I am the great-great-grandson of a man that fought in the First Alabama Confederate Calvary during the Civil War. I also am the son of a man that graduated the University of Southern Mississippi with a History degree and picked up his love of history by spending summer vacations growing up as a child touring civil war battlefields. I can vividly remember visiting such historic and epic Civil War sites like Vicksburg, Shiloh, Chickamauga outside of Chattanooga Tennessee, and Selma. I also currently reside and have spent the last 25 plus years of my life living in the Mobile Alabama area, which is deeply rich in Civil War sites to explore and learn from. I can even personally give you a tour of the more historic and historically significant buildings and sites still standing in and around Mobile without the Help of the internet or historian to tag along. I also spent most of my formative years in North Mississippi, which is why I am one of a few Ole Miss fans in a family full of Mississippi State fans. It is coming from those two points of view that I have serious problems with the letter that the president of the Confederate Heritage Fund wrote to the Dothan Eagle criticizing former Ole Miss head football coach and current Alabama US Senate candidate Tommy Tuberville over the Confederate flag controversy that erupted while Coach Tuberville was at Ole Miss.
from a historical point of view, Roger Broxton gets a few of the key important ‘facts’ he uses to launch his political hit job against Coach Tuberville very wrong. First he claims 155,000 White, Black, Native American, and Hispanic soldiers from Alabama fought for the Confederate Army. If you subtract the 122,000 white soldiers that served the Confederate Army from Alabama That means 33,000 soldiers of color are left. The only way that Mr Broxton can even come close to that 33,000 number is if he includes all of the slaves and servants that followed their masters off to war and served as AideS to camp, cooks, laundry duty, or orderlys in the medical tents as well as the enslaved persons that helped build Confederate Defenses. Furthermore, as somebody with a above average knowledge of history, especially surrounding the American Civil War, For me to consider somebody having fought for the Confederacy, in my mind that means they actually picked up a rifle and pointed it at somebody in the midst of battle, not just serving support rolls during the war, especially serving those support roles without volunteering. Anybody with an above average knowledge of the Civil War knows that it was actually against the law in the Confederacy to arm any enslaved person or even a freed African American. I know this because I’ve seen the direct source material where the General in charge of the defenses of Mobile, General Dabney Maury, pleading with Richmond to let him arm the Creole Home Guard right here in the Mobile Alabama area and make them a part of the regular Confederate Army. Creoles were free African Americans that were guaranteed their freedom and their descendants’ freedom by treaty between the United States and France and the United States and Spain, and several times throughout the antebellum history of the United States they had to take states to federal court to preserve that freedom.
I could go on and on about the historical inaccuracies of Mr Broxton’s political hit piece, but you would probably tune me out if you haven’t already. As a long time Ole Miss fan I understand what Coach Tuberville was trying to accomplish by asking fans not to prominently display the Confederate Battle Flag during University of Mississippi home football games. And if you’re an Alabama football fan you instinctively know that as well. If legendary University of Alabama football coach Paul Bryant had not integrated the University of Alabama football team in 1971 after taking a shellacing from a fully integrated University of Southern California football team, Alabama may still be suffering even more ill effects of Jim Crow and segregationist era Democratic politics. There is a reason why Governor Ivey told Alabamians in her press conference announcing her stay at home order due to the Coronavirus that if they wanted to have a college football season in 2020 they needed to keep their butts at home. Because college football is King in Alabama and the South. Coach Bryant knew that if he wanted to continue to win and be successful, he was going to have to integrate his football team. The people of Alabama trusted him and trusted his judgment on that and it is paid very strong dividends for them throughout their collegiate football history.
Coach Tuberville was not doing anything different. He was trying to put his teams at the University of Mississippi and the best position possible to win the most number of games possible, especially after a period of devastating NCAA sanctions that almost brought the University of Mississippi football program to its knees. It was that success that he had at the University of Mississippi helping that program recover from crippling NCAA sanctions that led him to being hired as the head football coach at Auburn University, and bringing him to the state of Alabama, which has remained a part of coach Tuberville’s identity ever since.
Furthermore, this political hit job by Mr Broxton was probably prompted by Coach Turberville’s opponent and his campaign. In the first month of the existence of this website, I was approached by a different Senate campaign with this same information about this same incident and asked if I wanted to do a story about it. I did write an article about it, mainly to keep access to information from the campaign flowing as a new news and information website. They did not know at the time they approached me about doing that story that as an Ole Miss fan and a history buff I had an above-average knowledge of both the history behind the Confederate Battle Flag and the incident in question. But that prior knowledge gave me the ability to put that incident and the historical context around it into its proper context of coach Tuberville was just doing his job and trying to do everything he could do to put his football team in the best position to win.
If Tommy Tuberville brings that same mentality of putting the state of Alabama in the best position to win, then he will do quite well as a US senator and the state of Alabama will be better for it. Can his opponent say the same as a backbencher junior senator for most of his 20 years in that office?