Monday, December 20, 2010

Shameful Sesquicentennial

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the end of slavery, the most abominable stain on American history. One hundred fifty years ago Christmas Eve, on December 24, 1860, the government of South Carolina declared its secession from the United States of America. You might think this would be an anniversary to be marked by a day of atonement or at least by a vigil remembering the lives and deaths of those who suffered in slavery or died to end it. You would be wrong.

On December 20, 2010, the Sons of Confederate Veterans is holding a $100-per-person celebration, a "Secession Gala", in Charleston, South Carolina. Organizer Jeff Antley says, "It has nothing to do with slavery as far as I'm concerned. What I'm doing is honoring the men from this state who stood up for their self-government and their rights under law -- the right to secede was understood."

Nothing to do with slavery. It's about honoring heritage, not racism. Expect a lot of that shameful rationalization over the next five years, as white Southerners revise history in an attempt to whitewash the original sin of America, slavery, from their heritage.

After the jump, a closer look at the declaration of causes for South Carolina's secession.


Excerpts from "Confederate States of America - Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union":

  • "The right of property in slaves was recognized [in the Constitution] by giving to free persons distinct political rights, by giving them the right to represent, and burthening them with direct taxes for three-fifths of their slaves; by authorizing the importation of slaves for twenty years; and by stipulating for the rendition of fugitives from labor."

  • "the non-slaveholding States ... have denounced as sinful the institution of slavery"

  • "They have encouraged and assisted thousands of our slaves to leave their homes; and those who remain, have been incited by emissaries, books and pictures to servile insurrection."

  • "an increasing hostility on the part of the non-slaveholding States to the institution of slavery, has led to a disregard of their obligations"

  • "the constituted compact has been deliberately broken and disregarded by the non-slaveholding States"

  • "the current of anti-slavery feeling has led [New Jersey] more recently to enact laws which render inoperative the remedies provided by her own law and by the laws of Congress."

  • "A geographical line has been drawn across the Union, and all the States north of that line have united in the election of a man to the high office of President of the United States, whose opinions and purposes are hostile to slavery."

  • "The slaveholding States will no longer have the power of self-government, or self-protection, and the Federal Government will have become their enemy."

Nope, nothing to do with slavery. Nothing at all. If this is heritage, it's a heritage that rightfully belongs buried deep in the trash heap of history. Celebrating it with a secession gala is despicable.

P.S. Wait until February 2, the 150th anniversary of Texas' own secession declaration. Then, we'll review an even more arrogant and blatant declaration of racism. Let's hope Texans have more sense than to celebrate it.

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