FGF OP-ED
The Confederate Lawyer
July 30, 2015

Envy Caused Murders in Charleston
by Charles G. Mills
fitzgerald griffin foundation

GLEN COVE, NY  — Nine people were murdered in a Charleston church by a man who envied and hated African-Americans who were more successful than himself. These innocent nine souls were not murdered by someone afflicted with a mental disease; not by a pistol; not by a Confederate Battle Flag or a statue of John C. Calhoun; but by a man who had surrendered to racial hatred.

Dylan Roof, the shooter of the nine victims in Charleston, is a drug fiend, and a high school dropout with a criminal record. In a racist manifesto at the website, the Last Rhodesia, registered to his name, he lamented that the black race is taking over. He is a classic case of a fairly new group of underachieving and somewhat incompetent American Caucasians who resent African-American achievers who, by hard work, intelligence, and industry, are more successful than them. 

An awareness of the complicated history of the South is essential to understanding what occurred in Charleston.

One needs to start by looking at the society of the old slave-owning South. The leaders of this society were the large slave owners. Below them were other classes of whites, consisting of small farmers who may have owned a handful of slaves, professionals who may have owned slaves, merchants, sharecroppers, hunters, fishers, laborers, and, at the bottom, vagabonds and paupers.

An awareness of the complicated history of the South is essential to understanding what occurred in Charleston.
 

Black society was also divided into classes. At the top were those who were actually free or acted as though free either with their master’s permission or as runaways; merchants, clergymen, physicians, undertakers, seamstresses, and mechanics.

Slaves were also members of different classes. Mechanics, artisans butlers, chambermaids, and valets were at the top of this order, other house slaves came next, retired slaves were third, and field hands were at the bottom.

Many Caucasians developed close relations with some of their slaves and with the free slaves with whom they dealt. A minority of whites, at or near the bottom of society, developed twin hatreds of slave owners and black people.

Reconstruction — the time from approximately 1865-77 when the South was deprived of self government — imposed a social and political order that did not last. When Reconstruction failed starting in Tennessee and Georgia by 1769 and gradually until 1777 in South Carolina and Florida, the social and political order of the old South largely returned, but it did so without slavery and with higher positions open to blacks. For instance, until 1900, it was possible for a black to be elected to Congress from North Carolina. Some blacks prospered as the heads of corporations serving blacks, especially insurance companies.

Around the beginning of the Twentieth Century, a new Southern order emerged. Demagogues replaced the former slave owners as the holders of political power. These demagogues held power by the votes Strict legal segregation was imposed by law but not always enforced. In Alabama, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Virginia, black voting was restricted to about one percent of the black population. Good relations still existed between prosperous Southerners and the blacks they employed, but politicians began to cater to the anti-black prejudices of the lowest white class by segregation laws, restrictions on black voting, and racist speeches.

Whites still tended to protect the blacks they employed, and it was still possible for a white vagrant to be electrocuted for raping a black school teacher, but unemployed blacks suffered many injustices. The labor unions were segregated and the white unions protected white employment at the expense of black workers.

 
Nine virtuous and admirable people are dead because one man chose to turn his envy into hatred and his hatred into murder.

In the late Twentieth Century and early Twenty-First Century, a new order has emerged. The most significant change was not the end of segregation, but the opening up of the highest political offices in the South — Governor, Senator, Congressman, Justice of the highest court, and more — to blacks. Not only did black voting increase to a level that could elect such people but white voters began to support them.

The acceptance of interracial marriage, and the Supreme Court determination that it could not be outlawed, is another important change.

In this newest South, there is a class of white people without wealth, education, and ability, who strongly envy their subordination to African-Americans. If they surrender to this envy, they also tend to surrender to sinful hatred of blacks. They are the heirs of the worst populist demagogues who ran for office on these resentments. The most egregious illustration of this were the Southern Unionists. Andrew Johnson, Lincoln’s running mate in 1864, who became President after he was assassinated, was such a “Southern Unionist.”

[Dylan Roof] is responsible, not his parents, and not the people who honor their Confederate ancestors.

 

He detested both slaves and slave owners. He envied slave owners and feared slaves. When the War was over he wanted the South to be treated fairly. This led to his impeachment. He realized too late that he could not defend the South without defending all Southerners.

Johnson feared slaves but he did not side with the slave-owners because he realized that he could never reach their level of society even after he was elected to the Senate. He imagined that they were insulting him because of his low social status although they were always trying to be courteous and kind to him. Johnson was an uneducated tailor. Most of the leaders of the South had been highly educated, at institutions such as West Point and Yale.

The murderer in Charleston perfectly fits into this type of ignorant racist loser.

Hatred and envy are always sinful and evil. God gives man enough knowledge, intelligence, and moral strength to resist them. Love is the greatest virtue. Nine virtuous and admirable people are dead because one man chose to turn his envy into hatred and his hatred into murder. He is responsible, not his parents, and not the people who honor their Confederate ancestors.

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The Confederate Lawyer column is copyright © 2015 by Charles G. Mills and the Fitzgerald Griffin Foundation, www.fgfBooks.com. All rights reserved.

This column may be forwarded, posted, or published if credit is given to Charles Mills and fgfBooks.com.

Charles G. Mills is the Judge Advocate or general counsel for the New York State American Legion. He has forty years of experience in many trial and appellate courts and has published several articles about the law.

See his biographical sketch and additional columns here.

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