Tomorrow, April 12, is the sesquicentennial of the start of the Civil War. As a resident of South Carolina and having been formerly and now, again, presently employed in Charleston, the memorial seemed appropriate. The first shots of the war were fired in Charleston, on Fort Sumter, then a failing Federal stronghold in the putative Confederacy. Lincoln had sent munitions to reinforce it. The South wanted the structure evacuated. After it was ferociously besieged, the forces of the seceding State had taken the fort. Amazingly, although 3000 cannon shots were fired, no fatalities were suffered during the exchange. In lore, it’s been dubbed the “miraculous” and “bloodless victory.” Of course, it deceptively presaged the slaughter to follow.
My grandmother was actually born in South Carolina, on the same street where I now work. I didn’t know until later in life. I’m not really from here. I grew up in various suburbs of the Baltimore/Washington Metro Area. But, South Carolina has been my adult home. And, I’m proud to be a citizen of it. I’d make two observations relevant to the song and my time here, though. One, race relations are modest. They are typically superficial, paternalistic, or non-existent (and sporadically antagonistic). There are exceptions, of course. But, people seldom seek a path of intersection. We have to learn to share a meal, not just pleasantries.
Second, the Civil War devastated two communities in South Carolina, the white and black. The liberated latter found re-imagined versions of opposition outside of formal bondage, nearly as devastating and horrifying as the original. The former were wiped economically off the map. In some ways, neither has ever fully recovered. I’m not calling moral sides. History has vindicated the cause and the outcome of the war and any hardship the Confederate States bore was a burden of their own design and demand. But, when the rest of the nation laughs at the South or pities its continued struggle to integrate in real ways, let it be remembered that the whole enterprise was burned to the ground. And, then two mortal enemies were told to rebuild. Their difficulty to do so is understandable, even this many years later.
But the same sense of resolve that led to the improvident secession, endures in the character of South Carolina’s people today, of all colors. We can be better. And, particularly, because we are people of still a strong and continuing faith, we know to what kind of affection, one to another, we are called.
Performed by ipoet. Music produced by dj transform.
Today’s song blog here:Get Strong