Saturday, March 17, 2007

Georgia's Confederate History and Heritage Month

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution ran an article on how a panel of the Georgia State Senate passed a measure that would permanently establish April as Confederate History and Heritage Month. This bill comes up a week after the NAACP asked the Georgia Legislature to consider making an apology for slavery.

Excerpts of the AJC article follows:
A bill that would permanently establish April as Confederate History and Heritage Month in Georgia sailed through a Senate committee Thursday without any opposition.

Sen. Jeff Mullis (R-Chickamauga), the sponsor of Senate Bill 283, told the Senate Rules Committee that the proposal would help promote tourism in the state and preserve an important part of the state's and the nation's history.

"I'm not doing this for controversial reasons, but to commemorate a struggle that happened," said Mullis, whose North Georgia hometown was the site of a major Civil War battle in 1863.

The proposal has offended some civil rights leaders, who last week asked the Legislature and Gov. Sonny Perdue to offer a symbolic apology for the state's role in slavery. The Rev. Francys Johnson, the NAACP's Southeast region director, said the organization is "vehemently opposed" to Mullis' bill and finds it hypocritical.

"At the same time that the proponents of this bill want to deny any responsibility for state sanctioned and sponsored slavery from 1755 to the end of the Civil War, they still feel the responsibility to honor the treasonous conduct of the Confederacy. It doesn't seem like you can have it both ways.

"You can't honor the past and not take responsibility for it."

Mullis said he has been working on the bill for several months, long before lawmakers and civil rights groups asked for the apology.

Senate Bill 283, if approved by the Senate and the House, would encourage Georgians each April to honor the Confederacy, its history, soldiers and the people who "contributed to the cause of Southern Independence."

The bill also encourages the Georgia Civil War Commission to develop a curriculum to teach Georgia's Confederate history in elementary and high schools, as well as colleges and universities.

Reginald Bohannon, 46, of College Park said that he has no problem with a curriculum that teaches state Confederate history in schools as long as the lessons include both the good and bad parts of history.

"Yes, teach how Georgia had the second-most Civil War sites," Bohannon said. "But also teach that Georgia was on the wrong side of black people's freedom. Teach how some Georgians were Christians, yet condoned lynching, murder and Jim Crow."

The next step for the bill is for the Senate Rules Committee to decide if and when the proposal should come up for a vote by the full Senate.

Click here to view Senate Bill 283 which would establish the month of April as Confederate History and Heritage Month.

plez sez: Here we go again, first it was the Confederate Battle Emblem on the Georgia State flag and now it's this. It appears that my slack-jawed-tobacco-chewing-Confederate-flag-waving-trailer-trash-loving-treasonous-miscreant neighbors, also known as the inbred occupants of the Georgia State Senate, have taken it upon themselves to leave their indelible stain on the fabric of Georgian history.

Despite the fact that the formation of the Confederate States of America was an act of treason against the United States of America, despite the fact that the Civil War was bitterly fought to preserve the institution of slavery (in spite of their ceaseless drivel about taxes and states' rights), and despite the fact that Confederate President Jefferson Davis was a cross dressing fairy (look it up, when the Union army caught up with him, he was captured wearing a dress and patent leather pumps!)... the mindset of those in the Georgia State Senate who support this measure is the same mindset of those who - 146 years ago - split and plunged this country into Civil War.

Personally, I'm having trouble understanding why ANYONE would find any honor in glorifying an ancestry that wrought such misery, hate, bigotry, war, the KKK, and treason! And to think that these cretins want the public schools to incorporate Confederate History into their curriculum; I'm sure their version of history is in stark contrast to what I happen to know is true (there were no happy Negros shufflin' and grinnin' in the watermelon patch). The scars and cancerous lesions of the Confederacy continue to plague and badger the Black community to this day, yet these same people scour in disbelief when the NAACP asks for a token apology for slavery!

I'm not big on apologies, especially from people who had absolutely nothing to do with the "Peculiar Institution," but by the same token, I don't feel that they can have it both ways: honoring their past while dishonoring mine!

9 comments:

Keith said...

What a sad, racist country we live in. A month celebrating the confederacy is even scarier than the fact that "Dixie" somehow became a children's song after starting out as a minstrel ditty.

This is a great post, with very interesting insight, and passion. Is it time to start marching in the South again or is it too late for those kind of theatrics? Or is there a more effective way to ge our anger across in 2007?

plez... said...

Keith,

I frequent your blog and I understand we are both fathers of young Black children. What are we supposed to teach our children about the misery of our past? And how are we to reconcile with them how little progress has been made in the last 150 years or even the last 40 years?

I don't want to teach my daughter to hate. But I also don't want her to be hit with the stinging reality that many people out there will hate her and want to hurt her just because of the color of her skin.

We still have this racist undertone that permeates our society that seems to almost blame Black people for all of the ills of our society. A society that is quick to incarcerate our young men rather than socialize, educate, and employ them.

The last thing we need is a token apology for slavery, but what we do need is a comprehensive understanding that the remnants of the slavemaster's mindset is still alive and well in America. And until that is understood and addressed, we'll continue to have yahoos like Sen. Mullins proposing bills that glorify such an inglorious time in our collective history!

Dave said...

You speak the truth plez. I have asked myself the same questions.

Let me ask you, because I have been chewing on this for the last couple decades... how can we negate racism, but maintain a healthy historical perspective?

My thinking is it starts with parents. Kids just absorb and emulate right?

I think racism and religious intolerance are currently responsible for about 95% of the world anxiety in our generation, but find two people who agree on a way to solve these problems and you would be the luckiest man alive.

DJ

plez... said...

dave,

Teach your children to love not only themselves, but everyone. The way to eradicate racism, we must begin to tell the whole story: the good, the bad, and the ugly! I tried to highlight in my post that I really wouldn't have a problem with Confederate Heritage Day if they would commemorate and acknowledge slavery. But you and I know that Confederate Heritage Day is nothing but a (not so) veiled attempt at perpetuating state-sponsored racism!

jurassicpork said...

Hey, dude. First saw this on another blog () and I'll be blogging about this tonight. My condolences to you and yours for having to live in this swampland of humanity.

I used to live in Florida in the mid-late 60's and was fortunate enough to get out while I was still young.

I have two African American boys, although I'm white, and I hate the idea of them having to live in a world inhabited by people like the racist knuckle draggers who make up the Republican GA state legislature, people who probably rooted to Edward Norton in American History X.

jurassicpork said...

(Dunno what happened to the html 1st time. Hopefully, this will come out better.)

Hey, dude. First saw this on another blog, , and I'll be blogging about this tonight. My condolences to you and yours for having to live in this swampland of humanity.

I used to live in Florida in the mid-late 60's and was fortunate enough to get out while I was still young.

I have two African American boys, although I'm white, and I hate the idea of them having to live in a world inhabited by people like the racist knuckle draggers who make up the Republican GA state legislature, people who probably rooted to Edward Norton in American History X.

plez... said...

Oh JurassicPork,

Thanks for signing on and providing your input. I really like your site with its very thorough and complete assessments. Thanks again!

deadissue.com said...

Not being black, I can't really pretend to know how someone from Georgia who is black really feels about this...but with the "What are we supposed to teach our children about the misery of our past" question in mind...

To accentuate the positive in the raising of children within a world they'll come to understand well enough on their own, is perhaps my only bit of advice I can offer with total confidence. I've witnessed the racist moldings of of people I grew up around, and it goes from the parents into their heads, amidst a permissive atmosphere...crazy enough where taking the Lord's name in vein is off limits, but referring to the Haitian kid a block over as a ***** or a ****** or even a ************************** is alright..."my boy! chip off the old block"

I moved out to western massachusetts over a year ago, and on my wife's side there's an old man we all love very much...when the women are out of earshot, he'll go out of his way to tell me about how women or blacks are screwing up this or that...amazing.

I'm just teaching my boys that the only certainty in life is the love that you take is equal to the love you make, and to do unto others as you'd have done unto you.

My boys are blessed with being born in a state that doesn't waste taxpayers time thinking of ways to stick it to folks like yourself.

plez... said...

mr. DeadIssue,
if all we taught our children was love, in a generation there would be no hate!