The ugly face of racism

Trouble is returning to Floyd's annual Arts and Crafts Festival and it is trouble the local Women's Club could have avoided.

At issue is Wytheville native Gary C. Walker, a self-proclaimed Civil War historian and self-published author of books that defend slavery. Walker's presence at the weekend event at Floyd County High School for the past two years sparked protests from local citizens and a debate between letter writers to The Floyd Press.

A friend emailed me excerpts from one of Walker's books, The Truth About Slavery, and it is disgusting reading -- an apologist's attempt to rewrite history to support the despicable practice of slavery.

An example:


What type of relationship was it? There were many variations and shades of those variations, but as a general rule, it developed into a parent-child relationship. The family relationship is an economic institution, which is relatively stable, well-defined, and has served all societies since recorded history. The family structure introduced from Europe in the 1600’s had changed little by the 1800’s and is still common and viable in the 1900’s.

Generally speaking the parent is responsible for the supervision and care of the children. The children must work under the rules the parents establish. The relationship is not easily terminated: the children just can’t quit or run away; the parents can’t fire the children or simply quit caring for them. The slaves were grafted into the master’s family. There were many signs of this “grafting.” There are numerous examples of true love, acts of courtesy, and heroism between the master’s family and the slave family. Terms of endearment were commonly used: “Mammy, Uncle Joe. My boy (as in son), (later just) boy.”

The master or the mistress viewed themselves as the “good parent.” They provided for the physical needs of their slave “children.”

Trouble is returning to Floyd’s annual Arts and Crafts Festival and it is trouble the local Women’s Club could have avoided.

At issue is Wytheville native Gary C. Walker, a self-proclaimed Civil War historian and self-published author of books that defend slavery. Walker’s presence at the weekend event at Floyd County High School for the past two years sparked protests from local citizens and a debate between letter writers to The Floyd Press.

A friend emailed me excerpts from one of Walker’s books, The Truth About Slavery, and it is disgusting reading — an apologist’s attempt to rewrite history to support the despicable practice of slavery.

An example:


What type of relationship was it? There were many variations and shades of those variations, but as a general rule, it developed into a parent-child relationship. The family relationship is an economic institution, which is relatively stable, well-defined, and has served all societies since recorded history. The family structure introduced from Europe in the 1600’s had changed little by the 1800’s and is still common and viable in the 1900’s.

Generally speaking the parent is responsible for the supervision and care of the children. The children must work under the rules the parents establish. The relationship is not easily terminated: the children just can’t quit or run away; the parents can’t fire the children or simply quit caring for them. The slaves were grafted into the master’s family. There were many signs of this “grafting.” There are numerous examples of true love, acts of courtesy, and heroism between the master’s family and the slave family. Terms of endearment were commonly used: “Mammy, Uncle Joe. My boy (as in son), (later just) boy.”

The master or the mistress viewed themselves as the “good parent.” They provided for the physical needs of their slave “children.”

On his web site, Walker claims to be a “highly acclaimed Civil War author” although I can’t find a single reference there to who, besides Walker, is issuing any such acclaim.

In Walker’s self-written biography, he says:

Gary had a wide variety of jobs after graduating college. He was a manager, a sales representative, and a truck driver. He worked in electronic communications, in insurance, in energy conservation, and in retail sales and service among other fields. With the great success of The War in Southwest Virginia 1861-65, Gary knew he had found his niche.

The book propelled him from obscurity. From 1985 until the present, one can often find Gary dressed in a Confederate uniform, speaking to audiences, granting interviews to radio and television and newspapers, at Civil War re-enactments, and at craft festivals autographing his books.

A search of “Gary C. Walker” on Google turns up 270 hits, but less than half link back to the author from Wytheville. Most refer to others who share the same name. This is being “propelled from obscurity?” Google “Colleen Redman,” a Floyd poet and writer, and you get more hits. Google local blogger and author Fred First and you get 14,900 hits. Floyd-based blues musician Scott Perry gets 12,300 hits. Now that’s being “popelled from obscurity.”

As a native Southerner and a Virginian, I’ve always had mixed emotions about the Civil War. The issue of states’ rights is still being fought today but slavery remains, as it should, a black eye on the history of this country  Attempting to justify the practice by any means is, in my opinion, racism.

As I understand it, Walker told the Women’s Club of Floyd that he would understand if they did not invite him back this year but the club, for reasons that escape the bounds of rational explanation, decided to bring him back. That has prompted others in the county to consider more widespread forms of protest this year. Floyd architect Shannon Green contacted the Woman’s Club after she was told that Walker’s books are used as reference material by history professors at Virginia Tech. She quickly discovered the claim was not true and that no professors at Tech are using Walker’s books.

At a time when Floyd is trying to establish itself as a must-visit locale, being identified as a haven for those who defend slavery is the last thing any of us needs.

© 2024-2022 Blue Ridge Mus4

63 thoughts on “The ugly face of racism”

  1. Good grief! If defending the practice of whites claiming ownership of blacks does not indicate a belief that one race is superior to another I don’t know what does. A defense of slavery cannot be construed as anything but racist. The attempt to sugar coat it as historical research is lame at best as others have already proven this man is no historian. As far as I’m concerned Mr. Walker’s views are racist and anyone who gives him safe harbor is promoting racism.

  2. It is sad, truly sad, that one must resort to stereotyping in order to defend an indefensible position. I’m a lifelong Republican and my grandchildren often refer to me as a “right wing nutcase” but I am in complete agreement that this man’s writings have no place in the Floyd County arts and crafts fair.

    Thomas Jefferson, in his book, “Notes on the State of Virginia,” wrote that slavery defined racism with “horric effects on both blacks and whites” and said the practice “violated the principles on which the American Revolution was based,” adding that “failure to end slavery would lead to convulsions which will probably never end but in the extermination of one or the other race.” This from a man who owned slaves.

    Racism is a state of mind based in a set of core beliefs and as a Virginian who shares the shame that stems from our roots in slavery I believe that the practice of slavery in America was racism in its purest form and that any attempt to defend it if also racism.

  3. Mr. Walker,
    As one of the unfortunate ones who read your book, I’d like to take you up on your challenge. Finding erroneous statements and conclusions in the book is like shooting fish in a barrel, so I won’t be too careful with aiming: on page 195 you write “Despite the millions enslaved and the long period slavery existed in the United States, this author discovered not one single diary by a slave.” With your own words you disprove your allegation that you are a serious historian who did careful, exhaustive research while writing this book. One google click turns up three: The Diary of Adam Francis Plummer, The Diary of William B. Gould, and The Diary of Jaspar Rastus Nall.

    Here’s another: you state that Frederic Douglass only wrote about other people’s experiences with slavery. This is a factual error- in “Narrative of Frederic Douglass, an American Slave”, Douglass writes at length and very movingly about his own experience, including being repeatedly whipped by a professional slave breaker. You should try reading the book.

    Real historians read original source material, give detailed references, and never, ever quote from their own previous books. You are not, as you claim, a real historian. Let’s see if you can keep your word and miss the fair.

  4. Pardon me Mr. Updike but your conclusions don’t stand close examination. Since when did the Confederate Battle Flag or Mr. Walker’s wearing of a Confederate uniform become part of the debate? No one here used either as a basis of a conclusion. The only mention of a Confederate uniform is from Mr. Walker’s own biography from his web site. The issue is what Mr. Walker wrote, not what he wears. Mr. Thompson did not call Mr. Walker a racist. He said the issue brought out the ugly face of racism. There is a difference.

    My great-great-grandfather fought for the South and the Battle Flag is displayed above his photo in my home. However, my pride in my heritage does not lead me to condone his loathsome attempts to justify slavery or his rewriting of history.

  5. I asked Doug to edit my remarks to comply with his request to tone down the debate and I thank him for doing so.

    I fail to see how any of the debate here centered on whether or not the South was responsible for slavery. No one here blamed the South. Slavery was legal throughout the country. It was only when the issue became a focus of a national debate over states’ rights that the South chose to leave the Union.

    However, by any standard from any time in history, slavery was a terrible thing. A country founded on the notion of freedom was hypocritical to allow a system that robbed a race of others of the very freedoms that we fought a Revolutionary War to protect.

    The "accomodation" as you call it may have been part of a political deal by our founding fathers but that deal with the devil does not make it right or moral just as no attempt to justify it with a revision of history will sugar coat a deplorable time in our history. As I said before, Doug did not call Mr. Walker a racist. He said the issue created the "ugly face of racism."  I still believe there is a difference.

  6. That was indeed my point. Let the intellect control the emotion, not vice versa. To clarify one point: “accomodation” of slavery is not what I call it. That it the phase used in many history books regarding the Constitutional debate. All I am saying is that History is what actually occured. What actually happened becomes revisionist history every time someone writes about the events after those events occured.

  7. Like so many who defend deplorable practices like slavery Mr. Walker came in here full of bluster and blarney and challenged the more enlightened of us to find misinformation in his book. If just one of his “facts,” he said, could be disproven he would stay away from our arts and crafts fair and peddle his untruths elsewhere.

    Mr. Prokosch took that challenge, found more than one error and cited them here. So where is Mr. Walker? Where is his mea culpa? Will he be a man of his word and stay away from the arts and crafts fair or will he deliver more bluster and prove that his challenge is just another lie?

    Inquiring minds want to know.

  8. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly associations are made based on one’s own biases and once having been made are defended with every weapon available. The facts of the case at hand don’t seem to matter any more. The author of a book entitled “The Truth About Slavery” automatically becomes a “racist” since he is wearing a Confederate uniform and his books have the Battle Flag of The Army of Northern Virginia on the dust cover. The comments thus far posted seem to indicate that anyone who would read such books must also be promoting racism. Having how labeled Walker as a racist in the articles title, Mr. Thompson can begin casting derogotary remarks regarding everything concerning the books author. Mr. Walker responds following the same pattern by labeling Thompson a “radical, left-wing hate-monger”. Why should the craft of writing be excluded from a craft show because other craftsmen beleive themselves to be intellectually and morally superior?
    Lets deal with the real issue here. What you THINK about something, using your BRAIN to assimilate the facts from numerous and varied sources is far superior to describing how you FEEL about something, using your EMOTIONS.

  9. From what I have read of the above comments I realize that each and every entry is someone’s “opinion”/ Most people I know think their opinion is “right”. And yes, we are all entitled to our own. But please remember that most of the above are opinions….

    I want to point out that most of us do not know the whole story regarding the Women’s Club and their allowance of Walker at the fair. I wish to ask that we don’t blame them for his presence. There may be much more going on than meets the outsiders eye, and unless you know the whole story, I say give the women’s club the benefit of the doubt and find some compassion for the dilemma they are in.

    Lastly I want to question the statement…” thinking is superior to feeling”. Many times it is…but not always. “Man” and his big brain often feels superior to those of lesser intellect. But I often find that one can think something to death, and be no better off for it, and that listening to one’s heart can give greater guidance and clarity than anything else.

  10. I have read your book Mr. Walker. One of my friends purchased it at a past arts and crafts fair and passed it around for comment. We discussed it at length and we all found it disgusting drivel that has no place at an event dedicated to arts and crafts. I am not surprised that Carol could not find it in our local library or at other area libraries. I expect our libraries to exercise discretion when it comes to the racist pap I and others encountered in your fantasy. When we finished our reading and discussion we gave your book the treatment it deserved. We took it to the barbeque pit in our back yard and burned it.

    You say Doug Thompson defamed you by accusing you of racism. He didn’t defame you sir. If anything he was too gentle. Your book is obviously the work of a racist and it defames the legacy of this nation and the history of the South. As a native Southwest Virginian I am ashamed that another native of our region published such trash and I am equally ashamed that the women’s club ever allowed it to be displayed and sold in Floyd County.

  11. After all the controversy surrounding Mr. Walker and his books, I decided to read “The Truth About Slavery” and form my own opinion. It was a poor read. Nonetheless, I persevered and finished the book. I believe slavery is a vile, inhuman, demeaning institution. Mr. Walker may have painted a much rosier picture than I believe slavery deserves, but is he really guilty of promoting racism? Racism is defined by Webster’s Dictionary as “a thought or belief that one race is better than another race”. Unless I slept through it, I do not recall one instance of him denying that slavery occurred nor did he justify its existence or call for its reinstatement. If you do not want Mr. Walker to appear at this year’s Arts and Crafts Festival, take him up on his challenge and quit the name calling. It’s unproductive and juvenile. If it is not worth your time to accept his challenge, I suggest you go ahead with your plans to attend the Arts and Crafts Festival and enjoy yourself. The great part about our country is that you do not have to like Mr. Walker or his books and you certainly do not have to buy them!

  12. To set the record straight, I was told by a friend on the School Board that the Women’s Club thought Mr. Walker’s books must carry some authority as they have been used as references by Virginia Tech professors in their classes. I soon thereafter contacted two different representatives of the Women’s Club, who made it clear to me that this was not the case. They took the time to answer my questions and listen to my concerns about Mr. Walker’s ongoing presence at the Arts and Crafts Fair. I respect and appreciate that they were also forthcoming with their own viewpoints and concerns about the issue. I would recommend that anyone who has concerns should go ahead and contact a member of the Women’s Club for further information.

    In the past month, and with great difficulty, I have managed to finally read The Truth About Slavery and find Mr. Thompson’s review of the book to be more than accurate. Mr. Walker has a lot of personal axes to grind, not only with the loss of the great institution of slavery, but with Quakers in particular, “Blacks”, and Northerners, in that order. One of his concluding premises was that if the slaves had truly had a problem with slavery, surely they would have revolted…thus proving Mr. Walker’s hypothesis that the “evils of slavery” were rare occurrences or stories contrived by slaves for money or attention or, last but not least, stories by slaves with bad memories.

    I truly believe that if more of the members of the Women’s Club and fellow crafters had read this book, Mr. Walker would have been taken up on his offer not to return, and they would not have missed their golden opportunity to put this matter to rest. I only hope that they continue to try and resolve this issue as quickly as possible.

    Shannon Green

  13. Mr. Walker’s challenge seems to be put forth for the benefit of the same audience who needs some palatable rationale for their own racist views. If his response to Mr. Thompson is any indication of the kind of thoughtful consideration he’s given to the issue of slavery there’s no point in discussing its merit. It’s not worth the paper it’s written on.

    Concerning the ridiculous assertion that you were defamed on this website:
    Mr. Walker, being humiliated and ashamed of your own actions, while understandable in this case, doesn’t make Mr. Thompson guilty of defamation. You’ve not been defamed sir, you’ve been punk’d. I’d be ashamed too.

    As if that wasn’t enough, you have to insult everyone’s intelligence by falling back on the old straw-man routine. Unfortunately the “radical, left-wing, hate-monger” thang doesn’t even begin to hold water. Seriously, you might as well have accused Mr. Thompson of being an African-American; anybody who agrees with you would probably believe that one too.

    As a proponent of free speech, I welcome your response; perhaps Mr. Thompson isn’t giving you a fair shake here. You are lucky in that his claims “against” you shouldn’t be too hard to disprove. Perhaps you can provide some links that will objectively acknowledge the value of your work. Furthermore, since you feel you’ve been defamed, you might even go so far as to unearth a couple of those “hundreds of reviews” you mention. That oughta go a long way in putting us “radical, left-wing, hatemongerin” killjoys in our place.

  14. 1. It is an arts and crafts fair. Bottom line.

    2. I went back and read the excerpt and it goes back and forth from past tense to present tense. So you may need an editor there.

    3. I cannot believe you say that the relationship between slave and master was one of family. Maybe for the very few lucky ones. Another bottom line: that doesn’t make it okay. They didn’t belong there in the first place.

  15. Oh brother, here come the anonymous hit-and-run artists with their lame defense of slavery and the traditions of the old South.

    T-Bird, if you can’t find anything offensive in the excerpt posted I can only conclude that you are one of those who drive around with a rebel flag in your back window and support the outlandish conclusions of Mr. Walker. Or maybe you are Mr. Walker himself. It is hard to tell when you hide your identity which I find a typlcal cowardly attitude for those who defend the horrible practice of slavery.

    If you are the first, as you claim, “to call a skunk a skunk” why are you afraid to use your name?

  16. Mr. Walker, your bombastic outburst is just the kind of hyperbole that one would expect from someone who has been caught with his pants down and his ignorance hanging out for all the world to see. Here in Floyd we look behind the man and aren’t impressed by bluster.

    It doesn’t take much research to find out more about Doug Thompson’s credentials. You claim to be good at research so you might have started by clicking on the “about” button and reading about his background. That way you would have discovered that he’s a retired journalist who made a career out of exposing frauds and phonies. He got his start in journalism as a young man in Prince Edward County, Virginia, when he exposed some people I suspect you understand all too well — the Ku Klux Klan. I attended the lecture he gave at the Floyd library a couple of years ago where he showed pictures from covering Klan activities in Franklin County while working for The Roanoke Times in the 1960s and his talk provided many insights into the existence of racism in this area. I also doubt that someone who worked for three conservative Republican members of Congress qualifies as a “radical left-wing hatemonger.” If this is an example of your research I can understand why your other works lack credibility. I’ll take Doug’s word over yours any day of the week.

    I’m a native Floyd Countian whose great-great grandfather fought for the South in the Civil War but sir I cannot share or condone your warped view of slavery in this country.

    I checked the Montgomery-Floyd Regional Library and found they do not carry a copy of “The Truth About Slavery” or any of your other books. Neither does the Roanoke Library or the library at Virginia Tech, the school that you clai uses your book at a historical reference, a claim which a local resident has since disproven. Seems to me that if your book was what you claim it is then it would be something that libraries would be clamoring to include in their collections. The fact that is is not tells me that your book is crap and a work of fiction.

    I suggest you peddle your lies elsewhere Mr. Walker. You may be able to con and intimidate some of the ladies of the women’s club but many of us here in Floyd County recognize you for what you are.

  17. Where are these "hundreds of reviews" of your self-published and self-promoted book? A search of Google turns up no such reviews. Neither does a search of Lexus-Nexus? The only place I find your book mentioned, besides your own web site, are on some white-supremacist web sites, which is what I expect from a tome that preaches a racist view of slavery. If, as you claim, you have sold "thousands" of books and there are so many believers why do no reviews appear in any legitimate publication?  Why is there no mention of your work in a single, serious journal of American history? Why hasn’t this book, which you claim sold "thousands" of copies, never appeared on a single best-seller list? Amazon lists the book as ranking 3,060,026 in sales and does not list a single review by a publication or a customer even though the book was published 11 years ago. By comparison, Floyd County author Fred First’s book, Slow Road Home, was just published nine months ago and  ranks 225,444 in sales and has reviews from publications and customers. Amazon says your book is no longer available through them. (In Amazon’s rankings, lower number indicate better sellers. According to Amazon a ranking of 1 million or more indicates a book that doesn’t sell.)

    Your book is a collection of undocumented suppositions. No credible sources, just vague references to other discredited authors who share a disproven view of a sordid bit of American history.

    I stand by what I wrote and I don’t apologize to those who promote the despicable practice of slavery.

  18. What has happened to free speech most media and writers speak about? If a person finds it offensive then don’t stop at it. I find some of the other crafter’s offensive, some of the “alternative lifestyle”. Let it be a booth about homosexuality and let someone try and get it taken out and they would crucify them. So, lets have a little fairness about it all. Let Him set up as it is history and part of our past. If we push it away and forget it who is to say it would not happen again. I think you people need a life.
    Thanks for listening.

  19. There is a big difference between free speech and hate speech and I truly believe that what we are talking about here is hate. Slavery was an affront to the freedom that is the foundation of this nation. Putting a hatemonger in an arts and crafts show is an insult to this county and its people.

  20. I think the free speech issue is actually a non issue. No one has said the author has no right to espouse these views or write these books. The Woman’s Club has a right to choose who gets a booth at their show and many think they made a poor decision (or non-decision). Having a booth at a festival is not a right. Additionally, this is a craft festival, not a booksellers convention or festival for apologists for slavery. Walker could be denied a booth on that basis alone.

  21. While I understand the old saw about “I may not know art but I know what I like” I cannot understand how an apologist’s tirade in favor of slavery can possibly quality as an “art” or a “craft.” Anytbody can self-publish a book. From what I have been told the annual arts and crafts fair at the high school is an event to highlight the artists and craftsmen and craftswomen of the area. Gary Walker is none of these things so why is he a part of the event?

    The lady from the women’s club says she does not know any racists in her organization. If so, the women’s club needs to prove that by not allowing their event to be used as a showcase for racism. By allowing this man to use their show to spread his bigoted views they give such views a level of respectability that he does not deserve.

    My advice to Mr. Walker is to take his views and his books to the next Klan rally at Burnt Chimney. His revisionist history will most certainly be welcome there but it should never be welcome here.

  22. You defamed me on your website. I have thousands of my book, The Truth about Slavery, in circulation and have received hundreds of reviews.

    Not one review, except yours, has accused me of racism. Are many thousands of readers wrong and only you right? What makes you an authority? How many books have you written on the subject? You pulled a few sentences, out of context, and tried to prove racism.

    What I wrote, in or out of context, is true, and there are thousands of facts and conclusions in the book. I do not know you and do not wish to defame you as you have done to me, but your untrue, vicious comments lead me to ask you the following question: Are you a radical, left-wing, hate-monger?

    You don’t want me to be part of the Floyd Arts and Craft Show; then accept my challenge. I will not appear at the show if you can prove that I have made even one error in fact or conclusion in my book. The proof must be from creditable and recognized source work.

    If you can not prove that I have made such an error, then you write an apology to me on your website, apologize to the Floyd Women’s Club which you have so up set and to the people of Floyd for all the problems you have caused them. I will be waiting to see if you have the integrity to try to correct the great harm you have done to so many people.

  23. I’ve read your example/excerpt of this fella’s writing and checked-out his webpage through the link you provided. I have yet to read his defense of slavery or any racist commentary. I’d be the first to call a skunk a skunk… just as soon as I actually see his stripes. So post something else of his that concretely establishes that he is a racist or wants to reinstitute slavery so I can decide for myself what he is.

  24. Spirited debate is one thing but things are getting a little overheated. I’ve had to delete some comments that have clearly crossed the line and name calling accomplishes nothing. I’ve also deleted a number of comments from people using fake names or multiple "handles" from the same email and IP addresses. It is an old trick used by those who want to "stack the deck" in an online debate.

    This is an emotional issue but let’s not let our emotions get the better of us.


  25. I don’t think I reached any conclusion with my commentary. What I said was “thinking is superior to feeling”. I never suggested to anyone what to think or what not to think. I merely stated that one should weigh all evidence before reaching an unalterable poistion. Mr. Walker did not write the article entitled “The Ugly Face of Racism”, Mr. Thomspon did.
    I applaud both your respect for your Confederate Heritage as I do my own. Forming one’s own opinion based on all available data rather than having it forced upon you is a large part of that same heritage.
    I for one will not judge 19th century events using 21st century standards, but if I did, The United States would be responsible for the institution of slavery, not just the southern states. A close examination of the events surrounding the debates of our founding fathers indicates there would have been no union without the accomodation of the institution of slavery.

  26. The women’s club member who posted her explanation of the club’s action is missing an important point: It was stated earlier that the club invited Mr. Walker back after he offered to not return this year. This negates the club’s argument that they are just a passive host for Mr. Walker. By inviting him back after he offered to not return they became a willing accomplice to what he writes and espouses. Any claim of free speech is invalid because it is obvious that the club wanted him back and did not care if their action offended the community they serve.

  27. Tell me something Jo. Before you judge a person, why don’t you sit down and talk with them and learn something about them? I have done that with Doug Thompson and I find him a soft-spoken, gentle person who is quite happy and at peace with himself. I have had the pleasure of meeting both he and his lovely wife. I have witnessed first hand the care and compassion he brings to his writing and his photography as well as the concern he shows for our community.

    Perhaps the question we all should ask is why does his desire to bring this deplorable situation to public scrutiny make you unhappy? Are you perhaps a member of the women’s club of Floyd or is it because you support the revised history as written by Mr. Walker?

    It would be easier to judge where you are coming from if you were to use your full name or tell us more about yourself and who you might represent but I suppose that is asking too much. Those who defend bigotry, racism and hatred like to hide, often under a white sheet, and stand in a field illuminated by a burning cross.

  28. After having read the previous posts regarding Mr. Walker’s participation in the Floyd Arts and Crafts Festival, I was happy to see Mr. Thompson finally ask those making ad hominem attacks upon the character of those posting comments and especially regarding the character of Mr. Walker, to “tone down the rhetoric”. Mr. Thompson and those who have joined him in their haste to verbally lynch Mr. Walker for daring to challenge their preconceived notions of the old institution of slavery as it existed in the South, need to be reminded of some things. First, Mr. Walker is not the first, nor will he be the last to challenge conventional wisdom on controversial subjects. Before we begin burning their books and assassinating their character, perhaps we need to be certain that there is no kernal of truth from which we might better understand something. In reading Mr. Thompson’s post of the excerpt in Gary Walker’s, “The Truth About Slavery” , I believe Mr. Walker is attempting to shed light on the fact that, despite the hardships and cruelties that occurred and that our media “experts” repeatedly hold up before the public as “the norm”, many instances of real affection did occur between whites and blacks.
    I have in my library two books that Mr. Thompson, and anyone else wanting a clearer understanding of slavery would profit from. I offer my comments here to expose the ugly human tendency to arrogantly denounce those who challenge our thinking on issues we refuse to examine ourselves. The first was written by Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences, Mr. Robert William Fogel and Stanley L. Engerman, entitled “Time On The Cross”. Historian John Kenneth Galbraith wrote of it, “Detailed, absorbing and exceedingly controversial. I wouldn’t think that any person who pretends to knowledge of the time and region could possibly ignore it.”
    I would also like to recommend Eugene D. Genovese’s “Roll, Jordan, Roll – The World The Slaves Made”. Both works support Mr. Walker’s recognition that the American people are grossly ignorant of the complexities that were a part of the institution.
    I suspect that the fine women in the local Women’s Club, that have come to know something of Mr. Gary Walker, personally, over the years, know that he is not the sinister character that he’s been made out to be. I certainly trust their judgement and admire their courage to not allow a vocal few to “politicize” their event. The only “trouble” that I can see related to this annual Floyd event, stems from those who want to flout their elevated sense of moral superiority. I am reminded of a quote that appears to apply here;
    “Today Political correctness has replaced the old witch trials”. How apt.

  29. The Floyd Press did a real whitewash job on this controversy this morning. Talk about trying to sweep things under the rug. They made it sound like all this is just one man upset over the presence of Mr. Walker at the arts and crafts fair.

    I know a lot of people who are extremely upset with the womens club over allowing the man to peddle his racist revisionist history under the phony guise of “art.” The author of that story needs to get out and learn more about what happens in the community. My husband and I plan to cancel our subscription to the Press.

  30. Mr. Walker is not being “prejudged” by anyone. He has written books that express his view on slavery and that view can only be described as racist. He discusses a historically racist practice in a manner that keeps racism alive today.

    Mr. Walker would have us believe that the practice of slavery was beneficial for the slave, his master, and the South. That the relationship between slave and master was a happy one. That the absence of slave uprisings can only mean that slaves were satisfied with their situation. Apparently there is something attractive about working from sun up to sun down for no money and living in squalor.

    As an African-American I find Mr. Walker’s work highly offensive. Clearly he knows nothing of the Black experience and should not label himself an expert or historian on the subject. I, and other African-Americans in Floyd, wonder why he is invited to the Arts & Crafts Fair. Does the ladies club hold dear those vendors with poorly edited, self-published books that mangle the history of African-Americans in order to make White southerners look good?

    I’ll pass on the Arts & Crafts Fair again this year. And I’ll “get over it” when Mr. Walker and like minded individuals finally come to terms with the fact that their ancestors lost a war that enabled my ancestors, who were slaves, to become free.

  31. I can not believe the prejudgements and hate on this subject. My husbands ancestors the Coles and the Vests, all were Confederate soldiers. We are proud of their service, that does not make us racist anymore then it does Mr. Walker because one does not agree with his book. There are thousands of books on this subject and not one of us will all agree on them. When did this craft show become so judgemental,and the notice sent Mr. Walker from the vendor chairman is indeed threatening. Now theres a dress code? Ligten up people, get over it. Mr. Walker is a decent man. The problem seems to be with those among you who want to start trouble and grumble over something that is entirely needless. It is not racism to discuss the past.

  32. I will believe your claim that Mr. Walker is an honorable man if he honors his promise to not attend the arts and crafts fair if anyone can prove just one “fact” in his book to be wrong. The challenge was taken and more than one of his “facts” disproven. If he is the man of honor that you claim then let him prove it by staying out of Floyd County during the arts and crafts fair. A true man of his word would keep his pledge.

  33. The question of Mr. Walker’s credentials as a historian are no longer an issue. Mr. Prokosch has proven he is not. As one who has read two of Mr. Walker’s books, I can also testify that he is not a writer. His books are filled with misspellings and errors in grammar, a problem we often find with self-published authors who lack the services of an editor or a firm grasp of the English language.

    Therefore, we can also discard the question of any artistic quality. Self-published, error-prone prose does not pass the test. Perhaps the women’s club of Floyd can resolve the issue with a rule that vanity publishers need not apply.

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