History teacher Larry McCluney Jr., a national officer in the Sons of Confederate Veterans, was one of the more fascinating Mississippians we interviewed about the Confederate flag. We also talked, or listened, to him the longest because he really likes to talk about Confederate history as he teaches it. Because I could get such a small amount of what he said into my Guardian article, I’m pasting some sections below that can help clarify the official arguments of the SCV—which I would describe as being framed to defend soldiers who fought for the South in the Civil War and to demonize the North, especially Abraham Lincoln. I find that you spend a lot of time in conversations with people who support the flag listening to them explain what was wrong with the North and Lincoln, leaving me wishing we could just stipulate that few were perfect back then and go deeper into the substance of why my home region seceded and fired on Fort Sumter.
But here are some excerpts. This post is a bit long, but I encourage reading to the end for a fuller understanding of SCV’s arguments, and for my short responses. By the way, McCluney prefers to call it the “War for Southern Independence.” And don’t miss his comments below about Trump to a black student upset about his election to the presidency.
McCluney: (People) think about the cause being slavery.
Me: Do you agree with that?
Slavery didn’t cause the war.