J.D.R. Hawkins

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

Archive for the tag “antebellum”

Little Known History

Our past holds many secrets. Delving into our heritage can be a fascinating journey in our quest to find out where we came from and what transformed our ancestors’ lives.

One example is that, following the Civil War and the defeat of the South, some Confederates decided to continue their cause, so they moved outside of the U.S. Many congregated in Brazil, because slavery was still legal there. It wasn’t long before slavery was abolished, but Confederate heritage remained, and is still celebrated today. Here is an article describing the celebration that takes place every year in that country.

Confederada

The aroma of fried chicken and biscuits roused the appetite of over 2,500 people as the country sounds of Alison Krauss, Alan Jackson, and Johnny Cash played over the loudspeakers. It was the annual “Festa Confederada”-the “Confederate Party”-an annual celebration of southern heritage held each April in Santa Bárbara d’Oeste, in São Paulo, Brazil.

A sign explaining “What the Confederate Flag Really Means” in both English and Portuguese greeted the roughly 2,500 visitors at the entryway of the American Cemetery. Inside, women wearing Antebellum-style hoop skirts square danced with men clad in gray Confederate uniforms. Couples in T-shirts were doing the two-step.

After the WBTS ended in 1865, some 8,000 to 10,000 Southern soldiers and their families left the defeated Confederacy and went to Brazil. In São Paulo state, they established a somewhat culturally homogeneous community that maintained its southern traditions for generations. Their descendants still celebrate them to this day. But for the first time, this year, just outside cemetery grounds, stood black activists protesting the April 28 party with signs and banners saying, “Down with the Confederate flag.”

Confed

Brazil’s Confederados continue to speak English and to practice their Baptist, Methodist, and Presbyterian faiths, introducing “Protestantism” to the Catholic country. The “American Cemetery” was established because their ancestors were laid to rest-as “Protestants,” in other words, they were barred from burial alongside Catholics. The “Fraternity of American Descendants” has for years held a low-profile, annual celebration of their southern heritage which for decades has been uncontroversial.

But recently, professor Claúdia Monteiro of UNEGRO, “leader” of Brazil’s national Unified Black Movement, have declared the “Confederados” to be “racists” and the Fraternity of American Descendants to be a “hate group.”

Brazilian media outlets are reporting that “100 civil society groups from across the country” have “signed a manifesto criticizing” Festa Confederada as a “white supremacy” gathering and calling on the government to end it.

(Article courtesy of Dixie Heritage Newsletter, May 19, 2019 ed.)

Advertisements

Annual Pilgrimages

angel scan 3173

One of my favorite things about living in the South was attending pilgrimages. Several take place in Mississippi each year, including Natchez, Aberdeen, and Holy Springs. These events typically occur during the month of April. It is an amazing experience to participate in one of these pilgrimages and see what it was like to live in the antebellum South. Pilgrimages attract people from all over the world.

angel scan 3178

My own personal experience included serving as a docent at one of the beautiful mansions in Holly Springs. This small town was spared when Union General Grant decided it was too pretty to burn. One of the majestic homes served as his headquarters during his invasion into Mississippi leading up to the Battles of Iuka and Corinth in 1862.

angel scan 3147

As a tour guide, I had the privilege of learning about one of the spectacular houses in Holly Springs, including its previous owners. Holly Springs is a favorite location for those wishing to see a glimpse of the past as displayed in the grand old mansions. Most of the homes, built in the 1850’s, have been restored to their original grandeur. Besides the home tour, a special service is held in the cemetery to honor fallen Confederate soldiers who are buried there, and a tour of slave shacks is also included.

angel scan 3193

Magnolias and moonlit nights add to the romance, as do belles dressed in ball gowns and horse-drawn carriages parading through the streets. Pilgrimages are an excellent way to experience the past while living in the present, and see what true Southern beauty represents.

The Civil War and Memphis

d71ff-slavehavenmemphis3-2010005-2

Anyone interested in the War Between the States knows that Memphis is the site of many historically significant events. Tennessee ranks second in the number of battles that took place there (Virginia, of course, had the most). It isn’t surprising that, over the course of over 150 years, many places have disappeared beneath strip malls, golf courses, or kudzu. Some, however, still remain intact.

One of the most notable places is Elmwood Cemetery, where Nathan Bedford Forrest’s family is buried. (Historian and author, Shelby Foote, is interred beside them, and General Forrest is now buried at Forrest Park.) Also in the cemetery are numerous slave’s graves, Confederate soldiers’ graves, and victims of the 1878 yellow fever epidemic.

Jefferson Davis Park, on the banks of the Mississippi River, and Confederate Park nearby, both escaped flooding this spring. Many antebellum homes, including the beautiful Hunt-Phelan House, still exist, as does evidence left over from battles, such as a street sign marking Union General Washburn’s escape from General Forrest’s cavalry forces. A home that was part of the Underground Railroad still stands on North 2nd Street, and the Memphis newspaper, The Commercial Appeal, is still in publication. (During the war, the press was moved several times to avoid capture. The Commercial Appeal now publishes Civil War news every Sunday)

Post Navigation