ALABAMA LAW PROVES ALL BUT WORTHLESS
In May, we reported that Alabama has passed a monument protection act. We claimed it as a heritage victory. Now we have discovered that there is a little clause in the Act that enables a town to destroy any monument if it elects to pay a very small fine.
So the Tennessee Valley Progressive Alliance is seeking to raise the money to cover the fine that would be incurred by the Madison County Commission for removing a Confederate statue. "We read the fine print of the law and the law just says the state will fine localities up to $25,000 for removing monuments," said David Odom, organizer for the alliance. The group started a GoFundMe page to solicit donations and, as of Wednesday afternoon, had raised $450.
The Tennessee Valley Progressive Alliance, along with other organizations, had started a petition calling for the removal of the statue last month before Ivey enacted the new law. That petition, as of Wednesday afternoon, has 609 signatures.
Odom said he believes government leaders will be convinced to break the law - particularly if the money is raised for the fine. "With sufficient public pressure, any politician can be persuaded," he said. "We view it as our job to generate that public pressure. I think Huntsville is in a unique position to lead Alabama on this issue...We're optimistic in the long run. We think we can continue to build pressure around this issue."
The group said that if enough money was not raised to cover the fine, the funds would be redirected to a public memorial for lynching victims in Madison County.
VIRGINIA CITY DISHONORS HER OWN
News outlets report Charlottesville's Lee Park becomes Emancipation Park and Jackson Park becomes Justice Park per Monday's City Council decision. The renaming of the parks fulfills a recommendation from the Blue Ribbon Commission on Race, Memorials and Public Spaces convened last year to study if Charlottesville should move statues of Robert E. Lee and Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson.
The Charlottesville Historic Resources Committee reviewed a public survey and submitted ranked name recommendations in May. The committee chose names reflecting concepts or the local area instead of honoring individuals.
Recent weeks saw overwhelming opposition to the name changes, yet the City proceeds with them anyway. Monday's vote was preceded by a public comment period that saw the removal of activists from council chambers.
DOWN IT COMES
It is Thursday evening and I just typed the following:
A barricade has been put up around a Confederate monument in Forest Park. The City of St. Louis says it could be another few weeks before the monument is removed, and the barricade is just a preliminary step to establish a work zone.
Mayor Lyda Krewson expects to have a removal plan for the statue finalized by the end of June.
A GoFundMe account started by St. Louis Treasurer Tishaura Jones has raised more than $16,000 toward funding the statue's removal.
As I'm typing my screen flashes and I click to watch a TV news report from St. Louis. A News 4 photographer saw a crane lifting the top of the monument off around 10 a.m. The newscast reported that a hearing would be held around 6 p.m. at St. Louis City Hall to discuss the future of the Confederate monument and where the pieces will be stored.
News 4 has reached out to Mayor Lyda Krewson's office, who said they are open to offers to put the monument in a museum.
ARIZONA IS THE NEW BATTLEGROUND
Black politicians in Arizona are pushing Gov. Doug Ducey to remove six Confederate monuments on public land that they say are offensive and glorify the country's racist past. These include the one at the State Capitol that was erected in 1961, a marker at Picacho Peak north of Tucson dedicated to Confederate soldiers who defended the area during a battle with union soldiers, and a highway named after Confederate President Jefferson Davis.
Ducey spokesman Daniel Scarpinato declined to say whether the Governor would like to see the monuments removed and names changed. Instead, he said "Arizonans interested in name changes should reach out to the respective board or commission."
The NAACP said on Monday that the governor has given them lip service since they began a campaign to remove Confederate monuments two years ago. They are pushing Ducey to take executive action to remove the monuments now. They added that their chances are good because of recent changes in how cities in Southern states like Louisiana are removing them.
Arizona was a Confederate territory and a Confederate force occupied Tucson. The State joined the union in 1912.
MEANWHILE, IN PHOENIX
Mayor Greg Stanton announced plans to rename Robert E. Lee Street in northern Phoenix.
TEXAS TOWN TRIES COMPROMISE
In Georgetown, Mayor Dale Ross attempted to appease the little mob of a few blacks, the towns Unitarian and Methodist "reverends," and a few loud-mouthed white liberals who were demanding the removal of the town's 100-year-old Confederate statue by erecting a statue right next to it of Dan Moody. Young Dan Moody stands proudly in bronze, hat in one hand, law book in the other.
"He is an icon in Williamson County. He was responsible for the first successful prosecution of the KKK in the United States of America," Ross explained.
The local SCV, League of the South, UDC, etc. are all OK with the Moody statue. But now it seems that the town's NAACP is taking exception to a statue of the first man who successfully prosecuted the Klan. They are using the Mayor's willingness to erect a statue to Moody to fuel their demands that the Confederate statue be torn down.
Their leader, Jaquita Wilson, says Dan Moody means little to nothing to people of color in Williamson County. Wilson says if Georgetown wants to make a gesture to its black community it should take down the towering symbol of slavery and oppression that stands in the town square. "It gives me like a punch in the gut," she said about the statue.
But for Retired Colonel Shelby Little, leader of the Williamson County camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, the memorial is a monument, not to slavery, but to the Confederate soldiers that served in the war. "It's something we are facing all across America and even right here in Georgetown" he said, "the abysmal illiteracy when it comes to history." Standing in a Georgetown cemetery next to the graves of 113 Confederate soldiers, Little says the memorial will stay right where it is unadorned by any plaque about black people or slavery. "They have an agenda and they are not going to stop until they see that agenda satisfied," he said of people who want to move or change it. "If they want to put a plaque on the other side of the courthouse or somewhere in the area that is great. But don't impugn the integrity of our Confederate heroes."
BLACK POLITICIAN DOUBLES DOWN
In the face of a room full of SCV members calling for her resignation, Henry County, Georgia Commissioner Dee Clemmons said she would stand her ground amid a Confederate flag issue that has smothered the County for weeks. "This, too, shall pass," Clemons said during a break in the more than four-hour commission meeting. "I'm not afraid of anybody here."
Clemmons is responsible for the closure of the Nash Farm Battlefield and Museum.
Clemmons' few advocates saw a case that revolved around race and disrespect. To a large degree, her detractors saw the same thing but from a different vantage point. John Hall of Dublin addressed the meeting to say that, "Her whole point was to get those white folks."
Everything began when Clemmons ordered all visible Battle Flags removed from the museum.
The commission chamber was packed as flag supporters prepared to give statements in support of the museum and demanding Clemmons' resignation. Trying to make herself out as a "victim," Clemmons had requested a large Police presence both inside and outside the county government building.
Clemmons said she did not ask the museum to get rid of all its Confederate items, only to relocate them elsewhere in the museum. She said she'd received complaints from constituents who were offended by the flag. The museum's board, however, said that Clemmons had pressured them to remove all references related to the Confederacy.
Later, Clemens told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that she wanted the 204-acre park, which the county bought more than 10 years ago for $8 million, to have a more inclusive mission. Clemmons sent an email to Commission Chair June Wood outlining broad plans to turn the park into a health and wellness destination.
Principal fired over Confederate flag picture
A New Orleans school principal who was fired amid the Confederate monument removal process over pictures of him at Lee Circle near a Confederate flag has spoken out about his termination via YouTube. Nicholas Dean was principal of Crescent Leadership Academy, the school where students are sent if they are expelled. He said in the YouTube video that he worked as principal there for three years.
"We had a lot of success," he said. "I know that my students got a lot out of me being the leader of that school. As of right now, that's done. It's over."
He was removed from the school after photos surfaced of him next to Confederate flags at the Lee Circle monument protests. Dean said that he was only there to observe a historical event and wasn't there to take a side on the issue.
The Recovery School District released a statement after the Crescent Leadership Academy board voted to fire Dean. The statement said, in part, that "the children of New Orleans should be able to trust that educators value their humanity, respect them as individuals, and will treat them with a sense of fairness and equality."
FOR THOSE WHO WENT TO NEW ORLEANS - THANK YOU
We are happy to report that the New Orleans Police Department misappropriated more than 200 officers and 8,600 man-hours to "keep the peace" at the Confederate monuments as the city removed them last month, city records show.
The cash-strapped city spent more than $173,000 on paying officers deployed to removal operations at the Jefferson Davis, P.G.T. Beauregard and Robert E. Lee monuments, including $112,000 in time-and-a-half overtime pay that went to 178 officers.
The city overtime data and expenses were provided to WWL-TV in response to the station's public records request for police overtime dedicated to the removal of four monuments starting with the Battle of Liberty Place monument on April 24.
But the records only go back to April 30 and do not include police hours or overtime costs associated with the Liberty Place monument.
Donovan Livaccari, attorney for the Fraternal Order of Police, noted the NOPD has a serious manpower problem as it tries to address mounting violent crime. He said he heard from officers who complained that the monument duty was taking them away from their regular work. Livaccari said the NOPD has a budgeted amount of overtime for the year, and dedicating 3,000 hours to the monument removal and protests is sure to make a serious dent in that allocation.
WWL-TV and its partners at The New Orleans Advocate have requested all the expense information for the monument removal. So has Stacy Head, the only member of the City Council who voted against removing the monuments. She said she requested this information weeks ago as the chair of the Budget Committee and has not received anything except what WWL-TV provided her. "I appreciate that the administration is providing this information in a piecemeal fashion to the media, but I requested a comprehensive accounting and am still waiting for it," Head said.
The city has twice pushed back deadlines under the state Public Records Law to provide those records to WWL-TV. Also, the city has not yet responded to the station's request from early May for overtime and deployment information for the New Orleans Fire Department, which assigned several firefighters to the monument removal efforts.
by Dr. Clyde Wilson
I have been asked to comment on the recent fad of "contextualizing" historic monuments as it relates to the Confederate soldiers' memorial at Gainesville.
What I have seen of the proposed plaque amounts, it seems to me, to an attempt to revise history and to establish an official version of history.
An historical monument should be taken for what it is. Opinions may differ about it, but it is a piece of history in itself. The Confederate soldiers' monument was erected by people who wanted to remember their kin and neighbors who had fought and died opposing what was a quite vicious and destructive invasion. A third of the Florida men opposing invasion died-a fact that was of heavy significance to the people who erected the monument. The cost of the monument in 1904 was no doubt a considerable sacrifice to people still living in poverty brought on by the war.
It is now fashionable to dismiss this as "Lost Cause Mythology." This only works if you assume that these early Floridians were particularly bad and dishonest people who lied about the past. The inscription implies that its writer is somehow wiser and more virtuous than those people. And the writer at the same time suffers under a much bigger myth-that the War was fought by the North as a righteous crusade to free the slaves and not for the supremacy of the federal government and economic profit.
It is arrogant for activists of a later generation to reinterpret what they did according to its own trendy version of history. Historical interpretations change and will continue to do so as long as people are able to explore the past with open minds. Two generations ago the most distinguished historians, far more penetrating and knowledgeable than the current crop, believed that the Civil War was about economics, not slavery. They added the complications of political mistakes and cultural antagonism. History has not changed-it has merely been reinterpreted. Two generations from now "experts" may regard the Politically Correct plaque as a curiosity of the preoccupations of our own time.
The Civil War was an immense and complicated event with issues that evolved over time. To interpret it entirely according to one statement in one document, like the secession ordinance, is a juvenile way of understanding the past. It illuminates nothing and teaches no humane lesson. The motive is political, not learning from the past. The proposed inscription pretends that it has established conclusively an interpretation of events that will always be in dispute. Its use of the document that it relies on is not even very thorough or accurate.
I believe various opponents of the plaque have provided ample information to indicate that the proposed inscription assumes the truth of many disputed facts, especially as to slavery being the sole issue of the war. As an historical account it is deficient in many respects, telling only a small part of a very big story-a small part that is pleasing to today's propaganda. If wanted, I will be glad to prove this by chapter and verse. As for the African Americans of the time, it is a fact that many of them supported the soldiers fighting the invader and that their encounters with U.S. soldiers were frequently very unpleasant.
I would like to call attention to one more really egregious passage in the version of the proposed inscription that I have seen. The writer refers to the 2015 mass murder in Charleston as having "prompted a national conversation about the symbols of the Confederacy." This is essentially false and is a mythmaking attempt to control what future history will say about our own current times. The tragedy had nothing to do with honoring Confederate symbols. No such "national conversation" ever took place. The incident, I believe, did not change the opinion of a single individual pro or con. I was there. What happened was that politicians seized the opportunity to remove a troublesome issue off their table.
I must say that what I have seen of the inscription it sounds like an exercise of one person's rather superficial opinions, rather than the serious statement of a community's belief.
I would suggest leaving the monument alone. Those who want to tell a different story are perfectly free to build their own memorials.
I just finished reading Dr. Clyde Wilson's book
LIES My Teacher Told Me. It would be a value at $20. But Dr. Wilson wants to give a FREE copy to each and every one of our Dixie Heritage readers.
When you are there request a free copy of my book
The Truth About the Confederate Battle Flag. When you do, not only will you receive a copy of the book - you will also be subscribed to receive the weekly Dixie Heritage Letter by eMail. This will ensure that you never miss an issue.