The Confederate General Who Was Erased | HuffPost
Author Jane Dailey described being at some Confederate-memorabilia shops. She noticed a curious absence: General William Mahone.
He was not completely subjected to damnatio memoriae. While he has continued to get respect for his Civil-War performance, his post-Civil-War career has not gotten the attention that it deserves.A native Virginian, a railroad magnate, a slaveholder, and an ardent secessionist, Mahone served in the Confederate army throughout the war. He was one of the Army of Northern Virginias most able commanders, distinguishing himself particularly in the summer of 1864 at the Battle of the Crater outside Petersburg. After the war, Robert E. Lee recalled that, when contemplating a successor, he thought that Mahone had developed the highest qualities for organization and command.
Readjusters held several offices and supported black people's political rights: voting, office-holding, and jury service. They also pushed public education and lowered property taxes, and also banned the whipping post and the chain gang. Municipal Readjusters also paved streets, added sidewalks, and modernized water systems.Compared to the Roman traitor Cataline (by Virginia Democrats), to Moses (by African American congressman John Mercer Langston), and to Napoleon (by himself), Mahone organized and led the most successful interracial political alliance in the post-emancipation South. Mahones Readjuster Party, an independent coalition of black and white Republicans and white Democrats that was named for its policy of downwardly readjusting Virginias state debt, governed the state from 1879 to 1883.
White people came to believe that William Mahone was a race traitor and a demagogue, and his name became a dirty word.The Readjusters lost power in 1883 through a Democratic campaign of violence, electoral fraud, and appeals to white solidarity. While Democrats suppressed progressive politics in the state, other groups of elite white Virginians worked fast to eradicate the memory of Virginias experiment in interracial democracy.
I note that Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black did a transition much like William Mahone's, from wearing white robes and scaring black people to wearing black robes and scaring white people. He started his career as a member of the Ku Klux Klan, but he went on to have a good civil-rights record.