To the Editor:
Worried about forgetting history? Venture beyond the Confederate statue on the steps of the historic courthouse to the Jackson County Public Library, where you will find hundreds of books on the Civil War.
You might learn how slavery benefited everyone North and South (except for the enslaved).
This includes slave traders, investors in slave ships, slave owners, and consumers who benefited from lower prices made possible by the involuntary labor of enslaved Africans.
My great-great-grandfather left no record of his reason for fighting on the side of the Confederacy, but the state for whose rights he allegedly fought (Mississippi) was clear about its motive. Its declaration of secession states, “Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery – the greatest material interest of the world.”
The idea that Southerners fought for some glorious cause unrelated to slavery arose during the Jim Crow era, the same time most monuments to the “Lost Cause” were erected. Confederate monuments preserve not history but the fiction of “Gone with the Wind.”