Robert E. Lee and Him

And who? Ty Seidule, that’s who! His book: ROBERT E. LEE AND ME: A Southerner’s Reckoning with the Myth of the Lost Cause.

This book has helped me snap out of the stupefying effects of one of America’s biggest lies, the lost cause, which I’ll let you look up on your own so that you can examine the toxic linkage to another more recent but just as stupefying big lie.

I’ve indirectly illustroblogged about Robert E. Lee elsewhere, check it out here. In that 2014 post, I’m ashamed to admit that I knew nothing per se about the “lost cause,” which again I’ll let you look up on your own. My fascination with Lee had always centered on what I saw as an association with Don Quijote.

Ty Seidule’s courageous book is a lot to process; however, it’s worth every perturbing wave of irreversible discomfort because of the permanent illumination it offers. Here’s how I’ve begun to process it in my own cartoonish way:

Robert E. Lee Shook the Hand of Ely S. Parker

Lieutenant Colonel Ely S. Parker, whose photo can be found by clicking here , (born Hasanoanda, later known as Donehogawa), a Seneca lawyer, engineer, and tribal diplomat, was present when Confederate General Robert E. Lee (See drawing below) surrendered at Appomattox Courthouse in April 1865.

At the surrender meeting, seeing that Parker was an American Indian, General Lee remarked to Parker, “I am glad to see one real American here.” Parker later stated, “I shook his hand and said, ‘We are all Americans’.”  (Sources for further general reading: this and that.)

Parker went on to head up the Bureau of Indian Affairs and collaborated with American anthropologist Lewis Henry Morgan. Read on, by all means!

Robert E. Lee

Technical:

When my wife and I lived in Charlottesville, VA in the mid 1990s, I developed an interest in Robert E. Lee for reasons that continue to intrigue me, not the least of which is related to my having read Don Quijote de La Mancha as both an undergraduate and a graduate student. I’m fascinated by the man and how he is viewed in retrospect.

The reference photo I used can be found here along with others. I imported the photo into Procreate, drew it freehand using various brushes to apply and smudge color, and cropped it out. I could have spend more time on this one.