Confederate Monument in Mississippi City Pays Tribute to Past that Never WasRoundup
tags: racism, Civil War, memorials, Confederacy, public history, White Supremacy, United Daughters of the Confederacy
William Sturkey is author of "Hattiesburg: An American City in Black and White" and professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, specializing in the history of race in the American South.
Nobody ever left from Hattiesburg to go fight in the Civil War. The town didn’t even exist. The Confederate statue at the Forrest County Courthouse commemorates a past that never was.
A lot of people still confuse the difference between history and the past. The past is everything that occurred before now. History is one’s interpretation of that past, be it true or false. Hattiesburg’s Confederate monument is a false history.
Hattiesburg’s Confederate monument was unveiled in October 1910. It was organized by the United Daughters of the Confederacy and mostly funded by public tax dollars — $3,500 to be exact — some of which came from the pockets of Black people who had no say in its erection.
The UDC fabricated history to promote their views that one race was superior to all others. One need only to look at their other activities to understand how they distorted historical truths.
They hosted blackface plays that celebrated slavery and produced a 1913 book celebrating the Ku Klux Klan. Their interpretation of the “Lost Cause” promoted the morality of the Confederacy and ignored basic facts of the past.
They constantly denied the role of slavery in the Civil War, despite direct evidence to the contrary, including Mississippi’s own Ordinance of Secession, which stated, “Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery — the greatest material interest of the world.”
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