Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 30 Share on Twitter Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 4/11/10

Let Us Never Forget the Confederacy and Slavery!

By       (Page 1 of 5 pages)   15 comments
Message Thomas Farrell
Become a Fan
  (22 fans)

(Image by Unknown Owner)   Details   DMCA


April 11, 2010

In the 1960s, I had a very unusual and very memorable experience that I'd like to tell you about. I was reminded of it recently as a result of the flap that followed the proclamation issued by Virgina Governor Robert McDonnell proclaiming April as Confederate History Month.

In his proclamation McDonnell focused on those "who fought for their homes and communities and Commonwealth." In addition, he urged people today to understand "the sacrifice of the Confederate leaders, soldiers and citizens during the period of the Civil War."

But he did not mention slavery. An uproar about the omission of slavery followed. As a result, McDonnell amended his proclamation to mention slavery.

This brings me to the experience I mentioned above. One summer in the 1960s, I worked in a summer program for black inner-city students, along with a number of other recent college graduates about my age.

One of the black college graduates on the staff of the program ran a workshop on black history for the high-school students in the program. As part of his workshop on black history, he asked me and another white staffer to prepare a debate about slavery in which we would prepare suitable speeches and dress up in period costumes for the debate. The other fellow was to play the role of the abolitionist Daniel Webster (1782-1852). I was to play the role of John C. Calhoun (1782-1850).

Fortunately for the two of us, Prentice-Hall had recently published two collections of writings from the period, one collection of anti-slavery writings and the other of pro-slavery writings. Up to that time in my life, I had not studied pro-slavery arguments in detail. So I went through a crash course of learning about pro-slavery arguments.

On the day of our debate, each debater dressed up in a period costume and sat on the stage in the auditorium. My opponent spoke at the podium first. I followed, using the best southern accent that I could manage. After the two opening speeches, each speaker sat down in his chair. Then the instructor opened the floor for questions from the students. As each of us was asked a question, each of us rose and spoke at the podium, returning to our chairs when we had finished.

As the question-and-answer format continued, I returned to the podium more often than my opponent did. In my speech and in my various responses, I did the best that I could to articulate lines of argument that I had recently read in the Prentice-Hall collection of pro-slavery arguments.

Next Page  1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5

(Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Advocate Member, or higher).

Must Read 1   Well Said 1   News 1  
Rate It | View Ratings

Thomas Farrell Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Thomas James Farrell is professor emeritus of writing studies at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD). He started teaching at UMD in Fall 1987, and he retired from UMD at the end of May 2009. He was born in 1944. He holds three degrees from Saint Louis University (SLU): B.A. in English, 1966; M.A.(T) in English 1968; higher education, 1974. On May 16, 1969, the editors of the SLU student newspaper named him Man of the Year, an honor customarily conferred on an administrator or a faculty member, not on a graduate student -- nor on a woman up to that time. He is the proud author of the book (more...)

Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEd News Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Was the Indian Jesuit Anthony de Mello Murdered in the U.S. 25 Years Ago? (BOOK REVIEW)

Who Was Walter Ong, and Why Is His Thought Important Today?

Celebrating Walter J. Ong's Thought (REVIEW ESSAY)

More Americans Should Live Heroic Lives of Virtue (Review Essay)

Hillary Clinton Urges Us to Stand Up to Extremists in the U.S.

Martha Nussbaum on Why Democracy Needs the Humanities (Book Review)

To View Comments or Join the Conversation:

Tell A Friend