Monday, April 18, 2011

NAACP Buries its Head in the Sand

NAACP speaks out at Columbus National Civil War Naval Museum

Georgia's NAACP President says the 150th anniversary of the Civil War is nothing to celebrate

COLUMBUS, Ga. --Now that the 150th anniversary of the Civil War has kicked off events across the South, the NAACP is cautioning against commemorations.

Ken Johnston, the education and program director of Columbus' National Civil War Naval Museum (formerly the Confederate Naval Museum) says it will commemorate the time period, not celebrate it.

"Commemoration simply means keeping in memory, black and white, slave and free, North and South," Johnston said.

But Georgia NAACP President Edward DuBose takes issue with the word "commemorate."

"This was not something to commemorate," DuBose said. "Commemorate means that you're honoring something. There's nothing honorable about this period. Nothing at all. We cannot somehow try to sanitize slavery. You can't do it."

The two groups talked outside the museum Wednesday afternoon. DuBose says he has not toured inside the building because the ship visible from Victory Drive conjures up bad memories for him of slavery and exportation.

"Do I need to go on the inside? Probably do," DuBose said.

The NAACP sent President Barack Obama a letter this week to encourage teachable moments during the sesquicentennial commemoration of the Civil War.