Polemics & Exchanges

On Giving Yankees a Break

I have become resigned to the often gratuitous trashing of my Yankee heritage that is a regular feature of Chronicles.  Sometimes, we even deserve it.  After all, it is your magazine, and it’s a very, very good one.  I cannot, however, let Clyde Wilson’s outrageous statement in “Confederate Rainbow” (Reviews, October 2001) go unchallenged.  He says—and this is not taken out of context—that “In fact, the most fundamental goal of the war (and of Reconstruction) was to keep blacks out of the North.” 

This is on the level of Muslim journalists claiming that Jews flew those planes into buildings in New York and Washington, D.C.  I can imagine that Dr. Wilson has what he considers “evidence” for this nonsense, perhaps taken from one or another demented abolitionist.  I have accumulated over the years a rather lengthy list of statements by Southerners that would probably be unpleasant reading for today’s defenders of the Lost Cause.  But I would not try to portray them as central to the often noble aims of the Confederacy.

Can’t you just hear the Willsons, my great-grandfather and his brothers, say “Let’s go south, boys, and get our butts shot off so we can keep the blacks out of New York”?  And maybe...

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