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He Grew Up With a Dog Named Dixie; Now He's Renaming Military Bases Honoring Confederates

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tags: racism, military history, Confederacy, public history, Ty Seidule



On Jan. 6, 2021, an insurrectionist with a huge Confederate flag walked past a portrait of Charles Sumner in halls of the U.S. Capitol building. A journalist captured the moment in a photo that made the rounds on the news.

The irony of that instance was not lost on retired brigadier general and West Point history professor Ty Seidule, who now lives in Clinton and is a visiting professor at Hamilton College.

Sumner was an abolitionist senator for Massachusetts who was beaten over the head with a cane by a pro-slavery congressman from South Carolina, for giving a speech criticizing slaveholders. Sumner dealt with recurring pain from that incident for the rest of his life.

He also engineered the institution of the military induction oath in 1862, which was first a sort of safeguard against Confederates. It was the same oath that Seidule would take over a century late in front of a huge, deified statue of General Robert E. Lee on the campus of Washington and Lee University.

Seidule’s whole life is like that — a series of historical fishermen’s knots that connect his early life as a Lee devotee to his career now as an outspoken reformist and member of the Congress-appointed Naming Commission to strike Confederate titles from Department of Defense-owned property.

 

Read entire article at Stars and Stripes

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