As the direct descendant of a private in the 42nd North Carolina and a sergeant in the 20th North Carolina, I am honoured to talk to a group descended from notable officers in our War of Independence–or the War to Prevent Southern Independence, as I like to name it.
Nobody gave me any orders as to what to talk about, which is a happy situation. I am going to talk about “Southern Heritage Then and Now,” about the place of Southern heritage in American life.
We all know that before and during the War and during Reconstruction and for years afterward, our ancestors were officially the demons of American history. We were the evil people who tried to “destroy the greatest nation on earth” because of our lust for slavery. This is easy to believe if you start out with the assumption that everything Yankees do is always righteous and that, obviously, any people who don’t want the inestimable blessing of being governed by Yankees are by definition bad people.
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