Presidents since Woodrow Wilson have annually sent a commemorative wreath to the Confederate Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery. Up until the presidency of George H.W. Bush, the wreath was sent on or near the birthday of Confederate president, Jefferson Davis. Since then, the wreath has been sent on Memorial Day.
One might think that this is a practice birthed in a generosity of spirit and healing of the war that had so deeply divided the nation. Unfortunately the truth is that the monument commemorates not the dead so much as the cause of the confederacy, and stands to this day as a rallying point for white supremacy.
This is why scholars Edward Sebestaco-editor of "Neo-Confederacy: A Critical Introduction," University of Texas Press, and James Loewen, Professor Emeritus of Sociology, University of Vermont, joined by some 65 others (including me) sent a letter to president Obama asking him to end the practice.
The many prominent scholars who signed the letter include: James McPherson, Professor of History, Princeton University; and William Lee Miller, Scholar in Ethics and Institutions at the Miller Center of Public Affairs, University of Virginia; Jon Weiner, Professor of History, University of California, Irvine; and David W. Blight, Professor of American History, Yale; and Roger G. Kennedy, director emeritus of the National Museum of American History.
The monument was given to the Federal Government by the United Daughters of the Confederacy and in 1914, and was, Sebesta and Loewen write, "intended to legitimize secession and the principles of the Confederacy and glorify the Confederacy."
The Daily Beast has an account of the effort, but so far, the media, and for that matter, the blogosphere have not yet picked-up on the story. The History News Network, however, published the letter along with the names of those who had signed on at the time.
This should be interesting...[more]