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.


Understanding the Debate over Confederate Symbols
Southern Political Thought and the Southern Political Tradition
Southern Minorities Popular Culture and the Old South
Southern Politics in Perspective
The Confederate Battle Flag in Historical Perspective
Graves Worms and Epitaphs Confederate Monuments in the Southern Landscape
Driving Dixie Down Removing the Confederate Flag from Southern State Capitols
Confederate Symbols the Courts and the Political Question Doctrine
Traditionalist Perspectives on Confederate Symbols
The Great Debate White Support for and Black Opposition to the Confederate Battle Flag
Traditionalists versus Reconstructionists The Case of the Georgia State Flag Part One
Confederate Symbols Southern Identity and Racial Attitudes The Case of the Georgia State Flag Part Two

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About the author (2000)

J. Michael Martinez currently works as an environmental/governmental affairs representative for a privately held Fortune 400 plastics manufacturing company. He also serves as a part-time political science instructor at Kennesaw State University in Georgia. A member of the bar in Georgia and South Carolina, Martinez holds a B.A. in philosophy and political science from Furman University, a J.D. from Emory University, an M.P.A. from the University of Georgia, an M.S. from Georgia Institute of Technology, and a Ph.D. from Georgia State University. He is the author of several books and articles, including Confederate Symbols in the Contemporary South (with William D. Richardson and Ronald McNinch-Su, eds.) (2000).

William D. Richardson is the Odeen-Swanson Distinguished Professor of Political Science, Chair of the Department of Political Science, and Director of the W. O. Farber Center for Civic Leadership at the University of South Dakota. In 2005-2006, he was an American Council on Education Fellow at the New College of Florida, the state's highly acclaimed public honors college. He received his Ph.D. in political science from the State University of New York at Buffalo. His articles on aspects of American government, political thought, and ethics have appeared in numerous journals and books, including Administration and Society, Public Administration Review, Polity, Interpretation, and Public Voices. His books include The Leviathan's Choice: The Death Penalty in the Twenty-first Century (with Brandon Hornsby and J. Michael Martinez, eds.) (2002); Confederate Symbols in the Contemporary South (with J. Michael Martinez and Ronald McNinch-Su, eds.) (2000); Ethics and Character: The Pursuit of Democratic Virtues (with J. Michael Martinez and Kerry Stewart, eds.) (1999); Democracy, Bureaucracy, and Character: Founding Thought (1997); and Melville's 'Benito Cereno': An Interpretation with Annotated Text and Concordance (1987).

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