The South was doomed…#191

Again, and again, again, again…I have to listen to how terrible the South was, is, and in these days of unrest being from the South I am labeled.  I do not know how to get people to understand that my southern ancestors were not a part of the atrocity of those long ago days.  I do have a southern accent (now in the Midwest) in some circles makes me guilty of what transpired centuries ago.  Slavery was wrong, however, my Native American ancestors were in some cases slaves too.

My father was forced to go to an Indian School; the white people looked down on him as a lesser human being.  He spent his entire life under the cloud of discrimination because his skin was not white.  I am not defending the North or the South; I am saying many judge me without the knowledge of who I am.  It appears that there are some who would have the South removed from everyone’s brains, a history “Lobotomy”. 

What I know to be the truth…

Yes, slavery was a part of the Civil War, but not the total reason.  In addition, slaves were in Eastern and Northern United States over 400 years ago. I am from Alabama and Joseph Wheeler Plantation is one of the oldest in Alabama, dating back to year only 1818. Joe Wheeler Plantation was only a few miles from where I was born; in almost a different world. Slavery was abolished in the northern states when doing so by “northern politicians” became popular and the abolitionists began attacking slavery, and of course, the southern “politicians” tried to justify the institution. 

After the War, the North ceased to think of slaves and freedmen as being serious. Many northern politicians felt that it was not necessary to start the War because the South was economicically doomed and would die a natural death within time.  The South did eventually die, without industrial means of surviving, all would eventually be lost. 

They were right, the romantic realm of the old south was soon to be gone.  Southern plantation owners had been living a dream, and eventually they were living like most southerners, poor farm hands, these people were never rich, again.  The South was finally broken. 

It was a devastating time for slaves who worked sixteen-to-eighteen-hour days, seven days a week. Sunstroke and all types of hard work killed many. The working conditions, little food and poor clothing, terrible housing, lack of freedom to move about, and susceptibility to being sold and family separated led many slaves, to become “wearisome property.”  Some tried to fight back, they were intelligent and had “leaders”.  They sabotage production, challenge overseers, fought back when provoked, ran away with hopes of being free; there was rebellion. Plantation owners were aware that the younger generation of slaves were not “natural-born” and behaved differently that the older generation. 

Slaves were required to submit to masters and respect all whites, could travel only if they had passes, they could be killed from knowing how to read or write, limited their travel activities, and they could not own or be in possession of firearms or liquor.  My question was always, if they were not human, then why were the plantation owners afraid for them to learn how to read and write? Slave patrols were a necessity for plantation owners.

The reality was that slavery often involved beating, killing, and raping, even murder, if ever, resulted in no legal prosecution of white overseers or the owners, let alone conviction or meaningful punishment.  Glorification of Southern women often took the form of harsh penalties for slaves who raped, tried to rape, or even ogled white women.  This continued in the South well into the 1950’s. In the early 1900’s they were hanged, later years if they made it to trail they were sent to the “electric chair”. Are Blacks upset and mad, hell yes they are, would we in all of our “whiteness” be mad, hell yes. There were in the South only two levels of “white”, the rich and the poor.

This brings us to this day in America.  Not all Southerners are bad, not all Law Enforcement are bad, and not all Protesters are bad.  True Southerners are not proud of their ancestors, and have paid for the actions of their southern ancestors for many generations; and I am afraid that they will continue to pay.  Honest Law Enforcement is not proud of the actions of a few, yet they are now paying for something they were not a part.  There are good, peaceful Protesters; it is our right to protest in a peaceful manner, just as we have the right to Freedom of Speech; not all Protesters loot and burn.  As Americans, we must learn the difference.

EAJM

38 thoughts on “The South was doomed…#191

    1. I have found at my age that anything other than the truth would be fruitless. I believe that we have hidden to many things for too long. I lived through the 50’s on up and heard, seen things that we deploring. Time to change this Nation. E. Thank o Quiall for the comment.

      Liked by 3 people

  1. Thank you for writing such a great post. Your post provoked much thought. I think that is exactly what good blogs are supposed to do. I empathize with the plight you and your ancestors faced in Alabama. Your thoughts are genuine and sincere. I respect that but had to reply with genuine and sincere thoughts of my own. I began my comment and it just got longer and longer. Apologies for that but the subject you raise deserves discussion. This comment is so long and required so much effort I think I will make this comment the basis for a post of my own with a little polishing.

    Slavery was the fiction of owning a human being as property. That’s bad enough alone not to mention the rapes, beatings, killings, family forced separations, denial of educational opportunities, etc, etc.. Ironically, during slavery slaves probably received better treatment from police, at least as far as not being killed, than Blacks did after slavery. That a slave was probably the property of a white person of some wealth would likely make police and others reluctant to kill a slave because of the investment and value the slave represented. A slave owner might even demand that the killer provide compensation for the loss. After emancipation that was no longer a consideration. Killings and lynchings of Blacks could be carried out without having to worry about potentially offending or causing a monetary loss for white people.

    Slavery in the South, other locations in the Americas, and Europe was different than some other forms of that practice. It was built on a firm and almost universally held belief in white supremacy. Slavery was even supported by most southern evangelical Christians. In contrast in Rome, slaves were at times educated and held status within their households. Romans allowed slaves to become free and take part in civil society. Roman citizens could become slaves. Although there was the practice of indentured servitude, whites were never slaves in America.

    You say “True Southerners are not proud of their ancestors, and have paid for the actions of their southern ancestors for many generations.” The first part of the statement is puzzling given the hundreds of southern monuments to slave owners, Confederate officers and politicians, and including the Confederate battle flag as part of state flags like the Alabama state flag. Southerners seem to be extremely proud of and determined to honor their slave owning Confederate history.

    As far as I can see, whites have paid no price. Among many other practices, after the Civil War southerners organized the terrorism of the Klan and passed laws preventing voting by Blacks and many other laws institutionalizing white supremacy. Those practices were widely popular in the South and tolerated, if not supported and emulated to some extent, by the rest of the country as recently as 60 years ago. In terms of changing long-held attitudes, 60 years is not a long time. Those attitudes persist in many forms despite changes in laws. Racial attitudes are passed down consciously and subconsciously.

    I’m also not sure what you mean when you say “It appears that there are some who would have the South removed from everyone’s brains, a history “Lobotomy.” It appears to me that white southerners are the ones who have tried to “lobotomize” the truth of their racist and violent history. If you are referring to the removal of monuments praising dead, racist, traitors (the generals and politicians of the Confederacy), or taking the Confederate battle flag off state flags and banning the display in certain public venues, that is a good thing.

    Frankly, it is astonishing that the US named any military bases after traitors, men whose cause killed hundreds of thousands of American soldiers in the bloodiest war in American history. It should be insulting to everyone as much as it would be for a US base to be named Ft. Rommel or Ft. Tojo. It would be absurd to suggest Jewish soldiers serve at a base named Ft. Himmler. But my stepfather spent a few months at Ft. Benning (named for a Confederate General) when he was recovering from a German “Bouncing Betty” mine in Italy in WWII. He carried to his grave the scars and lumpy flesh. His wounds and scars were not all physical or inflicted by foreigners.

    There is a lot of brainwashing in American culture about many things. Violent protest is one of those subjects. I’m against violence but it is the natural outcome of continuous mistreatment and oppression. It has been that way throughout history. Americans celebrate violent protest when it is a riot known as the Boston Tea Party. which was just about taxation without representation – not loss of life. The American Revolution was violence. Storming of the Bastille in France was violence.

    These days no one says the violence of the Boston Tea Party or the American Revolution detracted from the cause. Those violent events are celebrated and accepted as the natural consequence of the “intolerable” conditions people were experiencing. On the other hand, today any violence by or on behalf of Blacks like the burning of a Wendy’s because of grievances that have gone unaddressed for far too long creates great fear and is strongly condemned. Yet people continue to try to justify violence perpetrated against Blacks.

    You mentioned that you are a Native American or have Native American ancestry. As a kid, movies and popular American culture brainwashed me into thinking Native Americans were the bad guys. That culture said “indians” were savages, i. e., deserving of mistreatment, and rarely stated that there was anything wrong in whites taking their land. I never believed some of that, but when playing cowboys and “indians” I always wanted to be the cowboys because I’d been conditioned to believe the “indians” were on the wrong side. In fact, Native Americans had every right to violently defend themselves and their property from genocide, broken treaties, and white invasion. America has never even tried to effectively come to grips with its history of white supremacy, slavery, mistreatment of Native Americans, and the effects therefrom that continue to this day.

    Finally, I wholeheartedly agree with you that not all southerners are racists and not all police treat Blacks worse than whites. But you recognize that some people (irrespective of geographic origin or residence) are racists and some police do treat Blacks worse than whites even killing Black people without good cause with impunity. The vast majority of so-called “honest law enforcement” has always covered for the bad actors on the force. That makes them as culpable and dishonest as the police they cover for. Whites who have on blinders when it comes to racism and discrimination by others can’t escape blame either.

    The good news is police can decide to act honorably and people can take off the blinders they may not even realize they have on. It just takes will and an open mind.

    Liked by 5 people

      1. Thank you again for your comment. You mentioned you may use the concept of my post to create a post. If so, please leave out my personal family, state information, it will be appreciated. Let me know if you post, I will enjoy reading your take on the subject(s). E.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Your history, your soulful words, your factual statements are not interesting or even noticed by the mob who wants to tear things down to gain power. It isn’t about race, it isn’t about slavery, it’s about their need to destroy. I am a Californian by birth, but have known many real southerners via the US Navy and through later business dealings. I have met and befriended real southern gentle-people whom I admire. I’ve also met bigots in all walks of life. We need to resist the mob, not allow their narrative to invade our consciousness. We know who we are, individually; don’t let them define us for their purposes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your comment is appreciated, we all know who we are; the intent is to do a series on Presidents who talked against slavery but had them. I know that my words may go unnoticed, however, my post on having slaves is the same as slavery. So, you are wrong, I am writing about slavery! Please visit again, your comments are welcome, your anger is not! E.

      Like

      1. I apologize if I appeared to be critical or angry with you. I have no disagreement with what you have said. I guess I went off-topic and I appreciate your tolerance and graciousness. I have no standing on the subject of slavery, and accept your point of view. I’ll read your post again, slowly this time. best wishes, Ron

        Like

      2. Thank you Ron, my skin is thick, I was discriminated against as a child, my daddy was a non-discriminatory Chickasaw, living in Alabama, my mother a racist white woman, my daddy raised me, not my mother. I lived in both worlds. Thank you again, please visit soon, the Presidents series will end shortly. I am a writer and poet, I will start new things. E.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I agree that history is complicated. The Civil War was and was not about slavery or rather it was about many things, as it varied according personal motivation. Some say it was about states rights, but even that has a dark history of first being used in the South to break federal treaties in order to steal Native American land.

    I’ve come to have great interest in the South, though identifying as a Midwesterner. I’ve spent most of my life in central Iowa, which feels far from the South even as Southern culture leaks into the state from Southern Illinois and Missouri. My brother lives in southern Iowa and one occasionally hears a slight Southern accent, usually from someone living on the other side of the Mississippi river.

    I was actually born in a factory town in Ohio, right on the edge of Appalachia. We then moved to a wealthier Jewish suburb of Chicago. My oldest brother remembers being ridiculed by the other kids because he said ‘zeero’ instead of ‘zero’. My parents are born and raised Hoosiers with my mom’s family having centuries of roots in Kentucky and the Ohio Valley.

    I’ve heard recordings of my mother when she was first married. She had a Hoosier-style Southern accent that is common among poor whites having moved up from the South, despite her family not having been in Kentucky since the mid-1800s. One of my maternal ancestors came to the Upper South shortly after the American Revolution. He did so to fight Native Americans and help steal their land. Yet there are family rumors that there might be Cherokee in the family from way back.

    Whether or not my ancestry fought on both sides of the Indian Wars, they definitely fought on both sides of the Civil War. That would be true for many other Americans as well. Ancestry, as well as culture, doesn’t necessarily fall neatly into regional boundaries. Most of my ancestry is Southern, something I didn’t know until recent years when I did genealogical research. It’s not only my mother’s family from the Upper South but also my father’s family from the Deep South.

    The latter half of my youth was spent in South Carolina. A short distance from my family’s house one of our ancestors had a plantation, but we didn’t know it at the time. It was years later when my father spoke to someone in SC who had a common name and he had a a genealogical book that listed his Texas grandmother. That line of our family goes back to early colonial Virginia and they were slave owners. The patriarch probably came over with indentured servants, but the first slave he had might’ve been a Native American captive he was given after a fight.

    Interestingly, on my mother’s side, I traced one line back possibly to a slave. If that can be verified, it would mean I’d have both slaveholders and slaves in my ancestry. A surprising number of Southern whites have recent ancestors from Africa, according to genetic research. And for obvious reasons, one suspects that there are actually more blacks than whites who are descendants of Plantation aristocracy. Thomas Jefferson, for example, left many lines of black descendants.

    It’s a mixed up world. Anyway, between whites and blacks, there likely are millions of Americans who have an ancestor who owned slaves and most of them don’t know it, and a significant few such as myself don’t live in the South. Even some of the Cherokee in the South owned slaves. Whatever other Southerners might have been fighting for, I’d bet that at least some of my Southern ancestors were fighting the Civil War specifically in defense of slavery.

    Knowing all of this, I can’t say I feel any more shame than pride about my Southern heritage. I’m not sure what to think of it, any more than I know what to think about my father growing up in a sundown town in the Midwest, something my grandparents had to have known when they moved their young family there, especially as that was my grandmother who came from the Jim Crow South in a center of Klan activity. It just is what it is. But it does help me understand the world that has shaped my family’s experience and hence that has shaped me. Like it or not, I inherit this history.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Benjamin, what a wonderful comment, I wish you would post it holds such reason. I too am currently a mid-westerner, born and raised in Alabama, now in Wisconsin since 1966. As a southerner, we were not plantation owners, my mother’s people had wealth but no slaves they were Jewish, who after the war were poor. My father was Chickasaw, his family was on the Trail of Tears. I write these post as a poor southern girl growing up in the poor South. I am now a woman who remembers being discriminated against because of the color of my daddy’s skin. I have friends of all color and nationality, my hope is to see peace come to our country before it is too late. Please stop by again. E.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I have written about it before. There are a number of posts on my blog about genealogy, but one in particular that covers this territory. I’m also writing another post about the sundown town my father grew up in. In looking at old newspapers, I discovered that before becoming sundown it had been Klan town. The Second Klan ruled there when there was a decent sized black population, which later disappeared. There actually was no reported violence of the Klan against blacks. During the height of the Second Klan in Indiana, in fact there wasn’t a single lynching. The lynchings got worse after the Second Klan fell apart.

      There were many interesting articles from the early 1900s. Blacks had public events, including in the public park, when the Klan was active there. A black preacher came to speak and the article said that both races were welcome to the event. Also, during that same period, the Klan put out a notice that they were going to give presents to poor children and that black children would be included. The Second Klan was an odd thing, often more of a civic organization. Yes, a racist civic organization. But their focus of concern and fear-mongering was generally more directed toward non-WASP whites, particularly Catholics and immigrants.

      In other parts of the country, the Second Klan violently clashed with opponents such as ethnic populations. Yet, in Indiana, they were rather non-violent for some reason. Maybe it was because non-WASPs were such a small part of the population. Indiana Klan towns were mildly segregated. Blacks tended to live in a separate part of town, sometimes where ethnic immigrants also lived, although in my father’s town some blacks lived downtown, possibly because of working as servants. Some events like a preacher visiting might not be segregated, while other things like the skating rink was only open to blacks one day of the week.

      What most interested me is that my father didn’t know it was a sundown town. Nor did he know a black population once existed there, as he only remembers one black lady in town who worked as a maid for the local doctor. The entire local history of blacks was quickly erased from memory, in a matter of two to three decades. Other older people from that town also didn’t know about any of this. Apparently, no one talked about it. My paternal grandparents would’ve known about it being a sundown town, as there were the typical sundown town signs that spelled it out in no uncertain terms. My grandfather was a minister there and he had to have known much of the history, including the black population that disappeared.

      My father says that race never was discussed, not even when he’d visit his grandmother in the Jim Crow South. He remembers seeing a water fountain with a sign that said ‘colored’ and he remembers his grandmother referring to an old black man as ‘boy’. Yet there was some kind of unstated taboo where no questions were asked and no answers offered. My paternal grandmother might have known family members who had memories of the family owning slaves before the Civil War. She left the Deep South and never spoke of her experience there. She then moved to the West Coast where she became strongly liberal, although it’s interesting that she settled down in Oregon which is the only place in the country where the entire state used to be sundown.

      If not for my genealogical and historical research, I wouldn’t know about any of this. Past generations didn’t seem to want to know about it or to want later descendants to know about it either. I guess it was a dark secret. I know from my study of sundown towns that even mob violence could be entirely suppressed from local history, sometimes not even the newspaper writing about it. If someone didn’t record the oral history later on, it simply disappeared as if it never happened. It never occurs to most people to ask why there are no black people living in some town. In the county of my father’s hometown, I came across local blacks interviewed and none of them knew about that particular black population either.

      Both whites and blacks had formed a shared amnesia. Most blacks lived in a nearby town and it was as if it had always been that way. Blacks lived only in that one place because that was the black town, whereas the other towns were white towns, as if that is the way God had ordered the world. It’s such a strange thing. So much of American history is like that. It would be nice if, as a society, we could finally talk about all of this honestly without all the conflict, hatred, and shame. The collective silence and silencing has not been healthy. Anyway, below is the post I mentioned where I discuss some of my family history in relation to the topic of race and racism.

      https://benjamindavidsteele.wordpress.com/2016/12/19/deep-roots-in-dark-soil/

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for visiting and following my blog. Hate and violence in humankind goes back to biblical days. I don’t understand why. As a child, i lived in Florida (1948-1953). Anti-semitisim was high, and with a maiden name of Horowitz, I know first hand what prejudice can do. I also remember how the blacks were treated and the way they were forced to live. If people didn’t know my last name, I wouldn’t receive the same treatment. But, the kids at school knew I was Jewish. The teachers were no better. If I didn’t stand and sing Christian songs, I would be paddled. I’ve always thought that we fought the Civil War for nothing and should have let the south succeed. Things are changing, but not enough. When will humankind learn and foster a world of peace not hate???

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Anne, Thank you for your wonderful comment. I was born 1939 in Alabama, moved to Wisconsin in 1966, lived through it all. Prejudice followed me as well, I was raised poor by a Chickasaw father and great-grandmother, I had an emotional absentee mother who lived in the same house. I myself thought the Union should have let the South succeed, they would have sunk or swim. I have had in my life time friends of all color, race, religion, I loved them for their heart and soul, not their heritage. I also have a Jewish friend living nearby, we talk about our lives and she was called a Jewish princess which she hated. Of hate…I fear peace, love and kindness to one another will not come in my lifetime. Please stop by again. E.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Some years ago, I came around to the position that the South probably should’ve been allowed to secede. The thing is they probably would have successfully seceded, if the Confederates hadn’t committed a terrorist attack on a military fort. It was either an act of insurrection or war, but in either case no government in the world would allow such an act to happen without military response. The Confederates sealed their doom by that single act. But if they had sought secession peacefully, it’s almost guaranteed the South would be a separate country today. There was no public support or political will at the time to stop the South from having seceded, as long as it remained a peaceful act in merely declaring autonomy of self-governance.

      That would’ve been better for everyone involved, including better for the North. The regional cultures and economic systems were too different. I don’t know that secession would’ve ended slavery any sooner, though. Prior to the Civil War, many slave owners such as Thomas Jefferson were moving toward industrialization. And in the cities, slaves were being loaned out to work in the emerging factories. Blacks were the majority in parts of the South, such as South Carolina. But there are many historical examples of minorities ruling over majorities: Spartans, Roman Empire, Spanish Empire, British Empire, South Africans, etc. Still, it’s possible that it would’ve forced the South to come to terms more quickly with its own racism. Maybe or maybe not.

      Keep in mind, despite international laws against it, there are more slaves in the world today than there were at the height of slavery in centuries past. Slavery remains profitable on the global market, both outright forced labor and more mild forms. An example of a mild form is the Chinese factories where desperately impoverished workers are locked inside with bars over the windows so that they can’t escape even through suicide by leaping to their death. Such enforced cheap labor provides for many of American’s cheap consumer goods. So, obviously, having defeated the South and abolishing slavery in the United States did not stop the global trade based on slave labor. It does make one wonder what was accomplished, especially considering there are more blacks now in American prisons than were in slavery before the Civil War.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Coucou mon Amie Ami

    Mes pensées à partager avec vous

    Il nous reste une vie malgré le temps qui court
    Il nous reste cette vie pour bien remplir nos jours quel quand soit son parcours
    Il nous reste la vie pour chercher l’ amour ou celle de l’amitié

    C’est vrai que nous cherchons parfois
    A nous raccrocher au passé
    Sans trop savoir pourquoi , surtout sans trop vouloir y penser

    Mais l’on sais bien qu’au fond de soi
    Que le temps coule comme un sablier
    Qu’importe mes Amies Amis il faut le vivre l’instant présent et profiter de nos journées

    Belle Journée ou Bonne fin d’après-midi a toi dans le calme et la douceur
    Bises amicales
    Bernard

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your gracious thoughts and for sharing. I do not know your language but site that appear interesting I translate for my own enjoyment, thus was yours, please come by again. Our time is so short, and yes, we must fill with love and friendship on this journey though life. Today’s problems with America is that many are holding to the past instead of being grateful for today. I do not want to see history destroyed, least we repeat it. Life lessons are never leaned, therefore we continue to repeat. We do need to be mindful and live more in the moment. Hugs to you my new friend.

      Like

  6. What a fascinating and meaningful post and comments. I live in Canada. A first-generation Canadian as both my parents immigrated here after WW2. Our ancestry is mixed and complex – predominantly Euro-Asian. My mother was born in a then French colony in India to mixed-blood parents.

    what it says to me is that ‘pure white’ is a misnomer. Go back far enough and you will find connections. We are all connected. One people. One human race. And the path to peace is through seeing our differences as something to keep us apart and instead, recognizing and celebrating them as something that speaks to our shared humanity.

    Thanks for following and visiting me — I look forward to following your journey here. I know I’m going to learn a lot.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I appreciate your telling part of a story that is never told. I also think we need to fill in some gaps and continue to tell specific parts. For example, sometimes Black men were accused of ogling white women and then KILLED for actions, having never touched a woman. That’s just one example.

    My point really is we need to have ALL stories told (like yours) and combined for a comprehensive American history of how we’ve gotten where we are today ❤

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s