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Still Fighting the War – Monuments, Flags, Ole Miss, and Lynching

This Cruel War is a blog dedicated to studying the Civil War, it’s causes and repercussions. While these “repercussions” are generally noted as events taking place during Reconstruction or the Jim Crow era, in actuality, the repercussions of the Civil War are still being felt today. From the debate over the use of the Confederate Battle Flag to how to interpret slavery and lynchings, as a nation we are still working through the war that ended over 150 years ago.

Over the past week or so, these are the stories which I have been following.

Execution Photo Used as a Joke at Minnesota Restaurant

Joe’s Crab Shack in Roseville, MN used a photo of a black man being hanged with the imposed caption of “All I said was I don’t like the gumbo!” in a comic bubble. The hanging of Richard Burleson, which took place in 1895, was the last of such public executions in Texas. The doctored photo was placed on the table as a decoration. When two customers complained and went public, the manager apologized – sort of. “We sincerely apologize to our guests who were disturbed by the image and we look forward to continuing to serve the Roseville community,” said the COO of the company. Read more here, here and here.

Mississippi State Flag Removed from Oregon Display

In Salem, Oregon, the capital of the Beaver State, all fifty state flags flew in an outdoor display. That is, until this past week when the Confederate flag-emblazoned banner of Mississippi was removed by order of the state legislature. The law makers had decided to wait and see what Mississippi would do concerning a new design for their state flag. When the legislative session ended with no changes made (and a Confederate History Month proclaimed), Oregon decided to lower the offending ensign. More here.

Russian Company Party Features Mock Lynching of Man in Blackface

When the photo taken at a Russian office party of a man in blackface being mock-lynched went viral last week, it seemed like little more than a dumb mistake made by people in another country who didn’t really know any better. But this Russian photo had some far-reaching effects. Several
Dallas police officers are under investigation for Facebook comments about the photo. The photo, they say, was all in good fun, and people who were offended by it should lighten up. More here and here.

Racist Ole Miss students gathering near the Confederate monument to protest desegregation in 1962.
Racist Ole Miss students gathering near the Confederate monument to protest desegregation in 1962.

Ole Miss Re-Interpreting Confederate Monument

Rather than removing a Confederate monument on their campus, Ole Miss has decided to add a plaque to interpret the memorial. The plaque gives the date of the dedication, explaining that it was an era of Confederate monument building. It also tells how it was the rallying point for a pro-segregation mob in 1962. However, the local NAACP feels that since the monument is to the Confederate soldier, it should explain why the soldiers were called upon to fight. They claim the new interpretive sign “woefully fails its students, faculty and staff when it does not acknowledge the true history of the Confederacy.” More here and here.

Virginia Governor Vetoes Pro-Confederate Bill

The Virginia House of Delegates and Senate both passed a bill that would have forbidden local communities from removing Confederate monuments without state approval. Governor McAuliffe vetoed the bill, and explained: “There is a legitimate discussion going on in localities across the Commonwealth regarding whether to retain, remove, or alter certain symbols of the Confederacy. These discussions are often difficult and complicated. They are unique to each community’s specific history and the specific monument or memorial being discussed. This bill effectively ends these important conversations.” More here.

Tennessee to Remove Confederate Flag from License Plates?

Tennessee specialty plate.
Tennessee specialty plate.
A bill has been proposed in Tennessee that would discontinue the state from offering the Confederate flag as an option for a specialty license plate. A little over 3,000 specialty plates are currently being displayed by members of the neo-Confederate group Sons of Confederate Veterans. “I do not want the state to issue this symbol of racism and hate,” said State Sen. Sara Kyle. “Any time you have symbols that designate hate or racism, we are just empowering more people to use these type symbols.” More here.

Contractors Bidding on the Removal of New Orleans CS Monument Concerned About Threats

Though we reported this last week, the concern has grown and is now part of the talks concerning the bidding process. Three contractors who were bidding on the project asked whether they’d be allowed to work at night, when protest would be less, and if they’d be required to put up signs advertising their respective companies (the answers were “yes” and “no”). The original bidder backed out when its employees received death threats from neo-Confederates. More here.

Has always had a love for history and the Civil War. During the 150th anniversary of the war, writing the Civil War Daily Gazette blog, which published daily for nearly five years. Wishing to continue the exploration, following the Charleston murders in 2015, and the activism around removing the Confederate Battle Flag, decided to dig a little deeper into the causes and repercussions of the War.