The Confederate Flag has been thrust into the national spot light, after years of public discussion dormancy. Having lived in the south my entire life – Virginia, North Carolina and Georgia – I’ve witnessed its transition from flying over state capitols and local government buildings, to being displayed on personal property, bumper stickers and license plates.
Soldiers of the Confederacy (fathers, brothers, uncles, nephews, etc.) were fighting for the preservation of the southern economy, traditions and quality of life against their Yankee enemies. These are the primary factors descendants of the Confederacy and their supporters take pride in while touting the strength and courage these men displayed defending the mainstay of southern existence.
Today the symbol of the Confederate Flag held high by most of these descendants and sympathizers comes with a newer softer message…“Heritage Not Hate.” It’s as if this is about taking pride in mint juleps, willow trees, southern peach pie and The Dukes of Hazard.
They claim their heritage and pride isn’t about oppression, racism or slavery and that persons who use the flag in this deplorable manner, only lurk on the fringes of our current society. In my opinion at least the supposed “fringe” represents the flag as it was intended. If we are to speak about southern pride and heritage of the Confederacy we must include the enslavement of Africans. These Africans were not citizens (African Americans) of the United States, they were slaves who were the property of their southern slave holders. Their enslavement supported the economy of the southern states which reinforced and maintained the southern traditions and way of life the south fought to maintain during the Civil War.
It’s puzzling why “Heritage Not Hate” Confederate Flag defenders don’t know or choose to ignore this large portion of American history. What is even more troubling is why they don’t fully know the history of the “Stainless Banner”, which was the second Confederate States of America flag.
The creator of the “Stainless Banner” William Tappan Thompson made it very clear not only what the south was fighting for but why they were fighting. In 1863 Thompson who referred to his new design as “The White Man’s Flag” stated;
“As a people we are fighting to maintain the Heaven-ordained supremacy of the white man over the inferior or colored race; a white flag would thus be emblematical of our cause.”
Dear Heritage Not Hate supporters, The Confederate Flags represents heritage AND hate. Your emotions and pride can’t change facts or history.