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My name is Lowell Berlanti, and I created the podcast Prodigy to find the answer to a very complicated question can genius be created? I asked academics, researchers, scientists and the prodigies themselves to gain a better understanding of intelligence, skill acquisition and expert performance. So disregard all simple explanations because complex questions require complex answers. Listen to Prodigy every Thursday on the I Heart radio app Apple podcasts or ever you get your podcasts contact role as a technology and media company dedicated to improving public health.


And our podcast is our opportunity to dive into hot topics that are relevant to you. From contact tracing to vaccines to social and racial justice. We may not have all the answers, but you deserve to know what goes on in your neighborhood and the decisions that affect you and your family's health. I'm Justin Beck. Join me and my co-host, Katherine and Deepti.


As we seek truth and help, listen to Contact World, the podcast on the I Heart radio app, Apple podcast, or wherever you get your podcasts.


Welcome to Stuff You Missed in History Class A production of I Heart Radio. Hello and welcome to the podcast. I'm Tracy Wilson. And I'm Holly Fry. Holly, this has been a weird year for totally normal.


I live in a closet. I mean, it's been a weird year in general. It's been a really weird year to work on this podcast. We recorded an episode back in March where we talked about some of that and how strange it was to be working on the show and living in this moment that was clearly, historically significant, that moment being the pandemic at that time. And that sense of strangeness is really continued and also, I think escalated with the other things that have also happened since then.


Yes, future historians will have quite a lot of layers to peel on this onion that is 20/20. Yeah. So like this whole sense of very surreal stuff like that went on through the the widespread protests against police brutality and racism that started in the late spring and summer. And now as we're recording this, the truly bizarre afterlife of the 2020 presidential election for most of this year is really felt like either we just wrote an episode that suddenly not relevant anymore or we've been working on episodes feeling like they're just going to come out in this black hole of we don't know what the world is going to be like.


Is this going to seem really tone deaf when it publishes in a week and a half yet? So we're recording this on December 1st. Who knows what the world is going to be like when it actually gets to people's feeds in a way, with all this just bizarre, strange, disorienting chaos that we have all been living through, the election has felt uniquely disorienting because there are clear historical precedents for the pandemic and the protests and the conditions that led to the protests.


And we have talked about a lot of those things on the show before. But while there have been disputed elections in the United States, we don't really have a one to one comparison to a sitting president having clearly lost the election, making all kinds of baseless and often verifiably false claims about having actually won it in all caps.


And yes, however, another piece of this very strange post election season is this attempt to just promote the idea that the election was somehow rigged in favor of President elect Joe Biden. And so if we look at things more generally and we talk about attempts to create a narrative, to reframe a loss so that it will be more favorable to the losing side, there are definite precedents for that in history. And one of them is the subject of today's episode, which is the myth of the lost cause of the Confederacy, which was a distortion of the history of the US civil war that is still affecting the world today.


Just a heads up that we cannot possibly delve into every conceivable nuance of this in an episode. One of the many books about how the civil war is remembered is called Race and Reunion The Civil War in American Memory. That's by David Blight and not counting the notes and the index of that book. It is almost 400 pages long. And the author describes that as a, quote, synthetic and selective work on a vast topic. So we are kind of looking at the big picture overview of this and not every conceivable facet of it.


So the lost cause was part ideology, part social movement, since its purpose was to promote and a historical interpretation of the U.S. civil war.


We got to start with a recap of what exactly the lost cause was trying to undermine, although there were other factors that played a much smaller role. The primary issue that drove the US civil war was, of course, slavery. You can certainly make the argument that the North went to war to preserve the union. But under that argument, the reason the union was in jeopardy in the first place was still slavery. And this was not a new division.


Disagreements over slavery and efforts to accommodate slave states for the sake of keeping the union together. Those go all the way back to before the drafting of the U.S. Constitution, and they're represented in the Constitution itself. So all the language that we're about to talk about still exists in the Constitution today, although the 13th and 14th Amendment supersedes some of it.


Article one, Section two sets up the framework for the House of Representatives and how members of that body will be apportioned. It reads in part, quote, Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several states which may be included within this union according to their respective numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole number of free persons, including those bound to service for a term of years and excluding Indians not taxed three fifths of all other persons.


So this is known as the three fifths compromise. And even though it doesn't specifically mention slavery, everyone understood that other persons here enslaved Africans, Southern states wanted their enslaved population to count for the purpose of apportionment. And that would give those states more legislative power and help protect the institution of slavery. They did not want their tax burden to increase by that amount, though. So the solution was to count three fifths of the enslaved population. Article one, Section nine address the international slave trade, though again, without using that language, it reads, quote, The migration or importation of such persons as any of the states now existing shall think proper to admit shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the year 1808.


But attacks or duty may be imposed on such importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each person. In other words, while the government could impose a tax or a duty on enslaved people brought into the country, it could not ban the international slave trade before 1898.


And then Article four came to be known as the Fugitive Slave Clause, quote, No person held to service or labor in one state under the laws thereof, escaping into another shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor, but shall be delivered up on the claim of the party to whom such service or labor may be.


Do delegates from the slaveholding states would not have accepted the Constitution without these provisions, each of which protected slavery and the interests of enslavers and slave states? And over time, the growth of anti slavery sentiments and abolition movements in the northern states became increasingly threatening to the slave states of the South. To be clear, there were also abolitionists in the South, including enslaved people advocating for their own liberation and liberating themselves. But the national balance of power between North and south is what we're really focused on here.


Beginning in about 1812, the United States started intentionally admitting new states into the union in pairs, one slave and one free state to maintain this purported balance. And this continued until 1850, when California became the first free state admitted without a corresponding slave state. The compromise of 1850 was a collection of laws meant to diffuse some of the tension from this shift. One of those being a much stronger fugitive slave act in 1850 for the Republican Party was established to try to resist the expansion of slavery into the Western territories of the United States by the election of 1860.


It was widely believed that the election of a Republican president would spell the end of slavery and would prompt slave states to secede from the union. When this came to pass after Republican Abraham Lincoln was elected as president on November 6th, 1860, after Lincoln's election, Senator John J. Crittenden of Kentucky proposed a collection of constitutional amendments and Senate resolutions, some of which would make slavery permanent and part of the country to try to head off a secession crisis. Unsurprisingly, this proposal was supported by the slave states but denounced by the free states.


So it failed. And then on December 20th, 1860, South Carolina became the first state to announce that it was seceding from the union.


South Carolina issued a declaration of the immediate causes which induce and justify the secession of South Carolina from the federal union. This document read in part, quote, An increasing hostility on the part of the non slaveholding states to the institution of slavery has led to a disregard of their obligations, and the laws of the general government have ceased to affect the objects of the Constitution.


Other states issued similar documents when they seceded. They're going to have a couple of examples. This one's from Georgia. Quote, For the last 10 years, we have had numerous and serious causes of complaint against our non slave holding Confederate states with reference to the subject of African slavery. They have endeavored to weaken our security, to disturb our domestic peace and tranquility and persistently refuse to comply with their expressed constitutional obligations to us in reference to that property and by the use of their power in the federal government, have striven to deprive us of an equal enjoyment of the common territories of the republic.


This is from Mississippi. Quote, Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery, the greatest material interest in the world, its labor supplies, the product which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of commerce on the Earth. These products are peculiar to the climate verging on the tropical regions. And by an imperious law of nature, none but the black race can bear exposure to the tropical sun. These products have become necessities of the world, and a blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization.


Texas and Virginia issued similar documents containing similar sentiments as well. And while some of these documents did also spend a significant amount of space discussing states rights in general, the rights that were being discussed all circled back to slavery. They included things like the right to take enslaved people into free states without their being freed as a consequence. So these documents supported the slave states rights to maintain slavery, but not really the free states rights to outlaw or restrict it. A Constitution of the Confederate States was adopted on March 11th, 1961.


Unlike the US Constitution, this one made several direct specific references to slavery and enslaved people. Ten days later, Alexander Stevens, vice president of the Confederate States of America, delivered what came to be known as the cornerstone speech. It said that this new constitution had, quote, put at rest forever all the agitating questions relating to our peculiar institution, African slavery, as it exists amongst us, the proper status of the Negro in our form of civilization.


This was the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution. So, yeah, there were, of course, cultural and economic differences between the north and the south and other issues that you could cite as contributing factors in all of this. But there is overwhelming documented evidence that the biggest issue and the one that was the most important was slavery.


It seems unlikely that the Confederate states would have shied away from that stance had they won the war. Slavery was right there in the Confederate states constitution, including the clause, quote, No bill of attainder, ex post facto law or law, denying or impairing the right of property in Negro slaves shall be passed. But instead, the Confederacy suffered a humiliating defeat. That left the question of how the nation could possibly be whole again and how the South could envision itself after this turn of events.


And we're going to talk about that after we pause for a sponsor break. Hi, this is Boin Yang here, and if you're as excited as I am about the upcoming fourth season of Search Party on Biomax, then you'll want to tune in to Search Party the podcast.


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After the US civil war, there were a lot of questions about how to reunite the country, like what would states have to do to be readmitted into the union? What would former confederates have to do to earn some kind of pardon?


How could the places that had suffered material damage as a result of the war be rebuilt? And how could the social, economic and political injustice that had both enabled and grown from the existence of slavery be addressed and rectified? We have talked about a lot of this in previous episodes of the show that relate to the period of U.S. history known as reconstruction. And those episodes include our two parter on Robert Smalls that we put out as a Saturday classic, The Summer, and our two parter on the Wilmington coup that came out in twenty eighteen.


A lot of these questions were practical, like would former Confederate leaders have to stand trial? What kind of services would be provided for formerly enslaved people? Where would the money come from to pay for those services? But some of these questions were a little bit more abstract, like what did this mean for white Southern identity? How could the Southern states defend themselves from mockery, shame and accusations of treason? From the white southern point of view, answers to a lot of these more nebulous questions rested on a set of ideas that came to be known as the lost cause.


That's a term that was popularized by the 1866 book of the same name by Edward Pollard of Virginia.


The biggest and most important piece of the Lost Cause myth was that the Civil War had not been about slavery. Southern states had seceded over the issue of states rights, and that had been the cause of the war, according to this idea. Still hear it on occasion.


I don't know if on occasion is even strong enough. I'm being super polite. Even though the Lost Cause narrative claimed that the Civil War was not about slavery, it also reimagined slavery itself according to Lost Cause, proponent's slavery was not an evil institution. Enslavers in this version of the story, our benevolent. They looked after their enslaved workforce, providing housing, clothing and food, and generally giving enslaved people a better life than they would have had otherwise.


Also, according to this narrative, enslaved people were happy, grateful, loyal, dedicated to their enslavers. Folded into all of this was the idea that people of African descent weren't capable of handling their own affairs, that they somehow needed the guidance and supervision of their enslavers. Even though the lost cause took great pains to minimize the documented horrors of slavery. It also contended that slavery was well on its way to dying out on its own.


Sort of a corollary to this reimagining of slavery was the myth of the black Confederate, which became way more popular later on in the 1970s in particular, like it had kind of a heyday. This was the idea that enslaved black people were so loyal and cared for that they willingly volunteered to fight for the Confederacy in enormous numbers. Estimates for how many black confederates there supposedly were are all over the place there, anywhere from 500 to a hundred thousand such soldiers, depending on who you read.


The reality is that enslaved Africans were a massive source of labor within the Confederate Army. They worked as body servants, cooks and manual laborers. But they weren't soldiers and they were not volunteers. They were enslaved. Confederate forces also captured and enslaved free black people in the places they moved through or occupied during the war.


Historian Kevin Levin has written a whole book about this called Searching for Black Confederates The Civil Wars Most Persistent Myth.


Now people like to use photos of soldiers posing with their enslaved servants as like some kind of evidence that there were a whole lot of soldiers and that the person the picture is really depicting is enslaving the person next to them. Like that is not a volunteer soldier who went with him. So the Lost Cause ideology also framed the s defeat as something that was inevitable under this ideology, Confederate generals were brilliant. They were gifted in their strategy and their tactics, and the South was defeated only because the North had superior numbers and resources.


So the idea that the South was just overwhelmed. So it wasn't that Robert E. Lee and other Confederate leaders failed to develop an effective strategy to offset the fact that the northern states were more industrialized and more densely populated. It was just that there was no strategy that ever would have been enough. This idea that the Confederate war effort was doomed from the beginning is the source of that lost cause moniker.


Within this reframing, Confederate generals were universally gentlemen. All of the soldiers were noble and gallant. White women were also perfect examples of Southern femininity. They had sacrificed for the cause of freedom and had borne up under immense struggle. More broadly, antebellum life in the South was described as universally genteel and refined, with plantations romanticized as idyllic, expansive homes and fields rather than the reality, which was that they were slave labor camps.


Yes, I want to take a minute for like a more personal note. I understand that for a lot of people, this history is very personally important to them and their families. If you're about to write us an angry e-mail about your second or third great grandfather who served for the South, I have second and third great grandfathers, too. So I get it. Like you want to think that your ancestors were on the right side of history, but they really just were not in this case.


Eventually, proponents of the Lost Cause ideology started to reframe the period of reconstruction as well, and under this idea, reconstruction was not an attempt to repair the damage of the war and to address injustice. That was an effort to just punish the south and exact retribution. And northerners who came to the South to assist with this whole process were not according to lost cause. Proponents motivated by altruism or philanthropy. According to the lost cause, they were unscrupulous, corrupt carpetbaggers who were only in it for the money money that they were going to get illegitimately.


So we referenced Edward Pollards book The Lost Cause earlier. And while that book did popularize this term, the movement itself is not something that just started and ended with one book. It was much bigger. Glimmers of the lost cause ideology were present at least as early as General Robert E. Lee's farewell address, also called General Order number nine, delivered the day before he surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant. And that began, quote, After four years of arduous service marked by unsurpassed courage and fortitude, the army of Northern Virginia has been compelled to yield to overwhelming numbers and resources.


I need not tell the brave survivors of so many hard fought battles who have remained steadfast to the last that I have consented to this result from no distrust of them. But feeling that valor and devotion could accomplish nothing that would compensate for the loss that would have attended the continuance of the contest. I determined to avoid the useless sacrifice of those whose past services have endeared them to their countrymen. After the war was over, white Southern women's groups that had been focused on providing aid during the war started instead focusing on memorializing the fallen and honoring returning soldiers.


And some of this certainly included absolutely legitimate work, like burying the dead and holding funerals and helping to care for women and children who had lost their husbands and fathers. But running alongside all of that work were efforts to reinforce the idea of the southern war effort as this noble, doomed endeavor that was not about slavery.


In the late 1860, men's veterans groups became part of this effort as well. The Southern Historical Society was established in April of 1869 to ensure that this version of civil war history would be remembered. Former Confederate General Jubal Early was the Southern Historical Society's first president and was a major proponent of the lost cause.


Although many Confederate memorials were built much later, which we will talk about, some were raised in the years immediately after the war was over. In April of 1866, Jefferson Davis, who had been president of the Confederate States, went on a tour to dedicate memorials and multiple cities, including Montgomery, Alabama, and Atlanta and Savannah, Georgia.


Prominent Confederate figures were also lionized after their deaths, depicted as noble, nearly flawless heroes and eulogies and early biographies. This included Robert E. Lee, who died on October 12th, 1870. Biographies written shortly after his death characterize him as a devout Christian who hated slavery, even though his cruelty to his own enslaved workforce, including breaking up their families and either ordering or carrying out the whipping of people who escaped, was documented. His opinions on the supremacy of the white race were also very well documented.


Yeah, he was definitely a Christian, but that did not somehow undo the other part. Jefferson Davis was similarly eulogized after his death on December 6th, 1889. More than a hundred thousand mourners paid their respects as his body lay in state in New Orleans, Louisiana. And then from there, his remains were taken by train to their final resting place in Richmond, Virginia. And this train made stops along the way with the crowds honoring his passing by, laying magnolia blossoms on the tracks and firing their guns into the air.


At sometimes these crowds were so large the train had to stop so they could be cleared away. Not every former Confederate figure was similarly treated, though. For example, after the war, former Confederate General William Mahone became one of the leaders of the Readjusts party in Virginia. This party was a coalition of black and white political leaders that dominated Virginia politics from 1879 to 1883. With many black members of the coalition being elected into state and federal office. Mahoney's presence at Confederate reunions had to be sort of explained away, with organizers stressing that everyone should remember his wartime service rather than focusing on his political career.


By the late 90s, the. Lost cause ideology was immensely popular in the South and it was gaining traction elsewhere. The magazine Confederate Veteran was launched in 1893 and by 1900 it had more than twenty thousand subscribers and it was by far the most popular and widely read journal in the South. The United Daughters of the Confederacy was established in 1894 and was heavily involved in promoting the Lost Cause myth. In 1896, the Confederate Museum, which was initially focused on a lost cause interpretation of the war, was opened in Richmond, Virginia.


Historians and commentators criticized the Lost Cause ideology. Throughout all of this, there were grains of truth to it, such as that there were white women who had made huge sacrifices during the war and soldiers who had volunteered out of a sense of patriotic duty. But a lot of it was just flatly false. Critics pointed out that the Lost Cause narrative tried to erase all kinds of horrors, including the existence of the Ku Klux Klan and the practice of lynching, while also leaning on racist depictions of black people that allowed the Klan and lynching to flourish.


Black leaders and their white allies also noted that accepting the false tenets of the lost cause meant abandoning black Americans and the work of reconstruction and erasing the horrors and ongoing destructive legacy of slavery. Abolitionists and other reformers called for the rejection of this entire narrative.


At the same time, though, and a lot of the north and at the federal level, there was also this sense that accepting the lost cause narrative or at least not pushing back against it too hard, might help unify the nation and allow it to heal from the war. However, this purported reunification but the emotional healing of white people ahead of everyone else, particularly black Americans. So in terms of national politics, the northern states were complicit in allowing this fiction to stand for the sake of the union at the expense of some of the union's most marginalized citizens.


I see this as a continuation of all those earlier concessions and appeasement that go all the way back to the drafting of the Constitution.


And the lost cause was still being reinforced well into the 20th century. And we are going to get into that after a sponsor break. Are you dealing with best life burnout, constantly striving for more and quite frankly, over it, maybe you just want more joy, peace and laughter in your life now? Well, then, let's go. Welcome to your new favorite podcast, Hot Happy Mess, hosted by Meet Your Girl Jerry Hall. Join us each week as we discuss dating relationships, self care, career wins and losses and so much more.


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Much of the national dialogue following the U.S. civil war had been about reunification and reconciliation and coming together, and eventually this included soldiers who had been on opposite sides of the war, although there had been smaller events earlier on, the first major civil war reunion involving soldiers from both sides was the Manassas Peace Jubilee in July of 1911. This happened at the start of a series of fiftieth anniversary remembrances that would go on until 1915. About 10000 people attended this event, including about 300 Confederate and about 125 United States veterans.


A much larger event took place in 1913, with more than 53000 veterans assembling at Gettysburg. This was a massive event with states and the federal government providing funding for everything from getting veterans to Gettysburg to feeding them and providing emergency medical care while they were there. Most of the veterans attending this were very elderly and the weather was brutally hot so that medical care was a vital part of the plan.


Yeah, and even with it, there were there were people who died on the scene at the reunion because they were in their advanced years and the weather was just punishing. Again, the theme with all this was reconciliation and healing, but again, for white people at the expense of black people who had been harmed by slavery and the war and their descendants who were still being harmed by ongoing racism and violence. And the words of the Washington B, which is a newspaper with a predominantly black readership based in Washington, D.C., quote, The occasion is to be called a reunion, a reunion of whom only those who fought for the preservation of the union and the extinction of human slavery.


Is it to be an assemblage of those who fought to destroy the union and perpetuate slavery and who are now employing every artifice and argument known to deceit and sophistry to propagate a national sentiment in favor of their nefarious contention that emancipation, reconstruction and enfranchisement are dismal failures? Some of the most visible remnants of the Lost Cause ideology came about during the presidency of Woodrow Wilson. He came into office in 1913. The first film screening at the White House happened during his presidency.


It was the film Birth of a Nation originally known as The Clansman, which included quotes from one of Wilson's history books, A History of the American People. Wilson was a proponent of the lost cause and the Dunning's school, named for historian William Dunning, who interpreted reconstruction as a failure. Birth of a nation embrace the lost cause ideology using racist depictions of black Americans to frame reconstruction as deeply damaging to white people. It is also credited with a resurgence in the Ku Klux Klan, which is depicted in the film Saving the South from the horrors of reconstruction.


By the time Wilson became president, reconstruction was long over, and many of the gains in civil rights for black Americans that had been implemented during that time had already been lost. Wilson was the first Southern president elected since Reconstruction, and he continued that trend of rolling back civil rights, including segregating or allowing his cabinet to segregate a number of federal bureaus and offices, as well as the U.S. Navy.


Wilson ran for a second term as president on a platform that included keeping the United States out of World War One. But after he was elected, he began preparing to go to war, including constructing new camps for training newly recruited military personnel. This is when U.S. military bases started to be named after Confederate leaders, even though those leaders fought against the U.S. military during the Civil War.


So after the end of the Civil War, the U.S. Army had occupied 11 southern states with troops being removed after the state had met with requirements to rejoin the union.


The last of these troops were removed after the 1876 presidential election, and that was one of the disputed elections that we nodded to at the start of the show. The candidates in this election were Democrat Samuel Tilden and Republican Rutherford B. Hayes. Tilden had won the popular vote but didn't have enough votes to be declared the winner in the Electoral College. And then the Electoral College votes from three states were disputed. The result was the compromise of 1877. Hayes would become president and in exchange, among other concessions, he agreed to place a Democrat in his cabinet and to withdraw the federal troops that were still occupying parts of the South.


This is generally seen as the end of reconstruction, and for decades there wasn't a large military presence in the South because of the legacy of reconstruction. The idea of sending troops to the South had become something of a taboo. But less than 40 years later, the expansion of the military in preparation for World War One meant that camps had to be built in the south. We needed a lot of camps. We had to put them somewhere, so as part of the effort to make these encampments more palatable in the places where they were being built, they were named for former Confederate generals and other Confederate military figures, including camps named for Robert E.


Lee and Pierre Beauregard, which along with others, were built in 1917 encampments named for General Braxton Bragg and General Henry Lewis. Benning followed in 1918. It really became a standard practice for new encampments and forts built in the South to be named after Confederate military leaders, even though, again, these were the enemy of the US Army during the Civil War as these bases were being built. Another trend was developing that of erecting statues to honor Confederate soldiers, many of which were arranged and funded by the United Daughters of the Confederacy.


Although, as we said earlier, some memorials were built just after the Civil War. There never really started to grow after about 1890, with the first in statues peaking between 1910 and 1930. As we've talked about in our previous episodes on the Harlem Hellfighters and Red Summer, there was an intense backlash against the great migration of black Americans to more northern states and against black Americans advocacy for equal rights. These newly erected statues were part of that backlash by the white majority, and another smaller surge in their installations happened during the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s.


They were sort of part reminder of who's in charge here and part of ongoing whitewashing of the civil war. Although some cities could afford to hire a professional sculptor to create the monument. A lot of these were mass produced and ordered through the mail. One major supplier was Monumental Bronze Company of Bridgeport, Connecticut. He was U.S. and Confederate soldier statues were almost identical, except for whether they had a U.S. or a six on the belt buckle. Meanwhile, one of the most widely popular pieces of lost cause fiction came into print and then to the screen Gone with the Wind, which debuted in 1939.


It was based on the novel by Margaret Mitchell that came out three years earlier.


So as we have alluded to, we still see glimpses of the city. But in the post-World War Two era, more historians started returning to the subject of the civil war and the lost cause, which by this point had made its way into history textbooks. All over the country, historical sites and museums also started re-examining their collections and their missions after the war, as these institutions started trying to more accurately represent the war and its repercussions. This has really been an ongoing many year effort.


The Museum of the Confederacy, which we mentioned earlier, merged with the American Civil War Center in 2013 to form the American Civil War Museum. And that's a museum that tries to give a more honest look at the Civil War.


But you can still see glimpses of the lost cause narrative all over the place. And this decades long failure to honestly reckon with the civil war has done so much damage.


Polls about how many Americans know or don't know that the Civil War was about slavery are a regular occurrence. But it's not just whether people know a particular fact about history. The Lost Cause ideology contributed to racist violence and discrimination all over the United States. And as we've already mentioned, it put the emotional healing of the idea of the nation and of white people in the south ahead of justice for formerly enslaved people and their descendants. So this is a great example about how this kind of false narrative is not just about whether people know a particular intangible truth.


It also has real and ongoing consequences that we still feel today.


Yeah, we still see them.


And our inbox in response to episodes from time to time, I have gotten in arguments with friends about that whole states rights business. And I'd like to own slaves. Right. That's what I can't yes. There's a weird to me. I will say this weird.


The romanticism of that is strange to me because I don't as much as I love history, I don't tend to romanticize it in that way. Hmm. You know what I mean? Like, it's not part of my cultural identity that I am from lines of this or that. And I you know, I don't have that investment. So it's a little hard sometimes for me to understand the attachment to it.


Yeah, I am pretty sure, like, I have not looked at every single person in the entire family tree. Pretty sure on both sides of my family in the 60s, everyone in the family tree was living in North Carolina. There are definitely people in my family tree and direct ancestors of mine who served for the Confederacy. And like I totally understand, as I said earlier, that, like, people don't want to imagine bad things about their ancestors.


Right. But to me, regardless of any of those individual people's reasons for serving, they were still serving as part of a group of states that had established themselves as a slave nation and an army that was fighting a war to extend and protect slavery. Like whatever your personal reasons for that, that's still a sign that you were on. Yeah. Yeah. Well, and it's one of those things I don't know if it will help people reconcile it.


Right. The the nuance of the individual versus the individuals part in a larger group, how much they're influenced by what they grew up with and how that is probably, you know, had probably warped their perception of right and wrong, particularly in regard to this issue. I mean, it's still, as you said, it comes down to that is the side you were on.


You know, I don't it's a little it's it's hard for people to to accept even now. And I don't know the way through that.


I think there are a lot of groups doing a lot of good effort and some of the the stuff that we talked about right there at the end of, like trying to really take an honest look at things and and reckon with it is a big part of that. But, yeah, it's a weird it's a weird thing. There's a lot of psychology to it to be unraveled. Yeah.


You and I were talking about something totally different earlier this week. And I was saying how a lot of times when we look at things, we have to sort of hold multiple contradictory truths about things in our heads at the same time. And I think that's the case for a lot of folks here. Yeah, and it's it's difficult but doable and important to it's an important skill to learn to be able to see multiple facets that are not always comfortable. Right.


I mean, it's kind of what we're working on all the time. Right. Like, no one person is simple and easily summative. They all had problems. We all do.


Yeah. Yeah. They're all humans and fallible.




So before I read listener mail, I just want to shout out to all of the people that have sent a really, really lovely emails after our episodes on Vivian Thomas and on Helen Townsing.


Yeah, I did those episodes in part because I just needed an episode about saving babies. We have talked before about how a lot of times I have a point in working on Survivor. I'm like trying to save some babies. So I kind of forgot that every time we do that, we then hear from people who either they were saved or their babies were saved. And I just I kind of I forgot about that pattern. So anyway, we got a ton of really lovely emails from heart moms and other parents and then people who were born with a congenital heart condition, who had one of these procedures or who had other relatives who were affected and whose lives were saved or extended thanks to surgeries that were were pioneered by by Thomas and Carl Sagan.


Blaylock. So I need to send thank you notes and replies to all these folks, I think still. So thank you so much to Jen Kelsi, Kyle Timisoara, Sarah Osaki, a different Sarah and Nicole. Jen also asked us to remember her aunt Barbara Linda, who died from a congenital heart condition as a baby in the 1950s. Thank you so much to everybody who has sent all those emails. I have I had a a hard time figuring out which of them to read.


And so I just wanted to thank everyone for sending them. And then I'm going to read an episode on a related topic, but slightly different because it's about the listener mail that was on our Vivian Thomas episode. This is from Carrie. And Carrie says, I have a possible solution to what your listener Shawna was referring to at the end of your 11, 18, 20, 20 episode on Vivien Thomas concerning how she had heard of incubator babies but couldn't find anything in your archive in your Fortunate Indian school basketball champions, part to podcast from eleven, fifteen, twenty, seventeen.


You gave a description of the St Louis World's Fair in which you mentioned that babies and incubators were on display there. In response, I wrote to you on eleven twenty nine, twenty seventeen with information from an article I had written about the incubator baby custody case that made national news on and off for ten years beginning in nineteen eighty four. You read my email at the end of your twelve. Eleven, twenty seven. Podcast, perhaps your reference to the St.


Louis World's Fair and my email, or at least part of what Shonna remembered, in addition, you had mistakenly referred to me as she I wrote to you on 12, 12, 2017, pointing this out. You wrote back and apologized, but the show's production had already wrapped. And so mid-January and you were not able to make a public correction anyway. I thought this might help clear things up. Keep up the good work, Mr. Carey. I'll leave out the last name for privacy.


So let's talk about mistakes I made three years ago. And still remember, that is exactly what happened. We had gotten this email from Kerry immediately after we did our last recording session for 2017. And because of the way our time off schedule was following and then immediately after I came back from being away, you, Holly, were going to be away recording drawn. And so we had something like a month of episodes already in the can. And we were not going to be in this studio again for three or four weeks.


And I was very embarrassed and felt very bad about it. And also it was like, I don't know how to fix this. So I'm glad, Carrie, that you sent this email. Carrie had even noted that he was a minister in the email that he originally sent, and I just overlooked it. So I am sorry for that. I am sorry that three years ago I did not find a way to publicly correct that. And thank you again for sending this note.


We have gotten a few hypotheses about what folks might be remembering.


Some of them are related to different podcasts and some of them are related to things that were on the radio or on television.


We're not really sure if you would like to write to us about this or any other podcast or a history podcast that I heart radio dot com. We're also all over social media I've missed in history. And that's where you'll find our Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. And you can subscribe to our show on the I Heart radio app and Apple podcast than anywhere else. You get your podcasts.


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