Working With Schools and Communities
SCV Compatriots Contributing ideas to this project were:
Jack Bridwell, Camp #674, Moultrie, GA,
James Dean, Camp #1546, Atlanta, GA,
Skip Earle, Camp #1293, Brentwood, TN,
John A. Griffin, Camp #674, Moultrie, GA,
Patrick J. Griffin III, SCV CiC,
Steve Hall, Camp #671, Dalton, GA,
Benjamin M. Hestley, Camp #308, Ashville, AL,
Holmes, Camp #1783, Corbin, KY,
Ronald Hull, Camp #819, Atoka, OK,
Ronny W. Mangrum, Camp #854, Franklin, TN,
David J. Melton, Camp #1567, Winchester, VA,
Lee Millar, Camp #215, Memphis, TN,
Maury Morris, Camp #1722, Fredericksburg, VA,
Gary Ursery, Camp #674, Moultrie, GA
Mickey Walker, Camp #1523, Rosedale, IN,
Darren Wheeler, Camp # 77, Cedartown,GA
Randy Young, Camp #163, Thomasville, GA,
Youngdale, Camp #302, San Diego, CA,
Statement of need:
After many discussions about Southern History being omitted, ignored, distorted, or forgotten in our local schools, an internet committee decided to develop a working paper and make it available to SCV members. Camp members needed ideas and samples to help develop and improve partnerships in their schools. While it certainly can not be all inclusive, this document can serve as a guide and modified to fit the local need with promotion of the truth about Southern History and Culture.
Goals of the project:
By developing this document, the SCV will give samples to:
1. Allow each SCV camp to develop a good working relationship with their local schools.
2. Promote Southern History and Culture, the history of our ancestors, as an integral part of the history curriculum taught in our local schools.
3. Cause our history to be an interesting and important aspect for both children and teachers during their education.
4. Assist SCV members to serve as a resource for Southern History and Culture in our schools and community
Parts of the project:
1. Identify visions:
What would the SCV like all schools to teach in regards to Southern History and Culture to students in their local schools?
2. Identify problems, concerns and ways to solve them:
What are the road blocks SCV members encounter in attempting to work with their local schools? What are some ideas to overcome these problems and to implement the visions?
3. Identify current SCV projects:
What are SCV camps doing that promotes Southern History and Culture and helps implement the vision with their local schools and community?
4. Identify other ideas:
What are other ideas and points to consider when implementing successful school programs that could be adapted to your local area?
1. Identify visions:
What would the SCV like all schools to teach in regards to Southern History and Culture to students in their local schools? To answer this question the following ideals were submitted:
A. A paramount goal of each camp is to see that Southern History and Culture is an important part of all school curriculums. This includes home schooled children, public schools, private schools and colleges. Our children are our future, so each camp should invest the time, energy, resources and materials to see that this is accomplished.
B. Curriculum taught in schools becomes factual and even handed. In other words fair treatment and facts and truths of the Confederacy, our history our ancestors are available for all students. This includes the facts and events that forced the South to do the honorable thing, secede. This would also include an awareness of the horrific period of reconstruction and continued application of reconstruction principles towards the South today.
C. Every SCV member starts this process by educating themselves, their children and family. Next they progress to assist their local schools, (teachers and school children). A pyramid approach builds as our base of knowledge in the community. From the community to the state, the base will continue to grow.
D. Students, teachers, administrators, parents, and communities understand the meaning of revisionist history. They become aware of how to guard against any politically correct version of history as being accepted as fact.
E. Symbols and emblems of the Confederacy, which is our culture and heritage, cease to be banned and labeled as racist or divisive by the politically correct revisionist.
F. Teachers and schools have access to and utilize Southern History and Culture materials such as text books on the Southern states, other Southern history books, CD-ROMs and lists of internet sites that assist with fact gathering.
G. Teachers, students, parents and SCV members together combine energies and resources to insure quality education takes place in the local schools history curriculum.
H. Each school and SCV camp establish video libraries which include a wide variety of heritage talks, tours, demonstrations, etc. that will assist in learning and understanding Southern History and Culture.
I. Each SCV camp has a speakers committee of knowledgeable members who are available to speak to school children on specific Southern History and Culture topics. (Make a video library of these members talks as recommended in "h")
J. Southern History and Culture become an exciting, important, and valued part of all students lives. The students perpetuate this interest to their children when they become parents.
2. Identify problems, concerns and ways to solve them:
What are the road blocks SCV members encounter in attempting to work with their local schools? What are some ideas to overcome these problems and to implement the visions?
A. Concern: Varied ages of children in schools.
Make sure that presentations are age appropriate. The presentation on Southern History and Culture must be geared to the level of the audience. The message fails if it is too complex for younger students, or too elementary for older students. It is suggested that camps develop different programs of information, even when on the same topic, for elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools-adult age presentations. Work with educators within your SCV camp to help develop vocabulary, topics, concepts, and demonstration activities that are age appropriate. Also consider building on a previous lesson. In other words, one presentations will be followed later in the year with another presentation that adds to and moves forward with further information.
B. Concern: Weapons in schools.
Check on your schools policy regarding bringing weapons on to school grounds. There are various applications of federal, state, and local laws that can vary widely. Check well in advance of the planned school visit. Even if weapons are not fired, or used just as part of the uniform, it needs to be cleared with the building principal and/or school superintendent prior to the school event. The presenters may have to invite the administrators to a meeting off campus to demonstrate how the they use the weapons and how it makes the presentation more interesting. Stress that safety rules are strictly followed. Use video presentations when available from other school programs to show a new school administrator how effective and safe weapons can be in the presentation of living history. If the weapon becomes a problem. Dont be bullheaded. Agree to make the presentation on history to get into the school. Build a positive relationship. Perhaps the next time a weapon demonstration may be allowed. Finally if the weapons are important to your demonstration, but are not allowed at the school. Do the presentation, but pass out flyers inviting students and their parents to an off campus, evening demonstration on WBTS weapons. This might be a good way to get parental interest and support for your SCV efforts.
C. Concern: SCV members are unknown to school personnel.
Some compatriots don't take the time to get to know teachers and administrators in their schools. These are the people who permit outside programs to come into the school system. If you are unknown to school personnel they might not take a chance on the program no matter how good it is. If you have SCV members who are employed by the school system, utilize them to be the first contact. If you have parents who are SCV members, use them to contact their childrens teachers and administrators. Invite teachers and principals to SCV meetings, to living history presentations in your area, and to other events which will show case the resources you can bring for free to their schools. Develop a brochure or video presentation to help illustrate your value to the school. Try to get more teachers and administrators interested in Southern History and Culture and the SCV.
D. Concern: Anti-Confederate, politically correct school personnel.
Yes, there are those people in society and also in schools with a vested interest to keep Confederate History and Culture programs out of the public school system. Some ideas to overcome this are to utilize SCV members who are already in school to schedule and promote Southern History programs in their classrooms. Have them invite other teachers to join them or schedule their own presentations. Let the Anti-Confederates be the radical. Let the SCV present the facts and slowly build its base of support. Make the Anti-Confederates the one isolated in the school. It may be hard to be allowed into a school with a principal that is the Anti-Confederate person. Call on parents, school board members, community members to allow Southern History programs to be taught. It can be a battle, but play it smart. Keep in mind that the goal is to get Southern History into the hands of our children.
E. Concern: Teacher Fear:
Some teachers are afraid that an outside group that comes into their school may be radical. They may play the race card and turn a normal and informative extracurricular educational event into a media circus. They might have an interest, but because they are unaware of all the facts themselves, or unaware of your camp and its members and simply do not invite you into the class. Here is where it is important to have references from other teachers or even video tapes of your previous programs, to show to new teachers. When you dont have a video of your own, perhaps borrowing one from an neighboring camp will help ease their concerns. Getting to know the teacher as mentioned earlier is important. Be prepared, knowledgeable, and look professional when working within the schools.
F. Concern: Defensive Teachers:
Some SCV members say they are concerned about once they get into a school system, and if they tell the truth about the WBTS and the Confederacy it might make the teacher bad. They dont want to perpetuate some of the lies that are in textbooks and the falsehoods that some teachers present, but getting into a confrontation by telling the truth can cause us to not be invited back ever. This is were common sense, pre-planning, and getting to know the teacher can prevail. You can tell the teacher and later the students that today they may learn some facts that have never been presented. It doesnt make your teacher bad. That is why we are here to present the Southern History and Culture which has been suppressed and re-written. This can present a problem with younger students who might not understand some of the terms such as revisionist or politically correct. For them you might explain that when people who become teachers or people who write textbooks dont look at all the facts, only one side is presented. You need to look at all the facts you can before you come to a conclusion. With older students, you can present the facts and give them references. Challenge them to look at what is in their textbook and compare it to the facts and references that you have for them. Invite them to think on their own. SCV members, if you have done your job, the facts will speak for themselves. It is not suggested that you compromise one fact. It is recommended that you use tact to point out the Southern History. If you are never invited back, you have lost a group that could learn the truth.
G. Concern: New teachers replace teachers we have worked with.
When a teacher that we have worked with before leaves or transfers it may become hard to convince a new unknowing teacher to continue the program. Here is where references and video tapes may help. If you have other teachers in the building that can convince them of the value of your program, call on them to help you. If you have a principal that has been supportive, work with them to demonstrate to the new teacher that your program has been successful in the past, and you would like to continue. Invite the teacher to SCV and living history functions so they can become familiar with you and the programs.
H. Concern: Getting accepted into new schools.
Some camps report that they have many county schools and sometimes have a hard time getting accepted into a new school where they have not presented before. Again here we would recommend the tips already given about getting to know the teachers, use of references from schools and teachers where you are welcome and successful, video tapes of successful school presentations, invitations to SCV and living history programs, working with SCV members who may have children in the school, may all help with this concern.
I. Concern: Poor planning and leadership:
Some camps have a lack of focus or organization when they present an educational program.. Everything seems to be a stop-gap effort or letting members who are poor spokesmen handling this activity so as to be able to say they are doing something. This is a fatal error. It is better to have no presentation than to put on a poor one. If you put on a poor presentation, not supported by facts and truth, you are no better than the Yankee revisionist. In fact you do harm not only to our cause to educate our students to Southern History and Culture, but also to our ancestors good name. If this is a problem in your camp, develop an action plan and if need be cause a change of leadership to take place at the next election. Step up and volunteer to coordinate the program. Do a quality job of the outline of the program and work with the individuals who want to present. Spend time coaching them, as you would a sport, so that when it becomes time to go to the school, your team is prepared. If the camp members refuse to cooperate and do a quality job, then you may have to look at joining or forming another camp that is more dedicated to education of our children.
J. Concern: Confederate symbols are viewed as racist.
Our symbols like the battle flag are often not welcome in public or in schools and too many people tell children our flag is one of hate. We know this to be false, but more and more teachers may be lead into this trap that the SCV is a racist group. If this is happening in your schools and community, you have a lot of work to do. You may have to start small and work up. If you are charged as being a Nazi or a KKK member, you might point out that our SCV displays Flags and Symbols that our ancestors fought, sacrificed and died under to keep themselves free of the Yankee invasion. They did not fight to overtake the Northern states and they did not fight to enslave a people. They fought for their independence, just as they did in 1776! The Neo-Nazis, White Supremacist groups (such as the KKK) have no right to use the symbols of our ancestors in their message of hate. Since it is the duty of schools to help present the truth to our students, a school does more harm by banning all display, use, and information on the history of these symbols than it does good. They are perpetuating the lie and actually supporting these hate groups when they ban our use of the flag during school presentations. The use of SCV FAQ may be of some help. You can also show statements from the IHQ organization that condemns the use of our ancestors symbols by hate groups.
K. Concern: Providing programs and materials to schools is costly.
True it costs time, money, resources to present quality school programs. It takes a focus that educating our children to Southern History and Culture is an important work of the SCV. Materials such as books, video, magazines, CD-ROMs and other Southern references can be expensive. Many camps do run on a shoe-string budget. Look at nearby camps. See what they are doing. Share resources. Cooperate with programs. Look for special funding with schools, museums, historical parks, other civic groups as an option. It is impossible to tell every camp what they must do in this area. It is suggested to look into your heart and think about your ancestors. What would they want you to do for them today? What commitment of energy and resources would they muster if they could for this cause? If you answer this question honestly, a true son will do what he can.
3. Identify Current SCV Projects:
What are SCV camps doing that promotes Southern History and Culture and helps implement the vision with their local schools and community?To build interest, a camp can conducts basic genealogy courses for students and parents. They teach how to build a family tree and try to help the students go back to their people in mid 1860’s who were alive when the WBTS happened. The objective is to build a personal interest based on their own family. This often takes many parts to complete such as an introduction on getting started, an assignment to gather information, reporting and further investigation. It helps if a camp has access to census records or genealogy libraries. While not all students can do this work, many do and many become very interested in history through a genealogy project. This could also take the form of an after school or Saturday ancestor hunt hosted in a library or genealogy facility. Working with teachers, students can develop an in depth, but hands on project and it might be possible for extra credit because they have worked beyond the regular class expectations. It may also help some dad’s find their Confederate ancestor and join the camp. They invite students who are interested and qualify to join the SCV camp too!
Some camps have purchased Southern History books and CD-ROMS and donated them to their schools. Many provide free CSA roster searches at school events, fairs, community events, history days, and other public gatherings. This helps to create a personal interest in history. Others have provided special Southern History and Confederate type materials for use at school, county, local historical sites, and/or genealogical libraries.
Essay, poster, speech, and/or living history contests are sponsored by camps to create interest in Southern History and Culture. Prizes can be ribbons, certificates, Southern history books, subscriptions to the Confederate Veteran Magazine, SCV membership dues (if person qualifies) etc. The sponsoring camp makes sure the student projects are displayed in the school, library, local historical site, and sometimes local businesses. They involve the media so schools and children get good coverage for their work in Southern History. Some local businesses may even offer a prize or a discount for participation. For variety the camp will pick an annual CSA or Southern History theme. They involve others by inviting history teachers, school board members, administrators, government leaders, historical committee members, etc. to be part of the judging panel.
SCV camps sponsor a college scholarship for potential teachers and/or history majors. Part of the application process is to identify an aspect of Southern history that has been corrupted by revisionists and develop a plan to combat this problem.
Many SCV camps work with and are integral parts of WBTS re-enacting groups. They stage events and contests during community celebrations for greater interest and public awareness. They given many varied talks and demonstrate skills associated with Southern History and Culture.
To help recognize teachers who do an outstanding job in teaching or cooperate in the teaching of Southern History and Culture, a camp sponsors a "teacher of the year award." This award can be for the school district level, or for each building or even at each grade level within that building. The choice is up to the camp. The award can be something simple like a certificate or more elaborate depending on finances of the camp and efforts shown by the teacher. A special presentation at a school board meeting, chamber of commerce meeting, teachers meeting, or some function is recommended. That way others in the education profession and community can see this is an important undertaking. Other teachers can see that they will be rewarded for their efforts to cooperate and teach Southern History and Culture. Remember to get the local media involved in showcasing these award. It is positive for the teacher, school and SCV.
Several camps report that they purchase a subscription to the Confederate Veteran magazine for their school, for their library, and/or for individual teachers.
An annual school history program is part of a camps program of work. This is planed and looked forward to by members, teachers and students alike. It is usually the same time of the year and often tie into community celebrations.
Local camps sponsor and host field trips to historical sites such as museums, libraries, battlefields. It is suggested that you look to whatever you have in your area that can stimulate interest in the study of CSA, Southern History and Culture. Become knowledgeable about the site and work with officials at the facility to make this a valuable and popular event. Reward the outside facility workers and get the media involved as it showcases another cooperative venture. Invite these facility workers to a camp meeting to discuss their operations and projects.
Many camps video tape what they are doing to teach Southern History and Culture. They suggest creating a video library and make copies available to schools. Dedication ceremonies, reenactments, living history talks, operation of weapons, etc. could be included. Remember these videos can be used over and over again. They can also be used to introduce a new teacher in your schools to your camps history projects. One picture can be worth a thousand words.
One camp reported that they invite teachers (and students who do special things to promote Southern History to a camp meetings. They award them certificates and treat them like royalty. They take lots of pictures and video. They send letters of support and appreciation to their supervisors too! They report, "You may be stunned at how much cooperation you may get by doing some of these things!"
A camp in Alabama was donated an 1852 antebellum home. They incorporated and obtained funds from their for the homes restoration. The home/museum is now available to students for tours. These tours are accompanied by educational talks by members of the SCV camp. They continue to discover relics of the past every time they work in the museum. They hold their camp meetings at the home/museums every month as do the United Daughters of the Confederacy. It has been a local site to develop Southern History and Culture.
A Georgia camp reports they participate in many events, but one of the most popular is a living history "school day". Over 2000 students are bussed into the site from the county and several nearby county schools. The camp members put on up to 40 stations about the WBTS and Southern History and Culture. Students can rotate through to hear presentations, see demonstrations, and ask questions. The teachers help prepare the students in the classroom prior to coming to the event and later have follow-up activities. The follow-up activities help to make the children know this is more than just a fun day. The site is now developing into an 1860’s "town" and each year the event gets bigger. Many students and parents come back after the school day to see the reenacted battles, competitions, and to tour the camp and town as a family on the weekend.
A camp in California has given Southern History and Culture presentations for the past 5 years and seem to do more of them each school year. Most of the schools that they visited ask them to return the following year. They have done some of these presentations as re-enactors with a Union counterpart. It gives a unique quality to the presentations and holds the kids attention with the period clothing, firearms, etc. being used. The diversity of the Confederate Army seems to be a major interest of the students. They say "I've never heard that before". One of presenters "attention getters" is: "History, right or wrong, good or bad, black or white, it's ours, it's unique, it's American, make it the truth, not a candy coated fantasy." They remind SCV camp members to just make it the truth. It seems to work well with the students as they listen intently. The Constitution and the Declaration of Independence are a major focus. Reading it themselves and not letting someone define it for them is effective. Looking up the words "state", "sovereign," etc. is another dimension to the educational aspects of this program. They give the presentations in a "first person" tense. One school, an 8th grade class, went so far as to have their own reenactment in the field adjacent to the school grounds. The first half of the day was the presentation to the class by both Union and Confederate soldiers, the second half was their reenactment.
SCV camp members break into specific areas of expertise such as infantry, artillery (with a full-size Parrot rifle), cavalry, even civilian presentation to give talks to students at school as a team. The camp sets up a mini-encampment, they get their equipment out for students to see. They use lots of visuals to instruct the kids. The students seem to really enjoy it! A compatriot from this camp reports giving a one-man show to a troubled inner-city school that had lots of gang activity, in his CSA uniform! 75% of the kids were black and they enjoyed the presentation and were attentive, especially when he pulled out the 3rd model Dragoon as an example of equipment. The point he makes is the kids love this visual kind of thing, and they really want to learn. Use your camp members individual interests to tailor your presentations to schools.
A camp has been working with the local schools in organizing living history programs concerning the War of Yankee Aggression and other aspects of their local history. The local Historical Foundation, has a "kids day" on the Friday before an annual reenactment. They invite all 4th and 5th grade students from the local school systems to attend. Each student leaves with a ticket to attend the battle on the weekend. The camp has also worked as a partner with the school and have supplied displays for the use of the school in teaching local history. Members have spoken with the students concerning the local history site. One of the students called the speaker recently for information on the battles in their area for a Social Science Fair project. Last year the students in grades K-5, voted to give the proceeds of their annual "penny drive" to the local historical foundation for preservation of the site. They raise $493.68 for the project! This may not be a direct SCV project, but the idea can easily be adapted to SCV use, especially where a camp has a local historical site to protect or where they have taken on the job of restoring one of our flags, keeping up an old cemetery, monument, etc. Get the kids interested to the point where they donate their pennies and they will remember their Southern History and Culture for years to come.
An SCV camp reports that its members talked to over 2600 students in the local schools in what they called "Yankee land" last year. They have an opening line they use to get the student’s attention as; "How long have you been told (by teachers, books, TV, movies) that this war in the 1860’s was a Civil War.?" Next they explain the facts that prove it was a War Between States. The camp has have been invited back to one school for the last four years. The camp members thought for a long time that they might be just wasting time doing school programs; However, this year they received a Christmas card signed by all the kids in the History class. The History Club had made a special card for the camp with a picture of Longstreet's conference in the snow. The camp is very proud of this card and it will remain a keepsake for them from now on.
Another SCV camp puts on a History Day in conjunction with their local Historical Society. For the past ten years they have had a special WBTS talk, illustrated with artifacts. This talk lasts for about forty minutes and provides each fourth grade class at the Elementary School the opportunity to be present for this very popular presentation. There are other stations that teach other era's of local history too. About twenty-five different full size Confederate flags are set up and flown for the students to view in the adjacent cemetery. All Confederate soldiers graves are marked with battle flags and six unknown Union graves are marked with US flags. It's interesting to see the students parade through a cemetery, make discoveries, ask questions. Even the teachers get quality information about the Confederates, their tombstones, and the flags. This SCV camp also does other programs. Each year they set up camp on the grounds of the historical society. This is in conjunction with other county historical groups for County’s Birthday Celebration. Twenty-five to thirty Confederate flags are flying. They recommend this type of cooperate projects to make friends and get to known the folks at the local historical society.
Each year an SCV camp assists the local historical society with it's programs whereby children take a history class during the summer. Part of the function is to go on a trip to a nearby WBTS Battlefield where they meet SCV reenactors and discuss some of the history of the battle. They also see a first hand example of a soldier’s life in a camp setting.
A new feature is that one SCV camp is entering into is a program conducted in cooperation with their local historical society to provide teaching in-service training. This is Southern History and Heritage classes for adult teachers. Some may choose to work with their local school board or local community college to offer credit or clock hours. This may be an incentive for teachers who are going back to school to advance their studies or renew teacher certification. One of the most interesting aspects of a program like this is to have a chance to teach teachers outside of the university setting. Many teachers would present a more balance approach if they are given a presentation based on documented facts. Too often the teachers in university training are processed out on a Northern version of the WBTS. Young teachers can be overwhelmed with their tasks at hand. An evening, weekend or summer program of training, possibly including materials, would go a long way to causing the truth to be taught in our schools.
An activity that an SCV camp conducts involves students ages 9 to 12. The activity is a War Between the States camp-of-instruction. 80 students pay $35 apiece to attend a day-long "boot camp". During the day they are inducted into the Confederate army reciting a period enlistment oath during the process. They receive a medical inspection and then rotate between infantry, artillery, cavalry, civilian, and religious instruction stations. They march, drill, care for horses, learn the Virginia Reel, fire a cannon, and hear words of inspiration from an ordained minister. The day ends with a battle, which the kids win of course, some dancing, and three cheers for Jeff Davis and the South! Throughout the day they also get a goodly dose of Southern heritage and the truth. They report to have kids coming from several different states to attend this event. The schools, of course, are a major source of advertising the event.
An SCV camp reports that it conducts about 20 programs per year for schools and that they have been very successful and are always been invited back. Some of these programs have been going on for 6-7 years in public city, public county schools, and private schools. This includes predominately black and white schools. They have also produced a 3-page brochure showing the outline of the program, schools visited, and photographs including the children participating. This brochure helps sell their camps programs to parents, children, and teachers.
Two years ago an SCV camp contacted their first local school to ask if they would like to have a demonstration regarding "Life in a Confederate Camp during the WBTS". They began by describing to 250 children what everyday life was like beginning with the type of food eaten and how it had to be prepared. Also of interest was the type of arms used during that time period. A point that was stressed was that the war was not due to slavery but that it was for independence. Information was presented to show that blacks, Hispanics, immigrants and others fought for the South. Of special interest in their area school was that Native American Indians fought for the South. The camp built on this interest by emphasizing the forming of different Native American Brigades during WBTS. Children were encouraged to ask questions. The camp members tried to help them apply what they read in their history books to what was shown in the Living History. This was so successful that teachers passed this information along to other schools in the area and as a result four more schools invited the camp to repeat their Living History program. A total of 800 children were given the opportunity to see this SCV presentation. The next year the program was expanded and included working in cooperation with a local historical museum. The camp was welcomed and encountered no problems in this area of education. The event was also covered by local news which gave the school and the SCV positive reviews.
One camp uses the this simple analogy to explain session to elementary students. "Your parents give you good rules to live by. Say one day you join a club of other students. You play have fun and become friends. One day some of these friends start to do things that you know are not right. They go against your parents rules and you know you should not do this bad things. You and some of your friends decide to quit your club and make it a club like it was originally intended, that follows your parents rules for good behavior. Later this other group of your former friends comes and threatens to beat you up if you don’t rejoin their club. This is kind of what it was like for the Southern States when they seceded and fought for their independence in 1861-65."
A parent or individual can sign up with it’s local library or school as a research "helper". If anyone comes to the library to do WBTS research, they are listed as a reference. The individual can be listed as a reference contact for school children researching the WBTS era. They can help with research or provide speakers and demonstrations on selected topics. Members of a camp with specific areas of interest and knowledge can sign up on the list to volunteer for topic areas.
4. Identify other ideas:
What are other ideas and points to consider when implementing successful school programs that could be adapted to your local area?Most teachers are good, kind people who like helping kids learn. They are often ignorant of Southern History and Culture because 1) most likely they were not taught it, 2) it has not been given an importance to them as growing up or in the college system, and 3) they have not aggressively sought the truth as many SCV members have. This does not make them bad, it makes them in need of education. Look at all teachers are asked to do these days. They are at the bottom rung on the pay scale for "professions" based on the 1996 labor market analysis. Teachers today are just overwhelmed with the tasks given, the management of children, many from broken homes and do not have much time for independent research or scholarship. Let’s work with them. Let’s make them feel valued as a professional. Help them to learn. Don’t beat them over the head with the facts, rather, expose them to the truths and let them come to their conclusions. Offer your services to help them in their job. Show appreciation for those teachers that are doing a good job. If we as SCV members work hard to present our history and honor our ancestors, we will get the results.
Utilize your SCV members who are employed by schools or who already have good working relations with the school personnel. They know the system. This is an easy way to begin working with schools, to get your foot in the door to present Southern History and Culture to students. These members know who will be supportive and who may be negative within the school. They can help pave the way for your camp to develop a strong, positive relationship with your school system.
Another source of support for opening doors in your schools is to work with SCV members who are parents of children in school. Check into local PTA groups too. The parents are patrons of the school with a vested interest in the success of the program. They can conference with teachers and urge them to incorporate Southern History and Culture into their teaching. Since many schools and teachers lack resources and experiences, it opens the door to your SCV camp to fill the gap.
Contact educators one on one in person. Be friendly, open, honest, polite. Making contact one on one with a teacher in a non-threatening is important. Making friends is not selling out the cause. Use common sense and diplomacy to earn the opportunity to present Southern History and Culture in the schools.
Look professional when you visit schools. First impressions do count. Dress to impress that the SCV is a first class organization dedicated to promoting Southern History and Culture in the community. The SCV would like to establish a partnership with the school for this goal.
If your camp has never conducted a school presentation before, be prepared contact another camp or member who may have done a presentation to get an idea of what to expect. Perhaps visit the school when a nearby camp does a presentation so you get an idea of what will be expected of your camp. Video tape this presentation to share with other members of your team that will be presenting school programs for the first time.
Get references from schools where you have developed a good rapport. SCV camps can use these references to help open the door at new schools. Some camps develop a brochure or video to show new schools. Ask teachers that are positive about your presentations to call their colleagues at a new school to encourage them to allow Southern History and Culture presentations.
Schedule an area history teachers meeting. Show how Southern History and Culture programs are being utilized and accepted in other communities. Illustrate the benefits the children receive through participation. Some teachers enjoy the adventure of going on a field trip but have difficulty pulling students out for the day. The SCV program could be brought to the school either as a live or video presentation. Making a larger presentation with a local historical group to the teachers may be a good strategy. The SCV may choose to be part of a local history celebration that provides for more variety than the four years of the Confederacy.
Become known to schools as a volunteer. Certainly Southern History and Culture, and the honoring of our ancestors is important, but look to other ways to show an interest in the schools. If you have other interest you can do classroom presentations on those subjects too. It establishes you as a true friend of the schools.
Invite interested teachers, principals, board members on a guided a tour of a local historical site. Discuss the possibilities for schools to expand their curriculum without cost to them.
When doing any school program be prepared. Outline your program and practice. Use a video camera to view your practice. A poor job of presenting Southern History and Culture is worse than no presentation at all. It hurts rather than helps our organization’s image and the memory of our ancestors. What ever job you do reflects on us all, our organization and our ancestors.
When ever you do any programs on Southern History and Culture, take lots of pictures, still and video. Invite the media to everything.. If you can’t get the media to come to you, take photos and send them to the local newspaper and the Public Relations person for the school system . The school wants good press too. Have parents contact media that is unresponsive or negative. Have your members who are "subscribers" ask why they can’t ever seem to get positive coverage of their events in the paper or TV news. Also contact advertisers from the newspaper or TV station and let your thoughts about advertising in non-supportive media. Be positive too! When the media does a good thing, let the business know that too. Send thank you notes to the media for covering your events in a positive way. Get members to do this too!
Most camps have many members that are also reenactors, although not all reenactors are SCV members. Utilize the reenactors as they illustrate the history lessons so well, particularly with younger children. Uniforms, accoutrements, weapons (when allowed), camps, food, civilian clothing, and other period "visuals" really interest students. Remember most people including students like to see and do things, not just listen or read. Also remember to gear your presentation, vocabulary, concepts to the grade level you are presenting too.
SCV members should always present truths and should have references to document these truths. Many students in school, including their teachers, may never have seen any of the truths we have discovered through research. Present truths and documentation. Let students and teachers with a little guidance of the right materials from you come to their own conclusions. Thinking individuals will respect this approach.
Donate materials to students via their teachers, libraries, and schools. Many schools are on tight budgets. They do not have access to good Southern History and Culture materials. They can’t find the facts if they don’t have the materials to research. It is suggested thought that a camp does not just drop of donated materials. It is recommended that the camp put on a program to show teachers and possibly interested students and parents how to use the materials and also to point out some strong points found within the materials. Get the media involved again to spread the word of the donation and also of the new availability of research materials.
Sponsor seminars and put on workshops on how to do Southern History and Culture research. This can include family trees, research of a particular topic, etc. It can be on the use of The OR’s (Official Records), Confederate Military History, the Southern Historical Society Papers or Confederate rosters CD-ROM’s. It might be on how to do living history projects or tour a local historical site. Check into offering clock hours or credits to help teachers participate renew their certification.
Getting a Southern History book into each classroom might be a goal of a local SCV camp. One sample is "The Story of the Confederate States by Joseph T. Derry", 1895 454 pages. This book could be given to any teacher of US History in any school grades 4-12. A reviewer wrote: " a brief by comprehensive sketch of the early settlement of the country, trouble with Indians, French, Revolutionary and Mexican wars plus a full complete and graphic account of the great 4 year war between North and South, its causes, effects, etc. Introduction by Gen. Clement A Evans, Suited to all wishing an interest, instructive and true account of the war for Southern independence, but designed especially for boys and girls of the South. Beautifully illustrated with over 130 fine engravings. This 1895 text is refreshingly different, fast moving and among the merits of this title is the setting of the WBTS in its proper cultural, social, political and historical context. A must to round out your child's complete education."
Work with local, community, and county libraries, this includes school libraries to promote Southern History and Culture, and Confederate research. Put on a special display or a special evening of study. Donate materials, but also put on a "how to use" seminar when you donate any items.
Work with explorer scouts. Living history could be a project for some explorer scout units. This would also promote an interest in young members to join the SCV. Help the explorers to do the research and presentations. Sometimes the high school age student can have a big impact on the elementary students. Some teachers and principals may be more willing and less intimidated to have explorer aged high school students as presenters as a first step.
Help your local high school start a high school camp sponsored by your SCV camp. The high school members could then be used as presenters in the lower grades.
Invite history teachers to SCV meetings. Treat them as honored and respected guests. Find out where their interests are. Find out what they consider their strengths and build a partnership. Ask teachers what your camp can do to help them.
Appoint a camp liaison officer to be the main contact person with the schools. This would be someone teachers or principals can call when they need help, are searching for resources, are looking to schedule a presentation, etc.
A camp can offer first year free SCV dues for every new teacher that applies and is accepted into their camp.
Work with your schools to sponsor a History fair. This is an academic fair, like a science fair, in which students are encouraged each year to research and present a history project for evening display at the school’s open house. SCV camps can sponsor ribbons or certificates. They can help with the judging of projects.
Keep in mind is that you cannot ask students to be a part of anything that could get them or their teachers in hot water. In other words, stay away from issues that could be even slightly considered blatantly racist or controversial. Keep it non-confrontational, professional, factual, and very business like. You must present the truths in that are appropriate without being a out of line for the school.
Have camp members underwrite donation of Southern history books and materials to school libraries. They can get credit for donations by placing a special library plate in the inside cover of the book or CD-ROM case. Encourage these donations in remembrance of departed ancestors. Contact local business to help underwrite materials too! It is all tax deductible. Look for grants working in cooperation with schools, libraries, historical societies and others to purchase materials (books, CD-ROM’s, history props for projects, etc.)
Form a speakers committee within your SCV. Have each member who wishes to participate sign up for topics of Southern History and Culture or Confederate History. Distribute this list to schools, civic groups, even the news media. Have members video tape their talks, so that if a scheduling conflict arises and the member can not do the talk in person, at least a video tape can be sent for the school to use.
Volunteer to set up an information table at your school’s open houses. This information table can have samples of Southern History and Culture, Confederate History, sample programs, genealogy information, CSA roster searches, living history programs, and other camp projects.
Utilize high schools in the production of videos that documents and records camp projects. Build a library of those and exchange copies with other SCV camps who are also doing projects. The library will grow and information can become abundant. Also it is valuable to see different methods of presentation and different people presenting. Create an "Exchange Library" or loan or purchase library with these video and/or audio tapes.
If we provide any text or video material, we need to look at also supplying the teachers with lesson plans, worksheets, follow-up activities, etc. over the same material. The easier we can make it for the teachers to use our material, the more likely they are to use it.
Public Relations! Yes, unfortunately you have to have some PR going in your camp and community. Even in the National FFA requires each chapter to have a "reporter" on the officer team. The SCV should also have a camp officer to be the reporter. He would report on all of the projects and activities the camp conducts. SCV camps have to tell their story in their communities!. Develop good contacts with someone in the media (tough to do, but usually you can find one halfway reasonable person.) Get them involved. Sponsor a special media night, give them supper, sponsor a contest for the best Southern History and Culture or WBTS-historical article done in your community during the year. Have the media cover themselves getting an award for recognizing the good work you do in your SCV camps and schools!
Sponsor awards and incentives within your camp for members who participate in school and educational works. Make it a valuable part of your camps annual mission.
Try to end your program with a challenge to the kids to continue learning with an open mind. "Don't just take our or your teachers word for what was correct. Go out and find the truth for yourselves." Young kids lean on the teacher for all their knowledge and a children often ask"...are you the good guys or the bad guys?" This gives you a fair idea of how our Confederates are being portrayed by some teachers and parents. Since the "winners" write the history, you may want to point out that whoever controls that writing pretty much controls people's outlook on things and that is a very powerful thing. Tell them the new crop of liberals are rewriting our history all over again like it was a movie script or something and that it's become and empowerment thing. That takes the teachers somewhat off the hook. They can't teach what they don't know. Now have your resources and documentation ready to share.
A number of SCV members speak before many local groups. Nearly all are highly successful and without racial incidents. The secret to all of this is to expand and communicate with other civic and historical groups until your SCV camp is accepted as one of the group. Work with a local museums to present programs. Schools like to play it safe. Make your presentation part of a much bigger picture with other community groups. That way you are not trying to sell yourself as the only people that are trying to tell the truth about history.
It might be very beneficial to obtain copies of the text books that are presently used in your school system. Develop a plan that will fit into that textbook, but that will also interject the truth when needed. . It is hard for some teachers to stray too far from a text. Usually this is not due to any fear of being "politically incorrect" but is mainly due to the amount of work necessary to prepare lesson plans, tests, quizzes, and exercises for five or six classes, each with 25 to 35 students. The text books come with pre-made lessons that, good teachers, usually those with much experience, interest and background, do not rely solely on textbooks, but younger more inexperienced teachers and elementary teachers teaching all subjects in a self-contained class do. Providing an alternate text such as "The Story of the Confederacy" by Derry might be good strategy.
Develop some "pre canned" talks that can be given by anybody. This removes the need for independent authorship within your camp. These can be structured to lead to students to the important points regarding Confederate and Southern History and Culture. A standard, well researched message is given each time, even when given by different members.
School programs should be approached with the purpose of pursuing a series of presentations over time, with the first on being an introduction to Southern History and Culture. See what the reaction is by the students and teacher. Next build on the connection made and continue to go deeper into the subjects, based on age appropriate presentations. Remember to invite the school to video tape the class presentation so they can have a record of the event which can be re-used and shared.
For the Colleges try to make an effort wherever one can, even if it is only talking to fraternities and sororities. Encourage them to go beyond what they may have read in a textbook or told by a professor. Challenge them to examine facts from both sides, weigh them and come up with their own conclusion. Utilize SCV college members when possible. Point to resources that they can use to find these truths.
Help schools, whether it be high school, middle school, elementary, even college, form campus history groups or clubs. Southern and Confederate culture and heritage groups have as much right to exist on campus as do other cultural groups. Student Government organizations are required to give equal status to such clubs and that includes competing for student government money to bring in speakers, organize, present programs, etc.
Establish a Confederate Calendar. This is a document that shows important dates in Confederate History and can be customized for local events of interest (founding of an SCV camp, births/deaths of local soldiers, Confederate monument erected, etc.) Give them to each school teacher in your district (either annually or monthly) and explain their use. Offer to invite them to monthly camp meetings to get their "updated" monthly version and tie in a short history presentation that reflects an event in that month. Invite the teachers to present one short topic a month on CSA history. Publish calendars in the local paper for all to read and clip.
Developing a style for doing presentations where you become a time traveling newsman with a crew interviewing the parties involved. It allows you to do all the scripting and to get points across. This is a TV generation so they may be familiar with this type of information reception. Try it a something different.
The schools are looking for mentor all the time. SCV camps could present a group mentor program for a particular school with UDC, SAR, DAR, OREL, and SCV all working together.
Some speakers stick with the politically correct presentations. We have got to get over this. It takes a well honed message that has been tested to push the line but does not go too far. And again it has to lead to another speaking engagement to continue the opportunity to share Southern and Confederate History.
If you have had problems where the battle flag is associated with the Klan and hatred, rather than the true purpose that our ancestors fought and died under, try a symbol association talk. In the center you can place a US flag flanked on the right by the Battle Flag and on the left the original KKK flag or some other hate type symbol. Ask the students "What identifies them as good or bad and why?" Next go into a description of each emphasizing that the US flag has been associated with the KKK far longer than the battle flag, yet people are trying to ban our Battle Flag. Embattled Banner can be used as a resource for this presentation, as it has some good pictures of the KKK in the 1920’s. You can point out to them that no Battle flag is insight. This might open the door for discussion about how it is unfair to attack our Southern Heritage and Culture symbols because another group misuses them. Ask "If the battle flag is banned through association with the KKK which is a hate group, even if they have not right to it, and they continue to use the US flag also, should not the US Flag be banned too?" It may get some to thinking.
Over the past few years I've given presentations to 5th grade students on various facets of Confederate history. I always bring Confederate flags with me and show them the correct "Stars and Bars," as well as the rest of the flags. I bring real Confederate money, which always seems to make their jaw drop as they always make a point to touch the money. I love watching them as they hold the money and you can see their mind racing around. They can only be wondering things like, "Who held this very piece of money?" I also bring a set of 8 1/2 x 11 sheets of paper which each contains a photo of a notable Southerner and includes a paragraph or two about the person or thing. I made it a point to especially include Confederates who made a notable impact locally. For instance, General John B. Hood came through here several times during the war. I'll read an excerpt from the OR's to the kids that mentions his being here (the town here then was called Van Wert). Then I'll show them his picture and pass it around the room. I'll tell them the story of General Forrest's great defense of Rome and then pass his picture around. I'll also talk about several local sites that hold great history surrounding the war. I have been priviledged to excerpts from a letter that was written during the war that tells of Cedartown and Van Wert being burned, as well as the U.S. army going to "Mrs. Battle's place" and tearing her feather mattress apart and dumping it onto the floor and then pouring all of her vinegar and other food items into the pile and taking sticks and mixing it all together, for the sole reason of destroying her food supply. This really brings the war to life for them. When they see that things happened right here in their own back yard, the history doesn't seem so distant and unreal to them anymore. I also make it a point to bring extra copies of my packet of material, inside a nice large envelope in which it can be stored and I give each of the teachers a copy for their own use. For the first time, last year, a teacher asked if I had any pictures that she could display in her room during the entire time of their study of the war. So my wife took some of my framed pictures to the school and they hung them up in their classroom during the week or two that they spent on that part of history.
A very good point for all to remember: GET INVOLVED in your community. Not after your heritage is attacked or ignored, but before! Credibility grows with your visibility in the community and when you need help in heritage matters, others will be more willing to support. Become involved in some community program that will help to further your "public image." When folks already know your integrity and your outspoken love for our Confederate culture and heritage they are more welling to lend support. Lions Club, Masonic Lodge, Church, Chamber of Commerce, American Legion, VFW, schools, community celebrations, volunteer fire department, youth programs (sports, scouts, others) hospitals, museums...ETC. Volunteer! Lead by civic example. Find something, at least one other activity in your community other than SCV that fits your interests and time. Not all have time to be away from family and job all the time, but we all can do something even if it is volunteering to be a church usher or help with a pre-parade breakfast on our community days celebration.
We recommend you visit the following links for further information:
Georgia Division CSA History Project
FAQ about the War for Southern Independence
CSA Illustrated Flag History
Recommended Reading-Books with the Southern Perspective
Final Thoughts to the SCV membership.......
A final thought is that a standardized curriculum, age and grade appropriate should be developed by the SCV that could be made available to every teacher to teach Southern Heritage, History and Culture. We should work together to develop this curriculum guide, along with resources to support its teaching and have it available to all schools. We should be leading the instruction of teachers, showing them "how to do this" and where to find our Southern history.
© 2001 John K. McNeill SCV Camp #674, Moultrie, GA