December 12, 2014
S. Waite Rawls III
Co-Chief Executive Officer
The American Civil War Museum
490 Tredegar Street
Richmond, Virginia 23219
Dear Mr. Rawls:
Thank you for your letter of December 5, 2014. As a twenty year Army officer I will get straight to the heart of the matter.
First, I have been a member of the Museum of the Confederacy (MOC) for as long as I can recall. Like all true Southerners, I was attracted to the MOC because it reflected the point of view of the Southern Confederacy for which my direct ancestors fought to establish. Indeed, over the years, I have encouraged many family members and friends to either join the MOC or to support the MOC. I can name four people that joined as a result of my efforts.
In the vast ocean of political correctness associated with the causes and meaning of the War, the MOC alone stood tall and erect as a beacon of historical truth and Southern pride. Because the MOC was not afraid to tell our story or to buckle to critics of the Southern perspective, it made me very proud to be a Southerner. The MOC told about our Southern story and our Southern story alone. It was more than a collection of our relics, it was sacred ground. That is why the MOC was founded (yes I do realize that the name MOC was not the original name). Indeed, it is a fact that the founders did not intend to tell the Union side or preserve the Union relics!
Second, as an informed member of the MOC (and the Sons of Confederate Veterans) I heard many rumors about what might be in store for the MOC (from the first scares about changing the name). Nevertheless, I remained objective and continued my membership even in the face of the shocking news delivered last year that by 2015, the Museum of the Confederacy would be no more.
Third, fearing for the worst – that the MOC would be drowned in the aforementioned ocean of political correctness – this past summer I took my two boys to the MOC to instill in them the same sense of pride for our Southern heritage that the founders of the MOC intended. Of course, I also wanted them to experience the MOC before it was swept away.
I was also curious to see for myself what would become of our Southern relics and our perspective of the War. Thus, we also went to the museum on Tredegar Street. What a contrast! In the best light, the so-called “new” civil war museum is like all the other “civil war” museums in the nation – a false brief for the “evil Southerner” and the “righteous Northerner.” This message is not only overt but subliminal. Indeed, the so-called new logo says it all. The silhouette of the Southern soldier (red is the general color for the conservative South) is superimposed by a black civilian that is then superimposed by a Northern female civilian (blue is the general color for the North)! This is not a museum about the Confederacy.
Fourth, your letter misses the point. While, the SCV may have gotten some of the timing, location, and terminology issues wrong, they hit the nail on the head. You are in fact presiding over the dismantling of the MOC and the replacement will not be dedicated to the Confederacy. Thus, I view your complaints that you are being misrepresented by the SCV as akin to arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.
Finally, I note that my membership card reads: “The Museum of the Confederacy” expiration 6/3/2015. With the singular determination of the Confederate blood that runs in my veins, I will do all I can to restore the MOC (yes I contributed to the SCV legal fund and recruited others as well) or if that is not possible, to help build another Confederate history museum that remains true to its mandate. Thus, when the MOC is gone, I will obviously no longer be a member. In addition, I will encourage all those that I know that were members of the MOC to do the same.
Without reservation, I strongly urge you to restore our Confederate museum and to turn back from the edge.
Jeffrey F. Addicott
Lt. Colonel (US Army, ret)
Distinguished Professor of Law
Director, Center for Terrorism Law
Saint Mary’s University
San Antonio, Texas