I went up to Richmond a few weekends ago, and it was utterly depressing to what extent progressive dogma reigns supreme in my old hometown. In less than a generation, that former great, conservative Southern city has been almost fully colonized by leftist carpet baggers, socialist foreigners, and Marxists of all stripes.
Moreover, so many native Virginians have either given up the fight or are willing participants in the sellout of their once noble and unique culture, leaving the onetime capital of the Confederacy a sad and hollowed out shell of its former self. I thought to myself, “Where, oh where, have the rebels gone?”
And then I stumbled upon this petition, which was created and written by a current student from my high school. The irrational and ridiculous social-justice rants of this kid pushed me over the edge. My tolerance for stupid is pretty low these days. I felt I had to do something.
I could fight to defend and keep Freeman High School’s embattled historical foundations intact. Or I could instead get on the offensive and try to take from the leftists that which doesn’t belong to them: my heritage, my history, my culture. After all, the haters just don’t deserve to be associated with something so proud and grand.
So, I took the latter course, and I came up with my own petition. Full text is below or you can visit my link to sign as a supporter of the cause.
The nihilists can try to tear down all of our symbols and attempt to erase every vestige of our history, while also co-opting for themselves the parts they like. But we unReconstructed folk know that Southernness will always be our birthright and the ungrateful bastards should have none of it.
Petitioning Douglas Southall Freeman High School
September 24, 2017
I grew up in the neighborhood behind Freeman High School. My two sisters and I all graduated from DSF in the 1980s. Being raised by parents who were both native Richmonders, we were a family of unapologetic blue-and-gray rebels. We could walk to home football games on Friday nights and hear from our back yard the marching band practice on Saturday mornings. We were all proud cross-country and long-distance track runners. Back then, people had a connection to the history and community of Freeman – a school founded about the same time as the house in which my sisters and I grew up was built.
Since most of us and our families hailed from Richmond, or at least somewhere in the Old Dominion, we embraced that our beloved high school was named after Southern historian Douglas Southall Freeman, who won Pulitzer prizes for biographies on two of Virginia’s finest native sons, Robert E. Lee and George Washington. We understood that that was why our yearbook was called “The Historian.” That was why we were called “the Rebels.” That was why we waived Confederate Battle Flags and wore Confederate booster buttons, and sang “Dixie” at sporting events. And that was why our mascot was a burly Confederate-clad soldier called “Rebel Man.” We knew that Freeman wrote about brave and noble American soldiers, generals, and statesmen, and that that proud Southern spirit defined our middle-class community, both black and white, in a positive and fruitful way.
But now, Rebel Man is gone. The flag is gone. Dixie is gone. And I understand that even the mascot name “Rebels” is being challenged as “racist and divisive” by a student in your activist, er, I mean, “leadership” center. Does he, the student body and their parents, the administration, and the school board not grasp the fact that DSF was a rebel? By today’s ill-informed and miseducated standards, Freeman is pejoratively called a “lost cause” historian, meaning that he actually believed in the cause for states’ rights and stood against central authority. That’s just the heritage of Virginia and her cavalier people, y’all. Like it or lump it.
So, taking my cue from both my alma mater’s namesake and the school’s current “Never be bullied into silence” campaign, I am petitioning that the “Freeman” name be removed from my high school. If the students, administrators, and community at large cannot respect the value of this amazing writer’s historical works, the fact that he regularly saluted the Lee statue on Monument Avenue when driving to his longtime job as editor of the Richmond News Leader, and his love for being “deeply rooted in the soil of old Virginia,” well, I don’t think y’all deserve the honorable name of Douglas Southall Freeman. How about Quisling High or the Reconstructed School? Those might be more fitting in these topsy-turvy times that try men’s souls.