J.D.R. Hawkins

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

Archive for the tag “history”

Is the Mississippi Flag Truly A Thing of the Past?

The most recent rendition of the Mississippi flag was established in 1894. That’s a really long time, y’all. But, of course, the flag has fallen under scrutiny within the past few years due to political correctness and misdirected racial discrimination. I hope this post sheds some light on the reason why the flag was chosen by the state’s citizens. A special thank you to Mr. Michael C. Barefield for your article.

MS flag

My 2 cents worth about the Mississippi Flag

In the late 1990s, I was an attorney of record involved in the “Flag Lawsuit” filed against the State of Mississippi. The following is based upon my legal and historical research and personal knowledge from that lawsuit. 

The canton corner of the Mississippi Flag, though appearing identical to the Confederate Battle Flag, is actually, from its very statutory description, a symbol of reunification at a time when the people of Mississippi had suffered through more than a decade of bloody war and reconstruction. By 1890, Reconstruction had ended, yet Blacks continued to be elected to the legislature. 

The current flag was first adopted in 1894, and based upon historical documentation submitted to the court in the “Flag Lawsuit” by the Attorney General, Blacks were members of the Mississippi Legislature and voted in favor of the adoption of the current flag. Following is the law that adopted the flag. Pay close attention to the symbolic meaning of the 13 stars and the colors. 

“§ 3-3-16. Design of state flag. The official flag of the State of Mississippi shall have the following design: with width two-thirds (2/3) of its length; with the union (canton) to be square, in width two-thirds (2/3) of the width of the flag; the ground of the union to be red and a broad blue saltire thereon, bordered with white and emblazoned with thirteen (13) mullets or five-pointed stars, corresponding with the number of the original States of the Union; the field to be divided into three (3) bars of equal width, the upper one blue, the center one white, and the lower one, extending the whole length of the flag, red (the national colors); this being the flag adopted by the Mississippi Legislature in the 1894 Special Session.” 

Just 4 years prior, the following historical account is evidence of the positive race relations experienced by Mississippians at the time. 

In the Mississippi House of Representatives on February 1, 1890, an appropriation for a monument to the Confederate dead was being considered. A delegate had just spoken against the bill, when John F. Harris, a Black Republican delegate from Washington County, rose to speak: 

“Mr. Speaker! I have risen in my place to offer a few words on the bill. 

I have come from a sick bed. Perhaps it was not prudent for me to come. But sir, I could not rest quietly in my room without contributing a few remarks of my own. 

I was sorry to hear the speech of the young gentlemen from Marshall County. I am sorry that any son of a soldier would go on record as opposed to the erections of a monument in honor of the brave dead. And, Sir, I am convinced that had he seen what I saw at Seven Pines, and in the Seven Day’s fighting around Richmond, the battlefield covered with mangled forms of those who fought for this country and their country’s honor, he would not have made the speech. 

When the news came that the South had been invaded, those men went forth to fight for what they believed, and they made not requests for monuments. But they died, and their virtues should be remembered. 

Sir, I went with them. I, too, wore the gray, the same color my master wore. We stayed for four long years, and if that war had gone on till now I would have been there yet. I want to honor those brave men who died for their convictions. 

When my Mother died, I was a boy. Who, Sir, then acted the part of Mother to the orphaned slave boy, but my old Missus! Were she living now, or could speak to me from those high realms where are gathered the sainted dead, she would tell me to vote for this bill. And, Sir, I shall vote for it. I want it known to all the world that my vote is given in favor of the bill to erect a monument in HONOR OF THE CONFEDERATE DEAD.” 

When the applause died down, the measure passed overwhelmingly, and every Black member voted “AYE.” 

(Source: Daily Clarion Ledger, Jackson, Mississippi, Feb 23, 1890) 

In my opinion, Mississippians have a very amicable relationship among all races, though by human nature, there are always exceptions to the rule. Racism has existed from the beginning of mankind and likely will always exist to a certain degree. Though we should always strive for improvement in race relations and in all matters, everyone should respect other’s cultural differences and no segment of society should be condemned from honoring their culture. It resolves nothing to ban a flag. Our energies are better served focusing on true resolutions. 

But, that’s not really the issue here. The issue here is disparagement of our Great State by outsiders for political or other advantage. The fact is, Mississippi Blacks and Whites, in harmony, adopted a flag in 1894 to symbolize both a painful history (lest we forget) and a reunification of a great State with a great Nation. Due to a procedural technicality that occurred in the adoption of the 1906 Mississippi Code, the Supreme Court determined in the “Flag Lawsuit” that the flag was no longer “official” and invited the Legislature to act. The Legislature accepted the invitation and placed the issue on the ballot in 2001. A campaign of educating voters about the true history and symbolism of our flag was conducted by supporters of the Flag. 2/3 of Mississippi voters, Black and White, re- adopted the 1894 flag. 

Outsiders wish to disparage our great people. I pray that our elected officials will not succumb to outside influence. Should they do so, however, I trust that they will limit their response by again letting the people decide this issue and allow racial harmony to shine once again and remind the rest of the Nation how proud and united we are as a People, in spite of a painful history and our imperfections. History should be embraced and should serve as a reminder to avoid repeating. 

Again, “lest we forget.” 

(Article courtesy of the Jeff Davis Legion, Official Publication of the Mississippi Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, Volume 22, Issue 6, June 2020 ed.)

 

 

 

Another Flattering Review

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I recently received another nice review for my novel, A Beautiful Glittering Lie. Thank you so much, Ms. Joanne, for posting your review on Goodreads!

Here is the review:

(June 3, 2020)

I had a little trouble getting into this book, but once I did – I didn’t want to put it down.
I have read several books about the Civil War, but written from the side of the North. This novel is written from the point of view of a family from Alabama.
J D R Hawkins’ writing style is such that I grew to feel I knew the family who were the principal characters in the book.
My only complaint, if you can call it that, was that the book ended rather abruptly. There are however, two books which apparently continue the story.
All in all – I loved it! I will place J D R Hawkins on my favorite authors list!

We Can Never Forget

Well, kids, they’re at it again. I don’t know exactly who is behind all this desecration, but the forces that be have decided to attack our beloved American history once more. This round was supposedly brought on by the killing of George Floyd, a repeat offender/drug addict who has become a martyr, crazy as it sounds. So in retaliation for his demise, Black Lives Matter/Antifa has committed numerous murders, looting incidents, and various other crimes. The worst, to me, is their burning the UDC headquarters building in Richmond. What a heartbreaker. The second worst, in my opinion, is their destroying the Lion of Atlanta. And the governor of Virginia has decided to dismantle Monument Avenue, which consists of many amazingly beautiful sculptures. But because they depict Confederate soldiers, they just got ta go.

Lion

So many monuments are under attack right now, as is everything else related to the Confederacy. HBO has removed Gone With the Wind from their movie lineup, which is a serious shame, since the movie features Hattie McDaniel, the very first African American to ever win an Oscar. And Nascar announced that the Confederate battle flag will no longer be allowed to fly at events. Like that hurts anyone? Seriously?

Everyone seems to be losing sight of what the Confederacy actually represented…states’ rights. Slavery was definitely part of it, but then, slavery was legal in nearly every corner of the world back then. And it was also legal in many northern states.

Just for an eye-opener, I’m posting this article for us to witness what it was really like to live through such a terrifying, horrific time. This is what the monuments represent. This is what flying the Rebel flag is all about. If we forget about our ancestors’ peril and suffering, we only set ourselves up to suffer the same anguish ourselves. Because if we erase history, we are doomed to repeat it. History has shown us this time and again.

Ole Miss

The Story of One University Gray 

Come on in and wade around in the blood with me. I live with, and deal with, a lot of Ole Miss Civil War dead kids every day. The ones who died of old age, I can handle. The ones who die of dysentery in an overcrowded hospital, or who are decapitated by a cannon ball, or who bleed to death from a wound, all in their early 20’s, bother me. And then there are the sets of brothers who die, anywhere from two to five in one family. When I started all this I was 32, just a pup who was going to live forever. I had seen very little real death. Now, I can see a light at the end of the tunnel, and I know it is mortality coming to run me over. I have lost my parents, all my uncles, 4 out of 6 of my best friends, and I have known a bunch of parents who have lost children. I have a much better understanding of the Civil War death that I write about, and live with, everyday. When I work on all this hard for 3 or 4 days, it starts to get to me. Lewis Taylor Fant was in the University of Mississippi Class of 1862. He was from Holly Springs. He joined the University Greys that Spring of 1861, he was 19 years old. He fought through the battles of First Manassas, Seven Pines, Gaines Mill, Second Manassas, and Sharpsburg. 

At Sharpsburg, on September 17, of 1862, Hood’s Division, including Law’s Brigade, containing the 11th Mississippi Infantry Regiment, and the University Greys, was called to counter attack in the famous Cornfield, the bloodiest 40 acres in America. Twenty University Greys went into the meadow area below the Cornfield, and then on into the corn. They fought there for less than 30 minutes. Nineteen of the 20 Greys were wounded there that day. Three would later die of those wounds. 

Lewis Taylor Fant was shot in the leg there in the Cornfield. He was captured and he had his leg amputated in a Union field hospital. He was quickly exchanged to Richmond. I knew from his service record that he had died in the hospital at Richmond, but no cause was given. I always guessed an infection killed him. A few years into my research, I was in the State Archives at Jackson going through the Record Group 9 box on the 11th Mississippi. In that box was a roster one of the Greys had typed out, from memory. He had made a few notes for some of the boys, under their names. That afternoon I found out how Fant died. His note said, “fell on the pavement at Richmond, died in 15 minutes from ruptured artery”. They had gotten him up on crutches and he fell. The artery must have retracted back up into the stump and they could not clamp it off. He bled to death, and he lay there and knew he was bleeding to death. I had a long ride back to Memphis that late afternoon. 

Let me tell you about Lewis Taylor Fant’s brothers: 

James (UM Class of 1858, UM Law Class of 1860) joined the 9th Mississippi, rose to Captain, was wounded at Munfordville, Kentucky in September of 1862, and resigned due to his wound. 

Euclid was decapitated by a cannon ball at Knoxville in November of 1863, standing beside his first cousin. 

Selden joined the 9th Mississippi with his brother, at age 15. He survived the War, only to die in the Yellow Fever of 1878. He stayed in town when most men fled. He worked as Secretary and Treasurer of the Relief Committee, until he was stricken with Yellow Fever. 

Glenn was too young to fight in the War, he too died in the 1878 Yellow Fever. He too stayed in Holly Springs to help. He filled the place of the Express Agent when that man died. Glenn finally caught Yellow Fever and died too. 

There you have the story of just one University Grey. I know the death stories of 49 other Greys, plus well over 

one hundred other UM students and alumni, plus at least another hundred Lafayette County men who went to the Civil War. I know a fair amount about their families too, as you see above. 

Now, maybe you know a little more about why their mothers, wives, sisters, daughters, and nieces put a few monuments up to them. Those monuments have nothing to do with slavery and everything to do with the incredible amount of loss those families endured. 

The picture here is the University of Mississippi student body in the 1860 – 1861 school year. There they are, your fellow Alumni. Lewis Taylor Fant is probably there somewhere. 

That is the old, 1848 Southeastern dorm behind them on the right. The building on the left is a double Professor’s residence. The young man on the far right is seated on one of the Lyceum step piers. 

A little over 4 years after this picture was taken, 27% of those kids in that picture were dead. You think about that, and apply that percentage to 20,000 students at Ole Miss, in our last school year. What do you think we would do if 27% of those kids died? Can you envision a monument or two? 

Miller Civil War Tours – Starke Miller

(Article courtesy of The Southern Comfort, Private Samuel A. Hughey Camp 1452, President Jefferson Davis Chapter Sons of Confederate Veterans, Military Order of the Stars and Bars, Volume 44, Issue #6, June 2020)

 

New Cover Reveal for A Rebel Among Us!

I am so excited to reveal the new cover for my novel, A Rebel Among Us! The new cover comes with a new publisher as well, Westwood Books Publishing, LLC. The book is the recipient of the 2017 John Esten Cooke Fiction Award, which is given by the Military Order of the Stars and Bars. This is a very prestigious honor, since the MOSB does not give the award every year, but only to books they deem as worthy of representing the Confederacy.

ARAU Cover

A Rebel Among Us is the third book in the Renegade Series. Two other books, A Beautiful Glittering Lie and A Beckoning Hellfire, are also in the series and have been re-published with Westwood Books Publishing as well.

I’m always fishing for reviews, so if you’re interested, let me know and I’ll send you a PDF copy for review!

My Book Cover is Now in Round Three!

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My novel, A Beautiful Glittering Lie, has received enough votes to make it to round three! Thank you so much for your support!

With each round (there are three), everyone can vote again, so I’m asking you to please vote for my book cover once more. Here is the voting link:

https://allauthor.com/cover-of-the-month/7748/

This contest is held monthly by All Author. I really appreciate your support. Thank you so much!

My Book Made It to Round Two!

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My novel, A Beautiful Glittering Lie, had enough votes to make it to round two! Thank you so much for your support!

With each round (there are three), everyone can vote again, so I’m asking you to please vote for my book cover once more. Here is the voting link:

https://allauthor.com/cover-of-the-month/7748/

This contest is held monthly by All Author. I really appreciate your support. Thank you so much!

 

Please Vote For My Cover!

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The new cover for my novel, A Beautiful Glittering Lie, has been nominated for best book cover! All Author runs their contest monthly, and for the month of May, my book cover is in the running. Here is the link:

https://allauthor.com/cover-of-the-month/7748/

This is how it will all play out:

“The selection committee has chosen 256 covers out of the 370 entries. We are happy that you are one of the selected. 

“Your book, A Beautiful Glittering Lie: A Novel of the Civil War, has been picked to be one of the contenders in the Cover of the Month contest – May 2020.The contest will now have 4 rounds:

  • First, all the selected entries will contest for the next round. (Duration 1st – 7th)
  • Second, 100 top-voted covers will compete to enter the third round. (Duration 8th – 14th)
  • Third, top 50 book covers from the previous round. (Duration 15th – 21st)
  • Fourth, top 24 book covers will play the last round in the chase. (Duration 22nd – Month end)

“The 3 winners will be announced on the last day of the month.”

I am so proud of the new cover for my book, as well as my awesome new publisher, Westwood Books Publishing, LLC. Please vote for this cover (which was originally designed by my son). We would greatly appreciate your support! Thank you so very much!

https://allauthor.com/cover-of-the-month/7748/

 

 

A Beautiful Glittering Lie Book Teasers

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Just for fun, and because this is the last week of Confederate Heritage Month, I thought I’d share some teasers that were made up for me by a previous publisher. The book is now out with Westwood Books Publishing, LLC. I hope you enjoy them. Let me know what you think!

ABGL Teaser 3

ABGL Teaser 2

ABGL Teaser 1

 

 

New Review for A Beautiful Glittering Lie

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I just received another review for my novel, A Beautiful Glittering Lie, the first book in the Renegade Series. Thank you, Ms. Jackie, for your kind review!

The narration of this book is excellent. It is plain to see that the author has an intense fascination with the American Civil War. Her descriptions of people, animals and places make you feel as though you are there with them. As a non-American I found it a little difficult to keep up with where all the places are (my copy didn’t have a map in the cover, which would have been helpful!) and the names of all the generals were lost on me. I found it a little confusing with the many names of the different sides at first, having never studied American history. However, once I got going I found it easy enough to work out. The book shows the civil war through the eyes of an ordinary Southern family, which is an interesting perspective and does not glamourise the war at all. It is a working class family’s story, which makes it easy to relate to. Be prepared to read the rest of the series – the ending leaves you wanting more!

New Cover Reveal for A Beckoning Hellfire

A Beckoning Hellfire Book Cover

It came to my attention that the book cover wasn’t attached to my blog post yesterday, so I’m re-sending it out. Please let me know what you think! Thanks so much for all your support.

 

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