". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Sunday, May 24, 2015

History On the Agenda - Jefferson Davis

Among the many things to which I'm looking forward this week is the drive along the Gulf Coast to and from Mobile.  I've always loved this stretch of different from everywhere else USA since my first car trip along that route from Louisiana to West Florida back in 1977.  It was a revelation that not all of the USA was like the urban northeast, the rural midwest and the Spanish-inflected southwest.  In other words it was my first experience of the South, but even from that drive I understood that all the South wasn't the same.  The Gulf is a separate ecology, geographically, biologically and culturally -- and separate too from the Caribbean.  This was before the hideous casino-box store-outlet architecture and economy took over this once gloriously attractive part of the world, of course.

Photograph of Beauvoir from the years of JD's residency.

In keeping with that ugliness takeover, I have requested the driver to halt for a bit in Biloxi so we can visit Beauvoir, the beachfront mansion a very wealthy widow gifted Jefferson Davis sometime back around 1877 -- to the outrage of her children who fought the gift in the courts, but lost -- and where he mostly lived out the remaining years of his life. (He expired, however, in another mansion, not in Mississippi, but in New Orleans, in the Garden District, on Charles Street.) 

Also located at the Beauvoir site is Jefferson Davis Presidential Library HaHAHaHOHOHo O No!  But yes.

To which at least 14 million of FEMA money was handed over to the Sons of the Confederacy of Mississippi to reconstruct after Hurricane Katrina.

Among this historic site's claims to hyper historic bogosity, docents inform the visitors, among other preposterosities, that there were platoons and platoons of African American volunteers in the army of the CSA -- an army they needed only because the evil northern aggressors had invaded their glorious peaceful south.  Why yes, this is where our tax money goes -- to Mississippi in order that it can fund lies about the federal government -- which provides the money in the first place -- and the Civil War.

No comments: