There’s such a thing as Confederate Memorial Day. I did not know that. It’s today in Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi. Woohoo. Is there also a Hooray for Slavery Day? A Glorify Racism Day? A Steal Other People’s Labor Day?
Alabama closes its government offices today in observance of Confederate Memorial Day, along with Mississippi and Georgia. On May 10, South Carolina government offices will close in observance of the state holiday.
Of the 11 Southern states that made up the Confederate States of America during the Civil War, few agreed on what date was best for remembrance once the war officially ended in 1865.
I suggest the 32d of December, myself.
State officials still mark Confederate Memorial Day on their calendars, but it makes sense why they may not want to embrace the holiday publicly, said John Neff, director of the Center for Civil War Research at the University of Mississippi and a scholar of Civil War death and remembrance.
Dating back to 2000, the debates about whether states should fly the Confederate battle flag could be partially to blame, he explained. Several Southern states were embroiled in these fights, holding legislative votes and public referendums that revived the Confederacy as a politically sensitive issue.
That year in South Carolina, state legislators agreed to remove the Confederate battle flag from the capitol dome in Columbia. In a 2001 statewide referendum, a majority of Mississippi’s voters chose to keep the Confederate battle flag emblem on the state’s banner as it remains today. In 2003, Georgia rid itself of the Confederate battle flag from its state flag, following a legislative action and a public referendum.
All those words, yet PBS never manages to spell out why things Confederate are “a politically sensitive issue.” [whispers: it’s because of slavery.]
“It seems odd in many ways, but you don’t have to live in the South very long to know this is a deep connection that many people still feel,” he said.
Many people across the South claim the Confederacy as part of their heritage, he said.
“I can say this is very much a part of many white Southerners’ identity. This is how they feel connected to their place, their time, their families,” Neff said. “I think it’s going to be a long, long time before there’s no one in the South that feels those connections.”
We get it, and that’s kind of the issue, isn’t it. It’s part of many white Southerners’ identity, and that fact is fraught with all kinds of horrors.