Ending the Confederacy

Learn more about Ralph Mark Gilbert, Father of the Civil Rights Movement in Georgia

 

The NAACP vehemently opposes the the glorification of the American antebellum era.  This includes the glorification of the confederacy and the the racist propaganda associated with the The Lost Cause including ahistorical displays of the Confederate Battle Emblem, mounments, parks and public space dedicated to celebration of a way of life that can not be distilled from the atrocities of chattel slavery.

 

A classic example of the NAACP policy includes our opposition to films such as a The Birth of a Nation.  This three hour racist propaganda starts with the Civil War and ending with the Ku Klux Klan riding in to save the South from black rule during the Reconstruction era.  The Lost Cause is a set of beliefs common in the American South following the Civil War, the failed Reconstruction, and the rise of Jim Crow.  While it was not taught in the North it did win acceptance there and helped the process of reunifying American whites. The beliefs portray the Confederate cause as a heroic one against great odds despite its defeat. The beliefs endorse the virtues of the antebellum South, viewing the American Civil War as an honorable struggle for the Southern way of life, while minimizing or denying the central role of slavery.

 

Yale Professor Roland Osterweis summarizes the content that pervaded "Lost Cause" writings:

 

The Legend of the Lost Cause began as mostly a literary expression of the despair of a bitter, defeated people over a lost identity. It was a landscape dotted with figures drawn mainly out of the past: the chivalric planter; the magnolia-scented Southern belle; the good, gray Confederate veteran, once a knight of the field and saddle; and obliging old Uncle Remus. All these, while quickly enveloped in a golden haze, became very real to the people of the South, who found the symbols useful in the reconstituting of their shattered civilization. They perpetuated the ideals of the Old South and brought a sense of comfort to the New.

 

The Lost Cause belief was founded upon several historically inaccurate elements. These include the claim that the Confederacy started the Civil War to defend states' rights rather than to preserve slavery, and the related claim that slavery was benevolent, rather than cruel.

 

Historians generally agree that the Lost Cause narrative also "helped preserve white supremacy". Most scholars who have studied the white South's memory of the Civil War or the Old South conclude that both portrayed a past society in which whites were in charge and blacks faithful and subservient." Supporters typically portray the Confederacy's cause as noble and its leadership as exemplars of old-fashioned chivalry and honor, defeated by the Union armies through numerical and industrial force that overwhelmed the South's superior military skill and courage. Proponents of the Lost Cause movement also condemned the Reconstruction that followed the Civil War, claiming that it had been a deliberate attempt by Northern politicians and speculators to destroy the traditional Southern way of life. 

The Georgia NAACP has a Task Force working on dismantling the remaining vestages of the confederacy and insuring that an accurate accounting of the atrocities of chattel slavery and the reprecussions of 151 years of failures to having meaning truth and reconciliation.

Contact Richard Rose, Chair, Task Force Force to End the Glorification of the Confederacy

ADVOCACY IN ACTION: State President Francys Johnson, a Statesboro attorney, motions after argument for the confederate swastiki to be removed from a contentious public meeting.  Read More.

UNDERSTANDING THE HISTORY: Those who claim the Confederate battle flag has no racial connotation are ignoring its use as a symbol of opposition to the civil rights movement. 

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