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177 Conclusion Civil War memory has always been a contested landscape. Adherence to the Lost Cause and the embrace of the loyal slave and later black Confederate narratives were never primarily about the past but rather about trying to make sense of the present. In the period immediately after the Civil War, white Southerners adopted the Lost Cause as a way to explain defeat and to justify their failed cause—which they believed remained a righteous one—to the rest of the world. By the turn of the twentieth century, former camp servants were a popular presence at veterans’ reunions and other public events that celebrated the legacy of the Confederacy and the men who fought for its independence. The attendance of former camp servants followed the well-­ worn loyal slave narrative, but these individuals were also celebrated as representatives ofa race that knew their place in the racial hierarchy of the Jim Crow South at a time of increased racial tension. Decades later, these men morphed into black Confederate soldiers to defend against a concerted challenge to the memory of the Lost Cause by a new generation of historians who placed slavery and emancipation at the center of the Civil War, black political activists who called for the removal of Confederate battle flags from public spaces, and a changing demographic throughout the Southern states that appeared to many to undercut the region’s commitment to “traditional conservative values.” By the close of the Civil War sesquicentennial, the Confederate heritage community was clearly on the defensive in the face of louder cries calling for the removal of Confederate symbolism from public spaces throughout the country. Few people, however, could have anticipated the outcry against symbols of the Confederacy that followed the brutal murders that took place at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston , South Carolina, on June 17, 2015. Dylann Roof, a twenty-­ one-­ year-­ old white supremacist, entered the church, where a Bible study was underway, and violently murdered nine people, including State Senator and Reverend Clementa Pinckney. In the days that followed, it was revealed that Roof had 178Conclusion visited a number of local sites in and around Charleston connected to the history of the Civil War and slavery in preparation for his murderous spree. Roof posed for pictures at Magnolia Plantation, Boone Hall, and McLeod Plantation as well as next to a historical marker on Sullivan’s Island, which served as an entry point for African slaves. Roof hoped to incite a race war with his deadly act and framed it as following in a long line of proud white supremacists.1 But it was the photographs of Roof posing with Confederate flags that led to demanding the removal of the battle flag on the statehouse grounds, where it had flown since 1962, first on top of the dome and since 1991 next to a Confederate monument. Calls for removal united Democrats and Republicans , including President Barack Obama, former South Carolina legislator Glenn McConnell, and presidential hopefuls Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush, and Ted Cruz.Confederate heritage advocates once again found themselves on thedefensive in the faceofwhat quickly became a national discussion encouraged by local, national, and even international coverage. Sons of ConfederateVeterans leadership and even H. K. Edgerton appeared on CNN and other media outlets todistance themselves and theircherished Confederate symbols from Roof. The South Carolina Division, SCV, quickly issued a statement in an attempttoreclaimthebattleflagfromitsassociationwithRoofandhisheinous act. In front of the flag and Confederate soldier monument on the capitol grounds, the SCV reminded the media and onlookers of the presenceof courageous black men who took up arms for the Confederacy. It was the same argument that the SCV had embraced since the late 1970s: “Historical fact shows therewere Black Confederate soldiers.These brave men fought in the trenches beside their White brothers, all under the Confederate Battle Flag. This same Flag stands as a memorial to these soldiers on the grounds of the SC Statehouse today. The Sons of Confederate Veterans, a historical honor society, does not delineate which Confederate soldier we will remember or honor.We cherish and revere the memoryofall Confederateveterans. None of them, Black or White, shall be forgotten.” The SCV offered this argument not only to stem the tide of calls to lower the Confederate flag in Columbia but as a desperate attempt to suggest that the flag had nothing at all to do with racial divisions in South Carolina in the present or the past. The Confederate flag—properly understood...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9781469653280
Related ISBN
9781469653266
MARC Record
OCLC
1112064862
Pages
240
Launched on MUSE
2019-09-16
Language
English
Open Access
No
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