In South, How to Celebrate Secession, Not Slavery?

150th anniversary events include mock swearing-in of Jefferson Davis
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 30, 2010 7:59 AM CST
Civil War Sesquicentennial: South Will Celebrate Secession, Not Slavery, on 150th Anniversary
A Confederate flag that's part of a Civil War memorial flies over the grounds of the South Carolina State House.   (Getty Images)

How do you celebrate the Confederacy and secession without implicitly celebrating slavery? The South is attempting to do just that, as it plans to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the four-year-long Civil War over the next four years. Events include “secession balls,” re-enactments, a parade, and a mock swearing-in of Jefferson Davis as president of the Confederate states, the New York Times reports. The Sons of Confederate Veterans will also air TV commercials they hope will make it clear that, as one commercial states, “all we wanted was to be left alone to govern ourselves.”

That slavery is barely mentioned in all these plans bothers some—including the NAACP, which plans to protest. The president of one chapter says that all the references to states’ rights are really references to “one right—to buy and sell human beings.” But one member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans calls slavery an abomination, yet insists, “defending the South’s right to secede, the soldiers’ right to defend their homes and the right to self-government doesn’t mean your arguments are without weight because of slavery.”
(More Civil War stories.)

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