Happy Confederate Memorial Day. Here's Vampirella making it rain Holy Water to ensure a bunch of treasonous slaver zombies stay f***ing dead. (Vampirella Monthly #1, 2010) pic.twitter.com/2r4B7VsubZ
— Zeddy (@Zeddary) April 23, 2018
One of those “just in the family” things they don’t talk about in front of the Yankees, apparently, because I don’t remember hearing about it before. This year’s commemoration gets a more fitting memorial. Angela Helm, at The Root:
On Monday, Alabama is set to observe Confederate Memorial Day, commemorating the sons of the South killed in the U.S. Civil War. No surprise there. Alabama loves fighting with Mississippi for the title of “most racist state” (though they actually may be running neck and neck with “everything south of the Canadian border” if we’re keeping it real).
I find this amusing, not just because of the abiding ridiculousness of the holiday itself—which for me and most black people is a dressed-up way of reveling in institutional racism and anti-blackness (contrary to claims of “love of heritage”)—but because I just so happen to be in Alabama today, Monday, for a press preview of a memorial and museum dedicated to those both forgotten and annihilated through acts of racial terror across the country, and I will touch this holiest site on … Confederate Memorial Day…
… [H]ere in America, the God some trust is not on the dollar bill, it is the dollar bill. Here, as we all were whispered songs of “sweet lands of liberty,” black Americans perished in a nightmare of running blood and burning flesh and mass rape for pleasure and profit; that story all but erased from history and replaced with men playing war games, re-enacting so-called acts of valor for an indefensible premise…
The national lynching memorial, the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, will stand atop a hill, in remembrance of the more than 4,000 victims of racial terror on U.S. soil, which the Montgomery, Ala.-based Equal Justice Institute has meticulously tracked for six years.
The accompanying Legacy Museum: From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration, located in a former slave warehouse, will also tell the tale of our sojourn here: from enslavement to widespread public executions, to Jim Crow, to the continued violence against black bodies through mass incarceration and police violence.
The museum and memorial are but two drops in a bucket recognizing the true “legacy” of this nation; it’s a befitting tribute to those who weren’t able to throw up statues and establish holidays, their bodies sometimes snatched and ripped apart for keepsakes. It finally acknowledges, in a lasting way, what this country wrought upon its literal children, drafted into another war they never signed up for, but one in which they certainly perished, strange fruit hanging from poplar trees…
Fred Hiatt, in the Washington Post:
In the Riverfront Park of this state capital, you will find a series of panels depicting the city’s history. They will tell you when the first white settler arrived, how riverboats transformed Montgomery into a trading hub for cotton “and many other important commodities,” and how the city became the cradle of the Confederacy.
They will not tell you that the most important of those other commodities was human beings.
It is the sort of lacuna, says Bryan Stevenson, that allows people to “achieve political victories by celebrating the greatness of America.”
“The question is, which decade are black Americans supposed to want to relive?”
It also is a gap that is about to be filled in the most dramatic fashion just a few blocks from the riverfront, beginning Thursday. That is when the Equal Justice Initiative, which Stevenson founded and heads, will open the Legacy Museum and, nearby, an equally powerful, even more unusual outdoor memorial to the thousands of African American victims of the state terror tactic known as lynching.
Together they offer an alternative, and overwhelmingly coherent, arc of the history of white supremacy from slavery to the arrest of two black men at a Starbucks in Philadelphia this month. They reflect Stevenson’s view that, unlike in South Africa or post-Nazi Germany or many other societies traumatized by history, we’ve hardly begun to grapple with ours — and so cannot yet get beyond it…
The museum and memorial are unlike anything I’ve experienced and more than worth a trip, and I hope (and expect) that millions will come. But I will leave the reviews and descriptions to others. What stood out to me, in this political moment, is the clarity of historical exposition from slavery to Jim Crow to what Stevenson sees as a “new caste system” arising from mass incarceration…
The planning for this museum and memorial began long before a white youth gunned down nine worshipers in an African American church in Charleston, S.C., before we had a president praising neo-Nazis marching in defense of Confederate statues, before an administration began again talking about harsher sentences and more death penalties. Some might find all that discouraging. Stevenson takes a different lesson.
“There was this hope that this race stuff would just evaporate over time — and it doesn’t work like that,” he said. “It is a serious disease, and if we don’t treat it, it doesn’t get better. It doesn’t go away.”
But in the end, there is optimism in his relentless realism. “We’re not doomed by this history. We’re not even defined by it,” he said. “But we do have to face it.”
On this day, let's remember U.S. Grant's characterization of the Confederacy as "one of the worst [causes] for which a people ever fought, and one for which there was the least excuse." Amen.
— Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) April 23, 2018