Do You Really Know the History of the Confederate Flag? Really?

Some people have responded to recent comments about the Confederate flag saying others need a history lesson that the current flag flying is a representation of a memorial of the service of the confederate and CSA. Well, as I typically do, I had to go research the issue and learn all about the history of the flag.

It is ironic that what people think they know about the flag is mostly untrue or incorrect. And while the flag has some relation to the confederate soldier and service it is the hijacking of the flag in the late 1940s by the KKK and segregationists that creates divisiveness.

Even NASCAR, a predominately southern focused organization with North Carolina roots has called the flag an “insensitive symbol” and wants to “eliminate the presence of the flag.” Dale Earnhart, Jr and Jeff Gordon both back the proposal.

“It is offensive to an entire race,” said Earnhardt, voted as the sport’s most popular driver 12 times in the Sprint Cup Series. “It really does nothing for anybody to be there flying. It belongs in the history books, and that’s about it.”

Added Gordon: “It’s a delicate balance. We race all over, but the South is an area where we have a lot of fans. Everyone has different opinions and expression of that.” – Source

One of the better videos that describes its segregation history is below.

But another good video that provides multiple points of view include this one from years ago.

So when people say it only represents bravery in a historical context they are overlooking the use of the Confederate battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia as a banner of hatred, less in history, but more in recent memory by segregationists and the KKK.

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The Confederate battle flag was not raised over the State of South Carolina capitol until April 11, 1961. And for the group of people most impacted by the negative meaning of the flag, African-Americans, a 2005 poll found that 74% of African-Americans favored removing the flag from the State House altogether. – Source

If you want a larger history lesson on the origins of the flag, click here.

So the larger issue is not that the flag has a plurality of meanings but how to filter out the meanings so people who see it understand the context in which you display it.

I think these guys below are not using it to celebrate historical contextual bravery of CSA soldiers.


So while you may have a right to fly the flag, others who see your display have the right to think you are a big racist asshole.

The flag deserves to be in a museum and in history books, but it probably is not a symbol of truly understanding the history of how it was used in modern history for hate.

The flag actually flies here in Wake Forest in the Town Cemetery in a historical context on the graves of CSA soldiers. And not on the graves of KKK members. In the historical context it is probably reasonable and acceptable, again understanding that bit of history.

“Nevertheless, the fact of widespread American historical racism is no excuse to blindly claim that the Confederate flag has nothing to do with racism and slavery. History is clear about the flag’s unfortunate connotations, and it’s a history that you can’t separate from the stars and bars. There’s plenty of other symbols of southern pride that ALL southerners — and all Americans — can get behind (like sweet tea; damn that stuff’s good), so let’s leave the Confederate flag where it belongs: to history.” – Source

So finally, in what context do you think the recent Charleston, South Carolina shooter Dylan Roof was using the flag in the photo below? History lesson of CSA bravery or racial hatred?

Dylan Roof flag

And therein lies the problem with the flag.

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