Confederate Symbols in the Contemporary South

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James Michael Martinez, William Donald Richardson, Ron McNinch-Su
University Press of Florida, 2000 - History - 351 pages
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This illustrated collection of essays examines the controversy surrounding the use and display of Confederate symbols in the modern South. Prominent scholars from many disciplines explore the battle between pro-Confederate-symbol forces (traditionalists) and anti-Confederate-symbol forces (reconstructionists) as they struggle to reconcile the values and customs of a racially conservative Old South and a racially liberal New South.

Should the Confederate battle flag continue to fly atop a state capitol dome, or does this "official" display violate the constitutional rights of some citizens? Should Confederate flags and monuments be removed completely from the landscape? Should public funds be used to maintain Confederate monuments on courthouse lawns, traffic islands, and public facilities? These are a few of the questions addressed in this collection.

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Confederate symbols in the contemporary South

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The thoroughly documented essays in this book analyze the various meanings assigned to Confederate monuments and symbols since Appomattox. Editors Martinez (political science, Kennesaw State Univ ... Read full review

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This is not a review per se but rather a cautionary note based on erroneous material discovered on page 248 of the book in question. On this page the author, J. Michael Martinez, exhibits a complete lack of respect for the facts and credulously repeats false assertions likely fed to him by those who style themselves as defenders of southern heritage.
On this page the author describe The Neighbors Network, a volunteer organization of which I was an officer, as a "militant, left wing, self-professed homosexual interest group." This is, bluntly, a complete and utter lie. The Neighbors Network was a non-partisan community group whose members embraced a wide variety of political views including some registered republicans. As we had no partisan criteria for membership, we had no sexual or affectional criteria either. We certainly never professed to be a "homosexual interest group." A minimum of due diligence by the author would have revealed the falsity of these assertions.
The author further assert that The Neighbors Network(NN) "disrupted" events by so-called southern heritage advocates and argued that anyone who used Confederate symbols "had to be" connected to Nazis or the Ku Klux Klan. These allegations too are complete fabrications. While it's true that NN members sometimes attended public events sponsored by so-called heritage advocates, they did so as observers and in no way interfered with the right of such advocates to speak and assemble. Neither did we equate the use of Confederate symbols with membership in Klan or Nazi groups. What we did do was document and expose the role that career white supremacists and right wing extremists had played in organizing around the "defense" of such symbols. Again, had the author bothered to do the most cursory fact checking rather than playing stenographer to biased sources, he could have avoided being party to such misrepresentation.
If the above is representative the intellectual and methodological rigor of the book as a whole, I'm afraid it likely qualifies as a waste of good trees.
 

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