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Southern Heritage <br>News and Views: Frankly Speaking

Monday, March 12, 2007

Frankly Speaking

Frank Gillispie

Why is the NAACP devoting so many resources to an “apology for slavery” campaign? For example, they are currently pressuring the Georgia General Assembly to vote for a formal apology. Is this a worthwhile effort, or would the people of Georgia benefit more from a program to reduce violence and criminal activity within the black community, or a program to change the anti education attitudes that still run in many urban areas of Georgia’s major cities?

While we are at it, just who is it that deserves an apology? After all, it was not only the slaves who were damaged by the system. The white family farmers who did not use slaves to grow crops were heavily impacted by the slave system as well. Slave plantations were able to produce large crops at a reduced cost and market them at lower prices. The family farms were forced to sell their smaller crops at those same prices, making it impossible for them to create more than substance lifestyle. Don’t they, and their descendents deserve an apology for the hardships they suffered?

What about the slave traders who created and sold the slave system to the south.? Not one southern owned slave ship has ever been positively identified. Slaves were transported and sold in the South by Northern shipping companies. They collected large amounts of money on this trade which went back to the northeast to fund their industrial expansion. Don’t they owe an apology to all southerners, black and white, for promoting slavery for their own economic gain?

Then there is the case of the United States Government. During the slave era, most of the taxes collected by the national government was from excise taxes, and the South paid the vast majority of them. In the last years before the War For Southern Independence, Southern states paid up to 80% of all federal taxes, yet 75% of federal funding went to northern states to assist the industrialists. Millions of dollars were drained away from the hard working Southerners of all colors with nothing of value being returned. Are not all Southern states due an apology from the Federal Government for the economic devastation created by this unfair tax?

Finally, the Southern states, especially Georgia is owed a major apology for the death and destruction inflicted on old men, women and children by the Union Army during that sad conflict. During his march to the sea, William T. Sherman ordered his forces to loot and destroy private homes, burn crops in the field, destroy bridges and rail roads, assault helpless women and children and left them without food, clothing or shelter. Other union generals followed suit. Many returning Confederate soldiers found their homes, families and livelihoods no longer existed. Millions of Southern families, such as my own, were so devastated by these attacks that when the great depression came along seventy years later, we hardly noticed.

And even today, the assault on the south continues. Southern music, Southern flags and Southern monuments come under daily attack. It is not enough that they destroyed our economy, our society and our gentle lifestyle, they are trying to wipe out the very memory of our Southern culture. We need more than an apology for that. We need to be left alone.

Now, I personally think that all the people of Dixie, regardless of color, religion or place of origin have been severely abused by social and political forces from other regions of the nation, that we should be receiving apologies, not issuing them.

Someone say AMEN!


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