26 March 2015

More Confederate Statue Cleansing By Academia

President Jefferson Davis has got to go . . . 
Statues of George Washington, Martin Luther King Jr. and Woodrow Wilson, can all be found on the UT Austin Campus. But another historical figure among them, has some students angry. [More here.]
Evidently, these "educated" students don't know much about Woodrow Wilson. I'm sure their professors will eventually fix that with more spoon-feeding and "condemning the past for not being more like the present." Perhaps, since Wilson was a progressive he, like Margaret Sanger, will get a pass.

And so the PC-circus-soap opera mindlessly drones on.

The Southern Cross and The R.E. Lee Soldier's Home

The ongoing debate over flying the Confederate flag at the Old Soldier's Home in Richmond has morphed into an SNL type comedy skit - on both sides. I have no interest in either of the current arguments' manifestation as I find much of these representative arguments petty, silly and embarrassing.

But one fact is not arguable, the veterans who lived at the home held the Southern Cross in great honor and respect - whether the current "defenders" or "attackers" do or not. The image below says it all. One should note two things: 

1.) the flag pole in front and center of Fleming Hall is devoid of any flag.

2.) yet there are multiple CBF's being proudly held by the gathering of men who actually fought under the CBF. I count around 20 that can be seen. These men did not "furl the banner."

 
And you gotta love this one - note the spittoon and the stacked rifles on the wall:


25 March 2015

The Latest Extremism & Kookiness From Wackydemia

Scaffido casually endorses inviting an ISIS “freedom fighter’’ to conduct a “training camp” for students at the upstate Ithaca campus — bizarrely likening the activity to a sports camp. [Source.]

23 March 2015

Justice Clarence Thomas & Yankee Elites

Some northern elite recently mentioned Justice Clarence Thomas in regards to the Texas license plate/free speech case as the case heads to the Supreme Court. It was, in my opinion, a rather cheap shot. I don't know if Justice Thomas has tipped his hand in regards to how he feels about the display of the Confederate flag on state-issued license plates, but we do know how Justice Thomas feels about elitists, particularly those from north of the Mason-Dixon:
Contrary to the stereotype of southerners as racist, Thomas said he has overcome more discrimination in the North than in the South.
“The worst I have been treated was by northern liberal elites,” he said. “The absolute worst I have ever been treated. The worst things that have been done to me, the worst things that have been said about me, by northern liberal elites, not by the people of Savannah, Georgia.”
Source.

21 March 2015

Relic Hunting Post #127 ~ A Beautiful 1907 V-Nickel

Liberty Head nickels (more commonly referred to as V nickels) were minted from 1883 to 1912. It was eventually replaced by the much better known Buffalo Nickel. I recently recovered this 1907 Liberty Head nickel from a farm here in the Shenandoah Valley that dates to the mid 1700's. It is, comparatively, in remarkable condition given the fact it likely laid in the ground for over 100 years. The photos don't do justice to the detail that remains on this coin. It must have been lost shortly after its mint date.

Should you ever come into possession of one of these with a 1913 mint date on it, keep it. There are only 5 known to exist and the last one sold for $5 million. One coin site notes the following:

Not much is known about the actual minting of the 1913 Liberty Head Nickels. It is believed that five specimens were struck at the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia sometime between the Summer of 1912 and early February of 1913. One theory says that the coins were struck as advance test pieces around July of 1912, with the expectation that the series would continue the following year anyway. Another theory proposes that someone was burning the midnight oil at the Mint, and struck the five specimens before the dies were destroyed in preparation for the change to the Buffalo Nickel, which began production in late February of 1913.




20 March 2015

Did You Know This About Cole Younger?


Confederate Guerrilla. Outlaw. Christian. 

He was 69 when he attended a tent revival near his home at Lee’s Summit, MO on August 21, 1913. The pastor was an old family friend, and when the call went out for folks to come forward and commit to Jesus, Cole made the move.

It was the 50th anniversary of Quantrill’s Raid on Lawrence, KS in which more than 150 men and boys were murdered. Younger was there. Perhaps his conversion was a move to forgiveness and redemption. He attended church regularly until his death in 1916.
Source.

And more here.

19 March 2015

Battle Of Waynesboro 150th Anniversary ~ Part 4

Gathering at the Harman Monumnet 2 March 2015
Local historian and attorney, J.B. Yount, III made the following comments about William Harman on the anniversary of the Battle of Waynesboro (2 March this year):
“He was killed near here in the course of the conflict, seeking to defend the town, [the one he was born in] striving to rally the retreating soldiers in the village streets, after being order to surrender or seeking to escape capture,” Yount said. “If we were ever challenged as he was on March 2, 1865, the last day of his life, would we acquit ourselves with the same bravery, honor and commitment to things that are sacred to us? I hope that each of us can say we would.”
Those remarks were taken from a March 3 News-Virginian article which you can read here. Williams Harman was brother to John Harman who was Stonewall Jackson's quartermaster. There were actually five Harman brothers who fought for the Confederacy. Along with William and John, there was also Michael G., Asher W. and Thomas L., who died of typhoid in 1861. The remaining three brothers all survived the war. In a genealogy record published in 1926 and titled Harman-Garber Record, the following is noted about these brothers:
At the beginning of the war between the states in April 1861, there lived at Staunton, Virginia, the “Harmans,” all natives of Staunton and Augusta County, Virginia. This family consisted of five brothers; Michael G. Harman, John A. Harman, William H. Harman, Asher W. Harman, and Thomas L. Harman. All were in the prime of early manhood, had families and were prominent business men of the town. They were among the first to offer their services to the Confederate cause…. A Yankee officer of distinction who served in the union army who knew these Harman brothers before the war and their war record in the Confederate army said they reminded him of a family of five brothers who served with distinction in the Yankee army and were known as the “Fighting McCooks” and that he thought these Harman brothers should be known in the Confederate army as the “Fighting Harmans.”
Ironically, just days before the battle, a local paper noted that Harman had read and “forcibly explained…resolutions” to “a large and enthusiastic meeting of the citizens of Augusta County, held at their Court House on Monday the 27th day of February 1865.” The first resolution after the preamble was, oddly enough, prophetic for the distinguished Virginian:
That we have a firm and certain conviction of the justice of our cause, and will maintain it at every sacrifice of blood and treasure.
Just three days later, Harman lay dead on his hometown’s Main Street, having given that ultimate “sacrifice of blood and treasure”—his own life.

More on the Battle of Waynesboro coming soon.

18 March 2015

Not Moving Beyond Stonewall Jackson's Black Sunday School

Lexington Presbyterian Lecture Room (on left) where Jackson conducted
his black Sunday school class. The structure was razed in 1906.
*Update #2: Levin has now responded to my update with one of his own noting: "He seems to believe that what he has written has been distorted." No, I don't seem "to believe" what I have written "has been distorted", I proved that what I've written has been distorted. Go back and read my original post. Unbelievable. By the way, you will notice that Levin does not provide a link to this post. He used to criticize me when I failed to link to his blog when mentioning him in posts. But he's been ordered by someone else not to respond to me. I assume he's just obeying orders.

*Update: Levin posted a response. I think - and within about 30 minutes or so of this one. He must have been breathlessly anticipating my post. He writes, "I guess he expects me to respond. Well, I am not going to do that" and then types almost 800 words not responding. Of course, he includes yet more misinformation with select quotes. Regarding his "paternalism" reference in the title of his 800 word non-response, I wrote this in the book:
“In general, a paternalistic ethos influenced both slaves and masters in Rockbridge County. This sensibility deemed masters responsible for protecting and supporting their slaves, in exchange for the slaves’ labor. . . . However, the notion of inequality was always present.”1

Even free blacks were not afforded opportunities for education and financial gain. This lack of opportunity made blacks unequal to whites, not because of some inherent or genetic defect, as many whites at that time believed, but because of their lack of status, their lack of access to the legal and political system, and their lack of prospects for self advancement.
And this comment is quite revealing:
The funny thing is that I am the one who is accused of engaging in presentism by an individual who reads the past through his faith. Now that is hypocrisy in the extreme.
 "Reads the past through his faith" is supposed to be a criticism? I read everything through my faith, as I believe most practicing Christians do. Why the hostility toward the influence of my faith? Why is that "hypocrisy" and what does that have to do with "presentism"?
Presentism:  uncritical adherence to present-day attitudes, especially the tendency to interpret past events in terms of modern values and concepts.
The Christian faith is hardly an "adherence to present-day attitudes." If anything, it's quite the opposite. 

Again. Clueless.

Of course he's not going to respond to the specifics in my original post below. He can't since I took every single one of his accusations and refuted them. So his only response is to come up with new accusations. How juvenile. Addressing all those would yield the same results as my first post. So predictable. I could go on, but its just more of the same and Levin's non-response response reveals everything one needs to know.

End of update.

 
Kevin Levin's recent post, "Moving Beyond Stonewall Jackson’s Black Sunday School", needs a fact check. Levin takes a not so subtle swipe at my book (and others) about Jackson's black Sunday school class with this:

There is a fairly popular narrative that places slaveowners at the center of a progressive movement to minister to and educate slaves in the decades leading to the Civil War. It tends to focus on high-ranking Confederate officers as part of a larger attempt to get the Confederacy itself right on slavery and race relations. One such book, which explores Thomas J. Jackson’s efforts to educate slaves in Lexington, concludes that he was “the black man’s friend.” [Yes, that would be my book.]
Since my book was the one mentioned, I'll speak for it. 

Levin claims that my book was: ". . . part of a larger attempt to get the Confederacy itself right on slavery and race relations."

Wrong. The book's goal and emphasis is clearly stated on the dust jacket. The book was a look at,
. . . Jackson's relationship with African Americans in light of his Christian convictions. Stonewall Jackson: The Black Man's Friend explores an aspect of his life that is both intriguing and enlightening: his conversion to Christianity and how it affected his relationship with Southern Blacks. Covering the origin of Jackson's awakening to faith, the book challenges some widely held beliefs, including the assumption that this spiritual journey did not begin until his adulthood. Furthermore, Richard G. Williams Jr. examines a paradox of Jackson's life: his conversion to Christianity was encouraged by Southern slaves . . .
The book was, admittedly, written from a distinct Christian evangelical perspective. No apologies for that. And, more accurately, the book was not primarily about "Jackson's efforts to educate slaves in Lexington" but, rather, Jackson's efforts to evangelize slaves and free blacks in Lexington. Education was a by-product of the primary goal. But Levin's accusations beyond that error are pure nonsense; though it does appear to me to reflect his preferred narrative as well as his seeming inability to seriously consider (or even comprehend) perspectives beyond his own.

Levin: "These accounts fail to place changes in the evangelical mission that many Christians embraced in the 1830s alongside the fear that ensued as a result of Nat Turner’s Rebellion in Southampton County, Virginia in 1831."  

Wrong again. For example, I noted the following in my book:
Historians often look to a single pivotal event when analyzing antebellum efforts to evangelize Southern blacks: Nat Turner’s slave insurrection. This slave revolt struck fear in the hearts of many Virginians. . . . Nat Turner’s revolt gave rise to two developments in Virginia: one regarding the law and another on how the church looked at evangelizing blacks. 
And regarding the "fear than ensued", I wrote:
Concerns arose within the Christian community as well. Since Turner had been a slave preacher and read the Bible, many Southern churchmen were convinced that his crimes were a direct result of efforts to teach slaves to read and to reach them with the gospel.

Levin: "They ignore laws that barred blacks from preaching to free and enslaved blacks. . . "

Wrong again. I wrote the following in the book: 
The [Virginia] general assembly established laws during the session of 1831–32 dictating tighter restrictions on the instruction of slaves and free blacks. Fearful that the attempt to evangelize blacks had contributed in part to Turner’s rampage, the legislature enacted the following statute:

Code of Virginia, Ch. 198—Offences against Public Policy. (Item) 35.
Every Assemblage of negroes for the purpose of religious worship, when such worship is conducted by a negro, and every assemblage of negroes for the purpose of instruction in reading or writing, or in the night time for any purpose, shall be an unlawful assembly. Any justice may issue warrant to any officer or other person, requiring him to enter any place where such assemblage may be, and seize any negro therein; and he, or any other justice, may order such negro to be punished with stripes.


(Item) 36. If a white person assemble with negroes for the purpose of instructing them to read or write, or if he associate with them in an unlawful assembly, he shall be confined in jail not exceeding six months and fined not exceeding one hundred dollars; and any justice may require him to enter into a recognizance with sufficient security, to appear before the circuit, county, or cooperation court, of the county, or corporation where the offense was committed, to answer, therefore, and in the meantime to keep the peace and be of good behavior.
Does that indicate I ignored "laws that barred blacks from preaching to free and enslaved blacks"? Even more detail is included in the book.

Levin: ". . . and they fail to address the emphasis placed on service and loyalty to one’s master as opposed to stories of liberation."

Wrong again. I wrote:
When reflecting on the efforts of Jackson and other Southern Christians to reach slaves and free blacks with the good news of the gospel, it is necessary to understand that many modern scholars view their motives with cynicism. A superficial study of the subject could easily conclude that teaching the slaves simple gospel messages was nothing more than an effort to make them more obedient and submissive. Admittedly, there are ample Bible verses that admonish obedience to authority that the spiritually shallow used to accomplish this task while at the same time ignoring the slaves’ spiritual needs. 
Yet a serious and objective look at the facts shows that, although this element was present in the motives of some, most sincere Southern Christians had a heartfelt desire to see blacks turn to Christ and embrace the eternal truths of the Bible. The Presbyterian Synod of Texas issued a statement that reflected the attitude of many Southern Christians: “We recognize the hand of God in placing this benighted race in our midst, and heartily accept the duty of pointing them to Christ.” Stonewall Jackson House graduate fellow E. Lynn Pearson’s observation confirms this attitude: “The religious world-view of Stonewall Jackson and his antebellum peers was greatly influenced by the contemporary evangelical vision to build Christ’s kingdom on earth, and the Southern belief that bringing salvation to slaves was part and parcel of that mission. Lexington’s Christians took great pride in their acceptance of Christ’s call to stewardship.”
And . . . 
While many nineteenth century Southern theologians went to great lengths to propound a biblical basis for slavery, and though neither Christ nor Paul ever directly condemned slavery, one cannot reconcile the broader themes of the gospel—liberty, peace, freedom from bondage, reconciliation, and brotherly love—with the institution of slavery.
And, in regards to this same subject, I also discussed the early work of Presbyterian clergyman, Samuel Davies:
Davies, unlike many of his colonial contemporaries believed in the “full humanity of the African people.” In a 1757 sermon to slave owners, he proclaimed: “His immortality gives him a kind of infinite value. Let him be white or black, bond or free, a native or a foreigner, it is of no moment in this view: he is to live forever!” Davies laid the responsibility for the slaves’ condition squarely at the feet of their masters: “Your Negroes may be ignorant and stupid as to divine things not for want of capacity, but for want of instruction; not through perverseness, but through your negligence. . . . They are generally as capable of instruction, as the white people.” Davies’s comments regarding slaves being “capable of instruction as the white people” put him at odds with many whites, particularly Northern slave traders and Southern slave holders.
(For a thorough treatment of Davies’s efforts, see Jeffrey H. Richards, “Samuel Davies and the Transatlantic Campaign for Slave Literacy in Virginia,” Virginia Magazine of
History and Biography 111, no. 4, 2003.)


Obviously, when it comes to what I've written on these topics in my book, Levin is clueless. That does not surprise me, but what does surprise me is that he so willingly publicizes his clueless state.

It appears to me that Levin likes to attempt to marginalize those who don't conform to his perspective on the history of the Civil War. He's done it other times - often with rather embarrassing results. One previous example is Levin's condescending attempt to marginalize anyone who would use the term "War Between the States" and/or "War for Southern Independence" (see here and here) as some fringe student or scholar of the Civil War. 
And I wonder if Professor Ethan Rafuse (professor of military history at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College and the author of eight books on the Civil War) is "part of a larger attempt to get the Confederacy itself right on slavery and race relations" since he's also written similarly about Jackson's black Sunday school class without Levin's required emphasis:


I think Levin's post is simply another example of criticizing someone because they do not embrace the presentism of "condemning the past for not being more like the present." Moreover, all of the topics and issues Levin incorrectly accuses me of ignoring or failing to address were, in fact, addressed in much greater detail in the book than noted here.

Furthermore, before one can "move beyond" a certain topic, one must have mastered a basic understanding of that topic. Levin's post indicates to me that he's failed that requirement.

More Reasons To Commemorate Lee-Jackson Day In Virginia

Brought to us by the Virginia Historical Society:

One of the most revered of American soldiers, Robert Edward Lee (1807–1870) was born at Stratford in Westmoreland County, Virginia, in 1807, the son of Revolutionary War general Light Horse Harry Lee. Before the Civil War, few men could match Lee's record of achievement in the army. Graduating without a single demerit and second in his class from West Point in 1829, he served for several years with distinction as a military engineer, steadily rising in rank and reputation.
 And . . .
Politically a moderate, strongly attached to the Union, and with no special sympathy for the institution of slavery, Lee watched with growing anxiety as the lower South seceded from the Union and formed the Confederate States of America. When Virginia left the Union, Lee made the most difficult decision of his life.
And . . .
He devoted the remaining five years of his life to education and the healing of old animosities, and he died, mourned both in the North and South, in October 1870.
Too bad localities like the City of Charlottesville, VA are embracing the immaturity and shallowness of presentism when it comes to these issues. I'm sure this VHS link will cause a severe case of panty-bunching among the activist historian crowd. I'll bet they're already plotting.

15 March 2015

Should Abraham Lincoln Be Removed From the $5 Bill?

Image source
No, of course not. But if the case can be made to remove Andrew Jackson from the $20, the case can be made to erase ol' Honest Abe.
Is it time to remove Andrew Jackson from the $20 bill? Liberal advocacy groups and and columnists are pushing hard to have Old Hickory’s image removed from American currency, primarily citing the Indian Removal Act of 1830, the Trail of Tears, and his “genocide” of Cherokee Indians. [Source.]

And if you're going to remove Ol' Hickory from the $20 for his involvement in the treatment of American Indians, we will have to remove the statue of Tecumseh Sherman in Washington D.C. for his involvement.

This is what happens when the shallow and immature notions of "activist historians" and the enemies of American Exceptionalism become mainstream. Their extreme, kooky PC notions regarding everything from America's Founding to Lee-Jackson Day lead us down a slippery slope. No great American hero or icon is safe. This is just more of what historian Gordon S. Wood describes as "condemning the past for not being more like the present."

It is all out open warfare on all of America's traditional symbols and icons brought to you, in large part, by academia and their accomplices in the media.

13 March 2015

The Most Patriotic States - 6 Out of 10 are in the Old Confederacy

How ironic. It would appear that the Old South held up their part of the "unofficial agreement" that came about at the end of the War Between the States. Professor Clyde Wilson put it like this:
The understanding, which was deemed essential to the strength of the country, went something like this: The Civil War had been a terrible ordeal for Americans. But perhaps it had been the crucible necessary to create a new, strong nation out of the original Union. At any rate, most people on both sides were satisfied that in the end America was held together. Nearly all Southerners sincerely accepted this. They would ever after be staunch supporters of the United States, as they have proved many times over ever since in countless ways, including their persistent over-representation in the combat arms of the national forces. All they asked in return was an acknowledgment that, if they had been wrong in the pursuit of independence, they had not been dishonorable and that they had fought a good fight that could be appreciated as a part of the pride of all Americans. Until rather recently that little has been granted, but “America” is now in the process of reneging on its part of the bargain. ~ Dr. Clyde Wilson

(Source.)

Southerners (as a region) continue to "be staunch supporters of the United States" (as represented in numerous ways), yet the South's symbols (and holidays) which endured the ashes of the WBTS  are being impugned and denied as "a part of the pride of all Americans." Note that SC - the first state to secede - is ranked #1.

So, what does this say about the character of the people who have held up their end of this "understanding" versus the ruling classes (academia, the media, the federal government) in America who have reneged? The implications are fascinating to contemplate, are they not?

Who should you trust more, those who keep their word or those who do not?

And don't forget, as we've noted recently, the "Old Union" is next on the radar.

Upcoming Posts

So many topics, so little time . . . 
  • A review of Kent Masterson Brown's latest documentary on Daniel Boone - finally.
  • Part 4 commemorating the Battle of Waynesboro and my family connections
  • A response to some misinformation in a recent post at Civil War Memory in regards to Stonewall Jackson's black Sunday school class. That should be quite interesting.
I am currently finishing up another essay related to the WBTS Sesquicentennial which has taken away from some blogging time. These posts will come as soon as that essay is completed. 

11 March 2015

Another Courthouse In Virginia Removes That Offensive Flag

No, not that flag, this one:



Those of us outside the faddish, trendy world of "activist historians" and "moral critics" knew this was coming. No surprise, just disgust. By the way, have you noticed that all the Confederate Battle Flag bashers are eerily silent on the growing assault on, and demands for removing, Old Glory? Hmmm . . . Are they cowards or complicit?

10 March 2015

The Modern Moral Critics & Reformers - Devoid Of Magnanimity

I recently came across this passage from historian Gary Gallagher's Lee and His Generals in War and Memory:
Just after Jackson's death, the pro-Republican Washington Daily Morning Chronicle paid him a strong tribute: "While we are only too glad to be rid, in any way, of so terrible a foe, our sense of relief is not unmingled with emotions of sorrow and sympathy at the death of so brave a man. Every man who possesses the slightest particle of magnanimity must admire the qualities for which Stonewall Jackson was celebrated--his heroism, his bravery, his sublime devotion, his purity of character. He is not the first instance of a good man devoting himself to a bad cause." Upon reading this piece, Lincoln wrote the Daily Morning Chronicle's editor: "I wish to lose no time in thanking you for the exellent and manly article in the Chronicle on 'Stonewall Jackson.' "
Juxtapose this against the recent decision in Charlottesville, Virginia to discontinue acknowledging Lee-Jackson Day here in Virginia (and note the celebration that followed.)

Such is the mindset of the modern "activist historian" and moral critic and reformer (playing historian)- lacking magnanimity, self-righteous and rather unmanly (using Lincoln's characterization); even very church lady like. I often get the sense that some of these critics have motives more self-serving than righteous indignation and am reminded of the words of Will Durant: "To speak ill of others is a dishonest way of praising ourselves; let us be above such transparent egotism."

Using history to, in the words of Professor Gordon S. Wood, condemn "the past for not being more like the present" is often little more than an intellectual self-righteous selfie--a narcissistic , "Look at me, I'm so much better than those imperfect heroes of our past." 

Yeah, sure you are church lady.

09 March 2015

Battle Of Waynesboro 150th Anniversary "On This Day" Tour ~ Part 3

Yours truly conducting a tour on the 150th Anniversary (March 2nd) of the Battle of Waynesboro, standing on 15th Street between Locust Ave. & Cherry Ave ( the photos with the houses). This was the terminus of Jubal Early's left flank. The third image was taken in the parking lot of the ball fields at Ridgeview Park, beside the alley that used to be open to the public. That alley was at one time an old road that was connected to Rosser Ave and which the Yankees used to conceal themselves beneath the bluffs and flank Early's left, winning the battle. I spent many days of my youth exploring and roaming that neighborhood and the surrounding woods, fields and streams.
 

The fourth image was taken at the Plumb House, prior to the tour as I was giving an overview of the battle.

The tour was organized and sponsored by the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation.