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Johns Hopkins Denies Room to Confederate Group

Breaking with a 20-year tradition, Johns Hopkins University has refused to rent a meeting room for use by several Confederate groups who sponsor the annual birthday celebration of Generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson held at Baltimore's Lee-Jackson Memorial near the JHU campus. The event is usually attended by uniformed re-enactors representing both Union and Confederate soldiers and the room had been used for refreshments following the event.

University spokesman Dennis O'Shea said the school had received several complaints last year following the ceremony. "We are not required to rent a room to anyone who asks. In this case, we didn't feel it was appropriate to have the Confederate battle flag carried across our campus."

The celebration will go as scheduled on Jan. 17 at 11 a.m., according to G. Elliot Cummings, adjutant of the Col. Harry W. Gilmor Camp #1388, Sons of Confederate Veterans. His camp and the Maryland Division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy sponsor the event each year.

Cummings said his organization had not re-contacted the university about the rental issue but had encouraged those offended by the action to write or call the university. He said he had no difficulty in obtaining permits from the city to use the park.

The event has never been canceled because of weather, Cummings said. It includes a parade of re-enactors followed by a brief ceremony at the statue. The bronze memorial of Lee and Jackson, each astride a horse, was sculpted by Laura Fraser and dedicated in 1948.

By Linda Wheeler  |  January 7, 2009; 4:20 PM ET
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Someone once said that eventually Confederate descendents will become like the early Christians and be forced to honor their ancestors in secret in catacombs. This unjust decision by Hopkins unfortunately moves that day a little closer

Posted by: basilduke | January 12, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

One wonders how everyone would react - especially the Washington Post - if Johns Hopkins had denied a room to those honoring Martin Luther King or Harvey Milk or some other "politically correct" figure? Would it be so "ho-hum" or would not the pages of the newspaper and the evening (and morning and afternoon) TV shows be filled with condemnation of the University for its bigotry, racism and intolerance ESPECIALLY in light of the fact that it had been renting the facility to the SAME group honoring the SAME people for the last TWENTY YEARS?!

When this first happened, I wrote to the President of the University and asked him what flag the SCV and UDC members had been carrying across Johns Hopkins campus for the last twenty years, the flag of Norway, perhaps? Or maybe the Union Jack? Certainly nothing the SCV or UDC had done was responsible for the University's very bigoted and very LATE determination to cancel what was an annual event. We can only deduce, therefore, that a premeditated assault is being made on decent people for the simple reason that they choose to exercise their First Amendment rights under the Constitution.

So much for "diversity" and "tolerance" - AND the Constitution.

Posted by: LadyVal1 | January 12, 2009 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Johns Hopkins advertises itself as an educational institution. Would it be too much trouble for it to educate itself about what constitutes discrimination against Americans who wish peacefully to celebrate their diversity? It's a good thing that JHU is not in charge of any important civil functions. What a hit-and-miss mishmash that could be!!

Posted by: border-ruffian | January 12, 2009 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Stopping worrying about stories or things you can't change in past history and change history or be apart of history. For instance, get involved in the PARDON of Ramos and Compean, two border agents be railroaded by the US GOVERNMENT, that is history that can be changed because they need to be freed from their jail sentence.
Get involved and start a internet revolution.
God BLess Steve

Posted by: stejf65 | January 12, 2009 8:41 PM | Report abuse

While JHU welcomes people from all countries onto their campus, indeed facilitates their presence here, and is very open minded to the political views of foreigners, no matter how zealous or anti-American, those same minds are closed to American citizens who ancestors were building the history of this nation before the American Industrial Revolution, before the building of JHU itself (built in 1876.) It's outrageous to think that a thinking institution would cave to the "several complaints" and deny two large groups of people from simply coming in from the cold as they are celebrating the history of the Civil War as it happened in the area. Since Maryland was a state that had both Confederate and Union troops, it is a fact, whether a few find it objectionable or not. Perhaps it would be fitting to then deny that the Civil War ever happened.

Posted by: CharmCity2 | January 12, 2009 8:46 PM | Report abuse

Abraham Lincoln said it best:

"Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves, and, under a just God, can not long retain it."

Posted by: CharmCity2 | January 12, 2009 8:58 PM | Report abuse

The real truth is that the nation that my ancestors fought for in the first war of seccession (1776) and the second war of secession (1861) does not exist any more. Those that love what this country stood for need to get a reality check and see if they have the courage, the mettle, to restore things to the way they were. If not, fasten your seatbelts; it is only going to get worse. Power corrupts and complete power corrupts completely. Deo Vindice

Posted by: giusepppe398 | January 13, 2009 3:59 AM | Report abuse

The Confederate flag meant one thing during the Civil War, but it came to mean something entirely different after the war. A very large segment of the population sees the flag as a symbol of hate. You may not mean it as a symbol of hate, but the flag was used as a symbol of oppression for year after year. Even the war itself is a symbol of oppression for many African-Americans. If the South had won, they would have been in slavery even longer. Consider the fact that Johns Hopkins is situated in Baltimore: a city with a very large African-American population. Given the location of the campus and the flag's post-war meaning, it is entirely appropriate for Johns Hopkins to show sensitivity to the community and to African-Americans in general. No one is denying Confederate reenactors or those with Southern heritage the right to be proud of their ancestors. However, there is a time and a place for heritage events to be held. Johns Hopkins is not the appropriate place. I applaud their decision. Sorry everyone.

Posted by: delores1 | January 16, 2009 12:42 AM | Report abuse

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