“We really had de facto slavery in the United States for at least 90 years after the Civil War. We also didn’t do anything to give a helping hand, or compensate for slavery, by helping blacks get on their feet. So they never were integrated into American society, and we are now living with that residue.” – Edward Bonekemper

Military historian and celebrated author Edward H. Bonekemper III was the keynote speaker at the monthly meeting of the Civil War Round Table of Milwaukee on September 7. His lecture, based on his book The Myth of the Lost Cause: Why the South Fought the Civil War and Why the North Won, explored the mythology of the South’s defeat to the North, and its legacy of racism and white supremacy that remains today.

This audio was recorded at the event in Milwaukee to a record crowd at the Wisconsin Club. An expanded segment is included from a longer lecture when Bonekemper had more time to present further details.

“I think that people in Milwaukee and around the country need to have a better understanding of what the Civil War was all about. We really have to come to grips with, based on my research, the fact that the war was exclusively about preserving slavery. The reason it’s so important is not just a historical or military history question. America hasn’t faced this truth and that keeps us from confronting what I regard as America’s Achilles Heel, which is racism. And so this subject is important in Milwaukee, regardless of whether any Civil War battles were fought here or not, because this issue goes to the core of America.” – Edward Bonekemper