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April 18th, 2010
07:41 PM ET

Confederate History Controversy

A governor's proclamation declares Confederate History Month without mentioning slavery, setting off a heated debate. CNN's Don Lemon explores the issue with two white Confederate reenactors, a black Confederate supporter, and an expert on race relations.

Filed under: CNN Newsroom • Don Lemon
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. Mike Schryver

    It amazes me that people are still able to pretend this isn't about racism and slavery.

    The Civil War was about slavery...period. There are two frequently used arguments that this wasn't true – the issue of "states' rights", which in this case boils down to the right to own other people, and "economic issues", which were that the South would have had no economy if not for slaves.

    That a governor of a U.S. state feels emboldened enough to celebrate an entity that was never anything but an enemy of the U.S. is amazing, and a testament to the amount of racism that still survives.

    April 18, 2010 at 8:46 pm |
  2. Elvia M. Chalmers

    It's interesting to me that proponents for the confederate flag do not realize the emotional implications of this observance. I understand we have missing pieces to the story but as with all "genocidal" incidents they are difficult to discuss because of the emotional implications.

    As a nation that purports to be primarily Judeo-Christian and even including tenants from other faiths it is obvious we have chosen to be passive rather than purposeful appliers of our doctrines. "Nothing new under the sun".

    April 18, 2010 at 9:48 pm |
  3. Smith in Oregon

    Of course White Supremacists trying to re-spin Confederate History which cost the lives of some 500,000 American citizens is woefully failing. Failing to mention the horrible abuses and deaths of slaves by their wealthy farm owners and large business's that didn't 'take to cotton'.

    Meanwhile with a page off Karl Rove's to do list, the Confederate States are vainly struggling to place their positive spin on that horrific time which swept America into one of its bloodiest battles in recorded history.

    And just like Karl Rove, Dick Cheney, Gorden Powell, GW Bush and Donald Rumsfield they are failing in their attempt to re-spin historical truths, historical accuracy and the utter lapse of upholding and following existing federal laws.

    April 18, 2010 at 10:02 pm |
  4. Steve Flanigan

    As being from Irish decent, I remember the stories about my ancestors seeking work only to see the signs saying "Irish need not apply." Though this is a part of history, we as an Irish as a group don't dwell on it.

    April 19, 2010 at 8:10 am |
  5. John Tyler Erie, Pa

    We're in the 21st century and the Civil war is over, time to work on the future and quit bringing up the past. Whatever happened to the phrase "that all men are created equal".

    April 19, 2010 at 8:45 am |
  6. Richie Lomas

    I cannot believe that, in this day and age, people, even adults, think that the flag is a symbol for race. Do you think that the designers of the starry cross were thinking "This flag will represent the oppression of the black race for ages"? NO! It was to represent and encourage the men fighting for their homes, country, and way of life. And THAT is what it was fought for. Yes, the drafters of the Ordinances of Secession likely did so because they wanted to protect slavery. Siilarly, most "Founding Fathers" were drafting the Declaration because British taxes and trade regulations were hurting their bottom lines or their political power was being threatened. But it is the cause of the common soldier that is important. Minutemen had no shipping to cut costs on or political offices to retain. in fact, British policies such as the townshend act and the tea act reduced prices for the average consumer. siilarly, most johnny rebs didn't have slaves or plantations to keep or a senate majority to maintain, and in fact often had their jobs or services taken by cheap slave labor. But both had something far more important to fight for. Freedom, independence, and the right to self government and self determination. And a way of life. The Confederacy was, save for slavery, the ideal america, run by small communities of friendly people, though run by a planter elite, but that elite could be accessed by the enterprising, determined individual (Jefferson Davis was one such). It was not run by the ruthless individualism of the industrial north that would later define america, nor the expansionist and socialist trends that now flavor the nation. The Confederacy was not breaking away from america, but expelling the failed part of the nation that was spiraling towards corruption. If the Starry Cross is to be a symbol for something, it should be a symbol of resistance, of standing up for a cause and for loved ones. Remember also that the polarization wasn't clear either. While the North was claiming to be liberating Africans, the CSA was promising Native Americans the same self determination the CSA was fighting for, offering congressional representation and tribal sovereignty, far removed from the brutal slaughter and assimilation practiced by the union later. So, instead of only seeing the flag as a symbol of racism and slavery, how about seeing it as a symbol of friendliness towards Native Americans, defending families and homes, and fighting for freedom, self rule, and a way of life that is now almost gone from the modern world of me-first, money first, success first, family, life, community and love second.

    April 19, 2010 at 8:40 pm |
  7. MR.AL

    Confederate History Month is about slavery and the mistreatment of human beings for the bennifts of a few! We need to think why we had a Civil War between the North and the South!! I'm sure there are people even today who are racist!! It's shown it's ugly face in our Government in 2009 and 2010 and during the Tea Parties. It's fine to remember the people who were lost at that time in history, but also remember why this war occured!!

    April 20, 2010 at 2:44 pm |
  8. joey

    history is just what it is. being a southerner and proud all that was then and things have changed, except state government.

    April 21, 2010 at 10:35 am |
  9. maze1gerald

    I see the confederecy as nothing more than a criminal element ,that was against the federal goverment that supported slavery.why glorify it.

    April 23, 2010 at 12:16 am |
  10. jimmy

    I don't believe it's about racism, but I can see how it could be harder for the black community to accept. That being said this is a free country if you look the other way.

    April 24, 2010 at 1:59 pm |