Re: We can't let Texas hog all the textbook fun

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An African American in the Union army who was involved in a campaign to take and hold territory in the South can be said to have "fought for the South." Technically. Kind of.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-20-10 12:01 PM
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Masoff also wrote "Oh Yuck! The Encyclopedia of Everything Nasty" and "Oh Yikes! History's Grossest Moments."

So is this one her Oh Shit!? I can't imagine how much respect she must have gotten for her previous efforts!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10-20-10 12:13 PM
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C'mon, we had plenty of darkies around. Who do you think did all the work?


Posted by: R. E. Lee | Link to this comment | 10-20-10 12:16 PM
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I kinda wish she had defended it on the grounds that 'it sounded good when I wrote it'.

max
['I stand by that for sure.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 10-20-10 1:31 PM
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Surely there are some examples of slaves forced into service of the Confederate Army for use as as cannon fodder? Although I'd be surprised if there were "thousands" of them.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 10-20-10 1:36 PM
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If you believe some (very debatable and vaguely sourced) scholarship, there were KKK auxiliaries in the 1920s that admitted black men as members. Doesn't mean the KKK was not a white supremacist organization, just that politics (and war) makes strange bedfellows.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10-20-10 1:43 PM
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5: As a rule, slaves were not allowed to have guns.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10-20-10 1:45 PM
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6: Wait, what? Why?


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 10-20-10 1:47 PM
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8: When the KKK got really big in the 20s, especially in Indiana, it took on many of the characteristics of the broader populist movements of the time -- like the Grange and what not -- so, ***allegedly***, it got so populist that some of the chapters started creating these auxilliaries that weren't official KKK chapters, but were indeed affiliated, and they included some black people and Catholics and stuff. I don't have cites for this -- I read about it in some anarchist periodicals in the 1990s, and it caused quite a kerfuffle then.

I don't really see what the big deal is about some black men having fought on the side of the Confederacy. I mean, theoretically, they could have been dupes, but it seems much more likely to me that they were just impressed into service. I mean, what're ya gonna do, as a black man, in the Confederacy, even if you're free, when the local garrison commander stops by and is all "Hey, guess what, you're coming with us to help the glorious cause of Southron Independence!" Say no? That would be contraindicated for long-term survival, to say the least.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10-20-10 1:55 PM
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9: That's a more-or-less-sane-and-reasonable person's reaction. The average conservative, on the other hand, can't understand ideas like Quislings and Stockholm Syndrome or finds it expedient to ignore them.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 10-20-10 2:13 PM
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It's not that hard to understand. Sons of the Confederacy and like groups want to be able to have fun with their "Gone With The Wind" heritage, without all that icky slavery stuff. So they wish it away.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10-20-10 2:22 PM
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In Gone with the Wind, the source of 90% of my Civil War military history knowledge, hundreds of slaves are sent to dig ditches around Atlanta as the Union Army approaches. I wonder if some people try to pretend that sort of thing was "fighting" for the South. (AFAIK, Mitchell's research on the actual events of the war was fairly good.)

In Mitchell's version, of course, the slaves are only too delighted to help out the "gemmums" (or whatever obnoxious spelling Mitchell came up with for "gentlemen") in the Confederate Army.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 10-20-10 3:42 PM
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the "gemmums"

God. I read that book when I was 14, while doing a boring summer babysitting job. There were a couple of examples of racism on the part of the narrator that truly shocked me (because I naively believed that people who wrote books were enlightened, and therefore not racists). That was the first time I realized that the omniscient narrator (not that I knew that term, but I had a vague concept) was the creation of someone with a viewpoint (and a possibly flawed perspective).

9.2 Yes, not a big deal if properly contextualized. But it's kind of a big deal if fourth-graders are being taught the history of Virginia as written by pro-Confederate nutcases on the internet.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 10-20-10 7:08 PM
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6: Oddly enough, I actually know a real-life example -- the father of a man I know. It's not so hard to believe if you take into account the peculiar manifestations of racism in the North in the '20s.

He seems to interpret his father's actions as being more about nativism than anything else. I'm not knowledgeable enough about historical suburban Philadelphia hate groups to know what their typical agendas would have been.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10-20-10 7:20 PM
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Pages 404-409 of Bruce Catton's Never Call Retreat (pb 1967) discuss the movement in the last year of the Confederacy to permit slaves to serve as soldiers with their owners' permission. The Confederate government had had the power to requisition slaves to do non-military work for the Southern army, as seen in GWTW. Lee among others supported legislation (ultimately passed by the Confederate Congress) that would turn slaves into Southern soldiers. Catton didn't discuss whether any free blacks fought for the South. Good summing up on p. 409 [please excuse Catton's old-fashioned language]:

"The machinery to enroll, uniform, and drill Negro recruits was set up, Lee saw to it that trusted General Richard Ewell was put in charge of the operation, a company or two of Negro recruits appeared briefly on the streets of Richmond--and then the darkness came, and nobody ever found out what would happen if Negroes tried to fight for their freedom in Confederate gray." p. 409


Posted by: bill | Link to this comment | 10-20-10 7:20 PM
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Oh, and:

But it's kind of a big deal if fourth-graders are being taught the history of Virginia as written by pro-Confederate nutcases on the internet.

Amen.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10-20-10 7:20 PM
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I really loved GWTW when I read it, at age 12. I was aware enough to recognize the racism and that the confederacy was a horrible thing that it was good to destroy, but it somehow didn't seem like that much of a problem for the book (says this whitey). It might be fun to go back and see how it reads now.

On the African Americans fighting for the confederacy thing, I'm not at all a civil war expert but I have read a few books recently, and as far as I know the claim is just outrageous bullshit. There were slaves who were impressed into doing hard labor, but actually arming slaves -- that is, having soldiers who were armed and fighting for the South -- was sternly resisted for years as contradictory to the entire purpose of the confederacy. The CSA refused to accord even enlisted Union soldiers who were black the ordinary treatment of soldiers in an opposing army (i.e., black Union soldiers weren't treated as ordinary prisoners of war, and were sometimes simply massacred when captured). Finally, in 1865 during the period of total Confederate collapse, and after a request from Robert E. Lee, a decision was made to allow for the raising of armed units of African-Americans, with a promise of freedom in exchange for military service, but essentially no one ever signed up for this except a few folks in hospitals who were forced into it, and the recruited troops never saw combat since Appomattox happened before the units could do anything.

I'm sure there's someone who knows more than I do about the Civil War who can correct the foregoing if wrong (or spend some time on internet research).


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-20-10 7:23 PM
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This guy seems to be the main authority on the "Black Confederates" issue in the blogosphere, or at least the one who gets linked to on other history blogs whenever this issue comes up.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-20-10 7:34 PM
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17: The CSA refused to accord even enlisted Union soldiers who were black the ordinary treatment of soldiers in an opposing army

That seems to me to be the main thing being glossed over here, besides slavery itself. The Confederates were so anti-black that they could not consider having slaves fight for them. Both because they were afraid of what would happen (a similar fear to the one that involved Northerners inducing stirring up murderous slave revolts) and because of what I guess you could call white pride. They never considered using (or though they needed) the manpower that slavery represented, not til the end, anyways. Which is quite similar to the way Nazis refused to employ women in factories to free up men to fight. It just wasn't going to be done.

I guess it is a symbol of how far we've come that all that history can be glossed over and people simply shrug it off, since it is so inconceivable that white people could harbor that much hatred for blacks.

max
['I hope so anyways.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 10-20-10 7:42 PM
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Right. My admittedly extremely limited knowledge seems to indicate that the Fear of the Slave Uprising was, like, some deeply cultural boogey man kind of thing. (I feel like a large number of 19th c. Supreme Court decisions reflected this, no? ConLaw coming back out of the depths to haunt me.) No way they were giving slaves guns.

Witt: SERIOUSLY? You knew / know a dude who's dad was a black member of the KKK? I don't doubt the possibility, but I am fascinated.

(I find people and their stories generally awesome. But when there's something obviously unusual going on, I nerd the fuck out, and just want to know everything.)


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 10-20-10 8:20 PM
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"since it is so inconceivable that white people could harbor that much hatred for blacks"

Oh...no. No. We still have a whole lot of bigoted crazies. I just think they're adaptable. That was really sweetly optimistic though. I very much want to go with that, right now.

(For example: somebody I'm close to recently revealed, totally unexpectedly, some actual, real anti-semitism. Whaaaaaaaaat. What do you even do with that? Aside from the fact that I doubt it's the only -ism they're hiding in there, what the flying fuck. Really. What do you do with that. Emotional bond, history, importance. Suddenly: bigotry. Really, that suddenly. Wtf do you do? I mean, I suppose I know. I'm just...wow.)


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 10-20-10 8:25 PM
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I've found that if you patiently explain how much people have in common across all races and creeds, you can easily turn racism or antisemitism into misanthropy.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-20-10 8:29 PM
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Fear of the Slave Uprising was, like, some deeply cultural boogey man kind of thing.

Seems like a pretty rational fear considering blacks were the majority in some states. I would have been afraid to teach them to count, let alone hand out rifles.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 10-20-10 8:43 PM
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I find people and their stories generally awesome. But when there's something obviously unusual going on, I nerd the fuck out, and just want to know everything

Oh dear, you live in my brain. I thought it was seeming a bit crowded in there.

Anyway, yes, I do/did. He's a rather courtly gentleman and somewhat ageless, but I'm going to guess he's in his early 60s. I knew him through work, so never got all of the deep details, but knowing approximately where his father lived it wasn't too hard for me to imagine how it could have come about. Very strange stuff.

What do you do with that. Emotional bond, history, importance. Suddenly: bigotry. Really, that suddenly. Wtf do you do? I mean, I suppose I know.

I dunno. I talk about this stuff on something like an hourly basis, and I still find myself constantly making case-by-case and situation-by-situation decisions about when and how and if I have to call out bigotry. You'd wind up friendless and alone pretty quickly if you actually drew bright-line rules in every case, IMO.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10-20-10 8:44 PM
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I would have been afraid to teach them to count

And lo, the laws against teaching people to read. (Although apparently not laws against teaching them to "figure," which surprises me.)


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10-20-10 8:48 PM
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The Klan in the twenties, especially in the North (where it was surprisingly influential for a very short period of time), was mostly focused on nativism and opposition to recent Catholic and Jewish immigration. In the South it was more focused on traditional anti-black racism. Black migration to the North was just starting, so most northern cities still had relatively small black populations and it wouldn't be too surprising if some KKK sympathizers were sufficiently focused on the immigrant problem to see local blacks as potential allies against the immigrant menace. Still pretty surprising, though, and I doubt it happened very often.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-20-10 8:52 PM
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I've mentioned before here, there are black Orange lodges: in Togo and a few other African countries. So I've seen a surprising number of (mostly elderly) black faces on the big July Orange walk in Glasgow. Given the general values of the majority of lodge members, that really isn't that far away from black KKK auxiliaries.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/4554863.stm


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-21-10 12:15 AM
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Oh, and Mohawk lodges, in Canada ...


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-21-10 12:20 AM
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||

Also, entirely unrelated:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-11584487

>


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-21-10 12:28 AM
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Which is quite similar to the way Nazis refused to employ women in factories to free up men to fight. It just wasn't going to be done.

I don't disagree with your larger argument, but this particular example is mistaken. The wartime German economy employed women as factory workers on a large scale -- and not just concentration camp labor, but female German civilians. There were interesting human resource management challenges associated with this. For example, factory workers who had physically demanding jobs got extra food rations to keep them fit for work. But industry found that mothers were prone to diverting their personal rations to their children and allowing themselves to emaciate.



Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10-21-10 5:34 AM
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Semi-remotely on topic: No more faking orgasms to Juan Williams in his role as an NPR commentator. Of course in the minds of the rightwads* it will serve to reinforce how liberal and PC NPR is.

*Generally of the species Caucasian Wingnut.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-21-10 6:21 AM
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OT: No more masturbating to Juan Williams on NPR.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 10-21-10 6:25 AM
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JP is always ruining things for me! We are supposed to be on the same team!


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 10-21-10 6:26 AM
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I cannot tell a lie. I used the Wayback Machine to go back just to put that comment in before yours. Because I'm a pwnanist.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-21-10 6:32 AM
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Isnt it pawnest?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 10-21-10 6:34 AM
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JP had a link, which is helpful to those of us who don't listen to NPR on account of it never playing "Relax."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-21-10 6:41 AM
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With regard to masturbation infuriating commentators nothing in particular, a reminder per my comment in the dead New Yorker thread, I'm still planning to be at Fresh Salt about 7 tonight. Big gray-haired guy, beard, in a blue shirt w/white stripes. I'm reachable by e-mail as linked in my handle.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-21-10 6:50 AM
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Shit, pwned on the front page.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-21-10 6:53 AM
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30: The wartime German economy employed women as factory workers on a large scale -- and not just concentration camp labor, but female German civilians.

OK, after looking around you are correct - but that's late war (after Speer took over the economy in '43?). Prior to that, Hitler was adamently against the idea, since he generally held women in contempt and thought they belonged at home making babies to fill up the lebensraum he was busy trying to acquire. (That's going to be part of why the German arms factories sat idle for so long. The other reasons being that they starved their slave labor and they insisted that on drafting all the men for the war.)

max
['But the Confederates never really wanted to use their manpower since they couldn't 'supervise' it properly.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 10-21-10 7:03 AM
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37: Big gray-haired guy, beard, in a blue shirt w/white stripes

Holy crap, it's Uncle Sam!


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 10-21-10 7:14 AM
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It might be fun to go back and see how it reads now.

I've found GWTW interesting to re-read because a) it's an interesting documentation of a certain kind of racism and romanticizing of the Confederacy in the 1930's; b) Rhett and Scarlett's relationship is surprisingly adult (meaning based on shared interests and mutual respect) and c) Mitchell is actually pretty talented. I don't say that it's a good book aside from the racism; you can't separate that out. But Mitchell wrote well and had a knack for creating quite vivid characters.

(I could swear we've had this conversation before, but both Google and Yahoo argue otherwise.)


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 10-21-10 9:26 AM
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Mightn't outbreaks of Klan tolerance be related to its being a pyramid scheme in a number of times/places?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 10-21-10 11:03 AM
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Can you say more about that, Minivet?


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 10-21-10 1:06 PM
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Prior to that, Hitler was adamently against the idea, since he generally held women in contempt and thought they belonged at home making babies to fill up the lebensraum he was busy trying to acquire.

It's not easy to disentangle the ideological from the practical motivations involved, but one of the first labor market policie enacted by the NSDAP government was to sack employed women whose husbands also had jobs (the so-called Zweitverdienertum, or two-income families). The move was justified not on excplicitly sexist grounds, but as a form of equitable redistribution: why should some families benefit from two jobs when so many had none? The concrete impact was to reduce measured unemployment, because the women who were laid off left the labor force for the most part.

IIRC the re-entry of civilian women into the industrial workforce began almost as soon as full-employment was achieved, and well before Goebbels' totaler Krieg speech in 1943. In a way, the advent of "total war" relieved some of the pressure to hire women, because it brought about the long overdue forced closure of non-essential businesses that pointlessly sucked up a lot of (male) labor resources.

But it's been a long time since I looked at the data, so don't put too much faith in my recollections.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10-21-10 1:08 PM
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Further to 44.1: Come to think of it, I think the policies to discourage Zweiterverdienertum were actually facially gender-neutral. But of course a man's work nearly always paid more than a woman's, so the practical effect was to drive women from paid employment for the benefit of men. There was AFAIK no comparable policy to compel employed women whose husbands were unemployed to give up their jobs.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10-21-10 1:16 PM
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...unless, of course, the employed women were Jewish.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10-21-10 1:17 PM
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You seem to know a lot about Nazi labor policy, Herr Ruprecht. Who won the World Series in 1943, you Nazi spy?!!


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10-21-10 1:26 PM
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He's in management consulting. Knowing a lot about Nazi labor policy is a key part of the job.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-21-10 1:29 PM
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42: Here's a paper on it. Initiation fees funneled upward with recruiter incentives, apparently (in the 20's, not earlier). Derausqd criticized the paper authors for acting like this was a new discovery on their part.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 10-21-10 1:40 PM
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I don't get why Sons of Confederate Veterans groups are allowed to march in the National Memorial Day Parade:
http://www.marching.com/news/2010/2010-national-memorial-day-parade-lineup/

The group at 53 includes "R.E. Lee Camp #726 - Sons of the Confederate Veterans," whose website has this: "The preservation of liberty and freedom was the motivating factor in the South's decision to fight the Second American Revolution."
http://www.leecamp.org/?page_id=2

A Google search of their website returns no results for "slave," "slavery," or "African." The only hit for "black" is "black tie."

The SCV has taken a hard right turn of late:
http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2009-09-11/joe-wilsons-rebel-yell/



Posted by: Frostbite | Link to this comment | 10-21-10 6:49 PM
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