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Peabody Award alert from Richmond VA

East End residents are the best type of people in Richmond, VA. (Ok, we’re a little biased). But how cool is it to get a Peabody Award? The podcast “Monumental Lies” was awarded the Peabody in the Radio/Podcast category.

The Peabody awards are given for “distinguished achievement and meritorious public service by television and radio stations, networks, producing organizations, individuals, and the World Wide Web”.

Here’s a blurb on the podcast:

The Civil War ended more than 150 years ago, but the Confederacy didn’t completely die with it. Monuments, shrines and museums are found throughout the South. We teamed up with The Investigative Fund to visit dozens of them and found that for devoted followers they inspire a disturbing – and distorted – view of history: Confederate generals as heroes. Slaves who were happy to work for them. That twisted history is also shared with schoolchildren on class trips. And you won’t believe who’s funding these site to keep them running.

Plus, the story of New Mexico’s great monument controversy. In 1998, the state was set to celebrate its “cuartocentenario:” the 400th anniversary of the state’s colonization by the Spanish. But a dramatic act of vandalism would turn the making of a monument in Albuquerque into a fight over history the city didn’t expect.

Read The Cost of the Confederacy for context.


It took a marvelous team to do it: Seth Wessler, Esther Kaplan at Type Investigations, Kevin Sullivan & Fernanda Camarena + the whole Reveal crew, Erin Hollaway Palmer here in Richmond-and of course our friends at Smithsonian magazine, which published the print piece.

Brian Palmer – Journalist

Listen to it on Apple, Google, Stitcher, Spotify and Radio public by following this link.

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17 comments

SA Chaplin 04/26/2019 at 7:35 PM

This podcast has its merits, but it is basically political correctness on steroids. The podcasters demonstrate an intentional ignorance of history. For example, they view as ‘propaganda’ when a re-enactor explains (correctly) that the term “civil war” is inaccurate. Well, it is inaccurate, because the south didn’t try to take over the federal government; the South seceded. And it had as much right to do so as did the colonies in 1776.

The podcasters mention a “would-be nation” created to defend slavery as if defending slavery was the reason for creating this “would-be” nation. Though slavery played a significant part, this was a sectional conflict, a play for political power. The north was trying to use its power to take advantage of the south, and the south wanted none of it.

The podcast makes some valid points. I, too, shuddered when the woman at Jefferson Davis’s home said that “slavery was good and bad.” History does show that many slaves were better off (as far as food, shelter, etc.) than many free whites. Perhaps this is what she meant. The podcasters are correct to take issue with this statement: that there were “good slave owners who treated their slaves like family.” Please, take out the word “good!” But certainly it is okay to say that there were slave owners who, in some ways, treated their slaves like family. (This is a fact.)

These podcasters make no effort to understand the history of the American Civil war. They simply refer to “Lost Cause mythology” then insert their own mythology —that the war was all about slavery. They should at least acknowledge that Lincoln was a white supremacist —like 95% of white Americans at the time, and that he did not launch his war in order to free the slaves.

Finally, the podcast equates the Confederacy with modern white supremacy (simply because a small number of white supremacists have co-opted some of the symbols of the Confederacy). The self proclaimed “journalists” in this podcast seem not to understand that our Founding Fathers created a federation of states wherein most power resided within each state. This is the Lost Cause —state supremacy and state sovereignty. No one laments the elimination of slavery, but many of us lament that Lincoln put the final nail in the coffin of states rights —the goal of our founders.

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Ted T 04/27/2019 at 11:14 AM

SA Chaplin has a very well written and thought out response to this that I hope everyone takes time to read.

I feel like there is a general lack of perspective taken when looking back on most historical events in this country. People need to remember that we have the luxury of living 150 years after slavery was abolished in this country. However, at the time, the world had only been a world I which slavery existed. The majority of people did not have easily accessible books and literature. This meant that most relied on the most common text at the time, The Bible, in which exists slavery.

No one discredits the fact that slavery was a horrible institution (and if they don’t at this point, than we have something to worry about). However I think it is a crying shame to bastardize the monuments and memorials of men, a large percentage of which were from this state, who fought and died in battle. Over half a million men died in a four year period in a horrific, unimaginable war. Men and what we today would consider boys saw some of the most horrific things a human being can see in life and we know have a large group of people who want to tear down the only thing commemorating their time on Earth. I hope the people who sit so high on this perch of moral divinity can please begin to have the slightest amount of perspective and understanding towards this historical events.

It is an ugly thing, this age we live in.

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G 04/28/2019 at 10:57 AM

An interesting thought experiment is what totally normal (to us) thing we do right now will be totally repellent/evil to people 200 years down the line. I think it’s going to be eating meat. There are a small percentage of people saying it’s morally wrong now too, and with the importance of pets in our lives only getting stronger, I really think something is going to flip.

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Melissa Pocock 04/28/2019 at 1:26 PM

@SA Chaplin “But certainly it is okay to say that there were slave owners who, in some ways, treated their slaves like family. (This is a fact.)”

What are your parameters of slave masters who treated enslaved men/women/children “like family” versus not like family? “Factual” examples are welcome.

@Ted T “I feel like there is a general lack of perspective taken when looking back on most historical events in this country. People need to remember that we have the luxury of living 150 years after slavery was abolished in this country.”

Luckily, we can read the perspectives of those who endured at the turn of the 20th century in Richmond, Virginia. For example, John Mitchell, Jr., the African-American editor of the Richmond Planet (1883-1938) – the weekly African-American newspaper with a circulation of 4,200 by 1904, according to the Library of Congress – published an article addressing the Robert E. Lee monument at the time of installation. He writes, “The south may revere the memory of its chieftains. It takes the wrong Steps in so doing, and proceeds to go too far in every similar celebration. It serves to retard its progress in the country and forges heavier chains with which to be bound.” He further writes, “This glorification of States Rights Doctrine- the right of secession, and the honoring of men who represented that cause…will ultimately result in handing down to generations unborn a legacy of treason and blood…it serves to reopen the wound of war.” – May 31, 1890 (free access via the Library of Congress website).

In my opinion, the podcasters indeed take into consideration the perspectives of those who witnessed historical events.

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Jason S 04/30/2019 at 10:29 AM

SA Chaplin, you’re revisionist history is absurd.

Slavery and its economic benefits were the basis for the civil war. This is easy information to find. Just read the articles of secession of any of the southern states, they pronounce slavery as the main reason. Georgia, Mississippi, Texas are a good place to start. These are the documents that tell you, from the words of the secessionists, as to why they were going to war against the United States.

When you talk about state’s rights, what do you mean? What did the southern states want the right to do? To continue, and in many cases, expand slavery. Look to the first hand accounts of the southern leaders, they tell you plain and simple in their documents and speeches. It’s just a google search away.

As far as that old, played-out case you made that some slaves had it better off than free people, you’re regurgitating an embarrassing Uncle Remus argument that’s at the heart of the lost cause narrative. I won’t bother engaging that. But I will say that you’re getting warmer when you say that some slaves were treated like “family”, because many slaves were the children of slave owners who raped the women that they enslaved. There’s a deep and well-documented field of study on this that explains how the children of slave owners and those bound by slavery were codified and treated in southern society. I encourage you to look it up, again just a google search or trip to the library away.
The fact that you’d challenge a Peabody award winning podcaster as ignorant of history whilst at the same time revising the basics of confederate secession and life in slavery speaks to your poorly-informed know it all character. Not a surprise though [insert hardest eye roll ever], you’ve been spouting these BS lost cause narratives on here for as long as I’ve been visiting this site. Do some research.

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Jason S 04/30/2019 at 10:38 AM

Ted,
When you talk about how unfortunate it is that half a million people died in the civil war, also consider the over 4 million people who died at the hands of the institution of slavery. The people who were tortured to death, raped, pillaged, whose bodies were broken slowly and intentionally.
Also, just because slavery ended as a result of the Northern states winning that war definitely doesn’t mean life after slavery was a “luxury” for those who were freed. When you talk about a “general lack of perspective” while making these comments you come across as woefully ignorant and hypocritical.

When you refer to the civil war as a situation where “Men and what we today would consider boys saw some of the most horrific things a human being can see in life”… dag man, you sound blind to what slavery in southern states actually was.

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Catherine Illian 04/30/2019 at 12:20 PM

Other resources include the new exhibit at the American Civil War Museum which is opening Saturday. Specifically about the monuments you can go to onmonumentave.org
About the Civil War, This Republic of Suffering.
I’m also organizing a tour and dialogue of the monument ave
June 7 in the evening

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Lee 04/30/2019 at 1:51 PM

@ SA Chaplin and Jason S – I would also point out that, due to the electoral college and the 3/5ths compromise, the idea that the war was about state rights or federal overreach or economic differences is correct in so much as slavery was inextricable from those other concerns. By partially counting enslaved people for the purpose of determining electoral college votes, districting, etc. Slave states were initially given disproportionate control over the federal government.

Slaveholding states only started complaining about political fairness/states rights/etc. when they began to lose political power. Agrarian, slaveholding economies failed to grow at the same rate as the free states and slave states began to be outstripped for population and, as a consequence, power in the house of representatives and the electoral college. In other words, a rigged system was fine as long as it was rigged in their favor.

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G 05/01/2019 at 4:36 PM

No one is going to take my bait on thinking about what a lot of us do now, that will be horribly offensive 200 years later? Seems more interesting, and possibly more productive, than relitigating the Lost Cause narrative vs modern historical interpretations (though – duh – the civil war was mainly about slavery).

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Dubois2 05/01/2019 at 5:03 PM

I would very much like to see more and better non-slave owner statues on monument avenue. The first person feel is a hero of slavery that I would like to see standing as Monument on the grass is Harriet Tubman. She exemplifies a number of values that matter to me.

While I hear the arguments above I’m especially interested in hearing what new statues each of you would choose, to kind of understand more about where you each are coming from.

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The U.....nion Hill 05/02/2019 at 10:18 AM

No confederate monuments up north. Maybe you all would feel more comfortable up there……just saying.

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Melissa Pocock 05/02/2019 at 3:54 PM

@The U….noon Hill, nah.

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The.....Union Hill 05/02/2019 at 8:28 PM

@ Melissa
Okay, then stop complaining.

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Dubois2 05/02/2019 at 8:42 PM

This really does get some of us into our oddest of feelings doesn’t it. Union hill, I’m comfortable in my skin wherever I go, and I continue to be quite happy here, thanks.

The south was both sides of slavery. Perhaps the ending of slavery is of more lasting importance than any of the other issues we associate with the civil war. So in those terms, where slavery’s end matters, monument avenue is at very best, one sided. And that seems silly and mean-spirited to me. Which diminishes everyone associated with it.

In what is not a shocking coincidence, That is also how I’d describe your comment @11, the just saying part included. Nobody is going anywhere.

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Melissa Pocock 05/03/2019 at 8:32 AM

@The….Union Hill, Brian Palmer and Seth Wessler won a very prestigious award for digging into the monies going to Confederate sites (including cemeteries) and interpretive programs. Richmond is included in this investigation. People, nation wide, are paying attention. The city is changing, views are evolving. Looks like you’re the one who will need to get comfortable with this.

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The U.....nion Hill 05/03/2019 at 12:13 PM

No, tearing down history is something that no one should ever be comfortable with.

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Jason S 05/06/2019 at 3:22 PM

Not sure you understand what history is, guy. You’re conflating history with monuments.

History is the knowledge of past events. If something tangible, like… saaay.. a statue was not around during those events, it’s not history. It’s an interpretation of history.

“Tearing down history” would be something like revising facts to suggest that the American civil war was not fought over the institution of slavery.

Those bunk ass comments have no meat on them. They’re not clever or rooted in fact. Just something a child would say to avoid a deeper conversation. “If you like the north so much, why don’t ya just marry it? Okay, so if ya don’t wanna marry it, stop complainin’ about it”.

Pssh. Shaking my head at your consistently weak defense of the confederacy on chpn.

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