In a ruling that will have statewide consequences the Alabama Supreme Court ruled this week that the City of Birmingham violated Alabama’s monument protection law when it placed a plywood screen around a Confederate monument in Linn Park in August 2017.
In a 9-0 decision, the justices reversed a lower court ruling in favor of the city. The Supreme Court sent the case back to circuit court with instructions to enter an order that the city broke the law and must pay a $25,000 fine.
In response to a Bibb Voice article about that Alabama Supreme Court opinion we received the following Guest Editorial from a local contributor.
By Roger Brothers
Most Americans have never studied history beyond the rudimentary simplistic politically correct “cliff notes” version they got in high school and college. They tend to base their beliefs about history on popular culture or “Hollywood history” rather than facts. The thing they seem to be incapable of understanding is that Confederate memorials were never meant to honor white Southerners alone and their purpose had absolutely nothing to do with “Jim Crow”.
These memorials were paid for and built by the widows and orphans of men who died for their country. Widows and orphans who after 35 years were still impoverished from the war. They were put up to honor and remember those men, most of whom lay in unknown and unmarked graves far from home.
But, these men were of all races.
If you study newspaper articles and photos about the dedication ceremonies for monuments and confederate veterans reunions around the turn of the century (1900) you will realize pretty quickly that the old CS vets and other Southerners honored and appreciated the black (as well as red) men who had stood with them to the bitter end.
They knew very well that those men could have easily deserted and went over to the enemy at any time and received better food, clothing, pay and equipment as well as a promise of “freedom” (or least the yankee version of freedom)
Fact is granite and bronze has no race and those memorials were intended to honor the black and red as well as the white.
The first, and for 50 years the only, monument that clearly depicted a black soldier in uniform was the Confederate monument at Arlington. It also clearly depicts a loyal black Southern civilian woman.
Were those men fighting for slavery? Learn the facts, then you decide. First of all if you assume that then you must explain why the Southern electorate voted overwhelmingly for secession (something on the order of 15 to 1 in Alabama and 6 to 1 in Virginia) even though only one in four white families owned slaves.
Why would the 75% of the electorate vote to secede and then go to war so the wealthy could continue owning slaves? Truth is they voted for secession because they were being economically exploited by the yankee government. Then they went to war and fought valiantly to defend themselves and their people from a brutal enemy.
Truth is that secession did not lead inexorably to war either. There can be absolutely no doubt that Lincoln deliberately started the war. Anyone that doubts this knows nothing about his actual words and actions in the six weeks before the shooting started at Fort Sumter.
He left little doubt about what would motivate him to make war on the Southern people in his first inaugural address.
“The power confided to me WILL BE USED to hold, occupy, and possess the property and places belonging to the Government AND TO COLLECT THE DUTIES AND IMPOSTS; but beyond what may be necessary for these objects, there will be no invasion, no using of force against or among the people anywhere.” (Emphasis mine)
To the Southern people this was a direct DECLARTION OF WAR. Abe then proceeded to send a powerful task force to Charleston to deliberately initiate the war.
And the following proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that he didn’t do that to free anyone. (Again from Lincoln’s first inaugural)
“I understand a proposed amendment to the Constitution–which amendment, however, I have not seen–has passed Congress, to the effect that the Federal Government shall never interfere within the domestic institutions of the States, including that of persons held to service. To avoid misconstruction of what I have said, I depart from my purpose not to speak of particular amendments so far as to say that, holding such a provision to now be implied constitutional law, I have no objection to its being made express and irrevocable.”
This Amendment, (known as the Corwin amendment) had it been ratified would have prevented the federal government from ending slavery FOREVER.
Had the South wanted only to protect slavery they could have disavowed secession, ratified the amendment and the federal government would have been obligated to protect the institution FOREVER.
Why didn’t they? Obviously there was a whole lot more involved than protecting slavery.
Lincoln started his war to collect his taxes and said so. I might add also that the totally yankee controlled congress, at the same time they were passing laws to protect slavery passed the Morrill Tariff. This effectively TRIPLED the federal tax on the South.
Lincoln and his yankee dominated congress were perfectly willing to live with slavery FOREVER as long as the South paid their unfair and unequal federal taxes.
Lincoln did not try to make slavery an issue until two years into his war to collect taxes and he had to come up with a noble reason (aka excuse) for his brutal war and a way to keep the Confederacy from gaining help from Britain and France.
The yankee government simply used slavery as a weapon to beat the South down with in order to keep exploiting her economically.
If you spend anytime at all studying the words that Confederate soldiers actually wrote about the subject you will realize pretty quickly that precious few of them risked their lives or died so that a rich man could keep his slaves. By the same token if you read what the other side said you will realize that precious few federals died to free anyone.
Leave these monuments alone so that future Americans might learn some real history and perhaps not make the same mistakes.
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