The Confederacy should stay buried six feet underground


Art by Nicole Armstrong.

Bek Lopez, Managing Editor

This previously ran in our April 2023 print issue.

April is often reserved for topics like autism, alcohol awareness, and even Earth Day: all of which are important and relevant today. These issues spark conversation and allow everyone to reflect and take a moment to learn something new. 

In some cases, the reason something is designated a month is that it has been overlooked in the past, and in others, it is because the subject should be honored for helping improve the world in some shape or form. However, there are topics that should not be celebrated at all, like Confederate History Month. 

If April was a flower, Confederate History Month would be the vat of poison that turned the poor little blossom to ash. 

From a northern perspective, Confederate history is not something to celebrate, or on a milder side, we simply do not honor it. The Civil War was seen as a fight to end slavery and unite a divided nation. It has its place in history and definitely served its purpose in bringing an era of change regarding slavery. We do not have a “Union History Month” to celebrate the victory of the Union and the reunification of the United States to the North; it is not a fresh wound to pick at as it seems to be for the southern states that celebrate it. 

As a disclaimer, history is an unchangeable constant that can be substantiated with evidence. Certain parts of history shouldn’t be foregone simply because they were terrible or horrifying. The only purpose history serves is so that we can learn from it. I wouldn’t even have a problem with Confederate History Month if the point of it was to bring light to how it was wrong or even if it honored the 620,000 lives that were stolen in the Civil War, but that’s just not the truth. For those who celebrate it, this month honors Southern culture during the Confederacy and their values. What exactly does this imply? 

Although I will agree that celebrating culture is important, southern culture is not just the Confederacy, which lasted for less than five years. It would be a disservice to say that all of southern culture is reduced to a mere moment in history nearly two hundred years ago. Of all of the things one could point to when it comes to celebrating Southern culture, they choose the Confederacy? Is that what distinguishes the South? 

Not only is this unfair to the whole of southern culture, but it also excludes an entire group of people and their culture. Roughly 20 percent of the southern population is African American and 56 percent of the African American population lives in the South, all of which cannot possibly celebrate this antebellum month. It’s honestly a mockery of everything accomplished in terms of equality in the U.S. 

The Confederacy lasted for four years out of the nearly 300 in the U.S.’s history, and yet it deserves an entire month? 

What could be the reason for designating a whole month to remember a failed alliance that fought for the right to own people? 

It is well-known that the South has a long history of pride and tradition, and many southerners had no idea that they even lost the war until decades after it finished. This is famously called the Lost Cause, as it puts the Confederacy’s loss in the best light to preserve southern pride. To commemorate Confederate heroes, they built statues in their honor, as if to put salve on a wound. 

Another example of Southern pride that bleeds into modern reality is the controversial Confederate flag. This was a big issue for southern states because Black southerners found the flag offensive and exclusive. Some southern states kept the Confederate flag or something similar to their state flag. Mississippi kept its state flag the official Confederate States of America flag, up until 2020. 

Barack Obama, the first African American president, had served two terms as president of the United States and still Mississippi had their racist flag. This issue of skewed and misplaced pride isn’t something of the past. Some southerners will defend themselves by saying that the Confederate flag is just part of their heritage and that they are proud of it. 

This is not something to be proud of. 

Just because something is a part of someone’s heritage doesn’t ultimately make it right. One can acknowledge their heritage without being proud of it and undoing all of the hurt that the past has caused. 

To be proud of something like this is to dishonor the people who suffered the most from it. The Confederacy does not represent all of southern heritage and it’s not fair to say that the southern way is the Confederate way. 

If my neighbors celebrated slavers, I’d be ashamed.

You can talk about the Confederacy in a neutral and factually correct way while still honoring the deaths of the young soldiers lost in the war. Grieving for these men does not mean you have to grieve for the institution itself. 

Sugarcoating what happened during the Civil War and the roots of the Confederacy is unbelievable at best and horrifying at worst. Southern pride should be about making amends and accepting reality.      

History is history, and dedicating an entire month to celebrating a darker era of the U.S. should not be on the modern agenda. 

Unlike other celebrations during April, Confederate History Month offers nothing to ponder on or fix. It is a moment in history that should have never been preserved in a good light. 

Thankfully, only Texas, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, and Louisiana still celebrate Confederate History Month today, a slowly diminishing number. 

Hopefully, that number will soon fall to zero.