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  • Originally published 07/10/2013

    Rand Paul aide a neo-Confederate

    Jack Hunter, a congressional aide to Sen. Rand Paul with a history of "neo-Confederate" and "pro-secessionist" views, has produced dozens of articles and video commentaries for The Daily Caller and appeared as what one Fox Business host termed a "regular" guest on that network. He also helped then-Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), currently the president of The Heritage Foundation, write his most recent book.The conservative Washington Free Beacon reported today that Hunter, a "close" Rand Paul aide who also co-wrote the Kentucky Republican's 2011 book, "spent years working as a pro-secessionist radio pundit and neo-Confederate activist ... Hunter was a chairman in the League of the South, which 'advocates the secession and subsequent independence of the Southern States from this forced union and the formation of a Southern republic.'"...

  • Originally published 06/04/2013

    Civil rights museum planned in Miss.

    Mississippi is hoping to make history again — this time with the nation's first state-sponsored civil rights museum.This fall, officials will break ground on the civil rights museum and the companion Museum of Mississippi History in hopes of having both ready in time to celebrate the state's bicentennial in 2017.There's one catch — $30 million is needed to finish the inside of the buildings, which share a common area.Under the law, the state has agreed to a 50-50 split between state and private funding for 50,000 square feet of exhibits for the museums. Archives officials estimated the acquisition and creation of the exhibits at $14-$16 million....

  • Originally published 06/02/2013

    The Real Uncle Tom and the Unknown South He Helped Create

    Illustration for 1853 edition of Uncle Tom's Cabin. Credit: Wiki Commons.Today’s readers of Uncle Tom’s Cabin have no idea that there was a real Uncle Tom. Neither did the readers of the 1850s. His name was Josiah Henson. He was born a slave in Maryland in 1789. Harriet Beecher Stowe admitted that his story was part of the inspiration for her novel. But she never adequately explained why her fictional Uncle Tom was so different from the real one.

  • Originally published 05/16/2013

    Attorney fights to move Confederate soldier statue from Virginia courthouse

    A statue honoring Confederate soldiers that has stood for more than 100 years outside a Leesburg, Va., courthouse is now at the center of a battle between an attorney and residents.The statue, which reads “In memory of the Confederate Soldiers of Loudoun County, Va. Erected May 28, 1908,” shows a soldier standing guard with his rifle, WTOP reports.John Flannery, an attorney who regularly hears cases inside the courthouse, said the statue intimidates clients and should be moved into a museum or graveyard."It deters people. It chills them from believing they can get a fair shake in court," Flannery told WTOP....

  • Originally published 05/09/2013

    Ira Katznelson: The Racist History of the New Deal

    WPA Poster, 1935.When Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected president in 1932, the United States faced uncertainty and imminent peril at home and abroad. The unemployment rate was 25 percent. Systems of credit and banking were broken and the stock market had lost 80 percent of its value since the 1929 crash. Factories were abandoned. Thousands of families lost their homes. There was no social safety net for millions of impoverished men, women and children. At the same time, liberal democracies struggled as brutal dictatorships in Germany, Russia and Italy flourished, and some Americans feared complete disintegration of the social order and revolution.

  • Originally published 04/09/2013

    Accidental Racists and More: A Field Guide to the Racists of America

    Do you think racists are all the same? You are wrong. Country star Brad Paisley announced to the world on Monday that he is an "Accidental Racist" in a song that has earned lots of criticism. Before we unpack how one can be accidental about their racism (and why that doesn't exucse the racism), perhaps, in a way, he's onto something. While racism is pretty much just racism there are so many different species of racists....

  • Originally published 03/17/2013

    South's civil rights cold cases

    FERRIDAY, La. — In the spring of 1965, the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Washington received a letter from Concordia Parish in northeastern Louisiana. Addressed to the bureau’s director, J. Edgar Hoover, the letter pleaded for justice in the killing of a well-respected black merchant.A few months earlier, the businessman, Frank Morris, had come upon two white men early one morning at the front of his shoe-repair shop, one pointing a shotgun at him, the other holding a canister of gas. A match was ignited, a conflagration begun, and Morris died four days later of his burns without naming the men, perhaps fearing retribution against his family.The letter expressed grave concern that the crime would go unpunished because the local police were probably complicit. “Your office is our only hope so don’t fail us,” it concluded. It was signed:“Yours truly, The Colored People of Concordia Parish.”

  • Originally published 03/17/2013

    Tracy Thompson: The South Still Lies About the Civil War

    Tracy Thompson is the author of "The New Mind of the South." This excerpt comes from a longer excerpt of her book posted at Salon.In the course of our conversation, Yacine Kout mentioned something else—an incident that had happened the previous spring at Eastern Randolph High School just outside Asheboro. On Cinco de Mayo, the annual celebration of Mexico’s defeat of French forces at the Battle of Puebla in 1862, a lot of Hispanic students brought Mexican flags to school. The next day, Kout said, white students brought Confederate flags to school as a message: This is our heritage.

  • Originally published 03/07/2013

    Chuck Thompson: Is Racism Worse in the South?

    Chuck Thompson is the author of BETTER OFF WITHOUT ’EM: A Northern Manifesto for Southern Secession.In the wake of last week’s Supreme Court arguments over the Voting Rights Act, the geography of racism is once again a topic of debate. None other than Chief Justice John Roberts kicked things off when he asked the act’s defenders—that would be the U.S. government—a 20-word question that brilliantly framed the entire debate: “Is it the government’s submission that the citizens of the South are more racist than the citizens of the North?” Roberts asked, pinning a very ragged tail on a very ugly donkey.Unlike most debates about this question, this one has real implications. The landmark act requires that areas of the country with a particularly virulent history of racial discrimination must receive federal approval before making changes in their voting laws. To no one’s surprise, the majority of the states covered by Section 5 are located in the South. If the answer is “yes,” then a reasonable case can be made for upholding the existing law....

  • Originally published 03/07/2013

    Daniel Henninger: Is the South Still Racist?

    Daniel Henninger is deputy editor of The Wall Street Journal's editorial page.At times even a chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court finds it useful, as the saying goes, to put the hay down where the goats can get it. And so it was last week in oral arguments over a big voting-rights case.At issue in Shelby County v. Holder was whether some states in the American South, unlike many states in the North, must still submit any change in voting practices to the Justice Department for approval, as required by one section of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. As Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg noted, the practical enforcement of this provision is mainly directed at Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana.After listening to his liberal colleagues argue that Alabama's election practices, as interpreted by various legal formulas four decades after the law's passage, still discriminate against blacks, Chief Justice John Roberts put the hay down in front of Solicitor General Donald Verrilli....

  • Originally published 03/01/2013

    TN ban on renaming Civil War parks passes over Dems' objections

    Legislation that would prevent the renaming or moving of war-related monuments in Tennessee passed the state House last night. The bill comes as city officials in Memphis have renamed three Confederate-themed parks.Democrats tried to get the bill’s sponsor – Republican Steve McDaniel – to admit he was responding to the name changes in Memphis, which he denied.Rep. Johnnie Turner asked what if Jews hadn’t been allowed to tear down Nazi statues....

  • Originally published 02/12/2013

    Sarah Carr: In Southern Towns, 'Segregation Academies' Are Still Going Strong

    Sarah Carr is a contributing editor at The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit, nonpartisan education-news outlet based at Teachers College, Columbia University, and author of the forthcoming book Hope Against Hope.It took LaToysha Brown 13 years to realize how little interaction she had with white peers in her Mississippi Delta town: not at church, not at school, not at anywhere.The realization dawned when she was in the seventh grade, studying the civil rights movement at an after-school program called the Sunflower County Freedom Project. It didn't bother her at first. By high school, however, Brown had started to wonder if separate could ever be equal. She attended a nearly all-black high school with dangerous sinkholes in the courtyard, spotty Internet access in the classrooms, and a shortage of textbooks all around. Brown had never been inside Indianola Academy, the private school most of the town's white teenagers attend. But she sensed that the students there had books they could take home and walkways free of sinkholes."The schools would achieve so much more if they would combine," said Brown, now age 17 and a junior.

  • Originally published 02/05/2013

    Michael Lind: The White South’s Last Defeat

    Michael Lind is the author of Land of Promise: An Economic History of the United States and co-founder of the New America Foundation. In understanding the polarization and paralysis that afflict national politics in the United States, it is a mistake to think in terms of left and right. The appropriate directions are North and South. To be specific, the long, drawn-out, agonizing identity crisis of white Southerners is having effects that reverberate throughout our federal union. The transmission mechanism is the Republican Party, an originally Northern party that has now replaced the Southern wing of the Democratic Party as the vehicle for the dwindling white Southern tribe....

  • Originally published 01/16/2013

    Blain Roberts: The Ugly Side of the Southern Belle

    Blain Roberts, an assistant professor of history at California State University, Fresno, is the author of the forthcoming book “Pretty Women: Female Beauty in the Jim Crow and Civil Rights South.”...From 1921, when the contest began in Atlantic City, through World War II, only one woman representing a former Confederate state won the competition. Then, beginning in 1947, when a woman from Memphis earned the top honor, the fortunes of Southern contestants rose precipitously. From 1950 to 1963, seven southerners were crowned (each served the following year), including back-to-back wins by Mississippians in 1958 and 1959 — though southerners made up only one-fifth of the possible winners.These were, of course, the years when black Southerners opened a full-scale campaign against Jim Crow, prompting a bitter backlash by white Southerners. White resistance began in earnest in 1954, when the Supreme Court issued Brown v. Board of Education, its decision to desegregate public schools.

  • Originally published 02/07/2011

    On Going Viral: Reflections on Why the South Really Seceded

    1865 cartoon.On Sunday, January 9 [2011], the Washington Post published my op-ed article, "5 Myths about Why the South Seceded."  Even before it appeared in print, I knew it had touched a nerve. At its website, the Post dates the article at the stroke of midnight Saturday, but by 7:00pm that evening I had received at least thirty emails about it, a portent of the torrent to come. By Monday, the piece had received more than half a million hits, more than any other Post story. During the next week, almost four thousand other sites, from Forbes to The Times of India, linked to it or discussed it. Still other sites simply reprinted the article, which now appears at, for example, the Black Pride Network and the South Carolina Agricultural Trade News.