Are We Ready to Honor Confederate History?

Travel Blog  •  Sophia Dembling  •  03.24.09 | 11:32 AM ET

Photo by dbking via Flickr (Creative Commons)

As a Yankee in the South, I’m used to the sensitivities still surrounding the Civil War, aka the War Between the States, aka (‘round these parts) the War of Northern Aggression.

But while visiting Civil War battlefields is standard historical tourism, I wonder if enough time has passed even now for the nation to join Southern states in other observances honoring Confederate history, as this Chicago Tribune article discusses. (And I didn’t realize April was Confederate History Month in Texas. It took an article in a Yankee paper to clue me in to that.)

But the Confederacy is part of our nation’s rich history. We don’t have to embrace it in its entirety to respect its place in our past. Maybe it is time to let it out into the light.

Sophia Dembling

Dallas-based writer Sophia Dembling is co-author of the Flyover America blog and author of "The Yankee Chick's Survival Guide to Texas." She would love to hear your tales of America, so drop her an email.

7 Comments for Are We Ready to Honor Confederate History?

Peter Cutula 03.24.09 | 12:47 PM ET

That’s the problem: too many Yankees iving in the South. They have no affinity for the Confederacy and have been brainwashed into the North’s “nobel cause.” Go home.

Eva Holland 03.24.09 | 4:02 PM ET

Ha. Well, there’s the flip side of the equation demonstrated for you, Sophia. Would some Southerners even want the “Yankees” embracing the Confederacy, partially or no?

I spent a couple months in the South last year, and as a Canadian I found the ongoing Civil War dialogue pretty fascinating. A New Englander’s infuriated insistence that “it just isn’t right to venerate a bunch of traitors” sounded especially funny to my ears, as a descendant of Loyalists… ;)

Sophia Dembling 03.25.09 | 10:52 AM ET

There’s that famous Southern hospitality I’ve come to love in my 25+ years here.

You know the difference between a Yankee and a Damn Yankee? A Yankee goes home.

I’ve heard ‘em all. And yet here I am.

Erin Haley 03.26.09 | 3:29 AM ET

What drives me nuts, (as a child born in the South, whose parents lived on opposite sides of the country and moved to a variety of states from New England to Albq. N.M.), I love this article for I think it highlights an important point:

We fought a civil war in this country; it did not decimate us, nor did it create an aftershock of territorial violence. 

Any other country done that lately?

We have a LOT to work on in this country. However, at the end of they day, I think most of us admit that, and that’s something.

Sophia Dembling 03.26.09 | 9:48 AM ET

You’re so right, Erin. We do have territorial hostility, but no actual violence. Sticks and stones ...

Nora 03.28.09 | 1:14 PM ET

The hostility of Southerners wasn’t against Northerners, it was solely about their self-given ‘right’ to oppress what they considered lesser human beings. Erin and Sophia, there still is ‘territorial violence’ in the South against nonwhites which includes much more than ‘sticks and stones.’

The Confederacy, to everyone’s benefit, is dead. If the South had won its independence, it would have come back seeking to rejoin the Union within ten years, bankrupt and disorganized.

Sophia Dembling 03.28.09 | 2:41 PM ET

Perhaps, though, if aspects of Confederate history were validated, the hostility would ebb.

Aside from isolated incidents of violence that of course still exist, I think territoriality is now largely economic. I live in a part of Dallas that is historically African-American (and now Hispanic) and is persistently economically depressed. Disparities in investment are glaring.

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