Augusta Commissioner Bill Fennoy put his resolution to rename John C. Calhoun Expressway on hold last week because it didn’t have enough commission support to pass. He said he’ll put it back on the agenda, but not until after the Masters Golf Tournament. That might be a wise move because we don’t want visitors to think we’re still fighting the Civil War.
We aren’t, are we?
Still Paine College historian and professor Mallory Millender and Fennoy are leading the charge to change the name of the expressway because Calhoun, a South Carolina legislator, U.S Congressman, senator, secretary of war, secretary of state and vice president was a strong proponent of slavery.
And after last week’s column about other roads in Augusta, as well as Fort Gordon, being named for Confederate States Army generals, I received some interesting e-mails:
Nothing New Under the Sun: “…. your comments about John C. Calhoun were pretty much to the point,” wrote one learned fellow who wanted to remain Anonymous.
“Grady Smith is right: Where do you stop trying to “rewrite’ history?
“And calling him a “white supremacist” is silly. That’s a modern buzz word. Back then they just thought it was just the way things were.
“It’s not new, by the way. Ask Oliver Cromwell.
“When he died in 1658, he was buried with honor in Westminster Abbey.
“Three years later the monarchy regained power.
“So they dug up Cromwell, put his rotted remains on trial. Found it/him guilty of killing the previous king.
“And beheaded his 3-year-old corpse. So there.
“As for Calhoun, I never liked him that much because his Nullification Plan diminished the federal system.
“Oddly, it’s pretty much the same concept many liberal cities use today to ignore federal law when it comes to ‘sanctuary cities’.
“And then there’s this: In the late 1950s, then-Sen. John F. Kennedy, fresh off his Pulitzer tour for “Profiles In Courage,” was put in charge of a U.S. Senate committee to determine the Greatest U.S. Senators of all time.
“Sen. Kennedy and his Democrat pals picked (you guessed it) John C. Calhoun as one of the Senate’s all-time greats.
“I still never liked him because he looks like that crazy professor in the “Back To The Future” movies, but he must have done something right.
“And then there’s what happens in the future?
“What if 50 years or a century from now, the female majority of Americans come to believe (and believe fervently) that many of the heroes of today were in fact scoundrels who preyed upon women.
“Bill Clinton, Lyndon Johnson, JFK and James Brown will join Bill Cosby and President Trump in some hall of historic shame and we will all wonder how people could be so blind.
“Augusta Chronicle Metro Editor and Columnist Bill Kirby did a video about John C. Calhoun a few years ago. Here’s a link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O1VO-wrHhlk.”
Name it For the Highest Bidder: “Ms. Cooper: As you’re the voice of reason in Augusta, I thought I would run this idea past you.
“Some people want to rename Calhoun Expressway, so let those people put their money where their mouth is.
“We have the Suntrust Stadium for the Braves, Mercedes Benz Stadium for the Falcons, so you can see where this is going, they have naming rights for 30 years, but it isn’t free.
“Let’s have a bidding for the naming rights of Calhoun, and let’s not have it handled by any of our local government entities.
“I nominate you to be the receiver of bids. Have a 3- to 4-month bidding period, and as a new higher bid comes in it will published in the paper.
“At the end of the period the high bidder has a week to give you a certified check to confirm their win.
“Now let’s talk money, allocate $25,000 for sign changes, give $25,000 to the Augusta government as a fee to keep their nose and hands out of it, and the remainder of the bid will go to the Augusta Wounded Warrior Project.
“Let the bidding start at $500,000 and see who really wants to have the honor of naming that road for the next 30 years.
“Enjoy your column.
Rename Calhoun Expressway!: “Dear mayor and commissioners: Greetings to each of you.
“I am writing today to demonstrate my support for changing the name of the Calhoun Expressway to something that isn’t so offensive to so many people.
“For many months, I’ve been seeing the reports from the Washington Post and the New York Times about the debate regarding Yale’s Calhoun College. I see that Yale did finally decide to stop honoring Calhoun, followed by much fanfare.
“I’m a middle-aged white guy who believes in equality for all, and in doing what we can to make our country less racist. I’m thankful to everyone in Augusta who is helping lead discussion about renaming the Calhoun Expressway.
“In case the information is of interest to any of you, I copied below some of the reporting on this subject from the Augusta Chronicle, as well as some of the recent coverage from other news organizations.
“Many thanks for your efforts to make Augusta welcoming to all residents and visitors.”
A Tale of Two Gordons: “Hi Sylvia. Loved your column yesterday – you certainly are the creative one!
“But I have a story to tell about one of your subjects: Gen. John B. Gordon:
“I covered him in my book, too, and didn’t find anything to doubt his Ku Klux Klan connection, or that he was the one to bring this group to Georgia. But my “connection” isn’t so much that Fort Gordon was named for him, even though my husband was stationed there, but that Gordon College in Macon was named for him, too. You see, I’m a graduate of Gordon College in Massachusetts – originally in Boston – and a premier Christian Liberal Arts College, and popular Gordon-Conwell Seminary, in New England today. Certainly, the two “Gordons” are mighty different, especially in origin.
“But when my pastor learned of the distinction between them, he kidded me forever about being from the one in Macon, just to hear me scream.”
This is the Thanks I Get, but it’s Just Politics: U.S Attorney General Jeff Sessions told U.S Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia Ed Tarver and 45 other Obama appointed district attorneys, “You’re fired.” Actually, he said it a little bit nicer than that: “Please quit before I fire you.”
So Tarver submitted his resignation to President Trump and Sessions late Friday afternoon.
Here’s the message Tarver sent to his attorneys and staff Friday:
“Colleagues and Friends: Late this afternoon, the remaining 46 U. S. Attorneys appointed during President Obama’s administration were advised that the President requested our resignations effective immediately. I am preparing to do so and expect to tender my resignation shortly. It has been the honor of my life to serve as your U. S. Attorney since November 2009.
“We have accomplished great things together on behalf of the United States and I am tremendously proud of all that we achieved. As I return to the private sector, I look forward to reading about your continued successes on behalf of the United States of America and the Southern District of Georgia.”
Keep on Keeping On, Tommy: Everyone who knows former Augusta Commissioner and mayoral candidate Tommy Boyles will be happy to learn he’s back home and gaining strength after weeks of intensive therapy following a stroke in December.