MRFF Advisory Board Member John M. Compere’s (Judge and Brigadier General, US Army, Retired) – “Civil War Slavery Symbols”

[Updated September 11, 2017]

We cannot deny or change American Civil War history. The uncompromising extremes of “in your face” total defiance or “out of sight, out of mind” total destruction with respect to public Civil War slavery symbols provide no reasonable or rational resolution to current citizen concerns.

 As a loyal and patriotic southwestern American of French and Irish descent whose great-grandfathers were Confederate veterans (Mississippi cavalry & Tennessee infantry) and whose spouse is the great-granddaughter of a Confederate veteran (Texas infantry), I realize prominent public monuments in southern states representing the shameful side of American Civil War history symbolizing savage slavery are hateful and hurtful to an entire race of human beings, especially 47 million fellow Americans of African descent.

 The Confederate States of America fought and lost the Civil War at catastrophic cost because they refused to cease enslaving other human beings. No political, economical, historical, theological or ideological rationalization exists without its real basis being the deplorable dependency of seceding southern states on slave labor. A realistic review of recorded Civil War history reveals this inconvenient and unpleasant truth to those of us born, raised, educated and taught otherwise in the south.

 The Confederate leaders were slave holders and their positions are a matter of public record:

 “African slavery as it exists in the United States, is a moral, a social, and a political blessing.” &“If slavery is a sin, it is not yours. It does not rest on your origin, on your consent for its existence. It is a common law right to property in the service of man; its origin was Divine decree.” &“It was established by decree of Almighty God.” (proclaimed principles of CSA President Jefferson Davis);

 “our new government is founded…; its foundations are laid, its corner-stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth.” (CSA Vice President Alexander Stephens’ famous “Cornerstone Speech” where he declared those who believed in racial equality were wrong); and

“The blacks are immeasurably better off here than in Africa, morally, socially and physically. The painful discipline they are undergoing is necessary for their instruction as a race.” (CSA Commanding General Robert E. Lee who captured free blacks in the North and sent them into slavery in the South). Also, when USA Commanding General Ulysses S. Grant offered to exchange prisoners provided it included black soldiers, Lee rejected it with this response “…negroes belonging to our citizens are not considered subjects of exchange and were not included in my proposition.” 

 There would not have been a civil war without the inhumane and anachronistic institution of slavery because no remaining justification was sufficient for going to war and killing other Americans. Rejection of this self-evident truth reveals willful ignorance of our history and callous indifference toward our humanity.

 It is significant to note that, after the Civil War, Robert E. Lee opposed the erection of Confederate monuments honoring the war and its leaders. His public statements included:

I think it wiser not to keep open the sores of war but to follow the examples of those nations who endeavored to obliterate the marks of civil strife, to commit to oblivion the feelings engendered.” &“…my conviction is, that however grateful it would be to the feeling of the South, the attempt in the present condition of the Country, would have the effect of retarding, instead of accelerating its accomplishment; of continuing, if not adding to, the difficulties under which the Southern people labour.”

Why many southern states have expended more effort and expense to publicly memorialize those who fought in the Civil War for human slavery and lost than for those who have fought in wars throughout our history for human freedom and won remains a troubling question for many Americans. North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper stated it succinctly when he recently announced the state “cannot continue to glorify a war against the United States of America fought in defense of slavery.”

 All Civil War symbols of slavery need not be destroyed. Although some were erected after the 1964 Civil Rights Act passage and the 1968 assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. revealing malicious motive, many constitute a representation, albeit egregious, of our evolving American history and past historical figures. Most can be respectfully removed from prominent public sites (state courthouses, city squares and circles, university entrances, etc) and relocated to historical museums and cemeteries where they more appropriately belong. This would provide a civil compromise that takes into consideration the concerns of all citizens and rejects both extremes.

 We Texans need to remember our revered Texas hero and visionary leader Sam Houston was a prophetic profile in courage who, as Texas governor, opposed Texas secession from the United States, refused to take a loyalty oath to the Confederacy, publicly proclaimed “I love Texas too well to bring civil strife and bloodshed upon her” , and retired from politics.

– John Compere

Brigadier General, US Army (Retired), Disabled American Veteran (Vietnam) & Texas rancher

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CIVIL WAR SLAVERY SYMBOLS REFERENCES

 

JEFFERSON DAVIS – The Confederate Partisan, csapartisan.com.

 

ALEXANDER STEPHENS – TeachingAmericanHistory.org.

 

ROBERT E. LEE – wikiquotes.org, TheHumanist.com (August 14, 2017), PBS News Hour, pbs.org (August 15, 2017).

 

ROY COOPER – Abilene Reporter-News (September 10, 2017, page 4B).

 

CIVIL WAR MONUMENTS construction dates – reddit.com

 

SAM HOUSTON – wikiquotes.org.

 

*There is also independent information available on the internet by simply searching your specific subject (e,g,, google Civil War monuments, leaders, quotes, slavery or names, events, sites, etc.) and selecting a reliable link.

 

 

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9 Comments

  1. G

    I agree with you that the Civil War symbols of slavery should be put in museums.

  2. Joshua Rownd

    The Civil War monuments should be left up they are monuments of U.S.Veterans according to Public Law 85-425 as well as It’s true that a federal law passed in 1958 listed the spouses and children of all Civil War veterans — Confederate and Union — as eligible for federal pension and It’s also true that federal law (formerly Public Law 810) makes Confederate soldiers eligible for burial in national cemeteries and for taxpayer-funded headstones, just like Union soldiers.

    Why all of a sudden after a hundred years are these monuments a problem, it is because of the liberals who are race baitors and want a civil war between the races and cause dissension across the country.

    If monuments should be removed, should we also remove all statues of Martin Luther King Jr who was opposed to gay marriage?? Whats next, tear down the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial?

    If any good has come out of the flooding in Houston is that it is proving that America is not racist, while people are picking up blacks in their boats and taking them to safety. White people are opening their homes to blacks, Hispanics etc who have lost their homes. Also, those terrible Domionionist Christians are donating millions of dollars to that terrible Domionist Franklin Graham and his Samaritans Purse and their volunteers who are helping out removing debris and victims of the flood. Then there is that Christian Ministry Convoy of Hope who sent 4 fully loaded semi’s to Houston full of food and supplies along with Operation Blessing sending semi’s full of water, food and stuff.

    The Billy Graham Crisis Chaplains have been sent to Houston to minister to those who have lost homes etc. as well as Texas Baptist Men have sent chaplains as well. Even Israel has sent aid as well and mental health people to counsel those who are suffering.

    Where is Antifa, BLM, the KKK, nowhere to be seen. I guess drowning blacks in Texas is not that important to the BLM, instead they are looting homes and stores.

    So, when is MRFF and MIkey going to poney up money for Texas. President Trump is giving 1 million of his own money for Texas.

    #’TexasStrong

  3. Connie

    Joshua, Like your hero Lord Dampnut, you are long on rhetoric and short on facts. Everyone is helping with Harvey. That you only choose to see whom you want to see is telling.

    I challenge your assertion that Black Lives Matter is a violent organization (you said looting and looting is violence). Provide facts to sway me. Otherwise I know you slander a good group of people who do the correct thing because it’s the correct thing to do. Hmm… almost Christ like they are, unlike you, JR.

    As long as the Confederacy statues are staying in place I have a statue I’d like to add to the collection; a sculptural representation of a photo taken of an old slave, his body no longer smooth but marred by ribbons of scar tissue where he’d been flayed open time after time. I believe that would answer most people’s question as to why the Confederacy is so distasteful to so many people.

    Let’s not forget our heritage after all!

  4. Joshua Rownd

    BLM is a terrorist organization, they are involved in the violence of America as well as being anti-Semitic well.

  5. G

    “Why all of a sudden after a hundred years are these monuments a problem, it is because of the liberals who are race baiters and want a civil war between the races and cause dissension across the country.”

    No, JR, it was the Republicans starting under Newt Gingrich and Lee Atwater who are the race baiters and are causing dissension across the country and you know it.

    The BLM is not a terrorist organization and you know that too, JR.

    Good one on having a sculptural representation of an old slave, Connie.

    Gee, JR, what if the Germans put up statues of World War II German Generals (including SS) in their country?

    “If any good has come out of the flooding in Houston is that it is proving that America is not racist, while people are picking up blacks in their boats and taking them to safety.”

    Yeah and the only good thing that came out of Obama’s presidency was proving that racism is still alive and well when all those racists came out of the woodworks to attack him with their racist vile. In Houston, all those oil and chemical plants in Houston are in the low income, minorities areas. Do you really think the affluent white neighborhoods wanted those plants in their areas?

  6. Joshua Rownd

    If we are removing monuments of those things that offend us, then lets start tearing down mosques as a reminder of 9/11 and Islamic terrorism.

  7. G

    Jr, let’s remove monuments of Christian churches as a reminder of Christian Imperialism, Christian Colonialism, and Christian Capitalism.

    Let’s tear down all US military monuments starring with George A. Custer at the Little Big Horn since almost all US wars have been wars of aggression, crimes against peace, and crimes against humanity both at home and aboard.

    Let’s also remove peace officers’ names from the highways and remove the police monument in Washington D. C. considering the fact that cops have always supported the top political, social, and economic people in this country.

  8. G

    Another thing, JR, these Confederates should not have been getting federal pensions since they were nothing but traitors to the country. If they want pensions, they should have relied on their state government to provide it to them (which they eventually did in the 1890s).

    The KKK was and still is a terrorist organization JR.

  9. G

    These confederates should not have been getting federal pensions considering the fact that they were fighting for a despicable regime that was bending on enslaving a group of people for own economic prosperity and violating all forms of religious teachings of treating other people with respect.

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