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WHEREAS, between December 20, 1860 and June 8, 1861, eleven slaveholding states felt so entitled to their rights to human and slave ownership that they officially seceded from the United States of America, formed their own republic, established their own constitution, and ultimately sparked the Civil War on April 12, 1861, upon the firing on Fort Sumter, South Carolina; and
WHEREAS, these secessionist efforts were intended to dissolve the union of the United States, which had become increasingly more intolerant of slavery, and to disavow the newly elected presidency of Abraham Lincoln, who believed that the Union could not exist half free and half slave; and
WHEREAS, Confederate preservationists insist on diminishing the role that the institution of slavery played in secession and the Civil War by erroneously claiming that the War Between the States was not about slavery, but about "states rights and independence," a claim which is belied by, each seceding states' own historical documentation as recorded in its 'Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession' clearly and precisely delineating the right to maintain the institution of slavery as the resounding justification for their contemptuous action; and
WHEREAS, The Constitution of the Confederate States of America, adopted on March 11, 1861, mirrored the U.S. Constitution in many ways, but provided for the explicit protection of the right to own slaves as well as espoused a stronger philosophy of states' rights; and
WHEREAS, Article Ill, Section 3 of the United States Constitution clearly states that, "Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.", and accordingly, the actions of the Confederate States involved in firing on Fort Sumter and those supporting states, committed a treasonous act against the United States of America in addition to the perpetration of a crime against humanity by its insistence on maintaining slavery; and
WHEREAS, commemorations of the sesquicentennial of the anniversary of the Confederacy, which kicked-off on April 12, 2011, 150 years to the date of the firing at Fort Sumter, have been planned throughout the United States, especially in former Confederate states; and
WHEREAS, many of the war's bloodiest battles were fought during the summer months, including the battle of Gettysburg, which was fought from July 1 - July 3, 1863 and the battle of Fort Wagner, on Morris Island, South Carolina, which began on July 18, 1863, and was led by the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, one of the first major American military units made up of African American soldiers; and
WHEREAS, on July 4, 1861, President Lincoln convened a special session of Congress to officially ask for help in conducting and funding the war and to discuss the reasons which led to the conflict; and
WHEREAS, on April 7, 2011, the NAACP sent a letter to President Obama and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar urging them "and every other employee of the federal government, to work hard to ensure that the occasion of the Civil War's sesquicentennial is not used to romanticize or otherwise endorse, in any way, one of the primary contributing factors to the conflict and southern succession, the enslavement of African Americans"; and
WHEREAS, both President Obama and Secretary Salazar are to be commended for their actions to date which set the appropriate tone for commemorating the civil war and its causes, including the statement made by Secretary Salazar at the beginning of the sesquicentennial commemoration of the onset of the Civil War at Fort Sumter at which he said, "The sesquicentennial of the Civil War is a time to commemorate those who fought and died during this pivotal era in American history. At the same time, it is an opportunity for us to renew our commitment to the ongoing march for freedom and equality for all people."
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the NAACP is vehemently opposed to any federal, state or local government-led veneration of any kind of the Confederate States of America, as there is no place in today's society for the celebration of treason, slavery, or the atrocious blood bath which occurred on American soil; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that both President Obama and Secretary Salazar encourage the entire Department of Interior workforce, as well as anybody else who is involved in the sesquicentennial commemoration, to remain vigilant and to ensure that the federal government does all it can to stay true to the message that has heretofore been transmitted of commemorating those who fought and died in this American tragedy and calling on all Americans to use this opportunity to renew our Nation's commitment to freedom and equality.