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Southern Heritage <br>News and Views: June 2009

Monday, June 29, 2009

Jonesborough assures SLRC Confederate memorial bricks will be issued

JONESBOROUGH, TN – An administrator with the Town of Jonesborough told the SLRC today that the town fully intends to install bricks honoring Confederate soldiers at a public memorial site, as soon as a delay in production is resolved.

Jonesborough Town Recorder Abbey Miller said so far she has about 30 bricks, representing both Confederate and other American war veterans, on back order. “The stone mason who inscribes them has cancer and has had to curtail his work time, and this has caused a delay,” she said. The town expects the orders will be caught up by early August, and donors who have already purchased bricks have been informed accordingly, she said.

The granite bricks, each hand inscribed with the name of a veteran and purchased by private individuals, are being used to pave a section of Jonesborough’s Veterans’ Park. In May the SLRC was contacted by several citizens who had attempted to purchase bricks honoring their Confederate ancestors, only to have their applications refused on grounds that the memorial was to honor only “American” veterans and that Confederates did not qualify. The SLRC in turn wrote to the Mayor of Jonesborough warning the town of the possible consequences of such discriminatory action. The town then reversed its stance and announced that donations for Confederate bricks would be accepted.

A few days later the SLRC received reports that some donors had had their checks returned with a letter advising that orders were being deferred until August. Ms. Miller told the SLRC that this was done as a courtesy to the donors “so they just wouldn’t have these checks outstanding for several weeks while we get caught up.” She said that some donors have instructed her office to hold their checks anyway for as long as necessary, and that this has been done. “Those checks are in my safe in a special file,” she said. “They [additional donors] can still go ahead and send in their applications and we will accept them, we just want them to know about the delay,” she added.

“We will keep them informed by letter about the progress, and we will also post it on our website,” she added.

SLRC issues urgent appeal for donations

Summertime, and the livin’ ain’t easy. Not around here, anyway.

For nonprofits, who depend on contributions for their very existence, there are two wretched times of year: right after Christmas, when everybody feels spent out, and summer, when folks are using their discretionary income for traveling and other vacation-related activities. The SLRC’s donations cycle is no exception to this rule; in January it plummets like a thermometer on Mount Mitchell; in the summer it gets as flat as low tide at Myrtle Beach.

And that’s just in an ordinary year. But this year the country’s in the midst of the worst economic downturn in decades, when a lot of folks have shelved the whole idea of taking a vacation and are just trying to make ends meet. Consequently the SLRC’s income has suffered even more than usual. (We haven’t been able to put out the hard copy version of our newsletter, “The Update”, since April because we just can’t afford the printing and postage. That puts us in a Catch-22 because the Update is one of our primary fundraising tools.)

So, in this time of prioritizing personal expenditures, we offer a humble plea for you to prioritize the SLRC. Remember: there is no such thing, to us, as a small contribution; anything you can afford will help us live to fight another day.

# # # # #

If you have a stake in Southern heritage and culture, and are looking for a meaningful way to honor and protect them, please give generously to the Southern Legal Resource Center. With your help we can continue our aggressive efforts to secure the rights of all Southerners to express pride in their regional identity without fear of ridicule or reprisal, as should be the case for all Americans.

The Southern Legal Resource Center is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization, and contributions to it are fully tax deductible. Credit card and PayPal donations may be made at our website by clicking on “How You Can Help.” Checks payable to the Southern Legal Resource Center should be mailed to P.O. Box 1235, Black Mountain, NC 28711. “Thumbs Up for Dixie” stickers are available for SLRC and local heritage fundraising projects. Contact Betty Tate for details at, or by phone at (828) 669-5189.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


JONESBOROUGH, TN – The Town Council of Jonesborough, TN, on Monday night reversed its previous position and voted to allow bricks honoring Confederate soldiers to be included among those in a memorial area at its recently renovated Veterans’ Park.

The town had previously declared that bricks donated to the veterans’ memorial could bear only the names of United States veterans from the Revolutionary War to the present; Confederates did not count as U.S. veterans, it said. The change in policy occurred five days after Southern Legal Resource Center Executive Director Roger McCredie sent a letter to Mayor Kelly Wolfe on behalf of local members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. McCredie’s letter called the town’s exclusion of Confederates “blatantly discriminatory” and said it violated the civil rights of both the soldiers and their descendants. He noted that several Union soldiers’ names were included among the markers already in place.

Included in the SLRC’s letter were copies of documents from the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs showing that the U.S. Government has since 1929 made Government-issue gravestones available for Confederate veterans. Also included was a copy of a 1958 law making Confederate veterans and their surviving spouses eligible for pensions on the same level as for any other U.S. veteran. “Clearly the Government’s intent in these and other actions was to establish that Confederate veterans were to be honored and compensated, in all areas and respects, equally with their Union counterparts,” McCredie told the mayor. He concluded by requesting that the town “do the legally and morally correct thing” by including Confederate bricks at the memorial.

McCredie said Jonesborough town attorney Jim Wheeler called him last Friday. “I was out of the office,” McCredie said. “I called him back but he was gone for the day. We’ve been playing phone tag ever since, but still haven’t connected. I think Kirk [SLRC Chief Trial Counsel Kirk Lyons] tried to reach him as well. I presume he was calling to tell me what his advice to the town council would be.” At Monday’s meeting, Wheeler told the council his research indicated “this is a decision for the town of Jonesborough … to make.” The Board then voted unanimously to allow the Confederate memorials.

Thursday, June 04, 2009


BLACK MOUNTAIN, NC – The Southern Legal Resource Center has admonished the town of Jonesborough, Tennessee, not to exclude memorial bricks honoring Confederate soldiers from a recently renovated veterans’ memorial area at a city park.

The memorial area at Veterans’ Park is paved with some 1,300 bricks each inscribed with the name of a local serviceman. Veterans of all American wars are represented, including three who fought for the Union during the Civil War; however, members of the local chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans say they were rebuffed by town officials when they sought to contribute bricks memorializing their Confederate ancestors.

In a letter to Jonesborough mayor Kelly Wolfe, SLRC Executive Director Roger McCredie pointed out that the U.S. Government has for more than a century made free headstones available for Confederate graves, and that in 1958 a law was passed establishing equal pension rights for Confederate veterans. “Clearly the Government’s intent in these and other actions was to establish that Confederate veterans were to be honored and compensated, in all areas and respects, equally with their Union counterparts,” McCredie told the mayor.

McCredie called the town’s refusal to allow Confederate bricks “blatantly discriminatory” and said officials should “do the legally and morally correct thing by admitting memorials to the Confederate dead to their rightful place in a municipal area set aside for honoring all of Jonesborough’s veterans.”

The SLRC is a federal nonprofit organization that advocates in matters involving Southern history, heritage and culture. The emerging Jonesborough situation has several points in common with a lawsuit the SLRC and its local counsel have brought against the Town of Ringgold, Georgia, McCredie said. In that case, the city erected a Confederate battle flag as an integral part of a brick memorial at its historic train depot, then later removed the flag when certain citizens threatened a boycott of local businesses.

Monday, June 01, 2009

A Letter about (and to) the Agitators and their “Letter to Obama”

We all know that Edward Sebesta and James Loewen recently wrote a letter to Obama asking that he not continue the White House tradition of sending a wreath to the Confederate Monument in Arlington National Cemetery. That letter, which was co-signed by a bevy of left wing lulus starring Bill Ayers, James McPherson and Jonathan Farley, was ignored by Obama, who sent the wreath anyway.

In reviewing the numerous complaints lodged against us in the Sebesta/Loewen letter, the first one I notice is that we are “without apologies or regrets from the past.” Indeed, we have the audacity to celebrate and remember that past! Oh how awful of us!? Well, the last time I checked the surrender terms I saw that said terms simply called for the surrender of our arms and our return to “the glorious union.” As I recall, those terms were honorably fulfilled. There were no terms which mandated that we grovel in front of anyone and humbly beg forgiveness, and no terms which mandated that we submit to slander or calumny while sitting apologetically, head bowed, on our thumbs. So then, to Mr. Sebesta, Mr. Loewen, and company I say - you will just have to deal with our lack of regret the best you can. If writing letters to Obama assuages your angst, lowers your blood pressure and makes you feel important, who am I to say that you can’t do it? As they say - whatever floats your boat.

The second complaint or accusation that I see is the contention that the Southern Monument in Arlington Cemetery does not recognize the “humanity of African Americans.” The last time I looked at the monument, I saw on one side of the column, 5 white men and 1 black man, all in Confederate uniform, marching together in close order. Next to it on the column I noted a white Confederate officer handing off his infant child to an “African American” woman. It isn’t that the monument doesn’t recognize African Americans – it does. The problem is that the story the monument tells does not tell a story that Sebesta and Loewen care to hear, and that the story told does not include people who are just like them. And if there is one thing that I have learned in nearly 60 years of dealing with people, it is that the “angry young men” (or “angry old men” for that matter) of the world, seldom find any value in anything unless it revolves around them. In short, if the spotlight isn’t on them, and if they aren’t busy listening to themselves ‘pass wind,’ they become very unhappy - and in turn, they make everyone else around them miserable. Billy Joel said it best:

And there's always a place for the angry young man,
With his fist in the air and his head in the sand.
And he's never been able to learn from mistakes,
So he can't understand why his heart always breaks.
But his honor is pure and his courage as well,
And he's fair and he's true and he's boring as hell-
And he'll go to the grave as an angry old man.**

Third, Sebesta and Loewen mightily huff and puff about the Southerners resisting the so-called “multiracial democracy” of the Reconstruction Period. Heaven forbid that anyone should utter criticisms of anything “multiracial” (or multicultural) in this day and age. Today, the simple placement of that adjective in front of any noun automatically makes that noun a good thing, and we are then expected to run around screaming its praises regardless of whether or not it has any actual merit. In this case, the average reader, unfamiliar with Reconstruction Period’s merits (or lack of such) might need to be enlightened just a bit. For argument’s sake, we’ll use the term that our letter-writing agitators have given it – a “Multiracial Democracy.”

It was:

A “Multiracial Democracy” which excluded most of the native Southern white population. As per the 14th amendment - anyone who had engaged in “participation in any rebellion or civil war against the United States” was disenfranchised, thereby leaving state governments in the hands of Yankee transplants, ex-slaves and a few compliant Southerners who were willing to “swallow the dog,” [1]

A “Multiracial Democracy” administrated, in part, by a people who had been slaves not more than 3 years before. This mysterious, and unbelievable leap of progress in so brief a time, unequaled in all of human history, has never been fully explained by Sebesta, by Loewen, by Ayers, by McPherson, by Farley, or anyone else for that matter. Yet, its incongruity was noted, even by Northerners of the period, who wondered at the curious nature of the Freedmen’s bill…namely that - “It took the blacks under the protection of the Federal Government as if they were not able to take care of themselves, while the same persons who urged…the measure are the most clamorous to give this same dependent population a large share in the government of the country.’” [2] The incongruity in question is easily explained however. If one wants to know the real motivation behind the Party of Lincoln and its drive to gain the elective franchise for the newly freed slave, one need only consult one of the chief architects of the Congressional Reconstruction policy, Rep. Thaddeus Stevens of Pennsylvania. In Stevens’ own words, the purpose of giving this “dependent population” the vote in the South was to “insure perpetual ascendancy to the party of the union.” [3] Since when does one-party rule constitute a democracy, multiracial or otherwise?

A “Multiracial Democracy” that even Frederick Douglass found, at least in part, appalling, as he commented on the white portion of Alabama’s 1869 Reconstruction state government - “Well, I would be a Democrat if I was a white man and had to herd with that cattle.” [4]

A “Multiracial Democracy” that caused Georgia’s debt to go from “0” in 1865 to 50 million dollars in 1872 [5], whose budgetary practices in Louisiana caused the cost of the 1871 legislative session to be 9 ½ times the average cost of a pre-Reconstruction session [6], and whose budgetary practices in the South Carolina legislature caused the total cost of 6 years of Reconstruction for that not-so-august body to total $2,339,000, (when the average cost of a pre-Reconstruction session of the legislature had been $20,000/year!) [7]. This wonderful “multiracial democracy” resulted in the tax rate in Mississippi increasing 14 fold during its 5 year tenure in that state and caused 1/5 of all privately owned land in that state to be put up for sale on the tax auction block [8]. In Texas, this wonderful “multiracial” experiment resulted in a 400% tax increase, while at the same time, another Southern state, Tennessee, saw its state debt inflated by 16 million dollars. [9]. It was a “multiracial democracy” which saw ¼ of all the property in Little Rock Arkansas in the hands of former Union General Schenck, who had purchased said property at bargain basement prices after those properties had been confiscated for non-payment of taxes. [10]. It was a “multiracial democracy” which saw, in South Carolina, the expenditure by the “multiracial” legislature, “of $200,000 - all of which was spent in furnishing the state capitol with costly plate glass mirrors, lounges, arm chairs, a free bar and other luxurious appointments for the use of the [“multiracial”] legislators.” [11]

A “Multiracial Democracy” [in South Carolina] composed of black men like Beverly Nash, who admitted to taking a $2500 bribe, and who defended his actions with the words, “I merely took the money because I thought I might as well have it and invest it here as for them to carry it outside the state”. [12]. That same type of government, in that very same state, also produced the likes of State Representative John Patterson, a (white) Pennsylvania transplant, who, when questioned about corruption flippantly replied, “Why there are still 5 good years of stealing left in South Carolina”. [13] In Mississippi, it produced the likes of William Gray, a black State Senator, who proclaim “that he would win [the 1874 election] if he had to kill every white man, woman and child in the county, which was predominantly black.” [14]

A “Multiracial Democracy” which demanded that the black man have his vote, but which also mandated that the black man vote the way he was told! Black men contemplating a vote for the Democratic ticket (or the Conservative Ticket), were warned off with “Death to Colored Democrat” signs in polling places, and with banners proclaiming “Every man that don’t vote the Radical ticket this is the way we want to serve him – hang him by the neck.” [15]

Finally, that “multiracial democracy” produced a financial house of cards which collapsed upon the head of the freedman in 1874 when the Freedman’s Bureau Savings and Trust went belly-up. Those freedmen who had worked hard to build an economic base for themselves (instead of feeding at the public trough), and who had trusted in their Yankee benefactors, lost all they had (a grand total of 3 1/3 million dollars – a huge sum for that time). And the government whose soldiers allegedly “died to make men free” did nothing to compensate them. [16] No bailouts in 1874 I guess?!

But it’s all ok you see. Because it was all “multiracial”! So sayeth Sebesta, Loewen, Ayers, Farley, McPherson and the rest of the self-righteous riff raff who signed the letter to Obama.

Finally, there is the condemnation of Father Anderson’s 1999 speech at Arlington. Having met the good Father on a number of occasions and having listened to several of his speeches, I am quite familiar with the passion he displays in defense of the cause for which the South fought. This seems to aggravate our activist ‘friends” though. How dare we believe that our cause was just? How dare we believe that we fought for anything but to keep others in bondage?

Let me settle, once and for all, why exactly it was that we fought so mightily. It wasn’t for the right to own slaves. For that matter, it was not about tariffs either. Why did we fight so hard and so long? Why did we risk all and suffer four years of “total war” on our own home ground? I’ll give you the answer:

Let me suggest to Edward “the whiner” Sebesta, James “drama-queen” Loewen, Billy “the bomber” Ayers, James “I’ll write anything if it makes a buck” McPherson, Jonathan “can’t draw for crap but wannabe an artist” Farley, and the rest of you dogmatics who signed the letter to Obama, that you walk over to the nearest mirror and take a good long look into it – look closely and you will see the cause of the war staring right back at you. The cause of the war was people like you – people to whom the words “live and let live” are as alien as a frog is to the desert. People who see everyone else’s sins but their own, because in their minds they are without sin. People to whom the words “mind your own business” have as much meaning as the phrase “super-size me” has to an Aborigine in the Australian Outback. And people who, while having a desperate need to save the planet, fail to realize that the only way they can do that is if they themselves actually get off the planet! The South tried mightily for 4 years to get away from people just like you in a bloody struggle that cost nearly 700,000 lives. It was well worth the effort, we have no regrets about it, and we will continue to celebrate it, all your pouting notwithstanding. Put that in your collective pipes and smoke yourselves to death.

To you Obama letter-writers and signers I say then - there is good news and bad news in all of this. The bad news is that regardless of what you or anyone else does, now or in the future, we will always be here. We will continue to have our parades and revere our monuments, we will continue to celebrate our own holidays and we will continue to defend not only our legacy in the past but our rights in the present. You can huff and puff all you want and it won’t change a thing - we’re not going anywhere. But while this may qualify as “bad news” for y’all, it’s also good news. Our presence and our activities, our defiance of your agenda and our outright rejection of you, will continue to help give meaning to your petty little lives. Without us to give you purpose, where would you be?

Bill Vallante
Commack NY
Sons of Confederate Veterans (Associate Member)
Camps 3000, 1506 & 1369

**”Billy Joel, “The Angry Young Man” (copyright1976)

[1} See the 14th Amendment

[2] Ralph Seth Henry, “The Story of Reconstruction February, 1866 Page 160 (Konecky & Koncekcy, 150 Fifth Ave. New York, NY, 10011)

[3] ibid, PP. 210- 211

[4] “Brooklyn Eagle,” copied in “Montgomery Advertiser”, Feb 19, 1869)

[5] Mildred Lewis Rutherford, “The Truths of History,” Pages 128-129, Daniel Voorhees, Representative from Indiana, “Plunder of Eleven States”, a speech made in the House of Representatives March 23, 1872:

[6] Ella Lonn, “Reconstruction in Louisiana after 1868,” New York, 1918, P. 78

[7] “Republican Governor Daniel Chamberlain’s Reflections” 1901, in the Atlantic Monthly

[8] John S. Tilley, “The Coming of the Glory,” page 256, Copyright 1949, (Bill Coats, Ltd., 1406 Grandview, Nashville, TN, 37215-3030, 1995)

[9] ibid, page 259

[10] “Albany Argues”, copied “Montgomery Advertiser,” November 29, 1868

[11] Mildred Lewis Rutherford, “The Truths of History,” Page 127, Copyright, 1920, Southern Lion Books Inc., PO Box 347163, Atlanta, Ga., 30334, 1998, (as quoted in Muzzey’s “American History”, page 486)

[12] John S. Tilley, “The Coming of the Glory,” page 241, Copyright 1949, (Bill Coats, Ltd., 1406 Grandview, Nashville, TN, 37215-3030, 1995)

[13] ibid, page 232

[14] Claude G. Bowers, “The Tragic Era,” Page 453
Simon Publications, PO 321, Safety Harbor, Fl., 2001, c 1929

[15] “The Southern Argus,” August 25, 1869

[16] House- Misc Doc No. 16, 39, Cong 2 Sess.,, pp 61, 91
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