Thursday, March 13, 2008

Guess What April Is????

So, I'm flipping through the local parish newspaper--fourteen pages of church news, hunting news, and legal notices--when I come upon a proclamation by the parish police jury. An excerpt:
WHEREAS, all citizens of _________ Parish and Louisiana should study the War between the States, as we study all wars, so that we may understand the events which led to the war and... continue to learn from the past and live together peaceably and avoid future conflicts...

THEREFORE, we, the Police Jury of _________ Parish, do hereby proclaim April 2008 as:

CONFEDERATE HISTORY MONTH
Now, it would seem to me that if we were going to understand the "events which led to the war," looking at more than one side would be helpful. Maybe a Civil War History Month? (I can't believe they said the War between the States!!!)

The proclamation..., well, proclaims "that we can all learn from the lessons of history and thereby be in better positions to preserve these ideals for posterity."

What ideals??? I swear, the first thing that popped in my mind is that this was a statement, a la Trent Lott on Strom Thurmond.

Now, I haven't made up my mind exactly what I'm going to do celebrate Confederate History Month, seeing as how I'm a historian and all, but I have some ideas.

Despite my perturbed-ness, my dad suggests it might be a good idea. What people can learn from Confederate History Month, he says, "Is the stuff we won't stand for anymore."

9 comments:

k8 said...

I could probably come up with some fun ways to subvert it. Having said that, this concerns me as someone who studies rhetoric and representation.

elle said...

I'd love to hear your ideas...

JustMe said...

yes, this is very very odd. b/c you know there are people who celebrate it for the wrong reasons.

Gwyneth Bolton said...

This is just ridiculous. I can't even comment.

Gwyneth

Quinn said...

You're fucking kidding me.

RageyOne said...

I think that is celebrated, er - I don't think that is the right term, in several other southern states. How unfortunate.

k8 said...

Well, it doesn't exactly say whose version of the history of the confederacy is to be taught. Teaching it as a history of social and government sponsored oppression might not be what the local officials had in mind. My background is in English (writing studies and children's lit), so I immediately thought of some of the books I know.

I just read Julius Lester's novel Day of Tears (it's a children's/young adult novel about the largest slave auction in U.S. history) and I can see integrating that into a confederacy curriculum. It's presented as a dialogue/series of monologues by characters who are slaves, slave owners, etc.

And then I thought of Sharon Draper's Copper Sun that follows a teenage girl from Africa to the Middle Passage to a plantation (she's bought as a present for the owner's 16 year old son) and beyond. While not excessively graphic, Draper conveys the horror of the repeated rape of this girl. The story also includes a white girl who is an indentured servant on the plantations, an issue that is often glossed over. And, I don't know if I'll ever get the phrase "gator bait" out of my head after reading this book. Another good book to use would be Mildred Taylor's The Land.

Sorry, that got a bit long. I get excited about books I like.

Joan Kelly said...

I like your dad. That's the only sentence I can construct that doesn't contain WTF as the major talking point. Although even if I could manage something else, I would still like your dad.

trillwing said...

Unbelievable. . . that they didn't call it "The war betwixt the states" or "the war for Southern independence."

WTF.

Revelations and ruminations from one southern sistorian...