was taught. Unfortunately, rose colored glasses do not help with reality. The south fought to ensure “States' Rights.” I was taught this as was every other southern student. If you finish the thought, however, the south fought for the right of the states to allow slavery as an institution. Slavery as an institution, helped build our entire nation. The south benefited, the north benefited. The plantation owners grew rich on the backs of slaves and the industrial movement happened because of the products the slaves produced which were then sent north to the mills. It is one thing to want to honor your heritage, but when your heritage encroached on the lives of other people, maybe it is time to find a different way to honor your ancestors. Not every one owned slaves, that is very true. However, it doesn't change the fact that slaves are what the south was fighting for. Reconstruction was not handled well, which led to the Lost Cause and the romanticizing of by-gone days. I have read the slave narratives. Most of the former slaves certainly do not sing of the joy of slavery. If you want a reality of the time period, read the slave narratives, the autobiographies of escaped slaves. Remember not to only think of the one side. The KKK also grew because of how poorly reconstruction was enacted. I understand the thought process, I just can not agree with the belief that one persons life is less than another. The KKK as well as many “respectable whites” of the south used terror to control the blacks living amongst them. They used whipping, threatening and lynching.
It is an ugly past, but pretending it did not exist does not change anything and in fact delays any type of true change.
I am from the south, I have ancestors that were southern, I love the south. I love the south so much that I fight for us to move forward and beyond the need to erase history for our own comfort. I can not imagine telling someone that if they disagree with me and my beliefs they should just leave because they interfere with my comfort. It is amazingly childish to refuse to acknowledge that not everyone feels a need to hang onto an antiquated ideal.
These pictures are pictures of what that heritage represents. Un-whitewashed.
Thank you for joining me and as always, I hope I leave you with something to ponder.