*I am history buff and I tend to get intensely anger when I see or hear lies and frauds being pushed as “true” history. Sometimes I am left confused as to whether the people pushing these frauds, especially regarding Black history, are just ignorant of the truth or actually know the facts but deliberately try to play the rest of us for fools.
Regardless, I want you make as one of your new year’s resolutions for 2011 to write, call and correct authors, reporters and politicians who spread historical falsehoods regarding Slavery and the Civil Rights Movement.
Here are a few examples:
Recently, while commemorating Confederate history in South Carolina, Henry Kidd – a member of a Confederate heritage group – said the reason his state seceded from the Union in 1860 was because “They wanted to preserve the rights, interests and honor of the South. Slavery didn’t have anything to do with it.”
This is one of the greatest lies ever told. The central issue which drove the Civil War was slavery. Challenge anyone who suggests that the South was fighting for state’s rights or honor. The 11 Southern states were fighting to maintain slavery. Indeed, in their own Declaration of Causes to secede, the desire to maintain Blacks in slavery is mentioned 31 times.
Next, challenge anyone who dares to honor the Confederacy. The confederates attempted to destroy America by seceding from the Union. They set in motion a Civil War which cost 650,000 lives. And never forget that their goal was to keep Blacks in perpetual slavery. These people can never be honored. They do not represent Southern pride; they represent Southern racism.
In this regard, you must write and correct President Barack Obama. In May of 2009, the nation’s first African American president – in a crass political move – sent a wreath to the Confederate Monument in Arlington Cemetery near Washington, D.C. Obama was following a tradition set in motion in 1919 by then President Woodrow Wilson. Obama said as “president of all the people” he felt it was his duty to honor those who had fought in America’s wars.
This is an absolutely ridiculous and almost “uncle-tomish” explanation. Again, the Confederates were not “our” soldiers. They were trying to destroy the United States of America and establish a slave nation. Further, once they lost the Civil War, they returned to the South; started the Ku Klux Klan and launched a 100-year reign of terror against Blacks and their white supporters.
There was no excuse for what Obama did. A group of scholars wrote him a letter clearly detailing the fact that the monument was a testimony to racism: “The monument was given to the Federal Government by the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC), which raised the funds to erect it. The UDC’s reasons for the monument are instructive. In the address of Mrs. Daisy McLaurin Stevens, President General of the United Daughters of the Confederacy at its dedication, she makes clear that the monument is to glorify the ideas of the Confederacy.”
Tell Obama to send no more wreaths honoring Confederate soldiers!
Last week, Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour (a potential Republican presidential candidate in 2012) said of race relations in his hometown of Yazoo City during the heyday of the Civil Rights Movement of 1960s “things weren’t that bad.” I ask you, Mr. Barbour, “How do you know?” You were a privileged white kid in the 1960s. Only the victims of Mississippi racism can authoritatively talk about how bad things were.
Challenge any white person who dares to suggest that the racisms of the 1960s “weren’t that bad.”
Finally, you must challenge false sensitivity. The prime example of this is the Texas Board of Education. Earlier this year, it approved a host of changes in the state’s history and social studies courses which “whitewash” history. The changes virtually ban the teaching of anything (no matter how true) which might make one racial group angry or resentful toward another.
This was simply a way of trying to prevent Blacks and Hispanics from learning of the racist horrors whites have historically inflicted on minorities in that state.
Both the Texas NAACP and the Texas League of United Latin American Citizens filed a lawsuit this past Monday aimed at blocking implementation of the changes which are obviously designed to cover-up or “whitewash” the historic wrongs of whites towards minorities.
If we do not know history, we are bound to repeat it, especially its most tragic forms. We must fight to insure that the truth is known and taught.
[Robert Taylor compiles the weekly “Black History Journal.” You can receive a free subscription by simply sending $3.00 to cover postage to “Robert N. Taylor,” 1517 T Street, SE, Washington, D.C. 20020.]