Julian Riggs Smith – LikeTheDew.com https://likethedew.com A journal of progressive Southern culture and politics Wed, 24 Apr 2019 10:14:27 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.1.1 https://likethedew.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/cropped-DewLogoSquare825-32x32.png Julian Riggs Smith – LikeTheDew.com https://likethedew.com 32 32 Alabama Then and Now https://likethedew.com/2017/12/16/alabama-then-and-now/ https://likethedew.com/2017/12/16/alabama-then-and-now/#respond Sat, 16 Dec 2017 15:56:30 +0000 http://likethedew.com/?p=68452

Although I grew up in a family of Democrats in Louisiana when there were few Republicans and two kinds of Democrats (supporters of Huey Long’s machine and the other kind), I went to high school in Phoenix where I worked in Barry Goldwater’s first senate campaign in 1952 running against the incumbent Democrat in a blue state.

Influenced or infected by the relatively enlightened views toward race then current in Phoenix, I joined the Young Republicans when I returned to my native state to enroll at Tulane University. I did so because the local Republicans, including several very liberal Tulane professors, were working hard to register African-Americans who had been disenfranchised since the end of Reconstruction.

I did not register as a Democrat until 1962, when I was teaching at Spring Hill, an integrated Jesuit college in Mobile, Alabama. As there was no Republican running for governor, I took the advice of my liberal colleagues and registered as a Democrat to write in the name of a civil-rights activist instead of voting for George Wallace, who had out-N-worded all his opponents in the Democratic primary back in June.

In the senate race, I crossed party lines and voted for a guy named Martin, the Republican candidate running against J. Lister Hill, the incumbent Democrat. I voted for the Republican simply because he was not part of the “solid south” blocking reform and civil rights. The Republican got 49.14% of the vote, and the Democrat 50.86%.

Here’s what I find most interesting about the similarity of the 1962 senate race in Alabama and the one in 2017. Look at the maps showing how each county voted in those two elections, those counties that were red in 1962 are now mostly blue in 2017.

Alabama Senate Race 1962 vs 2017
Alabama Senate Race 1962 vs 2017 (Wikipedia.org)

And here’s a highly relevant quote from the Wiki entry for the 1962 senate race:

The Hill-Martin race drew considerable national attention. The liberal columnist Drew Pearson wrote from Decatur, Alabama, that “for the first time since Reconstruction, the two-party system, which political scientists talk about for the South, but never expect to materialize, may come to Alabama.” The New York Times viewed the Alabama race as the most vigorous off-year effort in modern southern history but predicted a Hill victory on the basis that Martin had failed to gauge “bread-and-butter” issues and was perceived by many as an “ultraconservative.”

Could it be that “Mr. Jones Goes to Washington” may be a portent of things to come here in Glynn County, Georgia (where I live) and in much of south next year?

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The monumental Stone Mountain controversy https://likethedew.com/2015/10/15/the-monumental-stone-mountain-controversy/ https://likethedew.com/2015/10/15/the-monumental-stone-mountain-controversy/#comments Thu, 15 Oct 2015 15:38:10 +0000 http://likethedew.com/?p=61826

Image of two boys peeing off Stone Mountain

Fifty-two summers ago, Martin Luther King challenged our nation with these words: “Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.”

Today, some dream of placing a freedom bell on that mountain.

I have another dream today:

I have a dream that one fine day a little black boy and a little white boy will stand together side by side on top of Stone Mountain;

I have a dream that on that day they will pee together down the face of Stone Mountain;

I have a dream that their pee will flow together down the face of that mountain and stain the graven images of three men who dreamed a dream that was a nightmare;

I have a dream those graven images will dissolve away and this nation will wake from that nightmare;

I have a dream . . .

Help Puddy Fight the Blight. Elect Julian Puddy Smith County Commissioner at-Large. PuddySmith.com

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Our state flag of rebellion https://likethedew.com/2015/07/11/our-state-flag-of-rebellion/ https://likethedew.com/2015/07/11/our-state-flag-of-rebellion/#comments Sat, 11 Jul 2015 17:02:43 +0000 http://likethedew.com/?p=60814

While it’s good news that South Carolina has finally taken down the single Confederate Battle Flag that has flown on the state capitol grounds since 2000 (and over the state capitol itself for thirty-nine years before that), it would be better news if the flag of the Confederacy itself were removed from the Georgia state flag.

Beginning in 1879, when a state senator and former Confederate officer introduced legislation that included the design of the first official state flag, Georgia has had seven different state flags, each one bearing one or more graphic reminders of Confederate national banners.



Here is the 2003 legislation establishing the design of our current state flag:

(a) The flag of the State of Georgia shall consist of a square canton on a field of three horizontal bands of equal width. The top and bottom bands shall be scarlet and the center band white. The bottom band shall extend the entire length of the flag, while the center and top bands shall extend from the canton to the fly end of the flag. The canton of the flag shall consist of a square of blue the width of two of the bands, in the upper left of the hoist of the flag. In the center of the canton shall be placed a representation in gold of the coat of arms of Georgia as shown in the center of the obverse of the Great Seal of the State of Georgia adopted in 1799 and amended in 1914. Centered immediately beneath the coat of arms shall be the words “IN GOD WE TRUST” in capital letters. The coat of arms and wording “IN GOD WE TRUST” shall be encircled by 13 white five-pointed stars, representing Georgia and the 12 other original states that formed the United States of America.

In simpler terms, our current state flag is nothing more than the original stars and bars banner of the Confederate States of America with the state seal surrounded by thirteen stars. Adopted in 2003, it replaces the state flag adopted in 2001 which was graced or disgraced with a scroll displaying two earlier Georgia state flags, one bearing the red and white Confederate bars beside a blue canton, the other bearing the battle flag.

Of the other former Confederate states, only three display obvious Confederate emblems on their state flags: the Confederate battle flag on the Mississippi flag and the inflammatory red Saint Andrew’s cross on the white field of the Alabama and Florida flags. Only Georgia continues to fly the original national flag of the CSA.

Every state flag of Georgia has displayed the official state seal on which three pillars, labelled Wisdom, Justice, and Moderation, hold up the arch of the Constitution (whether of the United States or of Georgia, I know not).

As the great-grandson of two soldiers who fought for the Confederacy, I believe I am entitled to ask: how wise, just, or moderate is it for our state flag to continue honoring the long-lost cause of bloody rebellion?

Help Puddy Fight the Blight. Elect Julian Puddy Smith County Commissioner at-Large. PuddySmith.com

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Enough Said about Confederate Memories https://likethedew.com/2015/07/03/enough-said-about-confederate-memories/ https://likethedew.com/2015/07/03/enough-said-about-confederate-memories/#comments Fri, 03 Jul 2015 16:00:35 +0000 http://likethedew.com/?p=60766

Confederate flag bug screen licensed by LikeTheDew.com at 123rf.com

Only one hundred and fifty years after Appomattox, southern states are beginning to give up public displays of Confederate battle flags and other emblems of what my two grandfathers called the War for Southern Independence or the War of Northern Aggression.

But what about private displays? And what about memories of private displays?

Here are two memories of private displays:

Growing up in Louisiana during the Second World War, I was nurtured by the rival stories of my grandfathers Smith and Riggs about their fathers’ service under P. G. T. Beauregard. General Beauregard, according to many accounts, was the gallant leader who insisted his soldiers needed a recognizable battle flag and chose the design with the star-studded Saint Andrews cross–the flag that flew over the South Carolina state house until recently, that graced part of the Georgia State Flag until 2001.

In the dead center of my grandfather Smith’s house was a large windowless room with the massive pool table on which I was allowed to play war games with hand-painted lead soldiers, horses, and cannon representing the Blue and the Gray. Three walls of this room were lined with a fine collection of hunting and fishing trophies–and paintings of dogs playing poker. The fourth wall was reserved for a display of his father’s collection of weapons and banners, including a tattered Confederate Battle Flag.

My grandmother Smith, the daughter of a wounded Union soldier who stayed down south without benefit of a carpet bag, gave away all the contents of the windowless room when she became a widow. But she could not give away my memory of that room at the heart of the house.

Here’s a more recent memory I will take to my grave: about twenty years ago, stuck in a line of traffic during road repairs in Brunswick, Georgia, I got out of my pickup to stretch my legs and noticed that the radiator of the huge truck behind me was covered by a stained Confederate Battle Flag–and that the truck driver was a large black man.

Making a faulty assumption, I asked him how he felt about his boss making him drive with such a banner leading the way.

“This is my truck,” he replied, smiling proudly.

Why did he display that banner on his radiator, I asked.

“Because it catches the bugs”, he said, drawing out that last word with a dying fall.

Enough said.

Help Puddy Fight the Blight. Elect Julian Puddy Smith County Commissioner at-Large. PuddySmith.com

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