If you happen to be in Alabama today, crack open a cold one for Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America, whose legacy of leading the short-lived nation devoted to keeping people in bondage is still celebrated in the Heart of Dixie on the first Monday of every June.
In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, several Southern states officially celebrate the Confederacy in some way.
Mississippi celebrates Confederate Memorial Day on the last Monday of April, Alabama on the fourth Monday of April, and Georgia on April 26. North and South Carolina observe it on May 10, Louisiana on June 3 and Tennessee calls that date Confederate Decoration Day. Texas celebrates Confederate Heroes Day January 19 and Virginia calls the last Monday in May Confederate Memorial Day.
This isn’t entirely surprising given the long, pernicious practice of the South whitewashing its own legacy, reframing the Confederate rebellion as a matter of state sovereignty, and not, you know, enslavement of human beings.
Davis’ veep, Alexander Stephens, was pretty unequivocal on that point, saying that the new nation was “founded […] 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.”
Or as Gawker‘s Adam Weinstein puts it:
It’s a peculiar holiday, given that […] Jefferson Davis was the head of a f*cking racist tyrannical state whose f*cking reason for f*cking existing was its f*cking insistence on the treatment of enslaved human beings as f*cking chattel to enrich f*cking people like Jefferson Davis.
Photo: J. Stephen Conn via Flickr