Sunday, March 22, 2009

Chicago Press Article on Confederate History Month

Southerners looking to share their Confederate Holiday

'Confederacy has gotten a bad rap,' says one supporter of efforts to recognize region's legacy

By Dahleen Glanton
Tribune Correspondent
1:37 AM CDT, March 22, 2009

ATLANTA — In a cultural war that has pitted Old South against new, defenders of the Confederate legacy have opened a fresh front in their campaign to polish an image tarnished, they said, by people who do not respect Southern values.

With the 150th anniversary of the War Between the States in 2011, efforts are under way in statehouses, small towns and counties across the South to push for proclamations or legislation promoting Confederate history.

Alabama, Virginia, Mississippi, Texas, Louisiana and Florida traditionally observe Confederate History Month in April. Georgia, which has recognized it by proclamation since 1995, recently passed a bill in the state Senate making it official.

Most Southern states recognize Confederate Memorial Day as a legal holiday. Some celebrate it on the June birthday of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, but Texas and Arkansas observe it on Jan. 19, the federal holiday for slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

Race in America More than 1,000 municipalities celebrate the holiday with parades and festivals, said Charles McMichael, commander in chief of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, and efforts are under way to spread it nationwide, state by state.

"It has been our experience over the last 30 years or so that when the Confederacy is addressed at all historically, it is done in a way that serves a political agenda and not in a way that we think is accurate. We want the truthful history about all aspects of the Confederacy told," said McMichael. "There are some good things that you can learn, and we think there are more good than bad.",0,7235836.story?track=rss