The Beauvoir: Home of Jefferson Davis and Indoctrination

Linsay Culver
4 min readOct 20, 2020
Photo of Beauvoir from the Publication (Beauvoir: Jefferson Davis Shrine)

When I was in elementary school in Hurley, Mississippi in the early 1990’s, I went on a field trip to the Beauvoir — the home of Confederate President, Jefferson Davis. Little did I know that this trip had a two-fold agenda. The first was to indoctrinate all the young, white children into the Lost Cause belief system and the other was to remind my Black classmates where their place was in society based on those values.

It was not until recently, when I was thinking about how deeply rooted systemic racism is in our society, that this memory stuck out to me. A little history on the Beauvoir — it was Jefferson Davis’ home after the Civil War and is in Biloxi, Mississippi. Davis gifted it to his daughter Winnie (Varina Anne), who later put her mother as the owner. Winnie and her mother lived predominantly in New York and exchanged ideas with like-minded individuals also known as racists. Winnie’s mother, Mrs. Davis, began looking for someone to buy the property after her health began to fade and upkeep became too much work. She was made an offer of $90,000 to sell the house, yet she took the offer of $10,000 from the Sons of Confederate Veterans. The Sons of Confederate Veterans have chapters all over the country, even as far as Iowa. It is only around 124 years old, which means it was started approximately thirty years after the Civil War — for what purpose?

The Sons of Confederate Veterans still own the property as of today and is still a shrine to Jefferson Davis and the Confederate principles of decades past. The Mississippi government pays them $100,000 a year to help with its maintenance. The Beauvoir, surrounded by towering oaks and refreshing Gulf breeze, is a shrine to the Confederacy to this day. I cannot stress that point enough.

All those years ago when I went on the trip, I found myself transported back in time — as I browsed the artifacts, I noted how they spoke of the enslavement of human beings. It was glorified. To this day, in that space, it is still glorified and kept afloat by taxpayer money. I cannot even begin to fathom what my Black classmates felt as they saw images of their ancestors shackled, their ancestors being forced to work in fields, and excerpts touting the greatness of slavery — not to mention the subconscious message being presented to them by educators who supposedly cared about their well-being and education.

This is the type of thing that continues to perpetuate systemic racism. The people who grow up in these places, believing this indoctrination, sometimes leave and spread these ideas to others. Some are the educators in the schools — ensuring the never-ending cycle of oppression. The sad thing is — it is not consciously recognized and if it is, wholly ignored. People grow up in this thinking it is normal, when it is not, and if they never leave the comfort of the bubble or people they find “like-minded” they never actually learn that these views are wrong. They may hear people say it on the news or hear people in public say the views are wrong, but until relationships are cultivated with people different from them — the cycle continues. Until people form relationships that humanize the people they see as inferior these beliefs will continue. This is why diversity is so important.

To this day the Beauvoir is still permitting field trips to this shrine to the Confederacy. Whether or not schools are going on field trips, I do not know, but I assume they are since it is advertised to schools on the Beauvoir’s webpage. Removing statues and changing names of places that legitimize the tenants of the Confederacy is great, but it is only cosmetic. No public school children should be going on a field trip to a privately owned shrine to the Confederacy, indoctrinated, and then taught to feel like slavery is great. Taxpayer money, especially Black taxpayers, should not be paying for the upkeep of a shrine meant to diminish their value and dignity in society.

This was only one of my experiences growing up in the South as a white child. I am positive there are more that are similar. I am positive, where I was able to see these views for what they were — immoral and inhumane, there are hundreds of people who were not able to break away from the Lost Cause mentality. There are probably even more people who moved away and spread these views to others perpetuating the cycle.

Mississippi needs to withdraw funding to the Beauvoir or any other privately owned Confederate shrines. The Sons of Confederate Veterans can fund-raise if they want to pay for maintenance. People should be made aware, before they go visit, that it is a shrine to the Lost Cause principles — not a historically accurate portrayal of what Jefferson Davis did to millions of Black men, women, and children. Lastly, people need to call their Congressmen and women and demand a fundamental, societal change beginning with education. Going to the Beauvoir as an elementary student, believing it was an objective museum, is not education. It is indoctrination of values incongruent with the principles of the United State’s of America and must stop.

For more information and history on the Beauvoir and the Sons of Confederate Veterans, please see the links below.

1. Beauvoir: Jefferson Davis Shrine (history)

2. Website for tickets or to book a field trip to the Beauvoir

3. The Cost of Confederacy (Smithsonian accounting of the amount of taxpayer money going to the upkeep of Confederate shrines)

4. Beirich, H., (2008). The struggle for sons of confederate veterans: A return to white supremacy in the early 21st century?



Linsay Culver

Linsay is a veteran and prior Intelligence Analyst for the Air Force, and a military spouse. She has a BS in Psychology, enjoys writing, and politics.