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February 19, 2009 - Issue 312

Tennessean Newspaper OP/ED Referenced
By Dr. Jonathan D. Farley

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The Tennessean Newspaper

November 20, 2002
Section: Main News
Edition: 1ST
Page: 19A
Column: Nashville Eye


Remnants of the Confederacy glorifying a time of tyranny


A friend of mine told me that, whenever he drives by the statue of Civil War general Nathan Forrest on Interstate 65, he always salutes it. With his middle finger.
Nathan Forrest, as you'll recall, is the Confederate "hero" who founded the Ku Klux Klan.

[It was a secret organization, so it's hard to say who was a member, but it's written in many places that he was the founder. Technically he was the "Grand Wizard" or something like that and they say half a dozen other people founded the Klan.  But the fact is he evidently had the power to disband the Klan.]

Today, 137 years after the last shot was fired in the Civil War, the enemy regroups. Under pressure from students, Vanderbilt University dropped the word "Confederate" from the name of its "Confederate Memorial Hall." The United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC), which contributed $50,000 towards the construction of the building, promptly sued Vanderbilt to get their money back.

[In fact, this was only a third of the cost of the building.]

Just who are the Daughters of the Confederacy? In 1931, Nashville Chapter No. 1 "voted to see that the last meeting place of the Ku Klux Klan in Nashville ... [was] suitably marked." In 1944 and 1966, the UDC's minutes record their opposition to integration. More recently, a Murfreesboro woman whose family belongs to the UDC wrote me to say that Martin Luther King's "only contribution [was] to stir up more
prejudice and being killed."

[ No one ever bothered to refute these statements; nor did
Vanderbilt (for instance) criticize the UDC for taking these stands in
the past (and, since we have no evidence of their distancing
themselves from these positions, we can only assume in the present).
Yet it is my statements that are called offensive, not theirs.  At a
2002 meeting on the Vanderbilt campus, a UDC defender publicly stated
that the Klan only *protected* Southerners (white Southerners, of
course).  The same Vanderbilt spokesman who attacked me, Michael
Schoenfeld, was there when this was said.  Now Schoenfeld is at Duke.]

Lest we forget, the Confederacy aimed to destroy the United States.

[Neo-Conderates act as if the Confederates just wanted to
be left alone, but this is revisionism.  Anyway, my interpretation of
"destroy" here was "end", which is in fact what the Confederates
wanted to do: end the United States.]

Every Confederate soldier, by the mores of his age and ours, deserved
not a hallowed resting place at the end of his days but a reservation
at the end of the gallows. The UDC honors traitors.

[ Newspapers and neo-Confederates claim I was saying here that they
"should" have been executed.  This is not a statement that I make in this essay.  They in fact should have been executed; however, I made this weaker statement because it is an objective fact.  "Deserved" has multiple interpretations: the weakest one is that the Confederates committed a capital offense.  This, along with the charge of treason, is not an opinion.  It is simply a fact that treason was a capital offense in 1865 and it is a capital offense in 2008; whether or not you support the death penalty does not alter the fact that the death penalty is practiced in America (and Iraq---all the people who attacked me for this sentence cheered when Saddam Hussein was hanged, I'm sure).]

"But the war was not about slavery," they whine. "It was about states' rights." But the "right" Confederates sought to defend was the right to murder, rape, and torture millions of Africans, with impunity.

[ Again, people attacked me for the hanging sentence, but no one
attacks the UDC for defending people who did murder innocent people
(as opposed to expressing theoretical support for the capital
punishment of murderers who all died of natural causes a century ago).]

Here is how one slave owner exercised his "rights": "Through a period of four months, including the latter stages of pregnancy, delivery, and recent recovery therefrom ... he beat [his slave] with clubs, iron chains and other deadly weapons time after time, burnt her, inflicted stripes over and often, with scourges."

[ Neo-Confederates claim slaves were never mistreated. This quote
comes from the book, "Roll, Jordan, Roll".]

The Confederacy's own vice president, Alexander Stephens, declared that the Confederacy "rests upon the great truth that the negro is not the equal of the white man, that slavery - the subordination to the superior race - is his natural and normal condition."

[Again, my unpleasant truths were just ignored by the essay's critics.]

Today's Confederates, who deny that the war was about slavery, are the new holocaust revisionists.
Black Americans and white Europeans object to the statue of a 19th century Hitler standing in public view off an interstate highway. It and the Confederate flags surrounding it represent nothing less than a death threat against scores of millions of people of color. That monument must go. Not only because it's racist and violent but also because it's just plain ugly.
The issue is not black vs. white.

[This sentence was also totally ignored; I was accused of instigating a race war and expressing my hatred for whites.]

The mostly white Green Party of the United States has issued a statement supporting Vanderbilt's decision. Southerners black and white recoil with disgust when the UDC claims that it alone represents "Southern heritage."

[More facts that were ignored.]

Here in Nashville , there are plans to investigate the source of the UDC's funds. If researchers can trace them back to slavery, they will demand that reparations be paid to the true children of the Confederacy - the descendants of the slaves - before one cent is paid by Vanderbilt back to the UDC.
Indeed, the race problems that wrack America to this day are due largely to the fact that the Confederacy was not thoroughly destroyed, its leaders and soldiers executed and their lands given to the landless freed slaves.

[This is the only statement in the essay that is not a "fact," because it is a counterfactual.  But it is a counterfactual that can hardly be denied: The blacks who were murdered by white ex-Confederates would not have been murdered had those Confederates been made ex-alive.  So anyone who attacks me for this statement is saying nothing other than the fact that it's better that innocent blacks died than to even ponder the idea of punishing the guilty whites who went on to murder them.  Moreover, it was a Confederate law passed by Confederate president Jefferson Davis that black soldiers were not to be taken prisoner, but executed along with their white officers.  This is not a hypothetical musing but something he actually advocated (and a type of action Nathan Forrest actually carried out). For some reason this is considered okay.] 

The Daughters of the Confederacy say we must remember their dead. And I agree: Let us remember the cruelty inflicted upon helpless women and children by cowards masquerading as civilized men.
The tyranny and evil they visited upon millions must never be forgotten.

[Which is exactly what happened.]

Jonathan David Farley, an assistant professor at Vanderbilt University, is a former Fulbright Distinguished Scholar to the United Kingdom and a recent guest on National Public Radio's The Tavis Smiley Show.

[The newspaper added this.  I did not call myself a "Vanderbilt
professor" when I submitted the essay, because I didn't want anyone to claim that this had anything to do with my position as a Vanderbilt


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