Behind the Scenes
“When you’re making a movie, you can’t think anybody will ever see it. You’ve just got to make a movie for the values it has. The greatest films were made because someone really wanted to make them. And, hopefully, the audience will show up, too.” - Clint Eastwood, actor/director.
“All in all, I am hoping this will turn out to be a quality film that is worthy of the story it is telling.” - Clint Ross, director The Angel of Marye’s Heights
Why I choose to celebrate Lee-Jackson Day (a response)
The other day another blogger (you can guess who) posted: “The reason I don’t celebrate Lee-Jackson Day is because I don’t celebrate the cause for which Lee and Jackson are remembered. They are remembered for their service in an army that functioned as the military extension of a government that was committed to perpetuating slavery and white supremacy. I find it simply impossible to distinguish between the individuals in question, including their many virtues, and the cause for which they attached themselves to.”
Personally, I find that to be a tremendously over-simplistic view. It’s not called “Confederacy Day,” it’s called “Lee-Jackson Day” and both of these gentlemen are remembered for many reasons. Isn’t Thomas Jackson’s pre-war contributions to the Presbyterian Church, as well as Robert E. Lee’s post-war tenure as president of Washington College worthy of our praise beyond their quote: “service in an army that functioned as the military extension of a government that was committed to perpetuating slavery and white supremacy”?
Of course it is. Why? Because the Civil War does not entirely define them. Ironically, this blogger and his peers often argue that the history of the South should not be limited to the four years of the Civil War. So…in their own hypocritical point of view, the South should not be judged through such a narrow focus, but those who participated in a war on its behalf should. (Do these people ever go back and re-read what they’ve posted in the past? They counter their own arguments.)
Now it is perfectly acceptable that this blogger chooses not to acknowledge Lee-Jackson Day, but according to his logic, we shouldn’t celebrate the legacies of any historically significant, slave-owning “white supremacists” including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and most of their peers, because they also perpetuated slavery and white supremacy. Once again, that over-simplistic viewpoint requires a narrow-focus indeed. How convenient.
So what is my point? My point is that most people today are completely OK with these guys being among many things, racists, because they are able to distinguish the reasons why we should admire them, from the ones we should condemn. Our nation’s entire culture, from the portraits on our currency and most magnificent monuments - to our national holidays and children’s history lessons - celebrate imperfect, racially biased white men just like Jackson and Lee. If we all found it quote: “simply impossible to distinguish between the individuals in question, including their many virtues, and the cause for which they attached themselves to” we would more than likely be left without any historical heroes. How sad.
My response to this blogger is simply this...I believe that the majority of every-day Americans are intelligent and mature enough to determine that our times are very different from our forefathers and to always take that into consideration when acknowledging the past. It doesn’t make someone a racist if they admire these men and it doesn’t mean that they support every quote: “cause for which they attached themselves to.”
As usual this blogger is talking out of both sides of his mouth, but I guess we are not as smart as he is. That must be why I choose to celebrate Lee-Jackson Day.
TNH visit's Spotsy earthworks
Posted by ny5/pinstripepress
at 3:56 PM EST
Updated: Thursday, 11 February 2010 10:40 PM EST
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About the Author
As an award-winning and best-selling author, Michael Aubrecht has dedicated his studies to the histories of Major League Baseball, the Civil War and the Founding Fathers. He has written multiple books, as well as hundreds of essays for magazines, newspapers and journals including Baseball-Almanac, Civil War Historian, Patriots of the American Revolution, Pop Flies, Drumhead Magazine, The Badge and The Free Lance-Star. Michael is also the personal copywriter for the classic American painter Mort Kunstler. By day Michael works for the U.S. Marshals Service in the Investigative Operations Division.
Michael is a filmmaker and co-wrote and produced the dramatic documentary The Angel of Marye's Heights (scene sample here). He previously hosted "The Naked Historian", a casual YouTube video series introducing viewers to little-known historical sites in the Fredericksburg area. A battlefield tour guide, frequent speaker and radio guest, Michael is the former chairman of the National Civil War Life Foundation and the founder of All-Access Battlefield Tours and The Jefferson Project.
Michael is also an experienced musician and has performed at such events as the Mellon Jazz Festival and National Band Competition in Nashville, TN. Long before he became a writer, Michael played drums in the marching band, symphonic band, choir pit, stage band and percussion ensemble. Today he plays a variety of classic American music styles, favoring swing and big band music. Michael also co-developed a unique percussion theory program for children ages 5-10 known as “FUNdamentals” with his co-author, noted recording and touring drummer Rich Redmond, best known for his work with the Jason Aldean band.
Books by Michael Aubrecht:
Buy Michael's books and DVDs on Amazon.
FUNdamentals of Drumming for Kids (w/ Rich Redmond, Publisher TBD)
Baseball's Could Have Beens: Major League Mishaps, Misfortunes, and Mistakes (w/ Eric Wittenberg, Kent State University Press, 2014)
You Stink! Major League Baseball’s Terrible Teams and Pathetic Players (w/ Eric Wittenberg, Kent State University Press, 2012)
The Civil War in Spotsylvania: Campfires at the Crossroads (The History Press, 2009)
Historic Churches of Fredericksburg: Houses of the Holy (The History Press 2008)
The Southern Cross: A Civil War Devotional (Patriot Press, 2008)
Onward Christian Soldier: The Spiritual Journey of Stonewall (Publish America, 2005)
Christian Cavalier: The Spiritual Legacy of J.E.B. Stuart (Publish America, 2005)
Faith and Freedom in Fredericksburg: Jefferson and the VA Statute of Religious Freedom (manuscript IP)Some past presentations (click for transcripts or video):
Backyard History: Forgotten Sites of Lee’s Hill (Lee’s Hill ‘55 Club)
Community Lecture Series: Fredericksburg’s Churches (SPC Church)
Richard R. Kirkland “The Angel of Marye’s Heights” (F'burg Civil War Roundtable)
Lunchtime Lecture: The Great Revival During the Civil War (Manassas Museum)
Historical Research and Writing (Maury Commons Heritage Center)
Race and Remembrance at F'burg’s Baptist Churches (Manassas Museum)
Historical Research and Writing Tips for All Genres (Pittsburgh Writer’s Project)
Jackson’s Journey: Stonewall’s 1862 Valley Campaign (CWHC Muster Banquet)
The Mother of the Father of Our County, Mary Washington (VAFB Conference)
Gallant Boys in Blue: The 123rd PA Volunteer Infantry (Carnegie Library Hall)
The Espy Post and the Importance of Civil War Memory (Carnegie Library Hall)
The Great Revival St. George’s Episcopal Church (St. George’s Civil War Series)
Battle of Spotsylvania: In Their Words (Richmond Civil War Roundtable)
Honoring Lee at the Capitol
Last weekend some good friends of mine from Lee’s Lieutenants participated in a very special ceremony at the U.S. Capitol commemorating Robert E. Lee’s birthday. Al Stone portrayed the guest of honor and members of his staff accompanied him. The observance was organized by the United Daughters of the Confederacy (District of Columbia Division) and featured a salute to the CSA flag, the singing of “Dixie,” a wreath placement at the statue of Gen. Lee, and a guest speaker.
Of course there were some folks who took offense, but I applaud the conviction of the organizers as well as the government officials who authorized this event. One article stated that Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi was the one who OK’d it, yet another piece said that the UDC had been doing this since 1909.
I find it incredibly offensive that people continue to argue against any commemoration of this sort in the same week as Martin Luther King Day. In Virginia, Lee-Jackson Day is now held on the Friday before MLK Day and the fact that Lee and King’s birthdays are a mere 4 days apart is the cause for the “crossover.” It is NOT what one poorly-informed critic called “an annual event that normally attracts a number of white supremacists and neo-Nazis, meant to slight the memory of Dr. King.” On the other side of extremism, I have read people complain about honoring our greatest civil rights leader and refer to him as “a domestic terrorist and an architect of insurrection.” These types of ignorant assertions are ridiculous and soley meant to instigate.
I firmly believe that BOTH of these tremendous individuals deserve our gratitude and acknowledgement - and what better sign of equality than to celebrate them equally? If either of these great men were around today, they would frown upon these blanket criticisms and tell us all to get along.