Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Pensacola's Confederate Monument (Part 4): "Proud Pensacola"

Railroad executive and former Pensacola Mayor W. D. Chipley wrote a letter to the editor of the Pensacola News (the predecessor of today's News Journal) to encourage the public to support the effort to raise funds for the construction of a Confederate monument in Pensacola. The newspaper published that letter and commented on it in its April 27, 1890 editorial, writing "This noble and timely appeal of Col. Chipley should meet with a responsive echo in the breast of every true citizen of Escambia county. ...it will not be long 'ere a stately shaft will cast its shadows across the daily paths of the sons and daughters of the dead heroes to remind them of the brave deeds of their fathers, and that a brave people delights to honor the memories of those who died fighting for their country." The monument which had been in the works for a number of years had a champion in the local political hierarchy and the Pensacola News.

The Pensacola News published an almost poetic rendition of the approaching unveiling of the Confederate monument which would bestow honors on the Confederate war dead in a grand ceremony. In its June 17, 1891 issue, the newspaper announced, "To-day they will turn back the pages of history and renew with interest more intense the study of a heroism and self-sacrifice which brought the civilized world amazed to its feet in contemplation thereof; to view again, through the lapse of years, a devotion to home and country that evoked the unstinted admiration of earth's millious; to gaze down a memory-shaded vista, undimmed by a quarter cycle of a centuriate time, to the ensanguined period when their fathers, sons, brothers, friends and comrades yielded up their lives in the championship of a cause they deemed but just, in defense of principles they regard as right. The cause was lost. But green in memory's fond embraces remain the gallant dead and their valorous deeds."

The editorial continued, "Pensacola is proud of herself to-day. And prouder still will this old city of the old South be, when the sunset gun this evening shall announce the conclusion of those holy exercises transmitting to her keeping and guardianship that reminder of the patriotism of the sons of the South, which stands in monumental form with its roots in her very bosom."

It concluded, "Join with us to-day in this ceremony which shall give to posterity as to our contemporaries an evidence of the appreciation in which we hold the valor of Southern soldiers; which shall illustrate our love for the heroes of our lost cause; which shall attest in material form our veneration of the statesmanship and soldiery of the dead Confederacy."

But the Pensacola News wasn't the only Southern newspaper to take such a strong positive position with respect to Confederate monuments. Somehow, these other newspapers managed to endorse the construction of Confederate monuments in spite of having no Governor Perry or White Democrat government appointees to press the issue for them...

These newspapers (and more) published articles that endorsed Confederate monuments between 1885 and 1900:

February 7, 1885 - The Semi-Weekly West Tennessee Whig (Jackson, TN)
April 28, 1885 - The Eufala Daily Times (Eufala, AL)
April 28, 1885 - The Macon Telegraph (Macon, GA)
April 30, 1885 - The Tuskaloosa Gazette (Tuscaloosa, AL)
January 9, 1888 - The Tenneseean (Nashville, TN)
June 7, 1888 - The Jackson Clarion-Ledger (Jackson, MS)
October 16, 1891 - The Memphis Appeal-Avalanche (Memphis, TN)
October 11, 1893 - The Times and Democrat (Orangeburg, SC)
May 5, 1894 - The Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, NC)
July 4, 1897 - Daily Arkansas Gazette (Little Rock, AR)
June 4, 1891 - The Daily Commercial Herald (Vicksburg, MS)
June 4, 1891 - The St. Louis Globe-Democrat (St. Louis, MO)
April 27, 1893 - The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, GA)
July 13, 1894 - The Daily Journal (New Bern, NC)
April 26, 1894 - The Chattanooga Daily Times (Chattanooga, TN)
December 7, 1898 - The Montgomery Advertiser (Montgomery, AL)

Next: Part 5: "The Grandest Display"