Lately, there has been a lot of media attention in regards to the Sons of the Confederate Veterans. Being that it is the anniversary of the end of the Civil War, it is interesting to see the war’s lasting legacy. The Sons claim that the Civil War was fought over states’ rights, and not over slavery. They see the north as an entity that marched in, took over, and ruined the (ahem) good old days.
I wonder how much of this media attention is seen as antagonistic by the SCV’s and in a skewed way, encourages them to dig their heels in further. Though the articles are trying to show the fallacies of SCV thought and lack of serious scholarship, as well as the constant denial of the horrors that occurred during the Civil War era, I noticed tactics that were used in the articles that I could see would be condescending or hostile to the Confederate Sympathizer. These tactics, I feel, are counter productive and instead of educating, it creates deeper chasms between facts and the so-called romanticism of the memory of the antebellum south. For example, in the Blood on Their Hands article, the crossed out sentence calls the members of SCV a series of names, and in the Open Letter, the word facts presented in parenthesis, seems to me a way to make people who have a long history of feeling taken over by “outsiders” hold on to their views even more.
So, how do we help correct bad or misleading history without making things inadvertently worse? Cebula’s letter seems to have been written with the best intentions, backed up his claims with scholarship, and yet, the director of the historic home did not take kindly to the letter at all. The response, “You as a professor” is a great reminder to not write and send while angry.