Best Defense

Tony ‘In the Attic’ Horwitz on the meaning of the Confederate flag

The other day, as my daughter and I were talking about the controversy about symbols of the Confederacy, I thought that the one person I’d like to read most on the situation is Tony Horwitz, author of "Confederates in the Attic."

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The other day, as my daughter and I were talking about the controversy about symbols of the Confederacy, I thought that the one person I’d like to read most on the situation is Tony Horwitz, author of Confederates in the Attic.

So I was pleased this morning to see his article. He warns that, in all the discussion, is that, “What you’re unlikely to hear, at least from whites, is an honest and historically accurate reappraisal of the Cause for which Southerners fought.”

His key point is that we need to revise our understanding of history: “What we truly need to bury is the gauzy fiction that the antebellum South was in any way benign, or that slavery and white supremacy weren’t the cornerstone of the Confederacy.” My daughter points out that some academics now call plantations “slave labor camps.” They still have “plantation weddings” in the South. Can you imagine throwing a “gulag wedding” or a “Dachau wedding”?

(Note: The photo above shows a monument of the state of Tennessee to a major terrorist leader.)

Brian Stansberry/Wikimedia Commons

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. @tomricks1

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