J.D.R. Hawkins

One bullet can make a man a hero… or a casualty.

Uproar Surrounding Civil War Events

It seems that since last Saturday’s reenactment of Confederate President Jefferson Davis’ inauguration in Montgomery, Alabama, a can of worms has been opened up. Namely, several publications and minority groups have complained by broadcasting their opinions to the media.

On Wednesday, USA Today published a story by David Person, who claimed that sesquicentennial events are being “celebrated” by participants in contrast to being commemorated. He also wrote in his article that the primary reason for the Civil War was slavery, and that “painful lessons should be remembered, not glorified or sanitized.”

Also this week, a story written by Mariah Majmuddin appeared in the Oklahoma Daily. The headline screamed “Confederate Soldiers Should Not be Celebrated as Heroes.” Why not? Because, according to Majmuddin, an act of treason was committed by each Confederate soldier when the South seceded.

I find such articles amusing in that, by criticizing these events, the reporters only draw more attention to reenactments. Such reporters display their ignorance about history, and in some cases blatantly expose their racist views. (Like Bernard Simelton, president of the Alabama NAACP, who proclaimed: “It’s almost like celebrating the Holocaust.”) I have to wonder if so much hullabaloo will occur when reenactments commemorating the Civil War take place in the North. We will find out later this year when the 150th anniversary of the First Battle of Bull Run (Manassas) takes place.

The attitude that Southerners show discrimination toward blacks by staging reenactments is utterly absurd. No one is denying any African-American of participating, since black soldiers fought for both the North and the South. So why is the South being criticized? I don’t see anyone protesting other living history events such as Renaissance Festivals or Revolutionary War events. There were plenty of ill-reputed things surrounding these historical events as well, but they aren’t under attack. Could it be that all the Southern Civil War “celebration” is too easy a target?

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