Response to recent conversation

Atlanta Forward readers responded on our blog and by Twitter to recent columns, by former Georgia Supreme Court Justice Leah Ward Sears and Atlanta History Center CEO Sheffield Hale, about whites and blacks commemorating the Civil War and the civil rights movement in different ways, or not at all. Here are some select comments:

Paul Rice: Justice Leah Ward Sears wrote a compelling article on human rights. My objection is her inference that it is white Americans who have not honestly embraced the past. The people I see who have not honestly embraced the past, and especially the past 50 years, are those whose relevance depends upon seeing racism behind every tree, under every rock and in every gesture, "code word" and offhand remark.

James: Of course you should always be honest. But in history, the "honest" past is up to one's own perspective. There are compelling arguments and evidence that slavery was "a" central issue, not necessarily "the" central issue of the Civil War. Others think as Justice Sears does. Again, it's all about perspective. But yes, always be honest.

Leroy Minnis: Both Leah Sears and Sheffield Hale gave wonderful perspectives of the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement. My only fault with both articles: They were "mis-educated" to not capitalize "Civil Rights Movement" like they capitalized "Civil War." But maybe historians of the Civil Rights Movement like Herb Boyd and Todd Burroughs were wrong. My conclusion, whether then or now, black or white, male or female, is that racism sells and will continue to sell and be a booming business. Explore north Fulton County and south Fulton County, and it becomes proof.

Michael Rose: I wanted to respond to Mr. Minnis' observation that the term, "Civil Rights Movement," was not capitalized by either Mr. Hale of the Atlanta History Center or Ms. Sears. I guarantee Mr. Minnis that the Atlanta History Center always capitalizes Civil Rights Movement in all of its publications, award-winning exhibitions, student/teacher guides and public program and festival material. I conclude The Atlanta Journal-Constitution uses a different manual of style and edited Mr. Hale's term. (Editor's note: Mr. Rose is correct. Associated Press style, which the AJC follows, does not capitalize civil rights movement. We changed it. No disrespect was intended.)

Straker: "History is not about making one group feel good, or another feel bad." For those who see a sheet and hood behind every tree, that is exactly what history is about.