I watched a bit of "Eyes on the Prize" Sunday on PBS and, even though I've seen it a few times before, it's always riveting. Thank god for the courageous media back then, not to mention all those young African-American students on the front lines of integration, because the images and footage still resonate after all these years.
The Civil Rights movement was an extension of the Civil War, to guarantee that all men and women are created equal with equal rights.
Today, with the 149th anniversary of the start of the Civil War, there are a few out there who continue to divide America over that conflict. Their timing is suspicious, considering we have an African-American in the White House.
The Republican governor of Virginia has designated this "Confederate History Month." He's received support from the Republican governor of Mississippi. This is supposedly about "Southern heritage," the kind that excludes African-Americans, so that Virginians can "understand the sacrifices of the Confederate leaders, soldiers and citizens during the period of the Civil War." (The Virginia governor later condemned slavery).
These governors, and others in the South and elsewhere, need to be constantly reminded of what General U.S. Grant thought at the war's conclusion when he wrote in his memoirs, "I felt like anything rather than rejoicing at the downfall of a foe who had fought so long and valiantly, and had suffered so much for a cause, though that cause was, I believe, one of the worst for which a people ever fought, and one for which there was the least excuse."
Imagine if Germany had a "Nazi History Month" about all the heroic actions of native sons trying to fight off the Allied invaders.
What is with these freaks in the American South? Is it some sort of fetish with uniforms and leather? Is it a complete denial of how destructive their "lost cause" of slavery was to this country? And why do these guys continue to get elected?
In light of "Eyes on the Prize," it's discouraging to see the same attitudes of the 1950s and '60s re-surface in 2010.
In eastern Oregon, a white supremacist group, using Confederate imagery, wants to set up shop in John Day, about 120 miles east of Bend. (See earlier post here.) And, I'm sure you see the Confederate battle flag on a few vehicles where you live.
It's one thing for a private citizen to display his or her hate and ignorance. It is completely wrong for a state in this Union to do so. Does the "North" need to come down and raise holy hell again throughout the South? The "North" now includes the vast majority of the 50 states. It would be quick work to crush the racists in the South, from Virginia to Texas.
But, we're beyond that. We, the "Northerners," hope to merely embarrass and humiliate these Southern "heritage" idiots on a national and international level.
Not that it matters to the Republican governors of Virginia and Mississippi. They are truly clueless.