Monday, July 27, 2020

The Confederacy and Black Lives Matter--Jeffery Robinson

The Confederacy and Black Lives Matter

This video was sent to me by a very conservative Marine buddy, a combat vet who was a company commander in Vietnam. His nickname is “Machete Eddie.”

I was going to watch only a few minutes, but ended watching the whole thing. I think you should to. It is a defense of Black Lives Matter by an excellent, articulate black defense attorney, Jeffery Robinson. It’s worth knowing how at least this intelligent black man sees things.

Much of what he says about the confederacy I agree with. I have never believed the “lost cause” myth. Every state declaration of succession cites the need to protect slavery as a primary reason for succession. The south succeeded because they knew that “Black republican” Lincoln was opposed to slavery and thought his election meant the federal government would come after it. So by all means, remove Confederate statutes, though I would prefer moving them to museums to destruction. So I agree that the south was fighting for slavery and succession was treason.

For a different view by Walter Williams, PhD, a distinguished black economist, see:
Historical Ignorance and Confederate Generals. Walter E. Williams

Like a good defense attorney, Robinson cites the points in his clients’ favor, and ignores the rest.

He doesn’t say why BLM would destroy the statute of Frederick Douglas, an escaped slave and abolitionist leader. Or the statute of Col. Hans Christian Heg, a Wisconsin abolitionist who led a regiment in battle against the slave power. 

Why deface the monument to the 54th Massachusetts, a black regiment that served bravely? (I have a special interest. My great, great grandfather, Sgt. Oliver Vernal, served through the war with the 6th Connecticut, and was badly wounded twice putting down the slave power. Had he died I would have died with him. The 6th went in next to the 54th at Battery Wagner, but they didn’t make the movie Glory. I might say his history was erased.)

Why deface the statute of Gen. Grant? True, Grant may be said to have technically owned slaves because his wife did. But without his leadership, would the confederacy have been defeated? And as president he defended the rights of black citizens and broke the Klan.

In Robinson’s view, the south was fighting for slavery while the north, apparently, was only fighting to preserve the Union.

He quotes Lincoln as saying he would keep slavery if it would preserve the Union. He passes over numerous quotes from Lincoln against slavery. What he doesn’t understand is that if slavery was to be ended, the south had to be defeated. To do that, Lincoln knew that he had to keep the north united. There were a great many in the north who though slavery was a bad thing, but were not abolitionists, fearing what that meant for society. Without their support, the north would have lost the war. And slavery would likely have existed another 20-30 years, followed by an Apartheid country with a long border with the US. Would this have been a good thing?

The usual estimate is the 360,000 Union soldiers died in the war, 40,000 of them black. If they were not fighting slavery, why did every regiment sing John Brown’s Body as a marching song? Would one in ten BLM members know who John Brown, William Lloyd Garrison or William Wilberforce was?

He does not say how a country steeped in systemic racism elected a black president twice, or why Obama got more white votes in 2008 than Kerry in 2004 or Gore in 2000.

Since I hold a masters in history, I have read a great deal about slavery and race relations. I put a lot of this in an essay in 2014, when I was in the hospital after my lung transplant:

Essay: Racism in America.

Be warned, the essay is 2000 words, and the bibliography of books I have read as of 2014 on the subject is another 2000. I especially recommend:

The Black Family in Slavery and Freedom, 1750-1925. By Herbert G. Gutman 

While its use of slave genealogies to show how they tried to hold their families together can be tedious (you can skip), it is well worth reading.

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