Confederate News Archive to December 31, 2012
Sons of Confederate Veterans Request Investigation of Battle of Franklin Trust by State Officials
For Immediate Release
Contact: Allen Sullivant
The Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) announced today that an attorney retained to investigate allegations of mismanagement and improper conduct by members of the Boards of Directors of both The Carter House in Franklin, Tennessee, and its management group, of The Battle of Franklin Trust (BOFT), has uncovered numerous instances of apparent disregard for the legal requirements for operating non-profit corporations, conflicts of interest on the parts of several members of both boards, and a possible misuse of state funds. As a result of this investigation, the SCV has requested the Tennessee Historical Commission to undertake its own investigation, and to involve other state offices such as those of the Attorney General and State Comptroller as they see fit. The Carter House is a state-owned historic site, under the stewardship of the Tennessee Historical Commission, and is one of Tennessee's premier tourist destinations.
Managed under the auspices of the Carter House Association since the 1950s, practically all control of the Carter House was signed away to the Battle of Franklin Trust three years ago in what some are calling a political maneuver, one which may be costing the taxpayers of Tennessee. Now, the Battle of Franklin Trust is requesting the Tennessee Historical Commission to deed related state property to them. Surprisingly, two of the people making the request have strong ties to the state, one being a state commissioner, and the other being the wife of a state commissioner.
"We were troubled to discover that state funds were possibly being used to make payments on an existing mortgage against Carnton Plantation, a privately owned historic site which is also managed by the Battle of Franklin Trust" said William Speck, Heritage Chairman for the Tennessee Division of the SCV. The mortgage in question was initiated by Marianne Schroer, wife of TDOT Commissioner John Schroer, when she was chairman of the board of directors of the Carnton property. She now holds the same position on the board of the Battle of Franklin Trust. Marianne Schroer and another state commissioner, Tourism Department head Susan Whitaker, who is also a board member for the BOFT, have spear-headed the BOFT's effort to obtain title to taxpayer-owned property.
Mr. Speck added, "The Carter House property belongs to the people of Tennessee and no portion of it should be given away to any group whose financial situation is questionable and whose grasp of proper management practices is apparently deficient. Therefore, the SCV retained the services of attorney Randy Lucas, and his investigation has confirmed that the problems with the Battle of Franklin Trust rise above mere carelessness. Mr. Lucas has outlined a number of deficiencies and conflicts of interest among board officers, and has now forwarded his findings to the Tennessee Historical Commission."
The SCV is requesting the Tennessee Historical Commission to vote against any concept of transferring property to the Battle of Franklin Trust. Further, the SCV is requesting that the Tennessee Historical Commission immediately open an investigation into the BOFT and the legal issues and financial questions brought forward by their attorney, involving any state agencies they feel necessary. Finally, the SCV requests a decision as to whether the contract between Carter House and the BOFT is legally binding, because of the "perpetual" control given over a state-owned property, and because the Carter House board president who solely approved the contract is an officer on both boards, which appears to be a classic conflict of interest.
The Sons of Confederate Veterans is an international organization of descendants of Confederate soldiers and the nation's largest military history and genealogy society. Formed in 1896, the SCV owns, operates, and manages many historic properties, including Winstead Hill Memorial Park in Franklin, the General N.B. Forrest Home in Chapel Hill, and Beauvoir - the last home of Jefferson Davis, in Biloxi, Mississippi. Its headquarters are in Columbia, Tennessee, at historic Elm Springs.
State of Georgia ending public access to State Archives
By Jonathan Shapiro, WPBA, 90.1 Radio 9/14/2012
Due to budget cutbacks, the state of Georgia is closing its state archives to the public later this year. It will make Georgia the only state in the country without a publicly accessible archive.
Secretary of State Brian Kemp, whose office administers the archives, said the decision wasn’t easy. “It’s tough when you walk in the room and tell people they’re losing their job or potentially could lose their job and we’re taking away a resource the public should have access to, you’re damn right it’s tough.”
The decision to close the archive was made after the governor’s budget office earlier this summer ordered a 3 percent cut to all state agencies. For the Secretary of State’s office, it amounts to a reduction of about $700,000.
Established in 1918 and based in Morrow in Clayton County, the state archives office currently has 10 employees. Kemp declined comment about how many would be let go.
“The building will be mothballed, if you will. It will have just enough employees there to take care of the critical documents.”
The collection is primarily used for genealogy and historical research by individuals and state officials.
Kemp said it will be a top priority next legislative session to lobby for funds so the agency can re-open the archives.
“With this cut our agency has been reduced 29 percent, we’ve reduced our work force almost 40 percent, and we’ve received more work to do.”
The archives are scheduled to close November 1.
But Wait, There's More....
Governor Nathan Deal pledges to keep Georgia Archives openSupporters of the Georgia Archives crowd the lobby of Gov. Nathan Deal’s office Wednesday before a proclamation celebrating Georgia Archives Month at the Capitol in Atlanta. Around 80 supporters of the Georgia Archives showed up to protest the plans to lay off Georgia Archives staff and limit public access because of budget cuts
By Kristina Torres, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, September 19,2012
Gov. Nathan Deal pledged Wednesday to keep the Georgia Archives open, buoying the hopes of archives supporters still stunned by an announcement last week to sharply curtail public access because of budget cuts.
The promise, however, came after seven of the archive’s remaining 10 full-time staff members learned they will be laid off starting Nov. 1, when regular hours cease.
Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp made the archives decision after Deal asked most state agencies to trim their budgets by 3 percent because of a sluggish economy. Those cuts must be approved by state lawmakers, who won’t take up the issue until at least January.
Under the current plan, the archive director, an archivist and the building supervisor will be available to accept limited public appointments to see the state’s important and historical records dating to at least 1733.
“We’re working on our budget proposals, and we’re going to make sure the archives stay open,” Deal said as he signed a proclamation to celebrate October as Archives Month across the state. The signing had been planned months ago, although it proved ironic given the timing.
Kemp said he expects the archives move to save the bulk of more than $730,000 — enough to satisfy a proposed cut in his office budget going into next year. However, if his decision stays intact, Georgia will become the only state in the nation without a place for people to have full-time, centrally located access to hundreds of thousands of government and state documents, photographs and historical records.
The move galvanized thousands of archives supporters into action, with one petition Wednesday morning signed by more than 13,700 people from across the nation.
More than 80 supporters showed up at Deal’s office for the proclamation signing. The number surprised his staff, who had expected between five and 10 people.
The mood turned celebratory when news of Deal’s promise spread, although supporters said they would not stop speaking out given that the archives remained on track to all but shut down in November. The state archives are located in Morrow.
“We’re thankful for the governor’s words,” said one of the group’s organizers, Kaye Lanning Minchew of the Coalition to Preserve the Georgia Archives. “But we don’t want it to close Nov. 1, so we absolutely need to make sure the advocacy doesn’t stop.”
By Hal Doby, October 9, 2012
Georgia Secretary of State, Brian Kemp, announced today that there was simply no way to honor Governor Deal's pledge to keep the State Archives open to the public as of November first. Kemp stated that people would be able to visit the Archives for research, but it would have to be done by prior appointment only (This was to have been the plan all along.) Kemp goes on to say that they are working to find a way to allocate more funding to the State Archives in order to increase the number of employees in order to allow people general access without an appointment.
Due to the cutting of the budget, the Archive's staff has been dramatically reduced from ten to just three employees. It is not known if those that have been told they are being laid off would be recalled back to work.
October 19, 2012
By Michelle Wirth, WABE News
The Georgia Archives will remain open and accessible to the public rather than moving to an appointment only system in November. Governor Nathan Deal and Secretary of State Brian Kemp announced Thursday Deal is restoring $125,000 to Kemp’s budget to keep the Archives open for the remainder the budget year.
The restoration by Governor Deal comes after many Georgians complained about a plan to save the state money by cutting the number of hours and employees at the archives. Kemp says the restoration in funding will keep the archives open the same number of hours and days it is now.
“We won’t be able to provide as many resources as we have in the past, but certainly we are appreciative of the governor’s will in this to find what money he did to keep us open and give access to the public.”
But Kemp will still have to cut more than $600,000. Kemp declined to say how he’ll trim that amount from his budget, including whether seven employees who were slated for layoff will still lose their jobs. He says he’ll provide more details after he speaks with those employees.
Kemp also says he will work with the governor during the legislative session to place the archives beneath the university system rather than under the secretary of state’s office. Kemp says the move would provide additional resources for the archives.
A spokesman for Governor Deal says the $125,000 in additional funding will come from the state’s general fund.
Editor's Note: It is undecided how many days a week the State Archive will be open to the public. It could be open as little as two days a week. Please check with the State Archive for that prior to visiting it.
MARLIN FIREARMS CLOSING ITS DOORSMarlin Firearms has already closed its doors! For the last several years a company called The Freedom Group has been buying up gun and ammunition manufacturers. Some of the companies are Bushmaster, Marlin, Remington, DPMS, Dakota Arms and H&R. Some people worry Freedom Group is attempting to control most of the firearms companies in the United States. The Freedom Group is owned by Cerberus Capital Management. If the name sounds familiar, this is the group that purchased Chrysler Group from its failed partnership with Daimler-Benz, the owners of Mercedes Benz Automobiles. As odd as it may sound, Chrysler Group then owned G.M.A.C. Financial which besides a then-thriving mortgage division, was financing a large portion of Chrysler's leases and car financing. Cerberus then forced Chrysler Group into bankruptcy during which it was let go by Cerberus under a deal with the Federal Government that saw the Italian conglomerate FIAT Purchase 37% of the car manufacturer and later on, eventually gain 67% control of Chrysler Group.
George Soros is the primary owner of Cerberus. It may seem odd that his company is purchasing all of these gun and rifle manufacturing companies when it is publicly know that Soros is a big advocate of the restriction or banning all civilian firearm ownership. It is speculated that Soros is going to attempt to limit sales of the arms made by the companies under his control to private citizens as an attemptted form of gun control. These critics also point out that Soros is a big financial backer of President Obama's re-election campaign and because of that, it is felt he and his agenda will have sway with President OBama should he be re-elected.
The City of Atlanta is seriously considering getting rid of the Cyclorama & its museum!!!!!
By Hal Doby, August 25,2011, updated October 10,2012
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and other city leaders held a meeting in September of 2011 to discuss the future of the Atlanta Cyclorama. The Cyclorama is not drawing many tourists these days, despite the sesquicentennial of the Civil War. The City is "Officially" considering relocating the Cylorama to Buckhead, the Atlanta History Center or Downtown Atlanta in hopes of increasing the number of visitors that come annually to the Cyclorama. However, behind the scenes, it would appear that the City leaders are working towards getting rid of the cycloramic painting and the artifacts in the Cyclorama's museum all together.
"Over the last few years the Cyclorama has seen a drop in attendance and revenue," said Camille Russell Love, the City of Atlanta's Director of Cultural Affairs. She said the study will take a year. "Where the Cyclorama relocates to, should it relocate at all, will be the decision of the committee." Ms. Russell continued; "There are a lot of stories to be told about the Battle of Atlanta that are yet to be told," Love said. "We don't really have the right facility to tell that story."
The central feature of the Cyclorama is the massive cycloramic painting from whence it gets its name. A cyclorama (from the Greek words cycl to circle and orama to view) was the 19th century's version of virtual reality. Back then artists tried to give their viewers the 360 degree surround effect by painting a large-scale, realistic scene on the inside of a cylinder. Standing in the middle of the cylinder, a viewer would feel as if he was seeing a distant place, or observing an event in person.
The painting at one time was the largest oil painting in the world and if unrolled would measure 42 feet high by 358 feet long. The canvas weighs in excess of 9,000 pounds. It held this record until 2004, when it was surpassed in size by a mural at the Kalamazoo Air Zoo measuring 32 feet high by 800 feet long.
Cycloramas were extremely popular and drew very large crowds back in the nineteenth century. Dozens of cycloramas exhibitions were constructed in cities throughout North America and Europe by the late 1800's. some painting were used in travelling displays while other paintings would stay at a location for one or two years before moving to another location. Some times another cycloramic painting was brought in to replace the out-going work. Civil war battles were extremely popular as were works of nature such as Niagara Falls.
Interest in cycloramas faded after the turn of the century as motion pictures began to take public attention. Many of the cyclorama display buildings were torn down and the paintings were either destroyed or cut up into smaller works of art. A fine depiction of the Chicago fire painted in the 1890's for $250,000 was sold to a junk dealer for only two bucks in 1913. Today about 30 or so cycloramas still exist throughout the world today.
The Battle of Atlanta painting was created by the American Panorama Company in Milwaukee by a team led by Germans Friedrich Wilhelm Heine and August Lohr. They consulted Civil War artist and witness Theodore Davis, whom they painted into the work. It opened to display in Detroit, Michigan, in 1887.
During its young life, the painting ended up in the hands of a traveling circus. When this circus came to Atlanta in the late 19th century, few Atlantans wished to see a Northern-biased painting that glorified the defeat that would lead to the destruction of their city. While in Atlanta, the circus owner went bankrupt due to low attendance. The circus assets were sold at auction including the painting and the animals to the grandfather of Robert Woodruff, the visionary man behind Coca-Cola, for $1,100. The animals became the founding attraction at what is now Zoo Atlanta. The painting was then housed in a wooden structure next to the zoo.
In 1919, an amendment to the Atlanta city charter allowed the city to erect a fireproof building to house the painting and thus ensure its preservation. The new building, sited several hundred feet northeast of the old structure, was designed by Atlanta architect John Francis Downing. It was dedicated on Oct. 1, 1921, and the Cyclorama painting has resided there to the present day.
A diorama was added in 1936, providing a three-dimensional foreground that blends seamlessly with the painting. In 1939, Clark Gable came to Grant Park to view the mural during his visit here for the premiere of "The Gone With The Wind". The story goes that Gable said to Atlanta Mayor Hartsfield, "The painting is great; the only thing that would make it better is if I were in it." A mannequin with Gable's likeness was placed in the display later that year and has been lying mortally wounded on his back since 1939.
In 1979, the Cyclorama was shut down for a two-year period while the painting was repaired and the museum and theater were updated. It reopened in1982 with a dynamic new program, rotating seats, surround sound and theater lighting. In 1979-1982, the painting was repaired and re-hung by Gustav Berger and the dirt in the foreground was replaced with fiberglass. Rotating stadium seats and a movie theater were added. Total cost of the restoration was $14 million. Renovation of the Cyclorama is ongoing, and local restoration experts are called on regularly to assist in maintaining the painting.
In addition to the cycloramic painting, the Cyclorama contains a sizable Civil War Museum that includes the locomotive "Texas" that took part in the famous "Great Locomotive Chase" in Northern Georgia on April 12, 1862. When Union agents hijacked the Confederate locomotive "The General" with the intentions of destroying railroad tracks and telegraph wires, the men that worked the Texas at first were bluffed by the Union agents. Once they realizing what was going on, they took chase after the General until it was abandoned once it ran out of fuel. The General is now located at a Kennesaw Museum that is operated in partnership with the Smithsonian Museum.
While it is just simply unimaginable to us that the City of Atlanta would even consider relocating the Cyclorama, it is rather obvious that for some time, those in power in the City of Atlanta are attempting to eradicate any form of Pro-Confederate Civil War artifacts or attractions. Compounding that, beginning in the 1960s, the City of Atlanta has seen a dramatic growth and in it wake, a huge number of historical buildings were torn down in order to erect the modern skyline you see today. Even buildings that were modern in the 1960s such as the round C&S building off of North Avenue and the Rich’s department store “expansion” with its skywalk to the old building across the street have all been erased from the city. Many historicans are referring to the City of Atlanta as "The City too busy to remember its heritage."
Not only is the Cyclorama painting itself a very important historical piece of art, never mind that it was painted with a Union-bias, but it is a survivor from a period long past. The building it is housed in is also a historical architectural treasure, worthy of preservation.
At our November 2011 membership meeting Robert C. Jones, President of the Kennesaw Historical Society, was our Guest Speaker. During our refreshment break, I spoke with Mr. Jones and I brought up the status of the Cyclorama. To my surprise, Mr. Jones told me that Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, had recently visited the Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History in Kennesaw. Mr. Jones is affiliated with this museum and had first-hand knowledge of the meeting.
The reason for Mayor Reed's visit to the Southern Museum was to see if it would be a fitting recipient of the steam locomotive "Texas", which is currently housed at the Cyclorama's Civil War Museum. The Southern Mueum is the home of the steam locomotive "The General". The Texas and The General were the two principle locomotives that were involved in what has become known as "The Great Locomotive Chase". It would make sense that if the Atlanta Cyclorama was shuttered, it would be fitting to have the Texas move in with the General.
At the end of the meeting, Mayor Reed, almost casually asked the group that if they were given the Texas, would they also be interested in receiving the Cyclorama painting itself. Everyone was stunned at the request, yet they were able to say that yes, they would love to have the painting.
My opinion is that it seems all but a certainty that Mayor Reed and his minions have already decided to close the Cyclorama and get rid of its assets, including the painting that has been in Atlanta for nearly 100 years. They are pretending to do some twisted form of due dilligence to make it look like they have made some justified attempt to keep the Cyclorama in Atlanta even though they are already shopping around places to give its assets away to. This is such a shame because the building and all that is contained within it is of high historical value to the city of Atlanta. Everything is paid for and all that has to be spent is for workers to staff the museum, utilities, and maintenance. I feel that everybody would be best served if the Cyclorama was bestowed to a non-profit group and allowed to runt he museum as a non-profit venture.
But since there is a faction in Atlanta that wants to erase our past at almost any cost, I doubt the Cyclorama will be allowed to continue in Atlanta. What a loss!
October 2012 Updates
By Hal Doby, October 9, 2012
At the October monthly membership meeting of SCV Encampment Major-General Joseph Wheeler, Camp 863, Mr. Robert C. Jones returned as our honored guest speaker. I brought up the Cyclorama to him and he informed me that there are "on-going" discussions about the artifacts from the Cyclorama. He informed me that in addition to the talks with the Southern Museum, the City of Atlanta was also talking to the cities of Marietta and Kennesaw about the relocation of the Cycloramic Painting.
While Mr. Jones did not elaborate on this, it is quite obvious that the City of Atlanta has made its mind up to rid itself of the Atlanta Cyclorama.
Update October 15, 2012
According to Atlanta Public Radio Station WABE, The Atlanta History Center has released a proposed budget for 2013 and 2014. The budget inlcudes funds for expansion of its current facilities in order to make it more accessible and desirable to visit as a tourist destination. The centerpiece of this expansion proposal is the construction of a next facility to house the cycloramis painting, "The Battle of Atlanta", now housed at the Atlanta Cyclorama and Civil War Museum. The 14 million dollar budget will be financed primarily through private donations with the remaining funds coming from government funding. The radio report made it sound as if the funds needed have already been raised.
With this report, it sounds as if the the fate of what happens with the painting and the Cyclorama building itself has been sealed. From what has been said, it sounds like the steam engine "Texas" will go to the Southern Museum in Kennesaw and I would imagine the rest of the Cyclorama's Civil War artifacts will go to the Atlanta History Center. I imagine that in a few years, the very historic and purpose-built Cyclorama building will become yet another victim of Atlanta "too busy to remember" ethic when it comes to retaining the city's historic buildings.
Confederate Entertainment News Movie, Television, & Home Video News
Speilberg's Lincoln Biopic to release on November 16th.
Doby, August 21st.
At least this time he’s not hunting vampires! After producer/director Steven Spielberg announced he was making a movie about Abraham Lincoln was a pet project of his, the work is all but completed and Lincoln will be placed in general release on November 16th, just before the holiday he signed into law.
Daniel Day-Lewis, in just his fifth film role in 15 years, plays President Abe in Spielberg’s dramatized biopic about the last four months of Lincoln’s life as he works with political opponents and balky generals in order to save the Union..
The script was written by Tony Kushner (Angels in America) from Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book Team of Rivals. Tommy Lee Jones is Thaddeus Stevens, Jared Harris (Mad Men’s late Lane Pryce) is Ulysses S. Grant, and Sally Field is Mary Todd Lincoln.
I bet this movie is all but certain to garner a number of critical awards, especially Academy Awards.
This movie was a huge pet project of Mr. Spielberg. His other pet project is another biopic about the life of Martin Luther King Jr., but it is on indefinate hold. King's children, who are the executors of his estate, are squabbling over things like controlling what is portrayed in the movie and how much money the estate (read: themselves) will make off the rights to the story. Spielberg wisely told them that until they are unified on everything, he won't proceed.
You may remember, the King children demand monetary compensation from anyone that wishes to use any of their father's writings or speaches. To my knowledge, this is the only time such a honored and revered person of historical importance has had their children try to profit off of his body of work. Considering most of his children chose to follow in their father's footsteps to pursue a religious calling, to me, this makes the demand for money all the more disgusting. Seeing how the King family interacts with one another, Spielberg may retire or even die before the children ever reach an agreement!