Pinkerton Raid-Jefferson Davis Highway

The United States Of America is a weird place. The founders built the country on the ideals of a democracy a couple hundred years ago, and we still haven’t quite figured out what that means. Now, in the grand scheme of things The US is relatively new to the game. Democracy has been around for 2,600 years, with lots of hiccups along the way. So really, we’re just infants in the Democracy game. That being said, we’re old enough to know the difference between right and wrong.

Growing up in Indiana, I saw my share of Confederate flags. I never understood the fascination with it other than a very brief period when I thought “The General Lee” was a cool car. As I grew up and learned more about it, the idea that people around me were celebrating the history behind that horrendous flag made me sick. And to hear them say that it’s a part of their “culture” or their “history” gets my blood boiling.

Just real quick, for my own entertainment, is a list of things that lasted longer than The Confederate States Of America:

  • Rizzoli & Isles
  • The Blue Collar Comedy Tour
  • The current gap between Summer Olympic games
  • UConn Women’s basketball regular season winning streak from 2014-2019
  • Hamilton Original Cast Recording in the Billboard Top 200 without hitting number 1
    • Night Visions by Imagine Dragons has been in the Top 200 for TWICE as long as the Confederacy existed
  • If the Confederacy ended today, and lasted the same amount of time, it would have begun AFTER the first Deadpool movie came out

All that is to say, people who claim that the Confederate flag is part of their “history” are full of crap. It began and ended in such a short time that it barely registers. But, the hatred they hold so dearly, passed down from generation to generation, is still very much alive in their hearts. And sadly, it seems to be the only thing connecting them to their roots. And that’s why they don’t want to stop flying the flag, and run to protect their precious monuments of bigotry.

The Pinkerton Raid‘s latest song pinpoints one specific tribute to the Confederacy’s first and only president, Jefferson Davis. There’s a three thousand mile stretch of highway that spanned from Virginia to California. Much of the highway is invisible now, but you can still find markers in the states through which the road travels.

While perhaps not as gaudy as a big statue, it’s actually a little more ridiculous, as many of the states in which the road lies were never a part of the Confederacy. Essentially the highway, sponsored by the Daughters Of The Confederacy, gave Davis a reach he never had during his tenure as president.

“Jefferson Davis Highway” isn’t simply about the stretch of road, of course. It’s about the divide that exists in this country between people who believe in equal rights for all and those who believe that giving rights to others is taking rights away from themselves. The video highlights protests by the Black Lives Matter movement being harassed and harmed by white supremacists groups the police officers who are supposed to be there to protect everyone. They’ve intercut current images with shots of civil rights leaders of the 60’s, which powerfully displays how long the issues of systemic racism have been ignored by those in power.

Here’s how they describe it on the video page:

“Jefferson Davis Highway” is a song to honor Southern activists like “Superwoman” Bree Newsome, the anti-racist defenders of Charlottesville, Va., and the people of Durham, NC, who kindled a movement, helping to take down a Confederate monument in an act of civil disobedience in our hometown back in 2017. We also honor the victims of police brutality, too many to name. We especially remember Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Laquan McDonald, Tamir Rice, Freddie Gray, Sandra Bland, Philando Castile and Keith Lamont Scott, in our own state of North Carolina. They opened our eyes. George Floyd’s brutal murder reminded us never to look away.

They also feature a great list of the artists whose work is featured in the video. Check it out here, and help support those artists!