GDG- NPS & slavery & Arl Cem

CWMHTours at CWMHTours at
Thu Jan 5 18:03:22 CST 2012

Put them in the freezer, Al.  I love them  frozen.
Your  Most Obedient Servant,

In a message dated 1/5/2012 6:27:15 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,  
ATMackeyJr at writes:

Esteemed  GDG Member Contributes:
Well, Peter, if you prefer 3 Musketeers, then I  suggest two or three of  
them.  You sound really, really  hungry.


Best Regards,
Al  Mackey

In a message dated 1/5/2012 12:17:09 A.M. Eastern Standard  Time,  
CWMHTours at writes:

Esteemed  GDG Member  Contributes:
Don't like Snickers.  I like 3  Musketeers.  In  fact,  love 'em.  Put 'em 
the  freezer.

If  you want to immerse yourself in the subject of slavery  in  the DC  
both Harpers Ferry and Mt Vernon are great.  Mt  Vernon  is  excellent for 
exhibits on slave life.  In fact it is   so fabulous that I  can't say 
enough good 
things about  it.

The  NPS at Harpers Ferry have done a great job on  slavery,  UGRR, and 

Browns Raid.  I love going  there.

There are at least 100  mansions and plantations within 100  mi  of the 
of DC/Gtysbg  where you can immerse yourself in  slavery and the  

Don't give me  links to sites, that I don't even know  you've  even been 

You sit across a table from me and tell  me all you know   about slavery in 
Arlington.  Without  notes.

Or better  yet, YOU take me on a tour of slavery in   Arlington.  For  
3-5 hours.  You walk me around with no  notes and   tell me the facts.

Because I can take YOU around for  3-4 hours on  a tour of  Arlington 
focusing on slavery and heroes like  Medgar  Evers, the 2 B. O. Davis's,  
James, and   others.

I can walk the walk and I can talk the talk.    

Apparently you would rather snipe at me and give me  archive   links like I 
couldn't find them on my own.

Let  me see you stop  sniping and walk the walk and talk the  talk.   I 
have a  higher regard for your comments if you  did.   When people "refute" 
positions I need to see  evidence.

Have you ever even heard of  Chappie James?   Etc?  Et  all?

The MOST IMPORTANT thing  to take away  from Arlington National  Cemetery 
not that it was a   plantation with slaves.

Repeat,  the MOST IMPORTANT thing  about  Arlington  National Cemetery is 
that it was a  plantation with  slaves.

There were 100s of those around the  region.

THE MOST  IMPORTANT THING, Al- and please, finally   get this right-  it is 
the first National Military Cemetery out  of  other preceding  cemeteries 
intended as a National Shrine to  the Nation's  Military  deceased.

Do you get that, Al?   It is the first National  Shrine  dedicated to our 
military  veterans and their  families.

THAT is the most important  thing.  

Not the  graves of the Custis families, not the  Freedmans  section, not 
Robert  E. Lee, not Montgomery Meigs,  not etc etc etc.  Not  Bull Halsey 
Bill  Donovan.

There were military cemeteries all over the  country  before  they even 
about Arlington.

Thru a long   convoluted almost careless meandering our nation  has created 
one  of  the most beautiful places on our continent.

THAT is the  focus.   Not slavery.  Go to Mt Vernon  where they have  real 
exhibits  that go into it or H Ferry.

When you walk along  the paved roads in the  cemetery you see  cars with 
passes  in their windows.  Those  are families.  They are   visiting their 
family  members.  Fathers. Mother.  Uncles. Aunts.   Brothers.  Sisters.

Daughters and  sons....

Civilians who went to work in  the Pentagon a few feet  away  from their 
graves (Sect 60) who went to  another day of  boring work and by noon  they 

I live   here, pretentiously calling  myself a  historian.  On the  morn  
9/11 I went thru a long ride on the subway,  stupid to  do with  terrorism. 
walked along the riverbank from  Rosslyn.  Federal  Protective Service 
police, had  barricaded Arl Cem and guarded  it  with heavy weapons.

I got  down to 500-1000 ft of the Pentagon  and when I was there  the  
were still at least 50 ft high at  noon.  I was probly  there 2-4  hours 
no food and feeling  pretty  sick.

Today I can ride on the freeway past the same spot    where I stood that 
with not a cloud in the sky.  You look  on  one  side and there is the new 
Memorial outside the crash  spot.   Look the other  way and way off in the 
distance is  a big ol' black  thing.

Go into the cemetery and see the   black thing.  It is  a big black granite 
pentagon.  It  lists the names  of the  Americans who were killed in that  
attack.  Beside it in 3 rows  of  graves are about 20  Pentagon attack 
victims each 
totaling around  60.   There  are ALWAYS fresh flowers to be found.  You 

stand  there and see where I  stood while there was a 50 foot high  orange  
flame blazing away on  9/11.

I wish I didn't have to   talk about it when I do my tours but I  have to 
take people past  the  Pentagon and tell them what happened.  I  usually 
have  an 
upset  stomach.  I try to point out the black granite in  the   cemetery.

I had a few years ago a girlfriend whose  father was a  captain  in the 
He died and is buried  not far from the black  pentagon.   Fought in WW II 
and was  regarded as a hero by his  proud family.  I was  there for the  
Not far away is the  captain of the USS   Miller.

The Miller was a Fletcher-class  destroyer in the Pacific  in WW  II.  
was a huge  Essex-class aircraft carrier  named the USS Benjamin  Franklin 
the  battle of Okinawa.  It got hit by a kamikaze and a huge black  plume 

smoke shot up  high into the sky.  How many young American boys   were 
into infinity in those seconds I don't know.

I have seen  that  newsreel of the Franklin exploding like that  maybe 
of   times.  The first ship to arrive to aid the Franklin was the   USS  
They turned fire hoses on the ship and jumped over  to   help.  She is in 
the newsreels.

In the 90s I  was priveleged to  be the tour escort for the  reunion of the 
crew.  They were all  pretty damned old.  I had been   with them, quite 
honored, for a  day or two, and they wanted to go  visit their  captain's 
grave near  
the black granite.   I went.  A lot of them, 80  years old,  were crying.

One  of my favorite graves is Robert Dean Stethem.   Buried  in Sect  59 (I 
think).  In 1983 his plane was hijacked by   terrorists.   He was a very 
scuba diver for the   Navy.  The terrorists took his I.D.  and found out he 
a  serviceman.  He resisted their attacks on him and   finally they shot  
in the head and threw him out the plane  where his body lay  in  the hot 
on the tarmac for a couple  of days.

He's not far from  victims of the Beirut   Marine  bombing attack.

I ALWAYS try  to take my friends with  me to go see him.   He has one of 

few permanent   bronze flower vases in the  cemetery.  For  decades his  
has gone into the cemetery twice a week  to bring   him fresh flowers.  I 
see him a lot.  I talk to  him   like I talk to many graves.  I have been 
his grave  a couple of  hundred  times, if only to say hi and ask him how 
doing.   Sometimes there are  pebbles on his  headstone.  Sometimes I  

HIS  GRAVE.  His Mother for  decades, after  moving to DC to be  close to 
Robert, goes down every Sunday and  every  Wednesday  and leaves fresh 
flowers on 
his grave.  Only once have   I  ever seen dried up old flowers.  They 

People don't understand that this special shrine is a   place  not of Death 
but of Life.

In making this National   Shrine we have said to ourselves, and  the World, 
that military   service- and sacrifice- in the name of our country  is one 
the  most noble things you can do in Life.

We hold the  Cemetery up also of a  shining beacon of patriotism  and  

People travel the  world to come see their loved  ones and I  have 
accompanied way too  many mourners to be  uncaring when I go with them to 
the  grave of  
their  relative.

I've been to too many funerals in the  Cemetery.   One is  too many. 

Had another girlfriend in 2004  whose  nephew was killed in  a Stryker 
vehicle- 2nd Div.  A   sergeant.  A kid I never met.  One  more funeral in  

The Cemetery is a place of rebirth and   rejuvenation and  nobility.  Not 
stagnant immobile  Death.   A place where visitors from  all over the world 
to LEARN about  the sacrifice of National Service  and  how OUR COUNTRY, 
UNIQUE IN THE  WORLD, has created a unique special  spot that  says "This 
This is the highest  honor."

Now Al, if you think it is MORE  IMPORTANT to ram  slavery down  people's 
throats  when they are  in Arlington  then here's what I want you to  do.  
stand at  the  entrance of the cemetery and every time you see  a car with 

family in it with the big pass on the dashboard there to visit   their  
mother or 
grandfather I want you to flag their car down,  stop it,  stick  your head 
the window, and tell them that  there were slaves  on the cemetery  and 
should go visit the  exhibit behind the  Mansion.

Will that make you happy?

A  National Shrine dedicated  to all military services or a  meager  slave 

Arlington  National Cemetery is most of all a  National Shrine  dedicated 
the  memory of ALL Americans who  served their country, maybe getting   
themselves killed to save  their friends, or maybe simply just being a mail 
in  Korea like actor James Garner.

If you want to twist  that into a  lesson on the evils of  slavery, well, 
glad that I am  not  your God.......


Your  Most Obedient   Servant,

In a message dated 1/4/2012 10:15:11  P.M.  Eastern Standard Time,  
ATMackeyJr at   writes:

Esteemed  GDG Member Contributes:

In a  message  dated 1/4/2012 12:16:11 P.M.  Eastern Standard  Time,   
CWMHTours at  writes:

Esteemed   GDG Member  Contributes:
OK Al-

YOU  tell me about the 200  slaves   living at  Arlington   Cemetery.
But  you're not interested,  Peter.   You've been very clear you  don't  
consider  them "important"  enough.

If  you  want to  be an expert and complain then  you step up to   the 
tell me all about the 200    slaves.
Fortunately, the NPS can do a  good    job:


And   Arlington    Cemetery:


Some other   sources    include:


And some professional    historians:



And  The    Smithsonian:


And  even    amateurs:


I only know about two of them    specifically.  One  whose  name, I think, 
Selena  was a  "house  slave".  A  servant of  Mary C   Lee.  She  stayed 
when Mary went  south  and  tried to keep the  Yankees  from destroying  
mansion when  they  occupied the  place.  Oddly  enough, I  haven't heard  
she  is   buried.  Haven't heard that she is  buried in  the    cemetery.

The other is a slave named, I  think, John.  He  was   born  on the 
and  is buried in  it.  Over by the  Seneca  Creek sandstone   wall next  
Myer where there is no  gravel    road.

That's about all I    know.

Check out Wesley Norris, his   sister,  and his cousin.

The  slaves at   Arlington, like slaves  all over this country,  have a  

that is, for the most  part, LOST.

I am  not aware of  anyone writing  a book on the story  of the   slaves at 

Well,   there IS a 1960  Harvard    thesis:


Yes, 200  people were slaves.    Do  you think we should  spend the WHOLE 

talking  about them at  the deletion of the   others?

If so, good   for you.   Because that is  the NPS program at   Arlington.

200  slaves  have  their place.  They should  be talked about  and  pointed 

I think it  borders on rascism when  the NPS MANDATES that  you   talk 

slaves and  "relatively obscure"  African-Americans in way that    takes  
you could be  using to talk about MORE   IMPORTANT   PEOPLE.
Obviously  you  don't think African  Americans are important.  To  each   


Yes, I think Bull  Halsey,  Charles Wilkes,  and Bruce Van   Voorhees are  
significant than the first  black female Tomb   Guard.   I'd  rather talk 

Why  wasn't it   MANDATED that we also talk about  American   Indians, like 
Hayes,  Latinos and   Asians?

You have to getting the  message I hope.

Is   it  finally sinking in?  The NPS  places a higher   PRIORITY on  

African-Americans at the  expense of other races  and    topics.

Dig that?   I've seen   it.


Peter,  are you  hungry?   Have a Snickers.  :   )


Best   Regards,
Al    Mackey

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