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Archive for April 9th, 2015

Today marks 150 years since the signing of the surrender by Robert E Lee at the Appomattox Court House. The Atlantic publication published an article about it (as have many media outlets). They mentioned that the war and cease fire has not really gotten very far because in many eyes, it is still being fought. I can attest to that.

 

I have been commenting in a certain media forum where people are still fighting for “states’ rights.” There were comments yesterday that it was all Lincoln’s fault…I kid you not. I don’t understand. If people had their way, I would be living in a separate country that condoned slavery as a right guaranteed under the Constitution of the Confederate States of America. (excuse me a minute—I need to barf 😐 ) If you have never read this document that actually says the following, I encourage you read it—all of it.

 

We, the people of the Confederate States, each state acting in its sovereign and independent character, in order to form a permanent federal government, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity — invoking the favor and guidance of Almighty God — do ordain and establish this Constitution for the Confederate States of America. (link)

 

It is not pretty. You have to remember that there were black people who were free but many whites did not recognize their freedom. I can go on and on about what I have learned over the years and I am ashamed at our country and I am ashamed of people today. From The Atlantic:

 

“It is easy to proclaim all souls equal in the sight of God,” wrote James Baldwin in 1956 as the Civil Rights Movement took hold in America; “it is hard to make men equal on earth in the sight of men.” Philosophically and theologically, claims of human equality are as old as the hills. But the real struggles for genuine equality of natural rights, of equality before law, and of equality of opportunity are much more recent in historical time. (link) 

 

Just because you claim something does not make it true in everyone’s eyes. In other words…you can lead a horse to water but if that horse doesn’t want to take a drink—it will die right there in front of all the water just because it refuses to do what it needs to do. People are not any wiser than a horse who refuses to drink.

 

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My great-grandfather

My Georgia family owned the farm I grew up on and what is known as Millhaven Plantation is less than 5 miles down the road. I cannot confirm this happened exactly as I was told but this was the story I grew up with… General Sherman made a visit to Millhaven on his march to the sea. That’s how close the civil war came to my backyard—that’s a little close for comfort. The story goes that Sherman was a Mason and the owner of Millhaven was a Mason. It is said that was the reason the plantation house was not burned but crops were stolen as were livestock and after the troops took what they wanted/needed, they destroyed part and ran off the rest of the livestock before heading to Savannah. I think the outbuildings were all destroyed but I can’t say for sure.

 

Being from the south, I have memories that have been relayed to me from people who were born just after the civil war. There were hard times back then from what I was told but no more than usual really, at least for the white families except those who lost family in the war. My family was mostly self-sufficient on the farm. That helped them survive the Great Depression and I am sure that the same holds true for the civil war. My family wasn’t into owning slaves. The only record I can find for a slave was an older black woman and I don’t know that the record is accurate because my great grandfather is listed as a black man on one of the census records and he wasn’t black.

 

I don’t know why people want to continue living like it was before the civil war. I have studied local history for many years and it astounds me that people want to still fight about something that is over with. Like I said, my children get it…they understand. I love it that they do. We are only as strong as our weakest part or link. Why wouldn’t we want to excel—for everyone to be successful? It is a sad thing–people wanting to be in control of others. I wish we could all leave this behind and move forward. Acknowledging history and culture is one thing but waving it in someone’s face is another. Pride and arrogance do not have a place in today’s world. I don’t celebrate the civil war but I honor the freedom it brought. To me, there is no need to scream for states’ rights. It was not Lincoln’s fault. It was stupidity and greed that caused the civil war and it is that same stupidity and greed that is driving some of our laws today. We need to wake up. Discrimination needs to stop! Equality for all people is what we need to honor.

 

Happy Freedom Day! 🙂

 

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