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Monday, January 16, 2012


"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."

Alabama 1955

"We are determined here in Montgomery to work and fight until justice runs "down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream."

Alabama 1965

"We must come to see that the end we seek is a society at peace with itself, a society that can live with its conscience."

Sunday, June 20, 2010

In my random travels across the US, I have visited some interesting places that have left an impact on me to this day. One such trip was to Memphis, Tennessee and the Pink Palace Mansion and Museum.

The museum started in an unfinished mansion that the City of Memphis would come into control of when the founder of Piggly Wiggly foreclosed on it during the Great Depression. The exhibits themselves came from the citizens of Memphis. If you lived in Memphis and had something cool that you wanted to share with your fellow citizens, you would bring it to the staff and they would put it out for show. Through the years the museum would flourish and expand. While the main part of the museum is not in a modern building that is to the right and below the mansion (the world’s largest underground IMAX Theater is underneath the mansion’s front yard) – you can still find things that date back to the old days. One of my favorites is the Shrunken Heads display which are two real heads that were brought back from Africa, and include a recipe card for making it yourself. The other is a hand carved, moving circus. It is so delicate; it only is turned on twice a day. If you look close, you can even see reflections in the past, as the crowd is segregated.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Sometimes, life reminds you of a past you never knew.

Growing up in Beaufort, SC – if you wanted to go to the beach, you would head towards Hunting Island State Park, a barrier island out past St. Helena Island. As you would drive out towards the beach, you would see a road, in downtown Frogmore called Lands End.

Now before I get too far off, if you have had Low country Stew or Low country Boil, know that it was originally called Frogmore Stew. Yankees wouldn’t eat it because they thought it had frogs (in reality shrimp and sausage) so restaurants started to change the name. To this day, I still call it Frogmore stew just to make the waiters angry. Long time readers though, will know I tend to do that to most people I meet.

As a teenager grows up and gets their driver’s license, they start exploring areas that their parents wouldn’t take them before – mainly out of boredom. To be honest, my oldest is about to get his permit and I am not having any fun imagining where he might go.

Tom's mention of St. Helena Island leads to this little bit of history and trivia all rolled into one. The folk song "Michael Row the Boat Ashore" originated on the island, the composition of slaves who were left to their own devices when their owners fled just prior to Union occupation. Although the song has been recorded over and over, check out Joe and Eddie's '60s version of the song on one of the music services as it's definitely worth a listen. I tried, but couldn't provide a simple link.

Friday, February 26, 2010

I promise I'm not going to beat this issue to death, but a quick update on Tuesday's post concerning the alleged quote by Leonard L. Haynes regarding Black Confederates. One person responded and said it was not Leonard L. Haynes III who made the statement, but his father Leonard L. Haynes, Jr., a former historian at Southern University and now deceased.

Another effort was made to determine how widespread the use of the quote was on Confederate and Southern heritage sites and after tallying 50 Web sites I stopped counting, thus concluding the quote rivals "The only thing we have to fear is itself" as one of the most popular maxims appearing on the Web.

In response to the response, Leonard L. Haynes, Jr. was not on the faculty or in an administrative capacity at Southern. He was by vocation a pastor and leader of the African Methodist-Episcopal Church in Louisiana, and also served on the Board of Trustees at Tarrant County (Louisiana) Junior College, as a dean at Claflin College, Orangeburg, South Carolina, on the staff of Phillander-Smith College, in Little Rock, Arkansas, and as president of Morristown College, in Morristown, Tennessee. He authored at least one book titled "The Negro Community Within American Protestantism, 1619-1844," which was published in 1953.

I also sent an email to someone who just might be able to shed some light on the quote, but doubt I'll hear back. I can imagine their thoughts after receiving my query. It was probably something along the lines that they weren't going to get involved in a fight between a bunch of white guys arguing over whether African-Americans, of their own free will, fought to maintain a slave holding republic.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Maybe you've seen this particular quote making the rounds on Civil War related Web and blog sites.

"When you eliminate the black Confederate soldier, you've eliminated the history of the South. ..."

Friday, February 19, 2010

"It's been a cold hard lonely winter," so we all deserve this on a Friday, smack in the middle February, as a sign of things yet to come.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A few weeks back I happened to see a dead rat lying on a strip of grass next to my work place in Southwest DC. It wasn't that large of a rat, probably about nine inches in length with its tail outstretched. I wasn't certain how it died, but I knew for certain what was going to happen if no one disposed of it. Sure enough no one disposed of it and little by little, day after day, nature took its course, until, after about ten days, only a skeleton remained. And I was struck by the absolute certainty of this thought as I observed the body decompose: we all go the way of the rat. The only uncertainty is when.

The uncertainty as to if or when certainly played on the minds of soldiers during the Civil War. It would have played in their minds before a battle. It would have played in their minds if they got sick and were sent to the hospital. It would have played in their minds if they were taken prisoner. It would have played in the minds of a nation when it was realized that 20 per cent of the men who marched off to war didn't return home. For those fortunate enough to have escaped death on the battlefield, in the hospital, or a prison camp, life was expected to be more certain after the guns were silenced. That is until circumstances that comprise life's uncertainty intervened.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Okay, I know we're already 35 days into 2010 and this represents my first effort of the new year and decade. I don't know if anybody is still hanging around this site, but if you are I'll forgo a long and potentially boring explanation as to the whys for the absence.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

John Randolph, son of a wealthy Roanoke, Viginia tobacco planter, half-brother of Nathaniel Beverly Tucker, six term member of the U.S. House of Representatives, owner of 383 inherited slaves later freed by the terms of a will written fourteen years before his death, co-founder of the American Colonization Society, duelist against Henry Clay in which he fired into the air after Clay missed with his shot, proponent of a patriarchial form of government guided by the planter class, and celebrated orator who believed in minimal federal intervention, when asked for his opinion of the greatest orator he ever heard:

"A slave, sir. She was a mother and her rostrum was the auction block."


Saturday, December 05, 2009

In 1961 Robert Penn Warren, a native Kentuckian and the only American to ever win the Pulitzer Prize for both fiction and poetry, penned "The Legacy of the Civil War: Meditations on the Centennial." As America edges closer to the 150th anniversary of the conflict his words stand as a reminder of where we were as a nation and how far we've come in the 48 years since he fixed a punctuation mark to his concluding sentence. Today we excerpt a section Penn termed "The Great Alibi."

Thursday, November 26, 2009

On a day when those turkeys that have been fortunate enough to have escaped the bloodletting gather together and give thanks for their survival and high school football rules in New England thoughts turn to the past.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The World Series gets under way Wednesday night from Yankee Stadium.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

What's in a school song, nickname, and symbol that would get people all fired up?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Donald heads to Harpers Ferry and listens as two historians reflect on John Brown the man and his rightful place in American history.