Skip to comments.The Confederate battle flag:a racist symbol or proud history?
Posted on 01/20/2005 7:37:49 AM PST by stainlessbanner
After reading Marcy Newmans article "Symbols of Racism" (1/13/05) in The Arbiter, I had to wonder if Boise State is an institution of higher learning or just another of those campuses specializing in a type of politically correct indoctrination.
In her article where she mentioned "what the Confederate flag really means," Newman told of a student who, according to her description, violated her space by wearing a jacket displaying the Army of Northern Virginia (ANV) battle flag. She rambled on with her interpretation of what the Georgia legislature had in mind when it adopted the ANV battle flag into its state flag in 1956 a means of intimidating Black men and women in Georgia.
However, some Georgia legislators and others living today who were instrumental in designing the 56 Georgia flag deny that was the case. That flag more realistically represents Georgia and its Southern-Confederate history and heritage. Not only in the south today, but throughout the country, many Americans revere the ANV battle flag as an honorable, soldiers flag that their ancestors fought and died under. It represents an important part of tens of thousands of individuals ancestral history and heritage.
As to the ANV battle flag being flown when African-Americans are lynched, I will submit to Dr. Newman that as a historical researcher of some 35 plus years, I have seen many photos of lynchings. Virtually all of those were devoid of images of any flag except for the occasional United States flag. In a great many lynching photos, no reason existed to display a flag with a Southern-Confederate history, because the lynchings took place in northern states. And some of the worst spectacles of lynchings (lynching does not just mean hanging) that I have seen occurred in states such as Iowa, Nebraska, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, and as far west as California. Those spectacles included the severe whipping, hanging, and public burning of a body on a public street while a crowd of onlookers stood by. No Confederate flags are seen. In California, a long list of lynchings that took place from the late 19th century until the mid-20th century showed a few Blacks and Hispanics that were lynched, with the majority having been white. No need for a Confederate flag to intimidate there.
However, as she continued in her article, Dr. Newman was partially correct, although slightly skewed in her observations about the ANV battle flag in more modern times. She leans hard on the idea of "white, Christian supremacy woven into these flags used historically by groups such as the Ku Klux Klan, Aryan Nations, and neo Nazi organizations and it is waved when white supremacist Christian groups march in predominately Jewish communities such as Skokie, Ill."
To address the latter comments: recently the History Channel (cable TV) ran back-to-back showings of two productions, the History of the Ku Klux Klan and the American Nazi Party. These films did, indeed, show both groups, Klan and Nazi, displaying at least one ANV battle flag in public demonstrations, including the one by the Nazis in Skokie, Ill. Recall that the Nazis applied more than once for parade permits and were continually denied. Finally, of all groups, the ACLU stepped in and sued on the grounds that the Nazis First Amendment rights were being denied. But what Dr. Newman fails to mention in her diatribe about "white, Christian supremacy," is that another flag was also prominently featured in these marches, the flag of the United States. What in the world shall we do with that flag?
Since its modern revival in 1915, the KKK claimed as its own the U.S. flag and the Christian cross. Almost immediately, the flaming cross became the foremost symbol of hate and intimidation in this country, vividly portrayed in the History Channel production about the Klan. Does that mean crosses everywhere, at places of worship or hanging from necklaces, should be eliminated? And contrary to popular belief fed by "Hollywood history," the Klan was not resurrected to intimidate Blacks. Those of us of the Roman Catholic faith and select white politicians became the KKKs first targets. Next came the Jews, and Black folk were an afterthought. It took decades before the Klan chose to desecrate the ANV battle flag.
Historically, the flag flying over every school and government building in the country the U.S. flag has its dark side, from flying over slave ships that plied their trade through New England seaports long before the Confederate States of America existed, to the brutal, genocidal war waged by the U.S. Army against Native Americans and in the Philippine, Islands during the Spanish American War.
In the spring of 1941, just months before Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, the Klan and American Nazis held a joint meeting at Camp Nordland, New Jersey, with an estimated 50,000 in attendance. Camp Nordland, one of five such camps in states such as Illinois and Pennsylvania, was not unlike our Boy Scout camps of today. The young German-American boys who visited in the summer wore uniforms with armbands that displayed the swastika. The boys werent there to learn scouting skills. They were being taught the doctrines of the Third Reich.
Photos of the Klan-Nazi meetings show robed Klansmen and Nazis in storm-trooper uniforms giving the well know stiff-arm salute. The Klan had done that salute for years, and some think the American Nazis may have borrowed it and exported it to Germany. While Klansmen and Nazis rubbed elbows and spouted hate speeches, the Nazi flag bearing the swastika and the U.S. Stars and Stripes flew boldly side-by-side. The Confederate battle flag had not yet been misappropriated by either group, nor would it be so for many years to come.
Those who insist on removing from view all symbols that act as reminders of hate, oppression, or intimidation could begin their historical house cleaning by changing the U.S. flag. Or, you could consider that each flag has two sides and two stories.
A more productive action would be to acknowledge that a growing number of students and adults revere the historic Confederate battle flag, not as a racist symbol, but as a strong emblem of history and heritage. And its not just white heritage; it belongs to Hispanics, Native Americans, and the descendents of Black Americans who fought as soldiers or otherwise served the Confederate Army. Or is the popular concept of diversity limited only to certain subjects and groups?
If students want to wear Confederate flag images to school, let them lead discussion groups to convey what the historic flags mean to them. Allow those students to share their heritage and discuss the history of their ancestors who fought in the War Between the States (erroneously called a Civil War). Our schools should be for learning, not for suppressing legitimate history.
Men of honor, valor, and courage followed the Confederate flag into battle only for the short span of a single war, fighting an oppressive Federal government for the freedom they believed in. And that is the only history by which their descendents prefer to see their banner remembered. The strength of a flag does not lie in its fabric or color, but with the spirit of those who died defending the beliefs for which it stood. To that end, the United States and Confederate battle flags share much common ground.
Accurate history is seldom a friend to liberals.
Well stated article. The Confederate Bashers will be here soon!
The continual redefinition of all things Dixie only as racist is intellectually dishonest.
I am not a southerner by birth but I want to fly this flag just to be in their face.
The Confederate flag has simply become more over-paid "work" for the ACLU (American Communist Losers Union).
"I hate Illinois Nazis."
And to people who hate us, what does the American flag stand for?
I figure we should at least wait a day or two after the inauguration, just out of courtesy. I'll think of a few new campaign ideas this weekend. We'll coast our way right through this thing.
One-eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was somehow the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union even by war, while the Government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it.The pride surrounding symbols of the Confederacy disappoints me. But as a greater fan of our First Amendment, I accept that others express it.
You have my OK. By the power vested in me by the State of Alabama, you are hereby granted Full Southern Citizenship. I'll email you some cornbread and Sweet tea!
Yall come give Adder a Big Ol Howdy!
GO FOR IT!
Flag vendors saw a huge spike in sales when the lefties removed the SC Battleflag. It's been non-stop ever since. The largest CBF was hoisted in FL a few years ago.
Folks who never thought about the CBF found a new reason to love Dixie. Fly it high! Hurrah!
What many people don't remember, or would rather not know is that many black slave owners believed in their rights to own slaves and fought under the Confederate flag.
We'll never be able to appease the black people who won't let the issue of slavery die, no matter what solution we come up with.
My ancestors fought this revolution. I am very intrigued and proud of my family history - it was the typical southern history. My ancestors were slave owners; they sired children by their black mistresses, and subsequently willed land to these women and their children, and adopted the children.
I've mulled this issue over and over for a few years now, and have done alot of research into my family's involvement in slavery. I have decided I it's not worth battling over this issue of keeping the Confederate flag.
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