Shaking Off the Symbols of Racism

A century and a half after the Civil War, many U.S. politicians still pander to Confederate sympathizers and hesitate to object to the South’s racist symbols, an attitude shaken by the murders of nine African-Americans in a Charleston church, as William Loren Katz describes.

By William Loren Katz

The Confederate flag represents a threat to citizens of color, a symbol of treason against the United States, and a war fought on behalf of slaveholders.

But there are other equally offensive symbols that have not attracted the attention they should. For example, a statue of former South Carolina governor and U.S. Sen. Ben Tillman stands in the state Capitol though Tillman was an advocate of lynching.

Accused mass murderer and white supremacist Dylann Roof shown burning an American flag.

Accused mass murderer and white supremacist Dylann Roof shown burning an American flag.

Tillman entered politics in 1875-1876, just before the end of Reconstruction, directing a mob called “The Red Shirts,” in a massacre in Hamburg, South Carolina. As Tillman himself would later put it, “The leading white men of Edgefield” had decided “to seize the first opportunity that the Negroes might offer them to provoke a riot and teach the Negroes a lesson” by “having the whites demonstrate their superiority by killing as many of them as was justifiable.”

Tillman was still around in 1907, regaling fellow senators with racial tirades: “I would lead a mob to lynch the brute who had ravished a woman.” He identified the brute as “negroes . . . a black flood of semi-barbarians,” “a lurking demon.” Whites, Tillman claimed, faced “an irrepressible conflict between civilization and barbarism.”

What about replacing Tillman with statues of heroic African-American men and women who fled to Union lines and volunteered to help, thousands served as spies or in the Union Army and Navy. Or Robert Smalls and his enslaved crew who hijacked the Planter, a Confederate gunboat from Charleston harbor, and sailed to the Union fleet?

What about a commemoration of the daring white and African-American radical Republicans of South Carolina? In 1868, 76 African Americans and 55 whites wrote a new state constitution that promised equal justice for all. The new multicultural legislature (with a black majority) opened public schools, reduced taxes for the poor, reformed prisons and the criminal code, and extended new rights to women.

What about a statue to celebrate Elias Hill, a formerly enslaved South Carolinian in York County? At age 5, he became too ill to stand or walk, or take care of his needs. Hill, who taught himself to read and write, became an ordained Baptist minister and a community leader who started schools and taught adults citizenship rights.

Rev. Hill changed history when raiders from the huge Ku Klux Klan chapter in York beat him savagely. Hill was carried by relatives into Federal Court in York to testify against the KKK. Others were inspired to testify. Enough convictions followed to close the York County KKK. The York trials inspired successful federal prosecutions in other Southern states.

Rev. Hill was among many South Carolinians of both races who suffered while building a multiracial democracy. Many lost their jobs, some their lives, and others were driven into exile. After his testimony, Hill had to flee to Liberia with his family and congregation.

Citizens in South Carolina and other states that have placed inciters of racial violence, like Sen. Ben Tillman, on pedestals should not only remove them but begin a discussion on their replacements. This meaningful discussion and its choices would properly celebrate those ordinary people who, in the face of unrelenting murder and fear, including state-sponsored terror and Federal indifference, rose to defend the rights of all people.

William Loren Katz is the author of 40 books on African-American history, and has been associated with New York University as an instructor and Scholar in Residence since 1973. His website is Read an interview with Katz about his life teaching and writing history.


47 comments for “Shaking Off the Symbols of Racism

  1. William
    June 26, 2015 at 12:21 pm

    How many years was slavery legal under the American flag? What flag was flying on all the slave ships that dropped off slaves here (hint: it wasn’t the confederate flag)?
    Also, what is treasonous about secession? The confederate state wanted to be autonomous, to not be a part of the central government of the U.S, they didn’t want to overthrow the U.S government. Maybe Mr. Katz needs to read more books instead of just writing them

    • Zachary Smith
      June 26, 2015 at 2:12 pm

      How many years was slavery legal under the American flag?

      And sad to say, it would have remained legal if the overgrown spoiled brats of the South had left well enough alone. But with the attitude changes in the north, they were losing their hammerlock on the Federal Government.

      Also, what is treasonous about secession?

      Firing on a US fort with hundreds of heavy cannon by nominal US citizens isn’t treason? Why don’t you give us a spirited defense of Benedict Arnold and Jonathan Pollard as a desert dish?

      South Carolina, the President declared, stood on “the brink of insurrection and treason“, and he appealed to the people of the state to reassert their allegiance to that Union for which their ancestors had fought. Jackson also denied the right of secession: “The Constitution … forms a government not a league … To say that any State may at pleasure secede from the Union is to say that the United States is not a nation.

      Even the old redneck peckerhead Andrew Jackson wasn’t so dense that he didn’t know treason when it surfaced.

      By the way, I just checked the Amazon site. The Dixie flags there are totally gone. A peek at eBay showed they’re mostly absent there too. So if you don’t get the lead out, you’ll have to travel to one of the Rebel states to get your treason “fix”.

      Assuming you’re not already in one of them now.

      • William
        June 26, 2015 at 2:55 pm

        Treason is explicitly defined as wanting to overthrow the government. The Confederates did not want this, but simply did not want to be a part of a centralized government. They were completely fine with leaving the Union to its own devices. There is a reason why the civil war is referred to as the war of northern aggression against southern secession.

        • Zachary Smith
          June 26, 2015 at 3:14 pm

          Treason is explicitly defined as wanting to overthrow the government.

          Lee made several attacks into the north in the early and middle parts of the war.

          But you kind of skip over the attack on Fort Sumter. That “Pearl Harbor” event was amazingly stupid. How the modern neo-confederates rationalize that sort of thing as Yankee Aggression is beyond me.

          I suppose I could try to start using more references to the Slave South as being run by murderous rich white trash. Technically I could do the same for the poor whites, but I see them more as victims. Almost as ignorant as the slaves, they were manipulated by the scumbag Plantation Class into fighting their war.

          As I’ve said before, I’m very proud to have lucked out to have ZERO ancestors fighting for the South. Only one Revolutionary soldier was a slave-owner. Pure luck on both counts, but I’m still proud.

          A few years ago I went to an event honoring several great-great uncles who died fighting for the Union. Call that one Yankee Pride.

          I’d imagine that having ancestors fighting for the Right of States to continue treating human beings as livestock is a bit harder to rationalize.

          • William
            June 26, 2015 at 3:39 pm

            Are you denying that there were slaves in the north or that the north didn’t benefit just as much or more from slavery in the south? Do you deny that the emancipation proclamation was proclaimed 3 years into the war, and that it only applied to the southern states?

            We actually do have something in common, the fact that none of our ancestors owned slaves. isn’t that neat?

      • William
        June 26, 2015 at 3:03 pm

        Zachary Smith, excellent job not answering the question, so I’ll answer it for you. Slavery was legal under the American flag since the constitution was created, you can do the math, I assume. Not once was the confederate flag raised on a slave ship, but the American flag was. Again, treason is defined by wanting to overthrow the government, not breaking away from it. If you believe that the south was treasonous for wanting to break away from the north, then you also have to believe that the colonies were treasonous from breaking away from the British. Happy 4th of July, fool

        • Zachary Smith
          June 26, 2015 at 3:21 pm

          Yes, the colonies were treasonous when they broke away from the UK. All the Colonial leaders would have been hung by the neck until they were dead had the Rebellion been squashed.

          • William
            June 26, 2015 at 3:31 pm

            Ok, so by your rationale, the winners are always right?

          • Anonymous
            June 27, 2015 at 7:28 am

            I don’t know how you can say “treason” without saying “self-determination”. You’re digging a deep hole.

      • Anonymous
        June 27, 2015 at 7:17 am

        And I say we take Jackson off the twenty. Ordering genocide of the native people is way to much to bear.

        Hamilton is okay on the ten, for the time being.

        • Anonymous
          June 27, 2015 at 7:31 am

          I am not anonymous. I’m tpmco.

    • MrK
      June 26, 2015 at 2:44 pm

      Also, what is treasonous about secession?

      What is treasonous about breaking away from the country? How can you get more treasonous than that? Selling nuclear secrets to the Russians is child’s play compared to that.

      • William
        June 26, 2015 at 3:11 pm

        Treason is explicitly defined as wanting to overthrow the government. The Confederates did not want this, but simply did not want to be a part of a centralized government. They were completely fine with leaving the Union to its own devices. There is a reason why the civil war is referred to as the war of northern aggression against southern secessio

      • Abe
        June 26, 2015 at 4:50 pm

        United States Code, 2011 Edition
        PART I – CRIMES
        Sec. 2381 – Treason

        Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.

        • Evangelista
          June 27, 2015 at 7:32 pm

          The United States Constitution has a definition for ‘treason’. It is different from the definition in the USC. You should quote the Constitution, or both, if you want to be neutral. You may want to argue one over the other, if you don’t mind wading into quagmire…

    • Abe
      June 26, 2015 at 4:25 pm

      The argument that the Southern states “simply did not want to be a part of a centralized government” is bullshit somehow meant to sound politically astute.

      The states of the Confederacy simply wanted their own centralized government.

      Montgomery, Alabama served as the capital of the Confederate States of America from February 4 until May 29, 1861 in the Alabama State Capitol. Six states created the Confederate States of America there on February 8, 1861. The Texas delegation was seated at the time, so it is counted in the “original seven” states of the Confederacy. But it had no roll call vote until after its referendum made secession “operative”. Two sessions of the Provisional Congress were held in Montgomery, adjourning May 21.The Permanent Constitution was adopted there on March 12, 1861.

      The permanent capital provided for in the Confederate Constitution called for a state cession of a ten-miles square (100 square mile) district to the central government. Atlanta, which had not yet supplanted Milledgeville, Georgia as its state capital, put in a bid noting its central location and rail connections, as did Opelika, Alabama, noting its strategically interior situation, rail connections and nearby deposits of coal and iron.

      Richmond, Virginia was chosen for the interim capital at the Virginia State Capitol. The move was used by Vice President Stephens and others to encourage other border states to follow Virginia into the Confederacy. In the political moment it was a show of “defiance and strength”. The war for southern independence was surely to be fought in Virginia, but it also had the largest Southern military-aged white population, with infrastructure, resources and supplies required to sustain a war. The Davis Administration’s policy was that, “It must be held at all hazards.”

      The naming of Richmond as the new capital took place on May 30, 1861, and the last two sessions of the Provisional Congress were held in the new capital. The Permanent Confederate Congress and President were elected in the states and army camps on November 6, 1861. The First Congress met in four sessions in Richmond from February 18, 1862 to February 17, 1864. The Second Congress met there in two sessions, from May 2, 1864 to March 18, 1865.

      As war dragged on, Richmond became crowded with training and transfers, logistics and hospitals. Prices rose dramatically despite government efforts at price regulation. A movement in Congress led by Henry S. Foote of Tennessee argued for moving the capital from Richmond. At the approach of Federal armies in early summer 1862, the government’s archives were readied for removal. As the Wilderness Campaign progressed, Congress authorized Davis to remove the executive department and call Congress to session elsewhere in 1864 and again in 1865. Shortly before the end of the war, the Confederate government evacuated Richmond, planning to relocate farther south. Little came of these plans before Lee’s surrender at Appomattox Court House, Virginia on April 9, 1865.

      • Thomas Howard
        June 28, 2015 at 7:17 pm

        Today Texas can still be divided to create four more States. I’m sure the boot licking yankees would rather kill us than allow us exercise that right.

    • Peter Loeb
      June 27, 2015 at 6:35 am


      As one who marched with Dr. King in the hot Mississippi
      sun {“I HAD a dream” speech behind guns in Jackson) and
      was a member of Harlem CORE, the hypocrisy of the
      supposed abhorence of “white supremacists” is on every
      tongue. It was also on Barack Obama’s many tongues when
      he ran for political office in an all-black district in Chicago.

      But Israel’s “mowing the lawn” and killing thousands of men
      women and children in a little over a month along with
      rape, home demolitions, starvation, stealing of land
      and resources, continued blockade, building of illegal
      settlements (all with US support) goes without mention.

      The silence on the state-terror of which the US plays
      an integral and supportive role is deafening.

      “Go where you may, search where you will…search out
      every abuse. and when you have found the last, lay your
      facts by the side of the everyday practice of this nation,
      and you will say with me, with me, that for revolting
      barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns
      without equal.”

      (With Israel)

      Frederick Douglass, THE MEANING OF JULY FOURTH…”
      Rochester, NY (USA), July 5, 1852

      —-Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

  2. Thomas Howard
    June 26, 2015 at 2:22 pm

    Your President has had Americans of ALL colors kidnapped, tortured, killed without so much as a charge. He is not obligated to reveal that anything ever happened…never ever.

    The citizens of the so-called ‘treasonous’ States didn’t want to BECOME a slave of the Union. You won the war, you have twisted history ever since, but you own this Government, its yours.

    I judge a man by character, not color, and I’m going to proudly fly the Confederate flag more than ever. I think all the propaganda you and the media are spewing will give me a chance to introduce some truth to the history taught in school and educate more people than ever, possibly open their eyes.

    Jews believe in war by deception, so carry on Katz.

    • Zachary Smith
      June 26, 2015 at 3:00 pm

      Your President has had Americans of ALL colors kidnapped, tortured, killed without so much as a charge.

      That remark has me curious – what nationality do you claim?

      I judge a man by character, not color, and I’m going to proudly fly the Confederate flag more than ever.

      But why would a foreigner fly a Confederate flag?

      Jews believe in war by deception, so carry on Katz.

      Except for the previous remark, I’d have guessed Ukraine – one of the Nazis there.

      But who knows what the Ukrainian Nazis like in flags besides the one with the Swastika.

      • William
        June 26, 2015 at 3:09 pm

        So your are ok with Ukrainians wanting to break away from the Ukraine, to get away from those nazis that have been given power under the coup leadership, but aren’t ok with southerners that wanted to break away from the centralized northern government? So secession is ok, only when you say so?

        • Abe
          June 26, 2015 at 4:44 pm

          With all the chaos and abuses after the US instigated neo-Nazi coup d’etat, the eastern Ukrainians insisted on greater federalization, not secession.

          Kiev answered with a military assault.

      • Zachary Smith
        June 26, 2015 at 3:22 pm

        May I suggest you let the anti-Semitic guy make his own reply?

        • William
          June 26, 2015 at 3:33 pm

          May I suggest you be a little less of a dumbass?

        • William
          June 26, 2015 at 3:39 pm

          May I suggest you answer the question?

    • Abe
      June 26, 2015 at 4:36 pm

      Ah, the old southern racist “slave of the Union” canard.

      Yep, the race polarization is being flogged fast and furious in the run-up to the 2016 elections.

      Wag that good ol’ dawg.

  3. hammersmith
    June 26, 2015 at 4:23 pm

    I heard a black commentator claim that some white Americans were throwing the Confederate flag under the bus in order to save their own starry rag. It won’t work–I hope.

  4. John
    June 26, 2015 at 9:46 pm

    Southern and northern bigots who proudly fly the Confederate flag are lucky they live in a tolerant nation that still mostly honors the First Amendment. Symbols of violent treason aren’t tolerated by totalitarian governments such as was fought for by the South, and again under Jim Crow.

    The situation now in Ukraine seems much different than in the US at the time of the Civil War. In the Ukraine, a democratically elected government was overthrown in a violent coup with the help of neo-nazi thugs, supported by the US government and corporate media. The people in eastern Ukraine, who supported the elected President and not the US-supported illegal coup government, protested. They were met with deadly violence supported by the US government which in turn has been supported by a wall of dishonest corporate media propaganda in the US. The South, not liking the prospects of the democratically elected Lincoln, decided to illegally secede before he even took office in order to preserve the “right” to own people of a particular race so they could continue to profit from the lower labor costs slavery provided, as well as the enormous profits of the slave trade itself..

  5. Abe
    June 27, 2015 at 1:05 am

    Symbols of racism were visible among the Euromaidan protesters well before the US/NATO instigated neo-Nazi coup d’etat in February 2014.

    The Kiev City State Administration (Ukrainian: Київська міська державна адміністрація or КМДА) is the national-level branch of the Government of Ukraine that administers the capital of Ukraine.

    Kiev is a city with special status within Ukraine compared to the other administrative subdivisions of the country. The most significant difference is that the city is subordinated directly to the national-level branches of the Government of Ukraine, skipping the regional level authorities of Kiev Oblast.

    In December 2013, during the Euromaidan protesters, the Kiev City State Administration building was occupied by protesters.

    The building occupiers included members of the far right Social-National Party of Ukraine (rebranded as Svoboda).

    Political experts observe that the name “Social National” is an intentional reference to “National Socialism”, the ideology claimed by the Nazi Party.

    Video of the building interior from December 2013 clearly shows the Svoboda banner:

    The video shows two other flags hanging next to the Svoboda banner:

    — The Confederate flag

    — Odin’s Cross

    Odin’s Cross is also called a Celtic Cross by white supremacists. Its origins date to the pre-Christian “sun cross” or “wheel cross” in ancient Europe. Norwegian Nazis used a version of the symbol in the 1930s and 1940s. After World War II, a variety of white supremacist groups and movements adopted the symbol. Today, this verson of the Celtic Cross is used by neo-Nazis, racist skinheads, Ku Klux Klan members and virtually every other type of white supremacist. It has also achieved notoriety as part of the logo of Stormfront, the oldest and largest white supremacist website in the world.

    Like the United States, Ukraine appears to have great difficulty shaking off the symbols of racism.

  6. Abe
    June 27, 2015 at 2:35 pm

    The article by William Loren Katz focused on the Confederate flag and other racist symbols.

    Some discussion ensued regarding the nature of the Confederacy and the American Civil War.

    Questions arose concerning self-determination, secession and treason.


    From the late 1960s to the present, Walker Connor has been a pre-eminent scholar in the task of tackling systematically the lack of a specific terminology in the study of nationalism.

    In “The Politics of Ethnonationalism,” (Journal of International Affairs, Vol. 27, No. l, 1973), Connor states:

    Against a right of self-determination, the authorities raise the right and duty to preserve the union, to stamp out rebellion, to insure domestic tranquillity, and to defend the state’s political and territorial integrity. What is self-evident truth to those desiring separation is treason to those in authority. In this dichotomic atmosphere, “the God-bestowed inalienable right of the nation to determine its own destiny” is deprecated as “parochialism,” “tribalism,” “communalism,” “splittism,” “primordialism,” “Fascism” or worse. The presumption that the state is a given and must not be compromised therefore causes governments to resist, if need be with force, any attempt to dismember the state in the name of self-determination. (page 12)

    In Ethno-Nationalism: The Quest for Understanding (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994) Connor observed that the essence of a nation is indeed a psychological matter rather than a fact: “It is not what is but what people perceive as is which influences attitudes and behaviour.” (page 42)

    Connor’s insights do not negate the United States Constitutional regulation of matters of sovereignty and statehood.


    Secession (derived from the Latin term secessio) is the withdrawal of a group from a larger entity, especially a political entity (a country). Threats of secession can also be a strategy for achieving more limited goals.

    Threats and aspirations to secede from the United States, or arguments justifying secession, have been a feature of the country’s politics almost since its birth.

    The most serious attempt at secession was advanced in the years 1860 and 1861 as eleven southern States each declared secession from the United States, and joined together to form the Confederate States of America. This movement collapsed in 1865 with the defeat of Confederate forces by Union armies in the American Civil War.


    To avoid the abuses of the English law (including executions by Henry VIII of those who criticized his repeated marriages), treason was specifically defined in the United States Constitution, the only crime so defined. Article III Section 3 delineates treason as follows:

    Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

    The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.

    However, Congress has, at times, passed statutes creating related offenses that punish conduct which undermines the government or the national security, such as sedition in the 1798 Alien and Sedition Acts, or espionage and sedition in the 1917 Espionage Act, which do not require the testimony of two witnesses and have a much broader definition than Article Three treason. For example, some well-known spies have been convicted of espionage rather than treason.

    The Constitution does not itself create the offense; it only restricts the definition (the first paragraph), permits Congress to create the offense, and restricts any punishment for treason to only the convicted (the second paragraph).

    The crime of treason is prohibited by legislation passed by Congress. Therefore, the United States Code at 18 U.S.C. § 2381 states “whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.” The requirement of testimony of two witnesses was inherited from the British Treason Act 1695.

    After the Civil War, no person involved with the Confederate States of America was tried for treason, though a number of leading Confederates (including Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee) were indicted. Those who had been indicted received a blanket amnesty issued by President Andrew Johnson as he left office in 1869.

    • Evangelista
      June 27, 2015 at 7:52 pm

      There we are, both definitions of Treason, one above the other. Obviously different, especially different today with the definition of “enemby combatant” and the 1917 Espionage Act interpretations, which could make everyone who supports any opponent of the ‘Regime’ guilty of statutory treason.

      So, which controls? The Constitution? Or the Statutes?

      Or do we have two ‘States’, one a Constitutional United States, the other a Statutory United States?

      Have we had another revolution, a sort-of palace-revolution (Board-Room Revolution, Lawyers Revolution, Juristic Jihad, Corporate Conquest…)?

  7. Evangelista
    June 27, 2015 at 8:38 pm

    Real history is a lot more complicated that headline writers, propagandists and single-issue-focus narrow-minds prefer to assign. They prefer to assign narrow-focus and single-issue because those, the ones each one assumes and takes up his verbal cudgel on behalf of, can be made to provide ground to stnd on and to defend, in other words, the single-issues provide something to fight about.

    That is how ‘slavery’ became ‘the issue’ of the Civil War. In real history the Civil War was not fought over slavery. Slavery was broughtin as an issue in 1863, a good long time after the war had begun, and been going on. Yes, Abolitionists had been going on against slavery for decades, but without getting much traction, because they did not have a satisfactory answer for what would become of the ‘slaves’ they freed. Abolitionists also had a problem for having no better social-system, no ‘preferable alternative’ to the ‘humanitarian institution of slavery’. Yes, slavery was argued more humanitarian, providing cradle-to-grave security for the ‘laborer’, care and feeding through the off-seasons and in old-age. A problem the abolitionists had arguing for freedom was the example of Northern State ‘irresponsibility’ and ‘cruelty’ toward the labor that ran the factories , which was paid wages, but lowest possible wages, was replaced as soon as cheaper labor came available, cared nothing for hunger, malnutrition, starvation, since the employer did not own the laborer and had no stake in his or her health and well-being. As some pointed out, you can read if you look into the period literature, no southern black woman would work under the conditions imposed on unmarried white women in the virtual slavery conditions (often ‘wages’ were paid to the families of women and girls, as their ‘owners’, since putting money in the hands of such ones was considered as good as sending them to the devil, to whom they were perceived likely to go empty-pursed if not kept locked in, in dormitory and factory).

    Look to the labor disputes after the Civil War, when mine mules were the equivalents to slaves, owned property and so given better care, more rest periods, ‘breathing spells’ hours of work and feeding than the miners who filled the carts the mules pulled.

    If you look in history, instead of relying on your prejudice to provide ‘The True Reasons, you will find that the Secessionist States seceded for balance of power reasons, for nervousness at the Northern States increasing populations and industrial power, and fear of becoming dominated.

    If you look into the Fort Sumter affair you will find that the Fort was not defined Federal property by the state, and that the garrison had been ordered to evacuate the state-owned property. So the attack to take the fort was not, in the view of the attackers, an attack on the United States, it was an eviction of a former tenant.

    And if you look into the legality of slavery in the United State, ‘under the United States flag’, you will find that Slavery was legal in the United States from inception to 1912, when the Supreme Court ruled peonage slavery and peons to have the protection of the Thirteenth Amendment, too.

    Oh, yes, the Confederate Battle Flag, that all the hissy-fitting is about, whose legitimate symbology the SC model of the Virginia Tech and Columbine shooters who wrapped himself in it seems to have not known any more than the hissy-fitters seem to know it: My view is that the situation indicates a serious filing amongst educators, who appear to have propagandized and not provided balanced information in their educating, or counter-information when the single-issue idiot-army (which includes the mainstream media, mis-informed in regard to the issues. Note that banning the Confederate Battle Flag is only going to make it a more popular symbol among the disaffected, and tying it to racism is going to put the choice of racist or not racist on the ballot for the disaffected when they are deciding to adopt the CBF or maybe the ISIS flag, or maybe the Swastika.

    • Zachary Smith
      June 27, 2015 at 11:32 pm

      You make a series of astonishing claims, so perhaps you’d be kind enough to provide some kind of “evidence” for a couple of them. (only the two, please – I’ve no need to get into the “Someone On The Internet Is Wrong” stuff)

      As some pointed out, you can read if you look into the period literature, no southern black woman would work under the conditions imposed on unmarried white women in the virtual slavery condition…

      I’ve looked into the “period literature” via Google Books, and haven’t ever seen this – nary a hint. So who made the claim, and what kind of job would a “southern black woman” refuse to do on the penalty of being whipped to death if she doesn’t?

      If you look into the Fort Sumter affair you will find that the Fort was not defined Federal property by the state, and that the garrison had been ordered to evacuate the state-owned property. So the attack to take the fort was not, in the view of the attackers, an attack on the United States, it was an eviction of a former tenant.

      I’ve read quite a bit about the Fort Sumter “affair”, and never saw that claim by anybody. And a quick search of the “period” Google Books just now found zilch.

      A person would suppose that if the morons who attacked the Federal Fort had even a fig leaf of legal justification, they’d have been waving it around.

      Morons? Yes. Quite a few Southerners begged the fire-eating fools not to do it, for stalling would have allowed the South to sell a lot of cotton, accumulate a pile of money, and buy much needed production machinery and war essentials. The fort was totally worthless – except as a symbol. The attack – an ‘in-your-face’ flipping-the-bird to the Union – happened anyhow because like the Japanese of WW2, they SC loons really did believe the North was populated by wusses who wouldn’t fight. And if they did, could easily be beaten.

      So once again, where does a person find THAT justification for the insane Sumter attack?

      Oops – skip the second one, for I just now spotted the weasel phrase – ” by the state”.

      So back to the first one….

      • Thomas Howard
        June 28, 2015 at 7:29 pm

        The Constitution acknowledged our right to life, liberty, and our property….yes our slaves…they were property.

        The Union went against the Constitution and took our life, our liberty, and our property.


        • June 29, 2015 at 12:44 pm

          So then you are perfectly fine with slavery, and think there is nothing wrong with humans owning other humans as property?

          So you are fine with life and liberty for some, but not all?

          • Thomas Howard
            July 3, 2015 at 5:57 pm

            ‘Honest Abe’ Lincoln in his inaugural address…’I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.’

            ‘Honest Abe’ in the Proclamation of Emancipation…’That on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free;’

            I’m perfectly fine with facts,… according to law, slaves were considered property and legal to own.

            ‘Honest Abe’, 3 years into the war, freed slaves in rebellion States, but not in the Union.

            I never owned a nigger and you never freed a nigger, facts that make me wonder why you judge me instead of Lincoln.

      • Evangelista
        June 28, 2015 at 7:59 pm


        Wikipedia is a good place to start looking for history. Google books is god for some stuff, but is not organized. I don’t think they know what they have; they seem to have just digitized whatever they could, maybe figuring google-search would find anything, but topics are often not contemporary, where fore they are not in original pages (note, ‘god’ for ‘good’ is a typo, but I decided to leave it, since it must have been Good guiding my fingers…). Also check South Carolina history and Southern History on the web, follow links, look for contemporary chronicles and accounts, opinions, viewpoints.

        The phrase “by the state” is not a weasel phrase, it is a defining term. The state of South Carolina had seceded from the Union some days before the first order to evacuate was delivered to the Union Garrison of Fort Sumter. If you want to study real history you have to read neutrally and read both, or all, parties’ points of view. Just because you may hate blacks, or Indians, or Southerners and think they are inferior does not mean they are not thinking and reasoning human beings capable of logic and deduction as you and everyone else is, too. They are going to reason from their own perspectives, and categorize and classify in their syllogisms and deductions differently for the differences of their perspectives. Hate ’em if you want to, that is a human right that no one can take from you, or do any more than demand you change, but under-estimate their intelligence at your own risk. History is replete with examples of presumptions based on prejudices leading to disasters. For fun summer reading I suggest Barbara Tuchman’s “A Distant Mirror”, it provides a great perspective of perspective, far enough from local topics and current passions to let the human-nature component stand naked for scrutinizing.

        As for “Morons”, Yes, I agree with you: “Fireeater” is just a romantic term for moron, and there were more than enough on both sides pushing tor and toward the Civil War. The Civil War is one of the wold’s classic examples of a war that was product of pure idiocy, that should not have been fought, that needed to not be fought, that could have been sorted out without a preamble of destruction. And there were lots on both sides who recognized so, and did their bests to rein in and pull back the morons. Keping view that the U.S. Civil War was the bloodiest conflict in history until WWI, check out contemporary accounts of perspective, on both sides, but they are most readily available for the Northerners, and note how little any expected the war they ‘looked forward to’ to be a real war, with real murder,, mayhem and suffering.

        For the abolition debates, read ante-bellum rants, raves, debates, responses, replies, assertions, descriptions. I recommend starting with northern reformers’ accounts of conditions in Norhern spinning-mills, with their draconian-puritan conditions. Melville was a critic of the factory conditions, and was not alone in exposing them. Southern writers quite naturally contrasted the virtual prison conditions for labor in Northern mills with the less and often un-restricted conditions Southern Black labor lived in, with being chattel being an advantage for providing value and worth to the laborer, who did not come free, but cost money, and for being dependent, for being chattel, imposed obligations of honor, if not law, on the owners. You have to put your prejudices aside to read others’ points of view, and you have to understand others’ points of view to question, debate and argue. Without understanding you confine yourself to only raging and blowing air against what you oppose.

        • Zachary Smith
          June 28, 2015 at 11:28 pm

          “Wiki” is a good place to start, but a bad one to use as a reference. Google Books are digital images of the actual page. Their search engine uses the OCR-located words, but those images are of the actual pages. That’s why I download the the entire books for future use.

          • Evangelista
            July 1, 2015 at 9:42 pm


            If you read OCR-digitized Google Books texts you will have noticed they are not easy reading. The OCR processes are not perfect and make many bad guesses, even where the typescript in the books being OCR’d is good, e.g., ll being rendered U. Where type is not perfect, where printed letters may be incomplete, the OCR process tends to go completely wonky. You have to guess as you go along, and you usually have several difficulties per page. If you can find the same book done by Project Gutenberg, where human beings correct the OCR text, that is the way to go.

            So far no one, as far as I know, is doing general cataloguing of periodical literature, except in special instances, where local historical societies and universities may invest the time and effort.

      • Evangelista
        June 28, 2015 at 8:38 pm

        I missed your question: “what kind of job would a “southern black woman” refuse to do on the penalty of being whipped to death if she doesn’t?”

        Of course, I don’t have an answer for the question. The South where a ‘southern black woman’ would be ‘whipped to death’ for refusing a job is a propaganda-fantasy South that only exists in imagination. There are other non-propaganda-fantasy reasons a southern black woman might be whipped to death, and there were reasons in the ante-bellum South ones might have been then, too, but those reasons will, today, have more to do with madness and sadism and other sickness on the part of the beater, which will make the act a criminal act. In the ante-bellum South the same would have applied, but there would have also been an economic constraint as well. As Huck Finn noted, toward the end of Mark Twain’s “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”, (I paraphrase) “It’s always the ones most want to hang a nigger who don’t want to pay for him.” You can find the correct line by looking where some wanted to hang Jim, but others asked if they were prepared to pay for him if they did. If you think back to that after finishing reading the book you can enjoy one of the twists of the story that most miss: As it turns out, is revealed later, Jim was free at the time of the debate, which means that had that been known he could have been hanged as a ‘worthless nigger’, same as if he had been a white man (if I recall rightly, it was in Twain’s “Life On the Mississippi” that he wrote of a runaway slave and an abolitionist, helping him escape, being caught, and the abolitionist being hanged, he bieng worthless and a menace, while the slave was only taken into custody, to be returned to his master, who would pay a reward, since the slave was worth money).

        What was contrasted between white woman labor in the North and black woman labor in the South was not the jobs, both might have had very similar employments, spinning, weaving, garment-working, which was ‘woman’s work’, but the close confinement conditions and social solitude in which northern factory-worker women were kept. Really, in reality, no fantasy. The women burned up in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire were working in vastly improved conditions.

        • Zachary Smith
          June 29, 2015 at 12:25 am

          The South where a ‘southern black woman’ would be ‘whipped to death’ for refusing a job is a propaganda-fantasy South that only exists in imagination.

          Sir, I don’t know where you live, but it’s perfectly plain you’ve drunk the Kool-Aid.

          To paraphrase J. B. S. Haldane, the Old South was not only more evil than we imagine, it was more evil than we can easily imagine.

          My public library has the Edward E. Baptist book “The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism”. It’s a new one, and is still quite expensive – that’s why I don’t yet own it.

          Anyhow, it was there that I first learned of the “pushing system”. This method of increasing productivity of the slaves was invented in the West Indies, and was used in many parts of the deep South. Slaves were given a work quota, and were severely whipped if they didn’t make that quota. Their owners had satisfied themselves that the extra production was a good trade-off for working their ‘property’ to death. Naturally this system was used only where it was virtually impossible to escape – in the slave-breeding areas (and border areas) like Virginia and Northern Kentucky the slavers seldom actually killed their livestock.

          The other night I was reading about a 1938 slave narrative where a black woman told of successfully thwarting the efforts of her master to breed her with another slave.

          When I marries it was just home wedding, fact is I just hated the man I married but it was what Maser said do. . . He put another negro man with my mother, then he put one with me. I would not let that negro touch me and he told Maser and Maser gave me a real good whipping, so that night I let that negro have his way. Maser was going to raise him a lot more slaves, but still I cheated Maser, I never did have any slaves to grow and Maser he wondered what was the matter. I tell you son, I kept cotton roots and chewed them all the time but I was careful not to let Maser know or catch me, so I never did have any children while I was a slave. Yes, after freedom we had five children, four of them still living.

          Few women had her skill with plant drugs, so they had their children torn from them, taken to market, and they never saw them again. Some reportedly resorted to infanticide to prevent this result.

          Another thing I learned this week was how the Slave South treated the free blacks during the Civil War. The pressure the Rebels put on these US citizens was such that life became unbearable. Any law-breaking – real or imagined – and they were stuck back into slavery. If they couldn’t pay a $25 tax (only for those free blacks) – back into slavery.

          A system of Voluntary Slavery was set up as an escape route from the hell the highly civilized Rebels created. The ‘bait’ was that the black man could choose his new master.

          {What’s especially infuriating about the last one is that it’s precisely the same technique being used by the shitty little apartheid state of Israel today. Make life for the Palestinians so horrible that they’ll submit – or leave. With all the Good Christians of the US actively supporting these horrors, it’s a technique that’ll eventually work.}

          One last example: google Sec. of War Seddon’s 8/12/63 directive to General Kirby Smith. He reminded Gen. Smith of his previous instructions to murder white officers commanding Negro troops. Do it immediately after capture so the executions could be passed off as battle deaths. The captured Negro troops were to be enslaved.

          I could go on for many pages with the horrors of the Slavocracy, but this post is already much longer than I’d planned.

          Folks, those of you who have not built yourselves a fantasy world should avoid the BS coming from the Kool-Aid boys. The South was nasty and evil, and if it had won its “freedom”, a hell of a lot of people in other lands were going to lose theirs. But more on that some other time.

          • Thomas Howard
            June 29, 2015 at 6:25 am

            You blaming the South and slavery for the Civil War is no different than Bush blaming Iraq and weapons of mass destruction for the Iraq War.

          • Evangelista
            June 30, 2015 at 10:44 pm


            If you read back you will find that I did not deny that there were, in the antebellum South, as in the present-day whole United States, not entirely sane people who abuse other people sadistically, manipulatively and sometimes murderously and viciously. Those will do that to slaves and free who fall under their powers, to family and strangers. We have police to try to keep that sort in check.

            You can blame a society for excesses that occur in it, but prejudicially, not rationally. To be rational you have to look for comparisons and judge by a balanced standard.

            For example, yes, southern blace children were “torn” from their mothers and sold away, according to records most often within a local area, usually at ten to twelve years of age. What about free white children? The custom for them was to ‘appprentice’ them to a trade. What was apprenticing? “tearing” the child away from his mother, at the same ages, common then with no child-labor laws, and delivering him to a “master”, who essentially owned him for his board and keep and training in the trade. Most masters were decent to their apprentices, not all were, and there are stories of abusing masters and abused apprentices. The primary difference where slaves were the ‘apprentices’ was that they did not get the training, they were field and basic laborers, there was no journeyman status they worked toward.

            In the Southern US the slaves were sufficinetly valuable, and they were recognized valuable enough that they were not, for the most part, worked to death or badly abused, “bad” ones being excepted, who would be sold into virtual penal servitude and worked “like galley-slaves”. Galley-slaves, if you check, you will find to not have been black, but criminal, and often ‘criminal’, meaning rounded up and ‘tried’ and sentenced to galleys because galley-slaves were needed. No, the United States did not use galley-slaves. Faulkner wrote of the United States post-slavery era system of chain-gang labor, which was virtual slavery and abusive. And I could tell you of a high-steel welder who was picked up by a police ‘cruise’ through a Dallas Texas bar for ‘likely vagrants’ to work a road project. He showed money to prove he was not a vagrant, the money was taken and he was asked to show money then, and was arrested for vagrancy and hauled away to do road-gang work. That one is a funny story because his for days on road-gang cost Texas about $400,000 and shook the local power-structure, since his project was someone more important’s.

            Abuse is everywhere, always. To define the reality in any siuation you have to comb out the anomalies.

  8. John
    July 1, 2015 at 12:04 am

    Zachary is correct. Anyone arguing in some way that the South was justified is being too legalistic, pointing to the Constitution as if it were a religious tract. It wasn’t, it was a compromise. Jefferson knew what was coming.

    • Anonymous
      July 1, 2015 at 12:25 am

      Anyway, the Constitution provided clear insteuctions that any future Amendments would be equally the Law of the Land but some people prefer to ignore Amendments and focus only on the “original, pilitical compromise.

  9. John
    July 1, 2015 at 12:33 am

    So…..I disregard anyone who claims to be an advocate of “liberty” who sides with the Stars and Bars. They ain’t.

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