Saturday, June 20, 2020

Southern Heritage

"War's End" by Jan Barry 

Southern Heritage

By Jan Barry

After Lee surrendered
The South smugly won the Civil War—
Blacks lost voting rights, civil rights, every rights
In a reign of terror by hooded Confederates,
US Army posts were commandeered
And named for Confederate generals—

A hundred years after the War Between the States
Yankees were still the enemy in Southern parts—
A Michigan mother assisting voting rights activists
Was shot dead by the Ku Klux Klan in Alabama:
Viola Liuzzo was targeted as a white woman aiding Blacks—
New Yorkers Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner
Were murdered with Black civil rights worker James Chaney
By the KKK assisted by police in Mississippi—

Half a century and more to this day, the Confederate legacy
Still leads the charge in Black-disdaining hearts—
In the hip 21st century, after a Black president was elected twice,
Black people are shot dead, choked to death
By police across America—
Women and men are assaulted by police in city after city
For marching in inter-racial Black Lives Matter protests—

Lee and other Confederate leaders were West Point grads,
Welcomed back into the fold after the hostilities—
Not so with Black folks emancipated by Lincoln
And the Union forces—

The first “colored” graduate of West Point
Was “silenced” by classmates for four years—
The Southern heritage is a long tradition
At the US Military Academy and in the Army—
Ten US Army posts are named for Confederate generals:
Benning, Bragg, Beauregard, Gordon, Hill, Hood, Lee,
Pickett, Polk and Rucker—

Nothing was named for Henry O. Flipper,
Class of 1877, born into slavery,
Court-martialed for corresponding with a white woman
After serving as a Buffalo soldier—

But times are changing:
African-American men and women are mayors in
Montgomery Alabama, Atlanta Georgia, Washington DC
And cities across America—
Across the South, Confederate statues are being torn down
After all this time—