Confederate Group Shuns Memphis, Moves Convention to Civil War Hotbed Richardson

SonsofConfederateVeterans.jpeg
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There's been a bit of a fuss lately over the Memphis City Council's decision to change the name of three city parks, scrubbing them clean of any reference to the Confederacy in hopes of making them more inviting to residents who may not exactly have felt welcome in early-1860s Tennessee.

Gone are Jefferson Davis Park, named for the CSA's first president; Nathan Bedford Forrest Park, honoring a Confederate lieutenant general and the Klan's first grand wizard; and the straightforward Confederate Park. Temporarily at least, they'll be Memphis Park, Mississippi River Park and Health Sciences Park.

The switch has inspired a backlash from groups that celebrate Confederate heritage. Like the Ku Klux Klan.

Far less odious groups have also cried foul, too. The Sons of Confederate Veterans, which is much more interested in preserving an undeniably important piece of the country's history than celebrating racial injustice (an almost impossibly fine line to walk), is among them.

The group had been leaning toward hosting its 2016 convention in Memphis, which made a certain amount of sense. The Sons of the Confederacy is headquartered a few hours to the east, in Columbia, Tennessee, and the city served as an early Confederate base and the site of a significant naval battle.

The Memphis Commercial Appeal reported today that the organization has changed its mind and has instead chosen the noted Confederate stronghold of Richardson, Texas.

The decision isn't quite as arbitrary as it sounds. Ben Sewell, III, SOC's executive director, tells Unfair Park that local chapters submit proposals to host the annual convention and that only two had been received for 2016. One came from Memphis, the other from Richardson.

The decision to pick Richardson will still have to be ratified by the SOC's governing council, which Sewell expects to happen. He's not a member of the committee that made the recommendation and so can't speak for them but said Memphis' decision to rename the parks played a role.

"It certainly was a factor," he said. "It's something where you don't normally want to spend your money somewhere you don't feel [welcome]."

So, come July 2016, look for a ragtag band of gray-clad Civil War enthusiasts to be marching into Richardson.

(h/t Morning News)

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38 comments
GetReal123
GetReal123

"Those who want to suppress Southern history are also suppressing American history...."

I agree that we should teach"southern culture" in American History classes. If we did that then this historical rewrite that Southern leaders were just "Patriots" like all other will be dispelled.

I hope that would include Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens Cornerstone Speech of March 21, 1861. Let me educate you by quoting that speech.

"Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner- stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth. .... Our system commits no such violation of nature's laws. With us, all of the white race, however high or low, rich or poor, are equal in the eye of the law. Not so with the negro. Subordination is his place. He, by nature, or by the curse against Canaan, is fitted for that condition which he occupies in our system."

So Yes.. Let us teach "Southern Culture" so it may take its rightful place.

RadarGort
RadarGort

I'm origanally from Memphis and lived there in the 50's and 60's when it wasn't a crime to honor our Southern ancestors.  The three 100 year old city parks that they renamed because they had Confederate names were beautiful parks and were a reminder to Memphians and Southerners of the men who were willing to do their duty and who defended and protected their families and homes.  Forrest and Davis and the Confederate soldiers  were revered as men of Courage and Honorand and Integrity. These men were willing to sacarifice everything, except their sacred honor, in defense of their homeland.  You once heard the spirited song "Dixie" at parades and football games but that is no more, Confederate battle flags once were waved  proudly at football games and other events but not any more.  Our high school once had a picture of Confederate President Jefferson Davis hanging in the hall, but I'm sure that is long gone.  Those who want to suppress Southern history are also suppressing American history ------------------and they will continue their vindictiveness to include other great Americans if we continue to allow them to do so.   

Kyla Bussey
Kyla Bussey

I think people have the wrong impression about some of this: it's a historical re-enactment and convention of people enthusiastic about the history of our region and their ancestors. It's not a racist or conservative thing.

Cris Villarma
Cris Villarma

They will love the authentic Asian and Middle Eastern food Richardson has to offer!

Strom McCallum
Strom McCallum

I'm defender of Southern culture. There are legitimate threats to Southern culture. That doesn't make me pro-Confederate. The Confederacy was unquestionably wrong. The Confederate States seceded to defend slavery. Not all Southerners were Confederates- and of those who were, many were not proponents of the Confederacy's ideology, but saw service as their obligation. Several Southern states did not even secede from the Union. I am no enemy of the Confederacy soldier. At the same time, I'm no fan of the Confederacy. There's a difference. http://strommccallum.blogspot.com/2013/03/aaa_9748.html#!/2013/03/aaa_9748.html

Jerry Puckett
Jerry Puckett

I take offense at the last line of the so-called article. We are anything but a rag-tag group!

Jerry Puckett
Jerry Puckett

Yeah I read that but I have trouble believing they can just up and move the convention without it being voted on. Richardson, TX?? Ok...........Garland would be about only the other most boring place to hold it.

Deborah Deering
Deborah Deering

Perhaps folks running the convention think EVERYONE in Richardson is on board with majority of current COR City Council's attitude?

Van Johnson
Van Johnson

Yeah that should be great for the local image and tourism. They are coming here because Memphis is too liberal. Wow.

Cleburne123
Cleburne123

It's the Sons of Confederate Veterans, not Sons of the Confederacy.....a noteable difference.  Additionally, when the reunion comes in 2016, it is not going to be a rag-tag bunch at all but men of all walks of life proud of their ancestry to a Confederate Veterans. Certainly some do wear the uniform of their ancestors, but it is not the overall norm.

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

If you want to pin the Civil on somebody, I suggest that it should be Eli Whitney.  He single handedly did more to promote, extend and expand slavery in the US than any other individual or organization.


The North does not get off scot free either.  Fortunes were made by processing the cotton grown in the South using slave labor into cloth.


The North was against slavery on primarily economic grounds.  There was a surplus of labor in the North hence there was no need for slave labor.


Both sides have plenty of shame on their hands, however, history, like treason, is written and decided by the winners.

mcdallas
mcdallas topcommenter

Hey, let's re-fight the Civil War in the comments of a D.O. article.  Oh, never mind, you've already initiated that.  Good work, commenters...I know I can count on you.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

Sons of the Confederacy.  More like sons of bitches.  The Confederacy caused nearly as much misery to America as Hitler did to Europe.

Diego
Diego

Yeah! Lets forget history! That way we'll never repeat it!

RadarGort
RadarGort

Let's get the slavery issure out of the way---------------Slavery existed in almost every civilization or country from the world's eariest history recorded. From Babylon, Persia, Greece,  Rome, England, Canada the US, Africa and on and on all had slaves at one time or another.  Even the American Indians made slaves out of  other tribespeople they captured.  In the US, the  North, by legal legislation,  decided to end slavery.  They wern't threatened and massive armies wern't sent to force them to end slavery.  The South would have, within time, ended slavery by legal process.  What were Southern Patriots to do when Lincoln called for a massive, destructive, federal army  to invade the South? (and it wasn't all just about slavery either)   Our Southern forefathers answered the call to duty and defended their families, their homes and their states.  These American Southern Patriots have left us a legacy of heros that is thus far unsurpassed in American history.   

DMZ3
DMZ3

The SCV has become increasingly activist and political in the past decade, where before, they were focused much more on historical preservation. So that they'd switch locations from Memphis because of a coupe of name changes makes sense. (But I don't get why they picked Richardson.)

There's some good reporting how the former leader, Ron Wilson, and the more activist members basically took over the organization in the early 2000s and purged a bunch of people who weren't political enough for their tastes. I think this reflected growing influence from the League of the South, which is explicitly white supremacist. 

Basically, the League agrees the war was about slavery and thinks that's a good thing, and wants to do it again. The SCV has historically tried to downplay slavery or wash over it. But since the purge they've shifted to be more in line with the League.

Funny, Wilson was sentenced to 19 years in federal prison last year after running a ponzi scheme which defrauded $57 million from a bunch of his fellow butternuts. So there's that.

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

Don't these people ever give up?

They lost that war over a hundred years ago.

They've got a political party, what more do they want?

ChrisYu
ChrisYu topcommenter

does White Settlement have a convention center?

GuitarPlayer
GuitarPlayer

Hmmmmmmm.........I wonder what Richard Railey and his White Student Union think of this? I bet we already know.

Daniel
Daniel

@ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul The hypocrisy of northerners is with us to this day, but one side fought to end slavery and the other side fought to extend it. Full stop.

Cleburne123
Cleburne123

That's pretty insulting. Nearly? Not even close.

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz  

Myrna, even the north and the south have different names for the Civil War.

In the Northeast, it is called the "War of Southern Rebellion".

In the Southeast, it is called the "War of Northern Aggression".

DMZ3
DMZ3

@RadarGort Also, the expansion of slavery into the western territories, yo. Lincoln knew if slavery didn't expand, it was doomed. (Since a slave-economy has to expand into new markets or it dies. Old slave lands become maxed-out in the number of slaves they have laboring away, and have to start exporting slaves to keep the economy growing.) So the North sought to stop the expansion of slavery. The South needed slavery to expand to keep their economy and social system from imploding. This led to tit-for-tat warfare in Kansas and a cycle of violence that didn't exist in other slave societies. And then, war.

DMZ3
DMZ3

@RadarGort Both sides wanted war, though. Lincoln wanted war because he didn't want the South to break away; Davis wanted war in order to secure British and French recognition.  (And Davis ordered Confederate troops to fire the first shots, don't forget. And then ordered an invasion of Kentucky, which had not seceded but was considered "Southern" territory.)

Basically: It's a bit more complicated than one side being the evil aggressors, and the other side being the noble patriots. The animosity and drive towards war was mutual, on both sides. Both sides beat the war drums.

Second point: You don't actually know if slavery would have ended without war. Because it ended peacefully in Britain doesn't mean it would have ended peacefully in the South. If you look at Mexico, slavery (though it was more like indentured servitude) ended in a nightmarish revolution that killed a million people in the 1910s. It was a big part of the social system and when it ended, it completely took the whole edifice Mexican elites had constructed down with them. The same may have been inevitable in the South.

Cleburne123
Cleburne123

Gee, listen to Mark Potok and the SPLC much?  You a member? If not, you don't really know much about the political inner-workings of the organization...

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@DMZ3 

Thanks for the enlightening commentary. Makes me want to go and read more about that period in our history.

Anyway, as to the, Why Richardson., question, The article does say that Richardson was the only other city to apply to the SOCV to be considered.

Go figure.

Cleburne123
Cleburne123

How ridiculous....the American Revolution was over 200 years ago.  what do you say to the Sons of the American Revolution?  We lost Vietnam....what do you tell Vietnam Vets of America or their descendants??

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

@Daniel @ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul  

Truer words cannot be said, the process of ending of slavery started during the Revolutionary War and was well on its way until Eli Whitney showed up.


One of the big debates during the various Independence and Constitutional conventions was how to end slavery.

RadarGort
RadarGort

@DMZ3 I don't really think that the Confederate leaders hoped for war.  They knew that the North had many more men and an abundance of materials.  Lincoln was goingto have Ft Sumpter resupplied so the Cadets of the S Carolina Citadel were actually the first to fire on the Star of the West US Navy ship.

Cleburne123
Cleburne123

Yeah, that's kinda how it works. Local Camps submit bids to host a reunion. Seems like it was an easy decision to pick Richardson over a city that wants to rid itself of its Confederate history...

RadarGort
RadarGort

@Cleburne123 The American Soldiers, Sailors and Marines did not loose the Vietnam War.  We won  every battle in that war including the Tet Offensive that the news media tried to say was a disaster ----------------which it was to the North Vienamease.  The leadership in Washington  prevented us from final victory.  As politicians cowered behind their desks while sitting on their brains, brave young men were fighting and dying to prevent the Communist from taking over the country--------and we did a hell of a good job.  With the proper leadership in Washington final Victory could have been ours. 

DMZ3
DMZ3

@Cleburne123 Ah, ok. Gotcha.

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@Cleburne123 

Not to mention the convenient fact that it was the only other city to place a bid for the 2016 reunion.

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