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Georgia: More on Kennesaw Mountain



     My posting on the battle of Kennesaw Mountain was confusing in two respects. Firstly, I meant that baptizing a child with that name indicated his parents' pride in the victory, just as the name of Hugo Chaves of Venezuela means that his parents must have been admirers of Victor Hugo, who had a great following in Latin America. Hugo supported the legend of the glory of Napoleon, whose name many Latin American parents gave to their sons. I wonder if, in his muddled way, Chaves thinks he is another Napoleon, whom Simon Bolivar admired; Chaves wants to rename Venezuela the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. I think there were some Napoleons in the American South. The study of first names is fascinating. In Spain I knew a little philologist name Homero Serís; his parents must have admired Homer. There are some Homers in this country too.
     Secondly, my question about the Southern reaction to the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain was confusing. I was not talking about racial prejudice in the South, which has been exaggerated in the North. I traveled through the still segregated South. In a theater I attended with a Southern lady, the blacks sat in the balcony. My hostess spoke of blacks with warm affection. In one Southern city, some black children were playing noisily in the street. I expressed disapproval to my white host, but he immediately spoke up in their favor, speaking of them kindly. I am not saying this was the rule.
     The trouble arose when blacks seemed to be getting out of their place. Some whites in a bus made it clear that the blacks had to sit in the back. This was compounded when I began asking questions. My hosts bristled and viewed me as another trouble-making Northerner, a kind of academic carpet-bagger.
     My question referred to the Southern attitude toward Sherman's campaign. Naming a tank the Sherman Tank suggested that it would cut through enemy territory like Sherman laying waste to Georgia. Whoever named the tank was insensitive to Southern feelings. What does President Carter think of Sherman?

Ronald Hilton - 12/6/99


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