Thursday, November 29, 2012
In 1902 W. H. Councill, a colored Alabama teacher of an industrial school near Huntsville, writes to J. M. Falkner, the chief benefactor of the Confederate Home for Alabama, in which he makes a generous offer and some remarkable statements. The letter is as follows:
Dear Sir: In writing to you the other day in reference to the philanthropic work at Mountain Creek for the Confederate Veterans, I neglected to say that we should be proud to assist you in your laudable enterprise if you should desire us.
We can furnish you at any time ten or fifteen carpenters, painters, blacksmiths, and others who might be useful in building up your soldiers' home. We should be glad to work a week or ten days without money and without price. Our shoe department will be glad to furnish you with at least a dozen pairs of shoes a year for those grand old men who followed Lee's tattered banners down to Appomattox, leaving their bloody footprints over the snow covered hills of Virginia.
Although I came up from the other side of the flood and drank of the dregs of the cup of slavery, still I honor those gray haired veterans, and I feel that, when they pass away and when their old slaves have passed away, in a measure the power of the balance wheel of Southern society will be gone.
The propriety of this offer on my part may be called into question by those who do not measure slavery as I do. I feel that the slaves got more out of slavery than did their masters, in that the slaves were helped from the lowest state of barbarism to Christian citizenship of the greatest government the world ever knew.
Today, the grounds of Confederate Memorial Park serve as a fitting memorial to the old
soldiers and widows of soldiers who once lived there.