To: Christen Eschberger, President, Williamson Museum Board, Andre Schjaevre, Williamson Museum, Board Member, Bobby Seiferman, Williamson Museum Board Member, David Oliver, Williamson Museum Board Member, Judge Bill Gravell, Jr, Williamson ...

Reconsider the Williamson Museum Old South (Civil War) Ball

We ask the Museum Board and Director to reconsider the ill-timed and ill-advised Old South Ball scheduled for January 30, 2016.

Why is this important?

We, the Undersigned, are writing to you today because we are concerned about the message that the Director of the Williamson Museum is sending to our community and county with a planned Old South Ball -- A Civil War Soirée -- on January 30, 2016.

We are a County and City that did not actually support the inclusion of Texas into the Confederate Union. To quote the Texas State Historical Society: Unionist sentiment was strong in the county, and a resolution denouncing secession was adopted by a Texas Constitutional Union party meeting in Round Rock in 1860. One of the county's delegates to the secession convention, Thomas Proctor Hughes, was among the eight who voted against the ordinance of secession. When the ordinance was referred to a statewide election, Williamson County was one of 19 counties to oppose it, rejecting secession by 480 votes to 349.

We also have a long history of unfortunate incidents in the County of racially motivated harassment and killings. Though Mr. Moody did successfully prosecute the KKK for an incident involving a white man, the Klan did not disappear. Where they were a public organization before Mr. Moody, they became a wink and nod of an underground organization after Mr. Moody's successful prosecution.

Further, a grand Southern Ball, with uniformed soldiers and ladies in grand antebellum dresses, does not in any way accurately reflect the period or time in Williamson County. Back in the 1860s a party would more likely have been a small dance in day clothes at someone's house. What is being created is a slaver's plantation ball with all the finery and trimmings and glory of the Deep South. Do we really want to aggrandize that, let alone distort local history? This is not an event that represents a living history of our community or county. There are many fine times and events that could be honored, times that do not smack of white privilege and one of the darkest times in American history.

Perhaps we should glorify our resistance to Secession and slavery instead of celebrating the senseless death of hundreds of thousands of men, the destruction of the American Union, and the enslavement, oppression and murder of humans owned by wealthy Southern landowners. Hate should not be part of anyone's heritage.

We should reconsider a grand Old South Ball. It sends the wrong message to the community and the world in times that are still troubled by racial strife and violence. Perhaps we could create an event that celebrates our unity and that respects our diversity, an event that would bring together all of Georgetown and Williamson County.

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