The article has run in about a dozen papers across the nation.
For historians, however, there is little question that slavery was the driving factor in sparking secession and later the war. Teaching history incorrectly, they say, allows people to justify supporting the Confederacy without addressing related questions of racism.
“If you don’t understand what the Civil War was about, you don’t have anything to argue against Confederate nationalism,” said Sebesta. “It’s an erasure of African-Americans in the South by saying the Confederacy was the South. It’s creating a Southern identity as a white identity.”It was interesting how the Children of the Confederacy was unwilling to explain what they were doing.
But with the exception of three attendees who like Shelby and her grandfather, Martin Schaller, agreed to interviews, it was hard to learn what the Children of the Confederacy conference teaches its members about the history of slavery and the role it played in sparking the Civil War.
Conference organizers declined to share conference materials with anyone not registered for the conference. They said members of the organization could not speak to the news media without approval from the organization’s director general, who could not be located Thursday, the convention’s opening day.
Eventually, the general manager of the hotel where the convention is being held through Saturday ordered two McClatchy reporters to leave.
The impasse was perhaps predictable. More than 10 phone calls throughout the week leading up to the conference, and several emails to the organization’s director general, went unreturned.
The group’s unwillingness to share its approach to Civil War history makes it hard to know how its program fits into what a growing number of historians and experts say is the perpetuation of dangerous myths about the war and the antebellum South that are common in public school texts and are fueled in seemingly innocent war re-enactments.
It is always interesting when a group is secretive about what they do.