30 April 2009

Stonewall Country Returning

Exactly 5 years to the date it closed, the legendary Stonewall Country musical theatrical will return to the enchanting "Theater at Lime Kiln" in Rockbridge County, Virginia. I've seen it twice and give it a 4 1/2 star recommendation.

28 April 2009

Forced Into Glory Review

Fellow CW blogger Tim Talbott recently posted a review of Lerone Bennett's Forced Into Glory. Here's an excerpt:

I recommend this book mainly to see another side of Lincoln that is largely hid due to what his administration did accomplish. Some of Lincoln's historical warts often get left out in favor of a more pretty appearance in many historical examinations. I think it is important to know historical figures for the real men they were; the good with the bad. This work presents more of the bad than the good of Lincoln in effort to balance out the myths that have persisted since 1865. I encourage you to read Forced Into Glory and decide for yourself.

You can read the rest of the review here
. Myths persist everywhere - South and North.

Those Who Live In Glass Houses


Early 19th century New Englanders had real motives for forgetting their slave history, or, if they recalled it at all, for characterizing it as a brief period of mild servitude. This was partly a Puritan effort to absolve New England's ancestors of their guilt. The cleansing of history had a racist motive as well, denying blacks -- slave or free -- a legitimate place in New England history. But most importantly, the deliberate creation of a "mythology of a free New England" was a crucial event in the history of sectional conflict in America. The North, and New England in particular, sought to demonize the South through its institution of slavery; they did this in part by burying their own histories as slave-owners and slave-importers. At the same time, behind the potent rhetoric of Daniel Webster and others, they enshrined New England values as the essential ones of the Revolution, and the new nation. In so doing, they characterized Southern interests as purely sectional and selfish. In the rhetorical battle, New England backed the South right out of the American mainstream. ~ Douglas Harper

Examining The Cornerstone Speech

Rather than open wide and swallow the clich├ęd, shallow examination of Alexander Stephens's infamous "Cornerstone Speech," a careful look into the CSA VP's words, and the speech's background, reveals a lot more than what lies on the surface:
The Savannah speech is a sad affair, not just because of the blunt racism of that one passage -- the racism itself, it ought to be noted, would hardly have offended any white audience in 1861 America, North, South, or West, outside a few abolitionist circles. But sad because it shows a politician who has so twisted himself to try to hold the reins of a revolution that he has got tangled in them and they now rule him. He embraces what he once scorned, and he mocks positions he once held. He has thrown away his ideals, and the "cornerstone" passage, to me, reads so much more accurately as an odd eruption of a warped and very personal ideological struggle . . .

So far from slavery being the cause of secession, the fact is many thinking men in the South knew that secession would be the doom of slavery. Slavery could not be economically viable or legally enforcable where freedom was just a river away. They had pushed the North so hard to enforce the Fugitive Slave Laws for just this reason. Stephens was among those who judged "slavery much more secure in the union than out of it."

21st century morality plays aren't for serious students of the WBTS. As is so often the case with history, the issues involving the Civil War, as well as its participants, are not all black and white. There are multiple shades of gray as imperfect human beings struggled with the moral issues of their times. Then, as today, some were guided by conscience, some by their faith, some by love of home and hearth, some by patriotism, some by fear, some by purely selfish motives; by power, by politics, by greed, by self-righteousness. The war that so deeply divided our Nation in 1861 was complicated by many competing interests. And judging one section over the other for any one of those interests is not in the best interest of pursuing the truth.

To read the full article by historian Douglas Harper quoted in this post, click here.


Y'all Interview Secret Revealed

As I mentioned in a previous post, I did an interview for Y'all Magazine with a personality who is fairly well known among Civil War enthusiasts. I had kept that person's name secret until that issue became available. Who is it? Nationally acclaimed artist and sculptor, Gary Casteel.

Another interesting piece in this issue is "The 30 or so Greatest Southern Songs." Is there any doubt as to which song came in #1? Check it out here.

This is a great magazine for those interested in all aspects of Southern culture. You can even watch a "Sweet tea" competition on video at the Y'all website.

**Update: Speaking of Mr. Casteel, the Civil War Preservation Trust features one of his sculptures on the masthead of their web page here.

27 April 2009

Southern Soldier Boy



In Remembrance of Confederate Memorial Day being celebrated as a state holiday today in Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, & Texas.

(Song, "The Southern Soldier Boy", sung by Kathy Mattea)

Applicable To The Study Of The WBTS


"When a thing ceases to be a subject of controversy, it ceases to be a subject of interest."
~ William Hazlitt


26 April 2009

The Burning

Click here to listen to an interview about the production of a documentary titled The Burning. This film is based on the late Shenandoah Valley historian, John Heatwole's book by the same title. More about the film here.

25 April 2009

Comparative Value

Kevin Levin recently posted some comments about the very cheap price of Elizabeth Brown Pryor's, Reading the Man: A Portrait of Robert E. Lee Through His Private Letters. His post got me to thinking about the value of history related works, their "shelf-life", their audiences, popularity, and how all this is impacted by the perspective of the author/historian which, for the sake of this discussion, I group into "traditionalists" and "progressives."

You can now purchase Elizabeth Brown Pryor's much overrated book on Robert E. Lee: Reading the Man: A Portrait of Robert E. Lee Through His Private Letters,used for as little as 75 cents on Amazon. You can purchase a brand new copy for $2.00 dollars on Amazon. (As of today).

In comparison, you would pay $4.40 for a used copy of H.W. Crocker, III's Robert E. Lee on Leadership: Executive Lessons in Character, Courage, and Vision. A new copy will cost you $7.50.

Pryor's book was published in 2007, is 688 pages, and has received wide acclaim from academia. It currently ranks #17 on Amazon's list of books about General Lee. The following reviews are posted about Pryor's book on Lee:

“An unorthodox, critical, and engaging biography [that] impressively captures Lee’s character and personality.”
The Boston Globe

“Pryor moves onto important historical and interpretive terrain with a far more discerning and critical eye than most of her scholarly or popular predecessors.”
The New Republic (Notice the condescending tone of that review).

Crocker's book has been out since August of 2000 and, as this is being posted, ranks #2 on Amazon's list of books about General Lee.

Here are two samples of Amazon reviews on Crocker's book:

"Harry Crocker has provided a great service by reminding us through this moving and tightly written biography that winning isn't the only thing: faithfulness and honor live in our memories after the guns are silent."
—Marvin Olasky, author of the bestselling Renewing American Compassion and The American Leadership Tradition

"A masterpiece--the best work of its kind I have ever read. Crocker's Lee is a Lee for all leaders to study; and to work, quite deliberately, to emulate."
— Major General Josiah Bunting III, superintendent of the Virginia Military Institute

Kevin, who I would certainly consider a "progressive" historian, calls Pryor's work "a fabulous biography." The marketplace would appear to be in disagreement. Please understand that I'm not necessarily suggesting that the facts presented here always determine the true value and quality of a work; much of that is governed by the individual taste of the reader and subjective preferences. I also realize this is by no means a conclusive, scientific comparison but, I do think it is, in some ways, indicative of longstanding trends in the public's appetite for historically based works. I also think all this raises some interesting questions.

I'd like to pose some of those questions for readers' consideration:
  1. What does this say about the two books, particularly in regards to Dana Shoaf's recent comments that, "The problem with academic historians is they are not reaching a wide popular audience"? Is that due to the fact academics tend to, in general, be more critical of America's heroic icons and try to "deconstruct" them based on 21st standards of morality and conduct?
  2. It is, in my mind, quite significant that the marketplace of Amazon's popular audience has deemed Pryor's work to be of such little value in such short time while Crocker's book, which has been out for almost 10 years, outbids the former by a substantial amount. What dynamics are involved?
  3. It is primarily academia and more "progressive" interests that have lauded Pryor's work while it is "traditionalists", for the most part, who have praised Crocker's work. What does this, coupled with Amazon's ratings and pricing, and Shoaf's comments tell us and reveal about the two books?
My own conclusion is that most Americans who are interested in works of history prefer a traditionalist approach to American history. What do you think?


24 April 2009

Follow Up On The 10th Amendment Post

I posted some comments a few days ago regarding the left's hypocricsy over States' rights, secession talk, and federalism. Now comes a piece in the Wall Street Journal calling for a constitutional amendment "reaffirming" the principle of federalism written by Randy Barnett who is a professor of constitutional law at Georgetown University and the author of Restoring the Lost Constitution: The Presumption of Liberty (Princeton, 2005).

Barnett writes:

In response to an unprecedented expansion of federal power, citizens have held hundreds of "tea party" rallies around the country, and various states are considering "sovereignty resolutions" invoking the Constitution's Ninth and Tenth Amendments. For example, Michigan's proposal urges "the federal government to halt its practice of imposing mandates upon the states for purposes not enumerated by the Constitution of the United States."

Read the rest of the piece here.

This idea just might head off some nasty business down the road.

23 April 2009

Five Star Recommendation

I link to this site and have recommended it before, but just as a reminder, this site is, in my humble opinion, the best on the internet for exploring the culture, history, and heritage of the Shenandoah Valley. Imagine a site that can be enjoyed by NPR listeners as well as SCV members. Yeah, I know, hard to believe, but I think many of you will agree it's quite diverse and there really is something there for anyone who appreciates the history and culture of the Shenandoah Valley.

Of particular interest are their shorts of the excellent Roadtrip To History video series. Check it out here. Every day features a new clip. They also offer a daily radio podcast you can listen to on the home page which features attractions, stories, and other topics of interest.

22 April 2009

The Left's Hypocrisy Over Secession


"Texas Governor Rick Perry's recent defense of the 10th Amendment has unleashed a flood of liberal outrage. To our friends on the left, those who mention the word secession and federal government in the same breath are about as sophisticated as "beady-eyed stump jumpers" to quote from one of Mike Royko's old columns. In other words, only a knuckle-dragging right-wing extremist could find a way to oppose President Obama's benevolent and compassionate autocracy." So says American Thinker contributor, Ed Kaitz, Ph.D.



In recent days, we've seen the predictable hand-wringing and eye-rolling from the "incredulous" left over Perry's defense of the 10th amendment and Texas' alleged right to secede. Some Civil War blogs are also taking Perry to task and mocking him for daring to suggest that the constitutional principle of States' rights has any legitimacy in this federal nannyism, elitist, "we know better than you" age. Perry and his supporters are being accused of anti-Americanism and are being portrayed on some blogs as cartoonish buffoons. Yes, according to some on the left, only wild-eyed, Confederate flag-waving, "neo-Confederate" kooks ever bring up secession and/or the 10th amendment. So let's all have a good laugh and relegate Perry to the kook corner.

Not so fast. As Dr. Kaitz duly notes: "The modern secessionist movement however has been a mostly left-wing phenomenon."

And as I noted on another blog the other day:

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I do not think secession is a good idea, -at least no yet - :o) - but I believe its irrefutable that many of the Founding Fathers wanted it to remain an option . . . Furthermore, I remember quite clearly a number of liberal commentators and others suggesting secession was an option after the election of 2004:

“These sentiments were so pronounced that they migrated into the mainstream. Speaking on ‘The McLaughlin Group’ the weekend after George W. Bush’s victory, panelist Lawrence O’Donnell, a former Democratic Senate staffer, noted that blue states subsidize the red ones with their tax dollars, and said, ‘The big problem the country now has, which is going to produce a serious discussion of secession over the next 20 years, is that the segment of the country that pays for the federal government is now being governed by the people who don’t pay for the federal government.’ A shocked Tony Blankley asked him, ‘Are you calling for civil war?’ To which O’Donnell replied, ‘You can secede without firing a shot.’”

The above quote is from Salon Magazine, 16 November 2004

Also, Bob Beckel who was, at the time, a Senior political analyst for Fox News and who has also worked as a Democratic Party strategist and consultant, made the following comments after the 2004 election:

“‘I think now that slavery is taken care of, I’m for letting the South form its own nation. Really, I think they ought to have their own confederacy,’ Mr. Beckel said on the ‘Fox and Friends” program.’”

The above quote is from the Washington Times, 9 November 2004

Are these folks neo-Confederates as well?
**********************************************************

And then there was the "Let's Ditch Dixie" piece that appeared in Slate Magazine after the 2000 election. That piece included these comments:

"The United States doesn't have to refight the Civil War to set matters right. Rather, North and South should simply follow the example of the Czech Republic and Slovakia: Shake hands, says it's been real, and go their separate ways. And if the South isn't inclined to leave anytime soon, then we should show them the door by seceding unilaterally."

And . . .

"Economically and socially, secession will be painless for the North. The South is a gangrenous limb that should have been lopped off decades ago." (How nice. Shows what many elites really think about Southerners, doesn't it?)

The author of the Slate piece was Mark Strauss, not someone who could be easily dismissed as some left-wing, hack-blogger. (Left-wing, yes. Hack, no.) He's a journalist and senior editor at Smithsonian Magazine and has written for a number of other left-leaning publications including The Washington Post and The New Republic.

But isn't it interesting that those criticizing Perry conveniently overlook those on the left who make the same secessionist threats when things don't go their way? I find it not only interesting, but quite instructive as well. The left's lack of credibility is always exposed by their double standard on just about every issue they discuss.

Kaitz, in the American Thinker piece, further observes:

"College campuses across America are breeding grounds for secessionists. In all my years in academia I've rarely seen Old Glory displayed proudly in an office or a hallway, but I've seen plenty of images of Che Guevara and Karl Marx. I even had to endure a life size portrait of Mao Tse Tung in a colleague's office for some years during graduate school. It comes as no surprise then that secessionists like Noam Chomsky are the favored speakers at our universities, not patriots like David Horowitz."

Kaitz concludes with these remarks:

"My guess is that if Texas does decide to secede, it will remain more 'American' than the ravaged carcass it will have left behind."

Evidently, the left is not really concerned about secession talk, as long as the political philosophy of those doing the talking is left-wing radicalism; which is where the real kooks are and where real anti-Americanism resides.

(You can read *the whole piece by Dr. Kaitz here. And for some interesting perspectives on secession, search Amazon's site.)

*As always, links to articles and other blogs/sites do not necessarily mean I endorse anything nor everything found there.

*********************************************************

In a related matter, a recent Rasmussen poll shows that 51% of the American people view the growing "Tea Party" protests favorably. But those who opine that the modern Tea Parties are only about taxes are either grossly misinformed or dishonest. Also worth noting, Rasmussen says the "political class strongly disagrees" with the Tea Parties. What a surprise. Who is the "political class?" For the most part, elitists who populate government at all levels, Hollywood, and much of academia.

Repentant Enemy Honored At VMI


"VMI unveiled this plaque Tuesday to commemorate Captain Henry du Pont of the union army, who helped rebuild the college, after destroying it during the civil war."

Watch video here.

21 April 2009

Missing The Masses


Eric Wittenberg recently posted some comments from the editor of both America’s Civil War and Civil War Times, Dana Shoaf:

"The problem with academic historians is they are not reaching a wide popular audience," Shoaf said. He said there is a need for factual, well-researched historical articles that are moderately priced and appeal to the masses. Shoaf said that in his business, people often are reluctant to read social history because they think it is boring. They want articles about battles, but Shoaf said they like social history if they aren’t aware that’s what they are reading." (Emphasis mine.)

Mr. Shoaf is correct and he echoes, to some extent, comments I've made here before. I wrote the following in an earlier post about celebratory history:

"Moreover, most of these academics write primarily to impress each other and to receive the accolades of their peers. The "anti-intellectual"--code speak for the "common man"--finds their writing style boring, condescending, and offensive so their impact is probably not as great as they would like to think. That is a good thing."

And this from an earlier post about the approach of some academics:

". . . they write (poorly) boring books and commentary that not even Mensa members could make sense of, thinking that using 20 words, when 10 would suffice, makes them sound smarter."

"They've convinced themselves that their "scholarship" and pronouncements are original and that no one else has ever considered their angle. They enviously criticize popular styles of historical narrative (i.e. David McCullough) that far outsells anything they could ever produce. They become especially condescending and emotional when anyone (even credentialed historians) challenges their politically correct orthodoxy. That's when the ad hominen attacks begin - the last refuge of those who can't answer an argument."

"And then they wonder why they have so little influence among the general public and those who study the conflict casually, as a hobby, or as "entertainment" - to use their word. They believe that their "profession" is on the same level as a brain surgeon's and only they have the "sophistication," training, and intelligence to research, read, study and come to conclusions and interpret for the great unwashed masses. "How dare anyone challenge us!" How laughable. (Many of these same elitists do not, themselves, possess advanced degrees in history, but they do subscribe to the orthodoxy. That's what's important.)"

Obviously, my criticism is more damning, but you get the drift. I also heard Bob Krick make similar comments in recent years.

20 April 2009

Balance


There's an interesting article in the Washington Compost this morning. Surprisingly, it provides a more balanced view than usual on the teaching of the War Between the States (The piece even uses the "WBTS" term favored in the South.) Here's a quote from the piece which includes a comment from University of Richmond's Ed Ayers:

******************************************************************

Ayers said it is time for both sides to face facts.

"We do understand the centrality of race and slavery in all of American history," Ayers said. "But we also understand that the stereotypes about the war are not accurate. The North did not go to war to bring slavery to an end . . . and without slavery there would have been no Confederacy."

******************************************************************

I agree but, would hasten to add that, without the North's complicity, there would have been no slavery. And that, my dear friends, is what is so often overlooked (intentionally?) by those who play the morality card and wish to make the Confederacy the great Satan and the North the great Saviour. South bashing is so chic.

Read the complete story here.

19 April 2009

I Agree With Axelrod

"Senior White House adviser David Axelrod on Sunday suggested the 'Tea Party' movement is an 'unhealthy' reaction to the tough economic climate facing the country."

I agree. The Tea Parties are unhealthy for Axelrod's political power.

Story here.

18 April 2009

Our President Yuks It Up With Leftist Thugs

"Chavez walked over to Obama, patted the president on the shoulder and handed him the book, "The Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent" by Eduardo Galeano, an essay about U.S. and European economic and political interference in the region."

(Fits right into the leftist template - evil Europeans and Americans are the root of all evil. If Chavez ever does "lose" an election, he could come to the United States and become a university professor. Perhaps Bill Ayers needs a comrade.)

"Obama also extended a hand to a leader Ronald Reagan spent years trying to drive from power: Nicaragua's Daniel Ortega. The Sandinista president stepped up and introduced himself, U.S. officials reported. Yet soon after, Ortega, who was ousted in 1990 elections that ended Nicaragua's civil war but who was returned to power by voters in 2006, delivered a blistering 50-minute speech that denounced capitalism and U.S. imperialism as the root of much hemispheric mischief. The address even recalled the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba, though Ortega said the new U.S. president could not be held to account for that. "I'm grateful that President Ortega did not blame me for things that happened when I was three months old," Obama said, to laughter and applause from the other leaders."

Ha-ha. God help us.

Story here.

17 April 2009

Revisting My Response To Peter Carmichael


The debate over black Confederate soldiers and servants has been reignited on Kevin Levin's blog. Since he also posted some earlier comments by Professor Carmichael, I thought it would be appropriate to provide some balance and my response (last year), which came by way of invitation from Pete. I also follow up here with a post I wrote in response to Kevin's (as well as others) earlier suggestion that anyone who thought there could be "familial" relations between slaveowners and slaves, was "dangerous." Please don't waste time composing comments that rehash the same old worn-out, cliched arguments or those which parse words, split hairs, or simply serve an agenda. They won't be posted. But if you have something new to add, go ahead.
*********************************************************************

25 July 2008

In Response to Professor Peter S. Carmichael

The following comments are in response to an invitation by Professor Peter S. Carmichael, who teaches history at West Virginia University. The invitation originated from this post. Pete suggested I comment on this post which he wrote for the Civil War Memory blog regarding African-Americans who served in the Confederate Army. Kevin Levin, host at CWM, also encouraged me to comment. My comments to Professor Carmichael's post are below:


First, full disclosure: I am here by invitation of Messrs Carmichael and Levin. I sincerely appreciate their courtesy in asking for my comments and thoughts on Professor Carmichael’s post regarding African-Americans who served in the Confederate Army. I must admit, however, that I feel like a lamb who’s been invited over for supper at the local lion’s den. I want to point out that my comments are only in response to what Pete originally wrote (with one exception), and not to the various comments that have since followed that post. None of my comments, though at times pointed, are intended to be insulting or disrespectful in any way to either Pete or Kevin.

The invitation to comment came, in part, due to a rather testy post on my blog in which I took certain Civil War historians and academics to task for their attitude toward non-academics (like me) who also study and write about the (May I be so bold?), War Between the States, a.k.a. the Civil War.

It is both Pete’s and Kevin’s stated desire to open a dialogue, as Kevin noted, “between various camps within the Civil War community.” Though I am in no way an expert on African-Americans who served in the Confederate Army and while I am less than optimistic about the outcome of any exchange, I am willing to try to bring something constructive to the discussion at hand. If nothing else, perhaps my comments will allow some of my academic friends to release some long pent up endorphins.

Regarding your piece Pete, I found some in it with which I agreed and some with which I did not agree, or did not completely understand the point you were trying to make. It was certainly well written and raises some valid questions. But some of the things you stated are so obvious I’m not quite sure why you wrote them. I think many academics feel the need to constantly remind Southerners and Civil War “buffs” that slavery was evil and that 19th century Americans held prejudiced views on race. Moreover, I believe many academics (not necessarily you) often assume that just because someone belongs to the SCV, or writes admiringly of Lee or Jackson, or reenacts, or points out that African-Americans did serve in the Confederate Army—in various capacities and for various reasons—that they believe slavery really wasn’t “all that bad” or that “slavery had nothing to do with the war” or that they are a “neo-Confederate” (codespeak for slavery apologist). I actually read one blogger who has accused everyone from George Bush, to Bill Clinton, to the Boy Scouts of being “neo-Confederates.” Of course, you could also throw in Dr. Walter Williams, who recently served as chair of the economics department at George Mason University, as well as Virginia Democratic Senator James Webb; who have both written positive comments regarding the Confederacy, Confederate soldiers, and the Confederate Battle flag. Quite an eclectic group, would you not agree?

That particular line of discussion is based on false assumptions and stereotypes and leads to much of the disconnect and mistrust among the various “camps.” I, too, would like to move beyond that if we can. I don’t need convincing that slavery was evil. I don’t need convincing that 19th century Americans, North as well as South, held views that by 21st century standards were racist. (At the same time, let’s remember that 19th century Americans were just that, 19th century Americans.)

And one more item before I get into the meat of some of your comments Pete; in one of your follow up posts, you mention “they” and then follow with a comment that the “psychological” perspectives of “they” (in regards to the subject at hand) need to be looked into. That is “s-o-o-o academia” (if not condescending) and sounds like something that would come from Dr. Phil. You probably lost a lot of folks with that one comment. I’m sure it makes those to whom you are referring feel like you believe they have some type of mental disorder and that you want to psychoanalyze their every syllable. I should warn you: if you start probing into the minds of Southern Civil War enthusiasts you will most assuredly find some nuts—if that’s what you’re looking for—but you will also most assuredly end up one yourself. I can promise you that. I would suggest historians leave that line of work to the psychiatric professionals who have less to risk.

I will not attempt to address every single point of your original post, but I’ll try to hit the highlights. First, I do believe that there were both Confederate slaves and black Confederates. I am certainly one who agrees there were far more of the former than the latter, but there were both. Those who have wildly exaggerated the numbers of black Confederates have done nothing but call into question the whole notion. But I do not accept the premise of your blanket definition of “black Confederates.” This is complicated and while some would fit your definition, others would not. Regarding your comment about patriotism and the slaves, I believe that, too, needs to be explored a little more. I, as well as many Americans, would define patriotism as a love of a country and its people. Nationalism would be a love for the government, in this case, the Confederate government and what it stood for in the minds of the slaves. The slaves certainly did not love “their” government, but I have no doubt many loved their country and, yes, in many cases its white inhabitants. In that sense, they were patriotic. I think it is important to make a distinction between the two and acknowledge that they were patriotic in that context. Admittedly, the lines become blurred and further complicate the issue.

I would also strongly disagree with your conclusion that, “The presence of coercion in slavery, moreover, creates an insurmountable challenge for those who want to describe slaves as Confederate heroes.” A hero is defined, simply, as “a man distinguished by exceptional courage, nobility, and strength.” Neptune certainly fits that description. His heroism should not be diminished simply because he was a slave and his heroic deed (putting his life at great risk) involved retrieving the body of his dead, white master. If anything, in my mind, that makes his heroism all the more “exceptional.” He is but one example. I do not see that as an “insurmountable challenge.”

Furthermore I think your suggestion that, “Fearing punishment for failing to bring home his master might have motivated Neptune”, defies logic. Certainly Neptune would not have preferred being shot to being “punished”—even if that punishment involved physical abuse.

I agree with the anecdotal evidence you present regarding the “Ebony Idols” article and that it reveals that many of the white Confederates viewed the blacks within their ranks as “pets” and that the intent of the article was mocking, demeaning, and meant to keep these men “in their place.” I could, of course, present anecdotal evidence of my own regarding the bravery and honorable service of black Confederates (or Confederate slaves) that garnered the admiration and respect of the white Confederate soldiers with whom they served. Neptune serves as one of those examples, as does Stonewall Jackson’s body servant, Jim Lewis, who I’ve written about. There are others.

In reference to Sam describing “bullets as ‘singing’ around [his] head ‘like mosquitoes in a big cypress swamp’” I don’t find anything of relevance there. Many white soldiers made very similar analogies when describing battlefield experiences. I don’t think that advances your argument in any way. Perhaps I’m missing something?

You write: “While Confederate slaves successfully challenged popular conceptions of what it meant to be a black man, these ‘victories’ did not earn them the public recognition they sought…” I wholeheartedly agree. As Ervin Jordan has noted: “Only in the reminiscences of ex-Confederates are body servants given any sort of appreciation.” Virginia did not even pass legislation awarding pensions to blacks who had served in the Confederate Army until 1924. Which is a good reason, I believe, to honor them now in ways that does not demean their service, i.e. placing a simple headstone where they are buried noting that service, writing of their bravery and service in honest terms for the fact that many of these men faced the dangers of battle and risked death. Regardless of all the reasons they were there, I find it difficult to believe most would not want some recognition of their service.

While it is an inadequate analogy, the African-Americans who served during WWII were subjected to segregation, racism, and prejudices by the very country they were fighting for, yet they deserved and eventually got the recognition they earned, though some only very recently.

You wrote in referring to the slave who was able to purchase fine clothes that, “The slave’s fine clothing signified to Pender that he was losing control, and that his slave was challenging the established order, for plantation slaves were always issued the coarsest dress. The sight of a slave wearing French shirts constituted an insubordinate act to Pender.” There must be more to that story than what you write. If not, I think it’s quite a leap to the conclusion you draw. At best, conjecture.

You wrote: “Lost Cause writers and neo-Confederates today have emphasized companionship between white and black as proof of slaveholder benevolence and slave fidelity. While professional historians have successfully demolished this ridiculous interpretation . . .”

I’m really confused on that point. Are you disavowing what you wrote in your review of "Within the Plantation Household" by Elizabeth Fox-Genovese which appeared in the October 2007 edition of Civil War Times when you noted:

“No one can ignore the overwhelming historical evidence of mutual closeness between blacks and whites within the Slave South . . .” You continue that sentence with the fact that Ms. Fox-Genovese “reminds us that such feelings were expressed in a system that bought and sold African-Americans.” I understand that, but the closeness did, despite the evils of slavery, exist. You seem to be denying this in the quote from your post, after affirming it in the CWT piece.

You have further laudatory remarks about her book which seem to contradict what you wrote in the blog post: “Contextualizing these expressions of animosity as well as love and respect are essential if we want to understand the broader patterns of thought and action in the old South. [I agree.] Fox-Genovese provides a rich analysis of these fascinating confrontations between slave and master without losing her critical eye or her amazing capacity for empathy. Like no other historian before or since, she has explained how white and black Southerners could retain their own sense of humanity while living in the inhumane world of chattel slavery.”

Again, these comments appear to me to affirm what you dismiss in the post. What have I missed here or have you now come to a different conclusion? This is an honest question.

And then some final thoughts on your last paragraph:

“But for those who can put politics aside, who do not need to invent a mythical Confederate army of black and white brothers, and who do not need to demonize the white South for slavery, Neptune’s account might bring an end to this tiresome morality play. The combatants over this issue today, I might add, love to perform this play because it keeps the focus on them and not on the historical actors. If we put the spotlight on Neptune, however, his story reveals how little we know about the many and varied moments of emotional and physical intimacy that existed between males slave and their male owners. We must explore these complex encounters, which promise to reveal new insights into the master-slave relationship, African American manliness, and class divisions within the slave community as well as Confederate society as a whole.”

I could not agree with you more here, though the reference to “insights” into “manliness and class divisions” sounds too much like trendy fads in historiography which bore me to death (more Dr. Phil). Your main points in this paragraph are, nonetheless, right on; especially your remarks about the two extreme points of view and the need to keep the focus on the “historical actors.”

One final question to those interested in this topic. Have any of you actually had any contact or conversations with any descendants of African-Americans who served in the Confederacy and who believe their ancestors served honorably and deserve recognition?

Thanks again for the opportunity to comment. Normal programming will now resume. :)

(End of post.)

20 October 2007

Is Peter Carmichael "Dangerous"?

I just read Peter S. Carmichael’s comments about Elizabeth Fox-Genovese’s book, Within the Plantation Household – Black and White Women of the Old South in the October issue of Civil War Times. I found this comment of Carmichael's particularly interesting:

“No one can ignore the overwhelming historical evidence of mutual closeness between blacks and whites within the Slave South . . .”

No one except those who have an agenda or who cannot grow beyond their own preconceptions.

Would it be unreasonable to suggest that “mutual closeness” is synonymous with “friend” and “friendship”? No, it would not. As a matter of fact, MS Word lists “closeness” as one of the synonyms for the word “friend.” So does www.synonym.com and further includes the word intimacy. And my electronic version of Meriam-Webster includes this in its definition of “closeness”: intimate, <close friends>

Some ill-considered, ill-informed, and reactionary comments on various blogs, as well as other places, have suggested anyone believing that slaves and slave-masters could be friends is “dangerous.”(?!) Thus implying those who hold such views should be discredited or silenced (Typical of those who say they believe “tolerance” of diverse views is so important.) and charging them unfairly with perpetuating stereotypes that are inaccurate and over-simplified when, in actuality, the exact opposite is true.

Would “dangerous” include Dr. Camichael? Would it include the late Ms. Fox-Genovese? Would it include Professor James I. Robertson, Jr.?

As Professor Robertson wrote in the foreword to my book:

He became [Stonewall Jackson] a spiritual teacher for scores of slaves and freedmen as well as the best friend many of them ever had.- Page 12

The following quote is taken from my book, Stonewall Jackson – The Black Man’s Friend:

“There is ample evidence that he [Jackson’s slave, Jim Lewis] was intimate with Jackson and familiar with many of his personal habits, including prayer.” Page 139

and . . .

“Such thoughts [of Jackson’s] reveal again the complicated relationship in which master and slave found themselves. Drawn together by what became familial connections over time, black and white Southerners in nineteenth century America were captive to a strange dichotomy. Many slaves discreetly resented being owned by another and longed for their freedom. At the same time, they could not help growing emotionally close to their masters and even loving them and their families. Whites, on the other hand, though prejudiced and discriminatory in their practical interactions with blacks, often grew to respect and love their slaves. Sharing the day-to-day burdens, the toils of life, sicknesses, and the deaths of children and loved ones along with the joys of a shared existence constrained slave and master in mutual attachment. The injustice of slavery coexisted peacefully with feelings of affection and compassion in many Southern homes. This was especially true in regard to the Jackson household.” - Page 77

Carmichael further notes similar thoughts in the late Fox-Genovese’s book:

“Fox-Genovese reminds us that such feelings were expressed in a system that bought and sold African-Americans. Rather than proclaim the universal loyalty of the slave and applaud the tireless benevolence of the master, or condemn all owners as cruel beasts and celebrate every slave as a rebel, the author asks us to put aside simple generalizations and explore the complicated world that masters and slaves built together on their terms, not ours.” I agree. As with so many issues, the truth lies somewhere between the extremes of two views.

These simple generalizations would include, in Carmichael’s words, Gone With the Wind’s portrayal of plantation life as an “idyllic haven for blacks and whites. . .” Again, I agree.

But, as Carmichael further acknowledges, Fox-Genovese’s “agrees that the plantations facilitated physical and emotional intimacy between slave and master . . .” (These are Carmichael’s words, not a direct quote from the book.)

Another quote from my book . . .

“Amy was also purchased before Jackson’s second marriage. She was an elderly woman, and he purchased her because she ‘was about to be sold for debt . . . who sought from him a deliverance from her troubles.’ Anna [Jackson] wrote that his heart ‘was moved by her situation, and he yielded to her entreaties, and gave her a home in a good Christian family. Jackson became especially attached to Amy; Professor Robertson noted that she ‘was closest to Jackson’s heart.’ Anna was particularly fond of her culinary abilities. And Amy received religious instruction from Jackson and, after he left Lexington when the war began, from Margaret Junkin Preston. Jackson was grateful for his former sister-in law’s attention to Amy and expressed his appreciation in a letter to her in October 1861: ‘I am under special obligations for the religious instruction that you have given Amy, and hope that it may be in your power to continue it.’ Such sentiment reveals that he was motivated by more than mere duty or facade; he had a genuine concern for the spiritual welfare of those in his charge.” - Page 75-76

Of course, as I also point out in my book, not all slave-owners were “benevolent.” Many were cruel, not only in their abusive physical treatment of slaves, but also in a way that I would consider even crueler: the separation and break-up of families. As inhumane as physical abuse is, most physical wounds heal over time, but the emotional wound of unjustly being separated from a child, parent, spouse or other close loved one lingers throughout life. No one outside of that experience can comprehend it.

Carmichael concludes in the final paragraph of his piece:

“Contextualizing these expressions of animosity as well as love and respect are essential if we want to understand the broader patters [sic] of thought and actions in the Old South.”

Once again, I agree wholeheartedly. Interestingly, my book is dedicated, in part, to “all who wish to understand.” Sadly, some prefer their agenda to understanding.

5 comments

16 April 2009

Yankee Soldier Stole Book

A Union soldier stole a book from Washington College during David Hunter's raid of Lexington, Virgina in June of 1864. It's now been returned. (Not by the soldier, he's dead.)

A note the soldier inscribed in the book reads: "This book was taken from the Military Institute at Lexington Virginia in June 1864 when General Hunter was on his Lynchburg raid. The Institution was burned by the order of Gen. Hunter."

All fines have been waived. I'm a little confused by the story though as the soldier claims he stole it from the "Military Institute" but the article claims it was stolen from Washington College.

Story here.

(Now, if we could just get them to return all the family silver they stole.)

Political Correctness Is All In Your Mind

Know Jesus, No Obama. No Jesus, Know Obama.

15 April 2009

Governor Perry Says Texas Could Secede

From the Associated Press:


(Texas Governor) Perry called his supporters patriots. Later, answering news reporters' questions, Perry suggested Texans might at some point get so fed up they would want to secede from the union, though he said he sees no reason why Texas should do that.

"There's a lot of different scenarios," Perry said. "We've got a great union. There's absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what might come out of that. But Texas is a very unique place, and we're a pretty independent lot to boot."

He said when Texas entered the union in 1845 it was with the understanding it could pull out. . .

Uh-oh.

Story here.

**Update: "Thirty-one percent (31%) of Texas voters say that their state has the right to secede from the United States and form an independent country." Story here.

Dr. Syn Was A Religious Right-wing Extremist



For Dr. Syn's motivation and political philosophy, pay particular attention to the dialogue which begins at about 5:06 into the video. I remember I was struck by that exchange when I watched the film again several years ago. Very timely, especially in light of the "Tea Party" phenomenon spreading across America. I wonder what Dr. Syn would think of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano's efforts to label all who oppose burdensome taxation policies, state-nannyism, and an intrusive federal government as "right-wing extremists." I guess it's the same as "preaching sedition." I would also have to assume that, based on Napolitano's "report" that she is woefully ignorant of our country's history:

"When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty." ~ Thomas Jefferson

I suppose Mr. Jefferson is also a "right-wing extremist." Napolitano has also angered Veterans' groups like the American Legion.

You younger readers (under 45) probably won't recognize this old Disney clip. This comes from a 3 part Disney series (I have all 3 on VHS) titled "The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh." The story centers around a Robin Hood like character who stole from the King (the government) and returned the bootie to the rural farmers, shopkeepers, and peasants in Southern England. You can buy the complete DVD version here. I highly recommend the film series. The Scarecrow was, in his "real life", actually a scholarly priest in rural England who rode out at night in his disguise to defend the locals against an oppressive and corrupt Crown. Dr. Syn (and the Scracecrow) was played by that wonderful British actor, Patrick McGoohan. The film is based on a series of novels written by Russell Thorndike. Here's how one website describes the film series:

"Originally airing in three parts on 'Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color,' this thrilling adventure stars Patrick McGoohan as Dr. Syn, a kindly country vicar in 18th-century England. Only a few know that Syn is also the masked Scarecrow, notorious leader of a band of smugglers, who defends the villagers from unjust taxes and oppression by King George III's men. George Cole, Michael Hordern, Sean Scully also star."

This film, like so many of the old Disney classics, stands in stark contrast to what we're seeing produced today. The film depicts--and promotes--a healthy spirit of rebellion against tyranny, a love of liberty, and values which once united our Nation. It does so with a truly entertaining and quality product. These old Disney films are excellent resources for families. I can remember watching "Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color" every Sunday night at 7:30 when I was growing up in the '60's. As a young boy who loved adventure stories, it was one of the highlights of my week. As I mentioned in an earlier post about Johnny Tremain, Disney's patriotic themed films are a refreshing break from the Beavis & Butthead, MTV, South Park, "I Hate America" garbage that passes for entertainment (and education) today.

Here's the introductory clip from Disney:

CNN Reporter Advocates For The State Of Lincoln



Listen as this idiot reporter, little more than a stenographer for the federal government, mentions the "State of Lincoln." Wow, where was I when that happened? Did I miss something? I gotta get out more. Perhaps it was a Freudian slip?

This woman (who has been convinced that she's a reporter), is obviously not "reporting" anything. She's spinning and advocating for the current administration while she mocks the folks attending this Tea Party rally.

Notice the headline says "CNN Reporter Harassed At Tea Party." Actually, it appeared to me she was the one doing the harassing - continually interrupting the man she was interviewing, mocking comments, etc. And then the moronic comment about Fox News - she's a real professional, ain't she? What an utter buffoon and embarrassment.

(You would think with the unemployment numbers being what they are, CNN could at least find someone who knew what State they were in. Is there any wonder their ratings are in the basement?)

**Update - Recent News Program Ratings:

FOXNEWS 3,390,000
MSNBC 1,210,000
CNN 1,070,000
CNN HEADLINE 909,000

FOXNEWS O'REILLY 3,980,000
FOXNEWS HANNITY 3,239,000
FOXNEWS GRETA 2,947,000
FOXNEWS BECK 2,740,000
FOXNEWS BAIER 2,401,000
FOXNEWS SHEP 2,185,000
COMEDY DAILY SHOW 1,777,000
MSNBC OLBERMANN 1,499,000
COMEDY COLBERT 1,446,000
CNNHN GRACE 1,336,000
CNN KING 1,292,000
MSNBC MADDOW 1,149,000
CNN COOPER 1,021,000

The numbers do not lie, although CNN often does.

**Update - read this excellent piece on the Tea Party coverage here.



In Celebration Of April 15th



As a young boy, I absolutely loved Walt Disney's patriotic themed episodes like Johnny Tremain, Davy Crockett, and Mosby's Marauders. Simple? - Yes. Heroic? - Yes. Accurate? - Somewhat. Entertaining? Very. Patriotic? Very. Worthwhile? Absolutely.

Now, go pay your taxes like good little subjects.

14 April 2009

States' Rights & The Tenth Amendment



Texas Fires A Shot Across The Federal Bow

Uh-Oh

11 April 2009

Will Richmond Officials Finally Cooperate?

I've posted about Oakwood Cemetery before. (See here, here, and here.) One of my great-great grandfathers, John Meredith Crutchfield, is buried there with his final resting place marked only by a numbered stone. Now comes news that the current Mayor of Richmond, Dwight C. Jones, may be more open to resolving the longstanding maintenance and preservation problems at Oakwood. The Sons of Confederate Veterans has been attempting to work with the City of Richmond for several years now. Mayor Jones's administration seems willing to finally work toward a solution:

"We are actively looking to see what our options are," said Suzette Denslow, the mayor's chief of staff. "We are receptive to the idea and just trying to make sure it works."

Unfortunately, former Mayor Douglas Wilder would not even respond to several of my attempts as to why he'd block me, along with many others, from honoring their ancestor and marking their graves. His administration blocked all attempts by the SCV to install new stones and do what the Virginia General Assembly authorized them to do. Why someone's not sued over the issue is something that puzzles me. Since the legislature has authorized the SCV to maintain the cemetery and since it would save the City of Richmond about $25,000 a year, you would think it would be a no-brainer.

Let's hope common sense and decency in honoring these men's final resting place prevails.

10 April 2009

A Question

Why didn't Lincoln want to see slavery spread to the territories?

More From Russell Kirk

". . . New England's intellectual pattern was perplexed by an enduring streak of tinkering. Rather as Cotton Mather could not resist whittling behind the church door, so New England was incessantly tempted to improve and purify--particularly to improve and purify other people. A Puritanical legacy, this; and prodigiously diluted though the heritage of Puritanism had become in Transcendentalism and Unitarianism, that optimistic meddling-urge remained in full strength. The impulse was responsible in appreciable measure for the outbreak of the Civil War and the fiasco of Reconstruction." ~ Russell Kirk in The Conservative Mind - From Burke to Eliot

09 April 2009

This Day In History


Today is the 144th anniversary of General Robert E. Lee's surrender at Appomattox Court House, Virginia and the end of the South's 4-year long struggle for independence.

Furman U. Student Blog & Confederate Heritage

Here's an interesting post on Furman University's student blog about Confederate Heritage Month:

"Most students at Furman would be unaware that April is designated as Confederate History Month in many Southern States if Junior Will McNutt had not recently brought it to their attention. This month is officially recognized by the states of Alabama, Florida, Virginia, Mississppi, Texas, and Louisiana. On March 12, 2009, the Georgia State Senate passed a bill declaring April as Confederate Heritage and History Month. While South Carolina has yet to pass such a bill, Monday, May 11 is officially Confederate Memorial Day on the State Holiday Calendar."

Read complete post here.

08 April 2009

Reality Changes Everything

It's quite enlightening to watch liberals and those who espouse socialist views have a head-on collision with reality. The liberal bastions of public media - large daily newspapers - are now into union busting.

"Hearst Corp., owner of the San Francisco Chronicle, has threatened to shut down the paper unless unions agree to major staff cuts and The New York Times Co. has threatened to close the Boston Globe unless unions there do the same."

Shamey, shamey. Story here.

The Market always rules - eventually. The Market does not debate, it just does.

(By the way, just to be clear, I support their right to protect their intellectual property. However, these are the same folks who expect other businesses to bend to union demands. "What's good for the goose . . ." Consistency is the issue here.)

The Sage Of Virginia Speaks


"When all government, in little as in great things, shall be drawn to Washington as the center of all power, it will render powerless the checks provided of one government on another and will become as venal and oppressive as the government from which we separated." ~ Thomas Jefferson


After reading that quote, what did you think of?

*With this quote in mind, I'll be posting some interesting comments on the principle of federalism and state's rights and how it was applied by both the North & South during the time leading up to the WBTS; as well as how important the principle remains to us today.

07 April 2009

Dust Off Those Old Confedrate Notes


They could come in handy again.

"A small but growing number of cash-strapped communities are printing their own money. . ."

Story here.

06 April 2009

PBS Special on Appalachia

I'm looking forward to the upcoming PBS special on the history of Appalachia. (Check your local listings for dates and times). Though I believe the film will have lots of environmentalist dogma-preaching in it, I think it will still be worth watching.

I'm especially interested in part 3:

"A rich agrarian society is torn asunder by the cataclysm of the Civil War. 'The race for the prize is on,' wrote Harper’s Magazine in 1872 as railroads pushed ever further into the mountains. Speculators spread through every timber rich and mineral infused hollow, making deals. The third hour of the series will tell the story of the region as it confronts this strange new industrial age."

For those interested, I'd also recommend:
History Channel: Hillbilly - The Real Story

Sweet Virginia Breeze - Oh, Yeah

04 April 2009

Ron Maxwell At The Liberty Civil War Seminar 2009

















This year's CW seminar at Liberty University was truly a delight. As many of you already know, this year's theme was the Civil War in cinema. Over the next few days, I'll be posting some photos and comments about the event which I attended last weekend. This photo is, of course, yours truly with movie producer and director, Ron Maxwell. (Yeah, I know, I should have smiled.) Mr. Maxwell is holding a copy of my most recent book, which I presented to him after a late night chat we shared on Friday after the banquet. Upon returning to the Carter Glass Mansion (where we stayed the whole weekend) Friday evening, my wife and I decided to venture to the kitchen for a snack. There we bumped into Ron and spent some time discussing Gods & Generals and Jim Lewis. Since Lewis' figure was portrayed in Gods & Generals and Ron was interested in Lewis, I gave him a copy of my book, which has a whole chapter on the "mysterious" Jim Lewis.

We also discussed the director's cut of the film, which contains an additional hour and fort-five minutes. In this portion of the film, there is a sub-plot which follows John Wilkes Booth and the assasination of President Lincoln. There is also additional footage showing details of camp life, the Battle of Antietam, and more of the perspectives of African-Americans. Warner Brothers holds the rights to this and has not yet decided when or if it will be released. I mentioned the upcoming Sesquicentennial and Maxwell agreed that would be good timing to release the director's cut. We'll see.

Ron also discussed his desire to find funding for the last film in the CW trilogy: Last Full Measure. One thing that everyone agreed on: the current economic downturn is making it increasingly unlikely for studios and filmmakers to take on CW projects. Hopefully, that will change. However, as Brian Wills noted during his presentation, due to the time involved in making a good CW film, the project would have to start this year in order to be released during the WBTS' 150th. We were also informed by several reliable sources that the much anticipated Manhunt film, starring Harrison Ford, was dead due to costs and concerns over profitability. That's a shame as it looked like it was going to be a fascinating film. Stay tuned, more to come in the days ahead.

Of Health Centers & Hot Dogs

(This has nothing to do with the subject matter of this blog.) Recently, due to the constant harping and prodding of my wife, I joined a local health center. I turned 51 in January and, despite the fact I walk regularly, I was becoming horizontally challenged (PC language for fat).

Yeah, that's right, a health center - lots of sweating fat people in spandex. Really gross. I don't go in for spandex. When I go to work out, I wear cotton sweats, Nike's, and my CWPT hat. I don't really fit in.

Any way, my first day (a few weeks ago), I was treated to a tour of the facilities - several weight rooms, indoor tennis courts, indoor track, pool, all kinds of treadmills in front of widescreen TV's, biking machines - you get the picture. But the item that finally convinced me this was not going to be so bad after all was the facility's eats area. When I first walked in, I saw pretty much what I had expected: lots of organic-type weirdo stuff, tofu, green teas, energy drinks, protein meals, etc, etc. But then the daily special caught my eye. On a big handwritten sign:

All members receive 10% off our grilled hot dogs!

Yeah, I'm gonna like the health center.

I'll have two with chili, nacho cheese, mustard, onions, and relish. Oh yeah, and a diet coke. And hurry please, I have a date with a treadmill.

02 April 2009

Praise For Maxims



















I have to say that graduation is becoming one of my favorite times of year. While I don't always have a ton of kids to give this book to, the ones that get it always appreciate it. Every year I wait, expecting to have someone return the book, or a parent complain about the gift. I've only ever gotten a 'thank you,' or 'This is great; I never knew this stuff about Robert E. Lee.' That last quote is a sad statement in itself, but if his words continue to inspire young men to be their best, it's worth whatever I pay every year.

Thanks for all your hard work. I hope there are others out there that do what I do to help our young men be Godly men. If everyone in any of the Southern organizations would each target a handful of graduating male seniors and give them a copy of this book, what a difference it could make.

P.S. The kids I target are the ones I cross via church and my family's activities with school and such, so they are of various races, and again no one has ever complained. Lee's words transcend race.

(Sometimes I wonder if I'm having an impact. Notes like this make it worthwhile. The note came from a Sunday school teacher.)

Russell Kirk On The "Problematic" South

"Far more than any other region, the South has set its face against Leviathan—that is, against the swelling omnipotent nation-state." ~ Russell Kirk

"Southern Agrarians proclaimed when I was a child that the southern culture is worth defending; that society is something more than the Gross National Product; that the country lane is healthier than the Long Street; that more wisdom lies in Tradition than in Scientism; that Leviathan is a devourer, not a savior." ~ Russell Kirk

Russell Kirk, the Northern intellectual, on the "problematic" South.

Victor Davis Hanson On The Ugly

"Uglier still is what is going on in universities. Higher education in the humanities has devolved into a sort of indoctrination/reeducation camp, on the following apologia: the corporation, the family, the church, the military, the government are illiberal. So in our precious, rare chance to have the nation’s youth for a brief four years, we the professoriate have to offset, balance, offer an antithesis to these dominant conservative cultures. So, presto, we cannot be biased since we the anointed are the corrective to the bias." ~ Victor Davis Hanson

(Hanson is the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow in Residence in Classics and Military History at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, a professor of Classics Emeritus at California State University, Fresno, and a nationally syndicated columnist for Tribune Media Services. He is also the Wayne & Marcia Buske Distinguished Fellow in History, Hillsdale College, where he teaches each fall semester courses in military history and classical culture.)

01 April 2009

Liberty Civil War Seminar - 2010

The topic for Liberty University's 14th annual Civil War seminar will be The Cavalry. I've been notified that the Dean of Civil War historians, Dr. James I. Robertson, Jr., will be the keynote speaker at Friday night's banquet. Also, Dr. Brian Wills (who also spoke at this year's seminar) will be speaking during Saturday's session. Dr. Wills' topic will be Nathan Bedford Forrest. That should be interesting. Also returning will be Mr. Ken Elston who is Professor of Theater at George Mason University as well as artistic director for the Gray Ghost Theatre Co.

(I earlier promised some posts on the most recent seminar this past weekend. However, I've been occupied with the exchanges and discussions regarding my last post. Hopefully, I'll be able to post on the Liberty University seminar by the coming weekend. I think readers will find my comments, photos, etc very interesting.)