Slavery Nostalgia

I'm glad to see that Ta-Nehisi also has a devoted corps of meshuggeners hanging on his every word. This is from a group called The Sons of Confederate Veterans (very old sons, obviously). It was written in response to a Ta-Nehisi post praising Gov. Bob McDonnell of Virginia for belatedly recognizing -- as Haley Barbour still won't do, at least as of last Friday, when I interviewed him -- that it's a bit ripe to commemorate the Confederacy without at least mentioning one of the downsides of the antebellum south, which is to say, the enslavement of millions of African-Americans. The writer of the post critical of Ta-Nehisi derides him for neglecting to mention the small number of blacks who aided the Confederate cause:

If Mr. Coates was truly honest with himself and  his readers he would admit that he has a very big chip on his shoulder. He writes of the African-Americans that fought for the North; but what of the African-Americans that fought for the South?
 
There is no mention of "Uncle Charlie" Baker , who rode with Captain Bill Anderson in Missouri, or one of Quantrill's most trusted scouts John Noland. A simple internet search will reveal many articles about Black Confederates.

What I don't understand about the sort of men who join Confederate-nostalgia organizations is why they can't understand that black people might not look fondly on their cause, or on the small number of black people who aided the cause of those who would keep African-Americans enslaved. On the other hand, I'm just getting up to speed on the subject, so there are many mysteries to plumb.

Presented by

Jeffrey Goldberg is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a recipient of the National Magazine Award for Reporting. He is the author of Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror. More

Before joining The Atlantic in 2007, Goldberg was a Middle East correspondent, and the Washington correspondent, for The New Yorker. He was previouslly a correspondent for The New York Times Magazine and New York magazine. He has also written for the Jewish Daily Forward and was a columnist for The Jerusalem Post.

Goldberg's book Prisoners was hailed as one of the best books of 2006 by the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, The Progressive, Washingtonian magazine, and Playboy. He received the 2003 National Magazine Award for Reporting for his coverage of Islamic terrorism and the 2005 Anti-Defamation League Daniel Pearl Prize. He is also the winner of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists prize for best international investigative journalist; the Overseas Press Club award for best human-rights reporting; and the Abraham Cahan Prize in Journalism.

In 2001, Goldberg was appointed the Syrkin Fellow in Letters of the Jerusalem Foundation, and in 2002 he became a public-policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

The Blacksmith: A Short Film About Art Forged From Metal

"I'm exploiting the maximum of what you can ask a piece of metal to do."

Video

Riding Unicycles in a Cave

"If you fall down and break your leg, there's no way out."

Video

Carrot: A Pitch-Perfect Satire of Tech

"It's not just a vegetable. It's what a vegetable should be."

Video

An Ingenious 360-Degree Time-Lapse

Watch the world become a cartoonishly small playground

Video

The Benefits of Living Alone on a Mountain

"You really have to love solitary time by yourself."

Video

The Rise of the Cat Tattoo

How a Brooklyn tattoo artist popularized the "cattoo"

More in Politics

From This Author

Just In