I am still trying to figure out why The Post felt it necessary to waste 12 pages on Frank Earnest [“The Spokesman,” Washington Post Magazine, Dec. 2]. He claims he’s not a racist but names his black-over-white tuxedo cat after an uneducated enslaved character in “Gone With the Wind.” Any reference to his history books said it all. Only they should be spelled out as “his story,” not “history,” a biased attempt to alter historical facts and a revisionist effort to soothe the conscience of Southern whites. Given the results of the midterm elections in Mississippi and Georgia, he has a lot of allies.
Walt Carr, Columbia
After reading “The Spokesman,” one could wonder how the article managed to ignore its own question: How can one believe the Confederacy wasn’t built on racist slavery? Not everyone spends time reading history books after completing school.
Bruce Levine’s book “The Fall of the House of Dixie” shows that even where plantations were nonexistent, white farmers who owned no slaves would call on those who possessed a few, to use as contract labor. Though the framers of the Constitution considered that slavery would wither from economic inefficiency, by 1860, Southern cotton amounted to half the value of all U.S. exports, and 4 million slaves in aggregate were worth roughly $3 billion, three times the construction cost of all the railroads in the country. The cotton gin and English Industrial Revolution had led white Southerners to gradually invest in the noose that strangled them.
Perhaps we should be more pleased that some pro-Confederates can repudiate Ku Klux Klan racism. And white Southerners of goodwill can say, “It was the worst cause in the world; but they did fight well.”
Richard Ashford, Chevy Chase