Mayor Invites Civil War II - And Response (19)

Sunday, August 20, 2017

I just received an email from the Mayor stating that he filed paperwork to remove the city of Chattanooga as the trustee for the Confederate Cemetery on Third Street. I understand the Mayor's intent was to distance the city from it's racist past and subsequent hate, but I feel like this is an interesting move without much thought of the consequences.

The Mayor prefaced his email with his reaction to this past weekend's events. I think we can all agree that these moves to distance municipalities from statues and, now, cemeteries are the very catalyst that make events like Charlottesville flare up.

While the Mayor and the majority of sane, rational thinking people are walking around patting each other on the back for living in a post-racism society, there are rabble-rousers planning to make a stand at this cemetery. 

Let's think through the consequences of abandoning a cemetery, specifically the Confederate Cemetery on Third Street. Our beloved "Scenic City" will lose control of and care of a large portion of green space in the center of the urban city. Perhaps the soon to be neglected cemetery will become overgrown and be the homeless housing that has been sorely needed. I kid. Or, if we are lucky to have some group step in to oversee and become the trustee of the cemetery, we might be inviting more unwanteds. Dare I speculate who might have an interest in gaining a foothold on an urban piece of property with Confederate ties? 

So now that the Mayor has kicked the gears in motion, we will soon have a group that is not much different from the ones we saw in Virginia swoop in, take over the trusteeship of this cemetery and we won't be able to get rid of them...because it'll be "their" property. Who else would touch it? 

Bravo Mr. Mayor. You have United us Against Hate, drawn the 36th 30 parallel right through the middle of UTC's campus and invited the white supremacists to our little town. At least we will be United Against Hate when they show up for round 2, 154 years later.
Tim Giordano
* * *
I see that the Mayor is jumping on the bandwagon to get his two cents in.  People have gone nuts (to include the Mayor).  Does he think for one second that not taking care of a Confederate Cemetery is going to fix things? 
Why all of a sudden do people want Robert E. Lee taken down after all these years (God rest his soul)?  After all these monuments are taken down, is black on black crime going to stop?  Will some white people stop hating blacks? 
Everyone is doing their best to out do the other on this.  Before the Mayor starts in on Confederate Cemeteries, should we level Missionary Ridge?  Wipe out Point Park?  

  I am not a lawyer because I can read and write and wanted to do better in life, but I think the good Mayor and City Attorney need to look up Public Law 85-425, dated May 28, 1958 passed by Congress and treat these Confederate Soldiers as Veterans.
Tony Dankowski
 * * *
I am so frustrated that I just don't know how to civilly address this issue.  The progressive leftist Democrat mayor can't let some other mayor out "outrage" him that he has to look for ways to prove he to can do something about the latest craze to remove all vestiges of the Confederacy from our city. 
So to prove what a magnanimous person he is wants to take it out on dead soldiers (and their families) by distancing himself from their graves.
Man that takes guts.  Why doesn't he just send in the public works department at night like the Mayor of Baltimore and plow the place under?
The Confederate dead are U.S. Veterans by act of Congress (look it up).
Don't tell him, but there are German POW's (Nazis) buried in the Chattanooga National Cemetery.  Why - because we pay respect to the dead.
This is all going to end very badly.
Chris Cole
* * *


Nothing like a Mayor without a backbone. I for one certainly appreciate and respect my Confederate heritage and find it unacceptable that our Mayor Berke chooses the easy way out so he will not step on voters toes or stand up to trouble if it comes his way. 


Enjoy your ride, Andy, as it will come to an end one day.


Michael Mansfield


 * * *


Andy Berke, I am so done with you as a Mayor and a human being.


I will help take care of this cemetery, if need be. I have relatives there and in each cemetery beside it.


Who they were does not stop the need to take care of a cemetery. I respect the Dead.


I am an old lady who was taught better than this ridiculous stuff going on. You can't bury history. It will come back to bite you in the butt.


Julia Buckner


* * *


 Mayor Berke’s remarks about the city’s involvement in the Confederate Cemetery on East Fifth Street seem to indicate an unfortunate lack of respect for the dead in our midst. Those buried in that cemetery and in the Silverdale Confederate Cemetery were not slave owners, but common soldiers who died in nearby hospitals during the war. In 1860, most Americans felt their primary allegiance to be with their state of residence, not with the federal government. When their states seceded from the Union and called for troops to defend their homeland from an invading army, many volunteered, many were drafted. President Lincoln did not claim to be fighting to free the slaves; rather, he said he was seeking to preserve the Union.

There are World War II German soldiers buried in our National Cemetery and in other cemeteries across the country. They fought for Nazi Germany, but their graves are treated with the same respect as our own fallen soldiers and sailors. Tennessee was divided on the secession issue, and many Tennesseans served in the Union army. I had ancestors on both sides, as was the case in many Tennessee families. I had one slave-owning ancestor whose six sons served the Union army, while his six sons-in-law served in the Confederate army. Two of my great-grandfathers were in opposing units at the battle of Fort Sanders in Knoxville. Each did what he felt was his duty; I respect that and hold no animosity toward any of them. Neither should others.
I have no relative buried in the Chattanooga Confederate Cemetery, but I appreciate the city’s having maintained it over the years. Since the city maintains the adjacent Citizens Cemetery, continuing to maintain this small plot would not take much more work. Showing respect for the dead is always good.
Carl Mark Barker

Kingston, Tn.

* * *

I'm as much against racism as most people, but you obviously don't understand that Mayor Berke will be running for governor of our state in the near future.  What better time than now to try to take advantage of a situation - well ahead of his presumptive inauguration?  

He must have had his minions working overtime to even figure out that the city of Chattanooga had anything whatsoever to do with the Confederate Cemetery next to UTC.  I guarantee you that 99 percent of the citizens of our city had no idea that the city of Chattanooga had any legal interest in that cemetery until the mayor proudly proclaimed that "racism, hatred and violence don't belong in any American city, and that includes Chattanooga" and he somehow tried to make a connection to a cemetery that has been there for over a hundred years.

If the left wing radicals come to Chattanooga to demand that the city absolve itself of any connection to the cemetery - and our mayor gloriously stands before them to assure them he has done everything possible to make that happen, he will be their new hero.  I can't wait.

By the way, the Mayor of the city of Chattanooga has no authority to order the city attorney to file a lawsuit.  Only the City Council has that authority.  I'm sure that's one of those legal technicalities that will be conveniently ignored.

William Parker
* * *

Who will take care of the Confederate Cemetery?

The same people that do now. The city may be a trustee but it is members of the Son of Confederate Veterans that take care of the Cemetery.  They mow, weed eat, pick up trash and sticks. They are the ones that give of their time to clean the headstones and keep the plaques painted.  And, yes, they do the same for the two Union soldiers buried there. They clean the grave of Shadrick Searcy, a black Confederate soldier.

If the city of Chattanooga wishes to distance itself from all things Confederate, then it has some more work to do.  Time to tear down the Walnut Street Bridge.  A former Confederate Captain donated $10,000 for building it. Coca Cola was invented by Confederate Lt. Col John Pemberton so we had better tear down the buildings on Amnicola and off of 153.

Last but not least ,let's turn away the tourist money that our history brings. During the Sesquicentennial the city was anxious for the events and the tourist money. My how quick we forget.

James Skipper

* * *

I'd like to say thank you to the many brilliant posts regarding Mayor Berke, outstanding each and every one.

I was shocked to see this today although I should have been prepared, progressives have been in the process of destroying this country for some time now.  Politicians have been poking around looking for issues that will get them that all important vote. 

While I dearly love this state if I ever see a Govenor Berke I'll be packing up. With this obnoxious play today he has shown his true colors.  I would have thought he was far too busy trying to keep squeaky clean to be diving into the pot.

Sue White

* * *

Andy Berke, your colors are showing. You are a weak mayor that's looking for your five minutes of fame.

I believe there's a law that says it a crime to deface a Cemetery and that's what you are planning on doing, Shame on you.

I hope every soul that's buried in those  graves haunt you every night. Look around and see whats happening and you want to have this city look like Charlottesville?

 Shame on you.

Karolene King
* * *
Frequently when you read a statement from a politician you realize it's some type of shameless self serving promotion.  The most recent attack from Andy Berke on the Third Street cemetery is a textbook example of this.  
Apparently desperate to put himself in the fray, he selects a benign non-controversial cemetery to  make his stand.  I don't know for sure but there must not be a statue of a noteworthy Confederate general in Chattanooga. Instead he latches onto a cemetery of all things. 
For the record, I voted for Andy and Hillary so I lean towards the left. However, when a politician so blatantly tries to take advantage of a terrible situation to promote himself I find it nauseating.  
You can only imagine the Berke team sitting in a conference room asking the question "how can we take advantage of this? Let's see, there aren't any statues of Robert E Lee or Stonewall Jackson so what can we do?"  Then an eager staff member says, "Oh, I got it, there's that 100-year-old mostly Confederate cemetery on Third Street.   We don't really do anything with it but we are a trustee.  Let's use that's to show how the mayor hates racism."  The group does high fives and talks about what a great idea that is.  
Except it's not.  It's a vomit-inducing attempt to take advantage of an awful situation.  This has become the playbook of the Andy Berke  tenure.  We as a city had such high hopes for Andy when he started as mayor. Unfortunately, his greatest consistency has been his ongoing ability to disappoint.   It's unfortunate for all of us but mostly for him.
 Ben Saunders
* * *
lt appears that Mayor Andy wants to rewrite Chattanooga history.  Thank goodness he only speaks for a few people in Chattanooga.  Is he also going to bulldoze the little Confederate Cemetery way out on Lee Highway?  What about all the cannons and other small monuments scattered around town?  Are they to be destroyed?  
People of Lookout Mountain beware - he will be after Point Park next.  Cravens House needs to go also.  While we are at it let's do away with the Trail of Tears signs.  We did torture the Indians but that might offend someone.  Good thing the Battlefield is in Georgia.  MLK Blvd will have to be changed back to 9th Street.  That is offensive to  the KKK.
The Civil War happened.  Honorable men and women on both sides died.  We need to learn from these mistakes and never make black or white lives any different.
Mayor Andy is determined to shoot his foot off before he can run for higher office.  

Mike Layne
* * *
Well, here we go again.  “Not my mayor” Andy Berke has become an archaeologist and has started digging up bones.  Who cares if the city was named as a trustee of the Confederate Cemetery many years ago?  Many responses to this “outrage” have already been posted.  I expect that many more will be forthcoming. Let me note, not all Democrats agree with “not my mayor” Andy Berke.  There are a few of us left that have the common sense that God gave to a goose.  Regardless of political parties, racism exists.  It’s not pretty.  I do not support it.  However, it’s not going away.  

I offer my congratulations to “not my mayor” Berke that he has time to involve himself in such outlandish projects.

As many of the responses mentioned, I am proud of my Southern heritage.  I had ancestors, who like many, served on both the Union and Confederate sides during the Civil War.  What if all the Southerners asked that the Northerners be disinterred from the Chattanooga National Cemetery?  What if the Jews asked that the Nazis be disinterred, as well?  What if all the people who were opposed to both the Korean and Vietnam Conflicts/Wars requested the same?  Will “not my mayor” Berke stand with them, or even grab a shovel and start digging?

I was amazed at how well a grasp “not my mayor” Berke has on history.  It must have been his collegiate major.  No, Andy, slavery was not the only reason for the Civil War.  As Andy so very proudly announced, "Confederates fought against America to preserve slavery. That is the truth, and we should no longer subsidize any myths to the contrary.”

I did some light research and found the following to be causes of that war.  Andy, you may want to get a pen and pencil and write these down for future reference.  The information was taken from the website


I borrow two quotes from earlier responses because I think they need to be repeated over and over until Andy gets it through his thickened skull.  As Mr. Dankowski stated, "I am not a lawyer because I can read and write and wanted to do better in life, but I think the good Mayor and City Attorney need to look up Public Law 85-425, dated May 28, 1958 passed by Congress and treat these Confederate Soldiers as Veterans.”  As well, Mr. Parker was so kind to remind us, "By the way, the Mayor of the city of Chattanooga has no authority to order the city attorney to file a lawsuit.  Only the City Council has that authority.  I'm sure that's one of those legal technicalities that will be conveniently ignored.”  Considering that Andy has several of the City Council members “bought and paid for”, I would guess this to be correct.

We have had some real doozies for Mayors in the past years, but “not my mayor” Andy Berke…you take the cake.
Rusty Munger

* * *

Mayor, you will not miss this fleeting opportunity to grab the national spotlight will you? I hope you get serious coverage and can join the ranks of the other liberal Mayors in this nation who are abandoning practical stewardship for whatever media attention they can gather.

Thanks for your "look at me", selfish virtue-signaling. I'm truly inspired... 

As if anyone thought this city was racist - or even gave it a second thought - until you did this as if it was an established fact.

1 - I hope you have thought through all the ramifications of letting a piece of land go that's adjacent to UTC in the city center, out of city control.

2 - I hope you have thought about the negative ramifications this will have on the multi-million-dollar Civil War tourism business Chattanooga is in - the jobs that could be lost and the businesses that will lose revenue.

3 - And if knuckle-heads come to our city to bring violence, I hope you will personally ditch your tailored suit, don your body armor, and get out there to protect people.

All this so you could be seen as enlightened. You are not a leader - you are a self-aggrandizing showman positioning yourself for the next government teat to latch on to after you drain this one dry.

FACT: In my neighborhood roads are torn to pieces and people shoot each other in the grocery store parking lots. 

FACT: My business is not even safe to go in and out of after dark and private security guards are paid to patrol your streets and protect private property. 

FACT: We are surrounded by public schools we can't even send our daughter to.

Right here in the city you "lead"...

And this is - opening the wounds of 150+ year old grievances - is where you are spending time and energy?

With this type of enlightened, liberal leadership we will head down the road of every other democrat-lead city in the U.S.... awash in violence, poverty, and corruption. But be assured, we'll put a good face on it.

Great work bud. You are a moral inspiration to us all.

Brandon Lewis

* * *

“I am not the kind of man who would spit on another man’s grave.”

This is the standard of a gentleman when speaking of someone they detested, but now dead.  Mayor Berke has demonstrated that he is the kind of man who would spit on another man’s grave and, unfortunately, through his position as mayor has implicated the people of Chattanooga.  

“Show me the manner in which a nation cares for its dead and I will measure with mathematical exactness the tender mercies of its people, their respect for the laws of the land and their loyalty to high ideals.”
– Sir William Gladstone 

Jeff K. Brown

* * *

Most of us do not hate our neighbors. Most of us are not obsessed with our differences. Most of us don't spend our time looking for something to be outraged about. So logically most of us are going to wonder why the Mayor of our beautiful city issued a statement about a cemetery.

Why wasn't he issuing a statement about how he is making sure our kids in poor neighborhoods get a good education and don't get shot on the way home from school? Why is he grandstanding now, knowing this could lead to hateful outsiders coming to our city to cause trouble?

It is clear that the Mayor has great political aspirations. His statement was a check list of talking points, right down to that obligatory jab at President Trump. If Chattanooga turned into a Charlottesville situation, I suppose he might get his face on the national news. But maybe he has over played his race baiting hand. Maybe he is going to find out that, while the citizens in Chattanooga may disagree about many things, they do not want to be blatantly used as pawns for political gain.

I appreciate the people that researched and shed light on inconsistencies regarding the city's relationship with the cemetery.  I find it comforting to see the good individuals here speaking out and not putting politics before our city and its people. It's a shame that the man we elected to look out for Chattanooga isn't decent enough to do the same.

Sherece Manchester

* * *

Mayor Berke said:  "One thing is certain -- racism, hatred and violence don't belong in any American city, and that includes Chattanooga. Our city opposes white supremacy in any form and under any name, and we expect the same from our leaders."
The first inhabitants of Chattanooga were Native Americans.  (Wikipedia) "In 1838 the U.S. government forced the Cherokees, along with other Native Americans from southeastern U.S. states, to relocate to the area designated as Indian Territory, in what is now the state of Oklahoma. Their journey west became known as the "Trail of Tears" for their exile and fatalities along the way. The US Army used Ross's Landing as the site of one of three large internment camps, or "emigration depots", where Native Americans were held prior to the journey on the Trail of Tears.
One of the internment camps was located in Fort Payne, Ala., and the largest was at Fort Cass, Tn."
Seems to me if Mr. Berke wants to practice what he preaches, he should charter some buses to Oklahoma and attempt to find the ancestors who rightfully hold the deed to this entire city. 
I'm sure they would find a job for him in their administration.

Robert Shackleford
 * * *

I am a pro-equality, pro-LGBTQ, pro-First Amendment citizen. I believe racial division is the most sad, unproductive wound this nation has carried forth into this generation.

Today, my wish is to confront Mayor Andy Berke's seemingly patronizing gesture toward a piece of land the city admittedly does not own – the Confederate Cemetery on East Third Street. I believe this stunt on behalf of Mayor Berke is a glaring personal aggrandizement, exemplifying the very characteristics of why the aforementioned divisions fester and cannot heal.

Mayor Berke has taken action against our real foe, Sarah Ruth Frazier. Sarah was born 10 years after the Civil War ended and died in 1956. She is buried in the Confederate Cemetery. I'm glad Mayor Berke is saving us from Sarah and her many peers, because she obviously deserves to be vilified for neither living during nor participating in the Civil War. On the cusp of a truly bitter, deadly and heart-breaking event in Charlottesville, Mayor Berke seems to believe inviting attention to some Confederate soldiers and their families' genealogy is our answer to combating hate in the context of entrenched separatism. As for the soldiers themselves, many miss the fact the vast majority of them were not from slave-owning households.

Our federal government was assembled from among various colonies whose citizens were fiercely patriotic – to those colonies. As the federal government took shape with its original, limited powers, American citizens around the time the Constitution ratified passed their state level loyalties to their children.

 "Our action today makes it clear that the City of Chattanooga condemns white supremacy in every way, shape and form. While we honor our dead, we do not honor the principle for which they fought. Our city should be invested in our future, not a discredited past. Confederates fought against America to preserve slavery. That is the truth, and we should no longer subsidize any myths to the contrary." ~ Andrew Lawrence Berke.

That is a strong paragraph, if it were something Berke truly wished to apply “in every way, shape or form.” In a moment I will offer Governor-In-Waiting Berke the opportunity to walk that talk, but first a bit of history on how deeply slave-era dignitaries permeated our national nomenclature: New York City and State were named after the Duke of York, lead shareholder of Company of Royal Adventurers Trading in Africa (Royal African Company). This company facilitated the slave trade and supplied the colonies with African native citizens in trade for goods. Is there a large gathering to remove York's name, considering he is far more involved in the machinery of slavery than even Robert E. Lee? Europe was a primary economic driver of the slave trade which kept goods from the Confederacy flowing across the Atlantic. It is very likely New York will not be changing names soon.

I am unimpressed Mayor Berke is choosing this cause, the blood of local families' history, to state his case against a fringe blight on society. So today, let us offer Mayor Berke an opportunity to take a real stand using his exact words. Perhaps the party most responsible for perpetuating and funding the Civil War, with a human cost estimate varying between 650,000 and 850,000 lives, is the banker who sided with the South and literally bet on its success at a great profit to him, his family and his enterprise. Much more than any Confederate soldier or the small collection of them in a nondescript Chattanooga cemetery, this man has perhaps the largest gallon count of Union and Confederate blood directly on his hands. The heartbreak of southern slavery was a substantial economic proposition which required logistics across multiple continents to coordinate. This man was wholly in support of European trade with African partners to provide supply of imprisoned servitude to the Confederacy. This labor guaranteed inexpensive southern cotton for European mills. The man's name was Frederic Emile, Baron d' Erlanger. Yes, “that” Erlanger.

The only way the South, with unrecognized Confederate currency, could trade with Europe was with loans using future bales of cotton as collateral. These loans became the “Erlanger Cotton Bonds.” Erlanger loaned the South money which essentially pawned cotton production, then sold his bonds against that cotton at a substantial profit. The Confederacy needed European raw supplies and finished goods to support the Civil War effort, and without those goods the South would have lost much earlier. By perpetuating the war and rolling in cotton gross margins, Erlanger cost tens of thousands of additional lives. Without Erlanger, European merchants would have had no mechanism to encourage violating U.S. Federal blockades of southern ports to get the cotton, and millions in war funding for the Confederate cause would not have existed. That was the deal. Erlanger sold promissory notes good for a certain value of cotton, and the European mill merchants had to go get it by circumnavigating or breaking the blockades.

While Andy Berke lodges his argument against the few quiet dead, the name of the real culprit who pulled the Civil War's largest fiscal strings is emblazoned on the largest local institution which keeps us alive. Erlanger money bought the ships and kept the supply lines from Europe afloat. If Mayor Berke truly intends to fend off subsidizing the “discredited past”, then he is one of only two municipal mayors in America capable of erasing the ten-of-ten power wizard behind the Confederate curtain. The other, in Kentucky, likely has other things to do. If we're talking real impact, it's not a few Confederate soldiers and their family members on a small plot of land the city doesn't own. It most certainly is the most recognizable name the city and county do own.

Would he actually direct City Attorney Wade Hinton to call the Hospital Authority into session to send the Baroness into permanent retirement? Of course not. And he shouldn't. Nor should he score sad, cheap political points by drawing attention and potential vandalism to a sleepy cemetery whose long term tenants still deserve peace. I believe in preserving history for its lessons, not selectively re-writing it to make pretentious overtures compliments of dead veterans. People are dying on American streets in horrendous clashes of ideology, and this is the best statement we can make? Distancing ourselves from William Jolly, an infant who lived for three months in 1882?

Andy Berke's walking opportunism show went off the rails this time, the same rails the Erlangers came to inspect when they donated seed money to build our hospital in the 1880's. I love Erlanger Hospital, its work, its people and its history. I would tie myself to a tree on Third Street if someone wanted to change its name. Yet, the $5,000 donated by the Baron pales against the $8,500,000 he raised to establish the bloodiest bond issue ever conceived by mankind. But down on East Third lies the truth about Mayor Berke's actual convictions, as I'm betting he would never challenge a famous name for political gain when convenient corpses don't talk back. I watched my two youngest children born at Erlanger Hospital. I have said for years Children's Hospital at Erlanger needs to be the primary recipient of local giving, as it provides the vast majority of pediatric care.

The challenge is on the table, Mayor Berke. If you want to extinguish our link with the Confederacy, your own words demand you censure the man who earned the most from it. We are a product of our past. We cannot deny it. My heart today determines the lessons I vest in my children. Your ghoulish opportunism is unimpressive, Mayor Berke, and it is not helping our raw societal wounds heal.

Jason M. Kibby
* * *
The mayor of Chattanooga recently announced his intention to take action to remove the city from any connection with the Confederate Cemetery on East Third Street.  I have to ask the following questions in response:

1.  Do dead people - who died over 150 years ago - really present a threat to the citizens of Chattanooga to the point of taking such action?

2.  Are there not better issues with which the mayor can devote time and attention?  The reality is that this city has terrible problems with violence and killing, with homeless people and with an educational system that needs all the help it can get.

3.  Seriously, is using a cemetery for political gain - and attempting to re-write history -  an honorable way to get votes?
Tim McDonald
* * *
I suspect this venerable statement could be usefully injected into the mayor's current idiocy involving the Confederate Cemetery:

"If we open a quarrel between the past and the present, we shall find that we have lost the future."

             Winston Churchill, House of Commons speech, June 18, 1940

             Amen. With any luck it's Andy Berke's future that gets lost here.  Governor?  Good grief.
Larry Cloud

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