Happy Confederate Memorial Day!

No, it’s not a misprint, and I haven’t lost my mind.  In my home state, today is Confederate Memorial Day.  This holiday is officially observed in eight Southern states, with most celebrating on different days.  Confederate Memorial Day is a day to honor Confederate soldiers who died during the Civil War. 

In my home state of South Carolina, state employees, over 60,000, have the day off.  Before the year 2000, state employees had two floating holidays.  Martin Luther King Day was not a state holiday, meaning state employees had to work the third Monday in January, unless they took that day off as a floating holiday.  The same was done for Confederate Memorial Day.  In 2000, Senator Robert Ford from Charleston wrote a bill to make Confederate Memorial Day AND Martin Luther King Jr. Day state holidays.  It is interesting to note that Senator Ford is Black. 

Yes, the Confederacy is part of our history, and I’m sure I have school friends and know people who had their ancestors fight in the Civil War for the Confederate States of America.  When I read some of the comments on this article, I had some thoughts.  Yes, African-Americans have such sayings as “Black is Beautiful” and “Black Pride”, but these sayings weren’t made to belittle another race or to be racist.  In my experience, “White Pride” has been something stated by racist Americans.  And as Dot Scott said, just because the Confederacy is part of our history doesn’t mean we have to celebrate it.  That would be like America celebrating Nathan Bedford Forrest or Germany celebrating Adolf Hitler.  I’ll be the first to say that my state has multiple things to work on-budget, education, poverty, and the like, so it may seem futile to bring up the issue of today’s holiday.  But I think South Carolina politicians should know that this holiday still doesn’t sit well with all residents and natives. 

The Confederacy should not be forgotten, but it definitely should not be glorified.  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city.

150 Years Later…

Whose side are you on?

Between the years of 1861-1865, the American Civil War took place.   Current historians and other figures don’t always agree on the main reason the Civil War was fought.  Some say it was because of states’ rights; others say it’s due to slavery.  As a Southerner and an African-American, I can say the Civil War was fought over slavery, plain and simple.  Sure economics and states’ rights and a host of other issues played a part, but let’s not kid ourselves-Southern states wanted to be able to keep their slaves while Abraham Lincoln and the Republicans wanted to spread the abolishment of slavery across the Union.  Of course my home state, South Carolina, would secede from the Union first on December 20, 1860. 

Numerous states across the country are gearing up for the 150th anniversary of the Civil War next year.   I came across this article which shows citizens’ various opinions and celebrations relating to the war.  Ok, people, let’s be honest.  Racism is still real in this country.  People are still salty we have a Black president.  Yep, I said it, and I meant it.  This is coming from the girl who went to predominantly Caucasian schools until I went to college and had mostly white friends growing up.  (And some are still some of my closest friends today.)  We don’t talk politics too much because I realize where I grew up and with whom I grew up.  I grew up in the city where Bob Jones University is located, the school that lifted its ban on interracial dating when I graduated from high school 10 years ago.  I grew up in a state where interracial marriage was still illegal (no one bothered to look) until 8 years ago-and even then just over 50% of South Carolinians voted to make interracial marriage legal.  

So, people may think race is still not an issue in this country.  I beg to differ.  Now I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised when I went back to my alma mater for my high school reunion and a biracial (i.e. Black) girl was introducing her Caucasian boyfriend to her parents during the varsity football game.  (Trust me, for my high school that’s amazing.) 

The whole reason I wrote this post was because I thought some of these people in this article were a bit delusional in their stating the war wasn’t about slavery, because it was.  Now I totally believe in supporting your heritage and celebrating your history, but not at the expense of others.   We all should take the time and energy to learn our history. 

What do you guys think?  Was the Civil War fought mainly over slavery or states’ rights?   Are people still commemorating the Civial War in this way because it’s tradition or do they have the same beliefs as their ancestors?  Do you have an issue with interracial dating?  Have you seen a change in interracial relations in your lifetime?  Or do you think America has a lot more growing to do?  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city.