by Kevin | 10/17/2007 07:55:00 AM

There is a new and extended trailer for the upcoming film Still Standing: The Stonewall Jackson Story. Check this new clip out if you didn't think it possible for an even more absurd treatment of this very important historical figure. This time historians James I. Robertson and Col. Keith Gibson offer commentary. Robertson touches on the "trauma of [Jackson] being given away" at an early age which is no doubt true. He concludes that "family became far more important than a normal person" and this shaped a more "tender-hearted person" which is "not shown in battle." This serves as a wonderful lead-in to the absurd claim made by Richard Williams that Jackson "was the champion of enslaved men and women" and the "proclaimer of good news."

First, someone please point out to me the places in Robertson's book where Jackson is interpreted as some kind of champion of the very people he owned. The editor of this trailer did a wonderful job of interpreting Jackson and slavery along traditionally paternalistic lines. Jackson valued and yearned for family and this must be evidence that his ownership of slaves was benign. Actually, not only was it benign, but we are being asked to celebrate Jackson's ownership of slaves.

I know some of you are wondering why I keep harping on this and related issues. Well, let me just say that I am a teacher and I care about what is both taught in the classroom and distributed for viewing in the general public. In the end this kind of film is dangerous. It perpetuates the same stereotypes that one can find in movies such as Birth of a Nation and Gone With the Wind. What makes this worse is that we are at a point where we know so much more about the "peculiar institution". But even if we ignore the scholarship the idea that anyone will seriously consider the possibility of celebrating slave ownership is perverse in the extreme.

Do we really have to ask Mr. Williams whether he would be willing under any circumstances to exchange places with one of Jackson's slaves to make this point? Of course, I have not seen this film nor do I have any interest in doing so. I've seen enough!




Blogger Ahistoricality on 10/17/2007 4:48 PM:

I know it's not intentional, but the tire swing in the logo at the very beginning of the trailer reminded me of a noose..... is it just me?


Anonymous Anonymous on 10/18/2007 7:45 PM:

A partial defense of Stonewall Jackson. I visited his home in Lexington, Virginia. He owned this home when he was a professor at VMI. He was a town person, not a plantation owner. He owned a few slaves who lived in his home and who were house servants, cooking meals, cleaning, and babysitting his children. Jackson taught Sunday school for the free and slave residents of Lexington and financially supported their church, and was apparently well respected among the black townfolk. Slavery was an unspeakable evil, but not all slave owners were alike. The people who lived in his home had it thousand times better than the folks knee deep in malarial rice paddies in coastal Georgia and South Carolina.


Anonymous Anonymous on 10/23/2007 11:03 PM:

For the time period, Jackson seems to be as benign as any legal slaveholder could be.

Regarding the tire swing, I recently read that lynchings have occurred in every US state except four.

To further prove parity among regions and to show that slavery was an American problem rather than just a southern one, visit Manhattan's slave cemetery monument that just opened this week:


Blogger Unknown on 10/23/2007 11:37 PM:

What are the four? I'm curious now.


Blogger Kevin on 10/24/2007 12:03 PM:

Anonymous is of course correct that lynchings took place outside of the "Old South" but what he doesn't mention is that the overwhelming number between 1880 and 1920 did take place there. The comment is really a distraction from the point of the post. No one is denying that race is a problem outside of the South or outside of the context of the Civil War. Deal with the content of the post or move on.


Blogger Richard G. Williams, Jr. on 2/23/2009 9:04 AM:

It might help to watch the film BEFORE making comments which have nothing to do with what was actually portrayed in the film.


Blogger Richard G. Williams, Jr. on 2/23/2009 9:05 AM:

And Anon's comments do deal with Kevin's comments, they just don't fit Kevin's template.