Big Ass Confederate Flag Coming to a Highway Near You

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Plans are underway to place a large Confederate flag measuring 30 feet high and 50 feet long — atop a 139-foot pole at the junction of Interstate 75 and Interstate 4 in Tampa, Florida.  The project is being funded by the Sons of Confederate Veterans who believe that this is the most effective way to share the rich history of the Confederate South.  Two other flags have already been placed, one in Suwannee County along Interstate 75 and one in Havana along U.S. 27.  Plaques will be included at the base of what is being billed as the largest Confederate flag in the country.  Of course, it wouldn't be complete without a marker honoring all those "black Confederate veterans." 

Apparently, the group only needs $30,000 more to complete the project.  I don't know how much has already been expended between these three flags, but given all of the misunderstanding claimed by the SCV regarding its history and the Civil War, wouldn't these funds be better utilized elsewhere?  What exactly does a large flag accomplish in a section of the state that has struggled with its history?  So now, in addition to seeing the Confederate flag on beach towels, bathing suits, key chains, bed sheets, we can also see it from Florida's highways.  Sorry, but it is hard to take groups like the SCV seriously when this is
the best they can do to point us in the direction of the past.

18 comments… add one

  • Mannie Gentile May 31, 2008

    A 30 by 50 flag on a 139 foot pole in hurricane country? Hope they plan on buying a couple spares.

    Mannie

  • Kevin Levin May 31, 2008

    Mannie, — In the event of such a catastrophe I have no doubt that black and white Floridians would come together to rebuild.

    On a more positive note I understand that this is your first weekend back to work at Antietam. I wish you all the best as I know how passionate you are about your job with the NPS. It is comforting to know that yours is the face that will greet so many visitors this summer. Enjoy!

  • Jenny May 31, 2008

    Maybe they are trying to outdo the I-65 eyesore outside Nashville? See e.g. http://brentkmoore.blogspot.com/2006/07/how-to-retaliate-against-zoning.html (there’s more pictures on Flickr)

    In 2000 or so a group of us from AOL got together for a Civil War tour. That’s when I saw, that, um, “thing” while driving down I-65. It was so ugly, gaudy, and prominent.

    I suppose if you were trying to give zoning officials the proverbial finger, this was a creative and very effective way to do it …

  • Kevin Levin May 31, 2008

    Hi Jenny, — Nice to hear from you. One day you will be able to jog from one end of the country to the other all within eye-shot of these flags.

  • Anonymous May 31, 2008

    You don’t even live in Florida, why would you care?

  • Kevin Levin May 31, 2008

    Hello Inverness, Florida, — I care a great deal about how we choose to use our public and private spaces to commemorate and remember the Civil War. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

  • Richard Jun 1, 2008

    Why you would invest time and money in this endeavor is beyond me. This is off topic but here it goes. My interest lie in the study of race in the Civil War and Reconstruction periods and thats what first brought me to this blog. I find very little responsible discussion on this topic on the Internet. Anyway, while reading the Fayettville Observer yesterday in the NC archives I came across an interesting statement that made me think of your research on The Crater. This relates to the battle of Kinston/New Bern. I was researching the capture of the Kinston 22. The article describes Confederate Troops being taken by train to Dover and realizing they will be going to New Bern. It says “Before we had gone very far we learned that we were probably going to Newbern, and it seemed more than probable that we were, and we anticipated a jolly time pitching into the negro troops there.”
    http://www.rrphillips.com/kinston_22/index.htm

  • Kevin Levin Jun 1, 2008

    Richard, — First, thanks for the reference to Newbern. I’m not quite sure what is so troubling to you. I’ve been commenting on news items related to the Civil War/memory/Confederate culture, etc. since the beginning of this blog back in Nov. 2005. I actually do have a purpose in collecting all of these stories, but if you don’t find them interesting than you don’t have to read.

    That said, I do hope that your continual reading of this blog is a sign that you do find much of it to be of interest. Thanks again Richard for sharing your thoughts.

  • John Maass Jun 4, 2008

    There is a video clip about the flag available here: http://www.ireport.com/docs/DOC-30889

    Sure is a big flag.

  • toby Jun 5, 2008

    For anyone with an interest in the Civil War, this is a horrible story.

    In a documentary film about German racist skinheads, on the wall of one of their clubs was a Confederate flag with the words “The South will rise again”. One should not be surprised by the English – most young Germans have it as a second language, thinks to American & British films, music & TV.

    But it gives you a queasy feeling to see the Confederate flag alongside anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim slogans, and used by people who beat up Jews and non-Germans for fun.

    It just shows how devalued the flag has become, and the main damage has come from people who profess to love it. By making it an object of modern significance, it has been undermined and turned into a symbol of division and (for many) intolerance and hatred. Better to have left it in the nobler, mythical past with Lee, Davis and Jackson.

  • Heather Jun 10, 2008

    You might find tonight’s Colbert Report (specifically “The Word” segment) to be an interesting watch…

  • albert johnson Nov 3, 2008

    I love the flag!!!!!!!!!!!! Thanks,

  • Steve "Mac " McAllister Jan 23, 2011

    The ONLY thing Mr. Levin has no understand of the deep feeling’s of pride and honor
    the battle flag brings to all true Southerners who view it, especially when it is at full
    flag because of wind.
    The ONLY people who view the Confederate Battle Flag as a symbol of racisisum are
    those who do not know, refuse to accept, or choose to ignore to documented fact’s
    concerning the struggle for Souther Independence. Additionally, while all of these people insist that they have the “right” to belittle the flag or the Southern cause, and that everyone should be “tolorent” of THEIR view’s (regardless of how wrong) , and be respectful of THEIR view’s and belief’s, THEIR “Right” to Freedom Of Speech, none of these peolpe are willing to afford those of us who disagree the same right’s and freedom’s to express our view’s, and belief’s, and to show honor to our ancestor’s.
    We are increasingly becoming a Socialist style Nation where, amoung other things, you are only allowed to voice an opinion or demonstrate a belief IF it agrees with the
    powers that be.
    Yes, I could talk/write more but I’m sure that it would only be received on deaf ear’s or the ear’s of those who constantly show a total disregard for the truth regarding
    the valuent struggle of our ancestor’s.

    Steve “Mac” McAllister
    PROUD Americian and,
    PROUD Member, S.C.V.
    January 23, 2011

    .

    • Kevin Levin Jan 23, 2011

      Mr. McAllister,

      Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts.

    • Will Stoutamire Jan 23, 2011

      Mr. McAllister,

      One might point out how the SCV’s ability to fly this huge flag or your ability to post a contrary position in this discussion are perfect examples of how your freedom of speech is absolutely not being abridged. Please do not confuse someone disagreeing with your perspective or that of the SCV with someone attacking your right to have a perspective and voice it. Two very different things, but a common false equivalency.

      I also might wonder, what exactly is a true Southerner? My familial roots in the South date to before the Revolution and my paternal ancestor fought for the Confederacy, yet I do not believe the Lost Cause or support the SCV; am I not Southern enough for you? What about an African American man or woman whose ancestors were brought to South Carolina 300 years ago and who only knows and loves “the South,” yet who sees the battle flag as an offensive symbol of slavery and/or historical opposition to civil rights? Or a resident of northeastern Alabama, whose Unionist ancestors fought against the Confederacy?

      I suppose I know your answer to these questions, but I thought I would just try to get you thinking about making such grand statements as “true Southerner.” It seems to be that “true Southerner” is about as useful a term as “real American” – catchy, but riddled with holes.

      • Bob Huddleston Jan 24, 2011

        Will wrote: “One might point out how the SCV’s ability to fly this huge flag or your ability to post a contrary position in this discussion are perfect examples of how your freedom of speech is absolutely not being abridged. ”
        Well put: Confederate Romantics ignore the lack of free speech in the ante-bellum slave states, free speech limitations which the slave state leadership wanted to make national with their demands that Yankees stop agitating for emancipation.

  • Andy Hall Jan 23, 2011
    • Kevin Levin Jan 23, 2011

      Thanks Andy. Nothing like a big ass Confederate flag to stir controversy. :)

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