July 2, 2020
For weeks, angry Americans have vented their frustration, anger, fear, and even hatred of historic persons, especially from the south—an overt attack on its history, heroes, and culture. They destroyed statues and monuments of to point out the southern generals were rascals, racists, and rebels; however, it must be remembered that the North did invade the South. But if all vestiges of the Civil War malefactors are to be removed, what about the vile, miscreant northern generals?
In all fairness, I suppose it would be acceptable for me to mention that General Sherman was a monster and proved it in his almost 300-mile scorched-earth march from Atlanta to Savannah. Sherman wrote to Grant in 1865, “We are not fighting against an enemy army, but against an enemy people. Both young and old, rich and poor must feel the iron hand of war in the same way as the organized armies. In this respect, my march through Georgia was a wonderful success.”
He stole every animal possible and killed those he could not take. He stole all the grain he could carry and burned every barn to the ground. And it was war against a people, not an army!
General Sheridan describing his part of the war in the Shenandoah admitted, “I have burned 2,000 barns filled with wheat and corn, all the mills in the whole country, destroyed all the factories of cloth, killed or driven off every animal—even the poultry—that could contribute to human sustenance. Nothing should be left in the Shenandoah but eyes to lament the war.” Very principled men, those Yankees.
So, if we are going to hold southern soldiers responsible according to modern standards then we will do the same for northern soldiers. Won’t we? Hypocrites!
Rather than learn from the good and bad decisions in our past, the non-thinkers rewrite history and express hate for southern culture. They demand that statues of highly principled men be removed from the public square and portraits of them and of major battles be relegated to obscure storage rooms.
Slavery and legal segregation were blights on our nation, but that is behind us. The segregationists today are radical Blacks and non-thinking, self-hating Whites. However, some critics assert that segregation was the major and almost exclusive blight of southerners. There are many southern values such as love of country, way of life, commitment, courage, leisurely lifestyle, gentle weather, etc., that make the South distinctive and are often reflected in our history, monuments, music, and general culture. Today, official segregation is a moot issue.
Only a small percent of southerners owned slaves, and the first slaveholder was a Black! His name was Anthony Johnson who owned black and white slaves! So, there is plenty of blame to go around starting with black chiefs who kidnapped and sold their own people to Arab slavers long before New World colonies were involved. I have noticed that many of the black agitators refuse to discuss these embarrassing facets of this issue, being willing only to demand their position be heard and accepted. I have no guilt over slavery, but I am embarrassed by it.
It is the business of each city and state to decide about monument removal or not—not outside black or white activists. Moreover, there must be consistency in vilifying objectionable leaders of extremist causes. If statues of slavers and Klan supporters are to be removed from public view, then former Democrat Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia (former Klansman) must be treated the same way. Any Byrd monument or plaque or reference in D.C. or elsewhere must be removed.
That would also be true of Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black (former Klansman and Democrat). Same with anti-American and black extremists W. E. B. DuBois, Malcolm X, etc. But that won’t happen. And agreeing to remove a few monuments will only encourage the fanatics. Progress will be possible only if there is honest reciprocity.
Desegregation came about in the U.S. school system in 1954 with the Brown v School Board of Topeka, decision. And while it is good that schools were desegregated, the decision was not a wise one. If the court had simply ruled that any student could choose which school he wanted to attend, that would have solved the problem without bloodshed, violence, expense, turmoil, etc., in both north and south. Unknown to many, the worst of the bloody riots surrounding school desegregation happened in the North.
Northern racial hatred was evident before, during, and following Lincoln’s War of Northern Aggression. In Democracy in America, Alexis Tocqueville wrote in 1864 that “the prejudice of race appears to be stronger in the States that have abolished slavery than in those where it still exists; and nowhere is it so intolerant as in those States where servitude has never been known.” He was right on target.
Few are willing to admit that the North had “whites only” restrictions in restaurants and hotels, and almost every northern city had its share of racial killings, cross burnings, and white-black riots. Thomas J. Sugrue, a professor of history and sociology at the University of Pennsylvania, revealed in Sweet Land of Liberty: The Forgotten Struggle for Civil Rights in the North that major black entertainers “had a hard time finding rooms and faced Jim Crow in restaurants when they toured the North.”
Following WW II, Blacks streamed to northern cities, but they did not move to New York City but to Harlem, not to Chicago but the Southside of Chicago. Malcolm X stood before a Harlem audience in 1964 and declared, “America is Mississippi. There’s no such thing as a Mason-Dixon line—it’s America. There’s no such thing as the South—it’s America. . . . And the mistake that you and I make is letting these Northern crackers shift the weight to the Southern crackers.” I shockingly find myself agreeing with a black racist extremist!
Black activist James Baldwin reflected on Blacks immigrating to northern cities: “They do not escape Jim Crow: they merely encounter another, not-less-deadly variety.” He was saying that the North was as bad as the South! Martin Luther King, Jr. said that even in Alabama and Mississippi, he had not encountered mobs as hostile to black civil rights as those in Chicago.
All the major northern cities had huge ghettos of Blacks, and Martin Luther King, Jr. did not lead a march through the Chicago suburb of Cicero, because of so much hostility about integration. In 2011, the liberal Salon website revealed that the ten most segregated cities in the U.S. were Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, St. Louis, Buffalo, Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago, New York, and Milwaukee. Notice the common denominator! And even the U.S. military was segregated during WW II! So, let’s be even-handed in the criticism of black/white relationships in both North and South.
In this rush to make right all the past wrongs of famous men and in light of the resent awareness of the mistreatment of women maybe we should visit the lifestyle of Martin Luther King and his numerous mistresses and his mistreatment of them.
Oh, well, maybe not. After all, consistency can be carried too far.
(Dr. Don Boys is a former member of the Indiana House of Representatives who ran a large Christian school in Indianapolis and wrote columns for USA Today for 8 years. Boys authored 18 books, the most recent Muslim Invasion: The Fuse is Burning! eBook is available here with the printed edition (and other titles) at www.cstnews.com. Follow him on Facebook at Don Boys, Ph.D., and visit his blog. Send a request to DBoysphd@aol.com for a free subscription to his articles, and click here to support his work with a donation.)