Tag Archives: Donald Smith

Why the Need to Slant Stonewall Jackson’s Legacy?

Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson’s mixed legacy — slaveholder, educator of slaves, rebel against the United States, and one of the greatest military commanders in U.S. history.

by Donald Smith

If you were asked to describe Stonewall Jackson in just a few words, what would you say? Apparently the Washington Post would say — an enslaver of six people.

Ian Shapira, a member of the Washington Post’s Metro section, is the paper’s most prolific writer on the ongoing controversy at VMI over allegations of systemic racism and controversies over Confederate symbols at the school. The Post’s biography of Shapira credits his work for having “prompted,” among other things, “the removal of the campus’ 108-year-old statue of Confederate statue Gen. Stonewall Jackson.”

Shapira has mentioned Jackson frequently. But, if you relied on his reporting to give you the information that you’d use to develop your perception of Jackson and his legacy, you’d end up with a shallow, one-sided view. What’s worse — and actually more troubling — your knowledge of the general would be missing some of the most important aspects of his life and legacy. Continue reading