Robert E Lee, MLK and Southern Heritage

Making rounds of the internet this week was a Biloxi, Mississippi city government posting that referenced that Martin Luther King Day also being known officially as Great Americans Day, which was started in 1985 by the city. Turns out Robert E. Lee was born the same week (albeit a century earlier) as MLK.  Biloxi likely started this in response to President Reagan signing the law in 1983 that the holiday would become federally recognized in 1986.  So it gives this damned Yankee an opportunity to dig into the hero worship of the great Virginian general of the Civil War and examine his place in Southern Heritage.

Robert E. Lee’s success on the battlefield was unparalleled. In reality he only lost two twice as a commander, one at Gettysburg and a final time where he surrendered his troops at Appomattox Courthouse in what is wrongly attributed as the end of the Civil War (it would continue elsewhere in the south for six more weeks or so).   Celebration as a great General, even though many of these were waged against the United States, I suppose is due. But throughout the land there are not nearly as many George Patton statues nor street names. Continue reading