“It’s A Flag Waiting For a Nation” Kevin Levin May 4, 2010 @KevinLevin 18 comments Civil War Culture, Lost Cause, Memory black Confederates, Confederate Flag, Sons of Confederate Veterans I wonder what possessed these SCV members to bring their slaves with them to this ceremony. I don’t really recommend sitting through all of Bob Hurst’s address. Share this Post Pin It No related posts. 18 comments… add one Andy Hall May 4, 2010, 4:14 pm It’s so awesome when Hurst comments on the beautiful weather, and the camera pans up — to show the underside of the awning. (Yeah, that’s all as far as I got.) Reply marc Ferguson May 4, 2010, 6:29 pm Oh dear, oh dear… you have to wonder if some well-intentioned soul once told these people they needed a hobby… Reply Bruce Miller May 4, 2010, 6:46 pm His reference to Germans flying the Confederate battle flag after the fall of the Berlin Wall is grotesque. The Confederate flag is sometimes used in Germany by far right and neo-Nazi group because displaying the Nazi flag is illegal there. Reply Kevin Levin May 5, 2010, 12:56 am Bruce, This is one of those moments where you have to decide whether to jump in to correct all the false claims. The risk you run is that you never come out the other side. Reply Ron May 5, 2010, 2:39 am I don’t know whether to laugh (at his attempt to pronounce “Je me souviens”) or to scream. Thanks for sharing this clip. This is the farthest thing from remembering the past and dead ancestors; looks more like a distortion of recent history and current events to me. I didn’t realize that the Confederate flag was such an inspiring symbol around the world….And how could any African-American share the stage with this “officer”–do they realize they are being exploited so as to enforce the myth that blacks somehow supported the Confederacy? Reply Kevin Levin May 5, 2010, 2:42 am I think it is safe to conclude that the black individuals on stage are just as ignorant of the relevant history as their white counterparts. These ceremonies have much more to do with modern political/cultural issues than they do about anything having to with history. Reply Raffi May 5, 2010, 12:20 pm Kevin, While I agree this whole thing is nonsense, I am surprised at the fact that he has his flag distinctions right (national versus battle), which is more than many SCV members I have encountered have done! But one thing I would warn about your comment in the original post and your reply here concerning the black individuals on the stage is be careful not to sound patronizing. It can sound like you’re implying that they can’t think for themselves and are letting the white individuals think for them; it can sound like denying the agency they have, and the equal ability to make these decisions for themselves. We haven’t talked to them, we don’t know why there are on that stage, so to assume it is at the wish of the white individuals can sound very patronizing. They have their own voices, and we don’t need to speak for those individuals without evidence. Just because we don’t like that we see them there, doesn’t mean we can assume why they are there to fit our narrative, because to do so can put us in a similar situation as some of the SCV clowns who perpetuate this nonsense: to deny the agency and self-awareness of African Americans in the South. So again, I agree this is nonsense, but we must be careful in how we analyze it. Reply Kevin Levin May 5, 2010, 1:03 pm Thanks for the warning, but I don’t think anything I’ve said can be interpreted as patronizing. I’ve been pretty clear in all my posts on this subject that black Americans involved in these ceremonies can be just as misinformed as their white counterparts. Of course, I don’t know why those men are onstage, but I can venture a guess it’s not because they believe they are playing slaves. I don’t know what narrative you are referring to toward the end of your comment. They may be there for any number of reasons and I make no claims to speak for them beyond some speculation which I linked to in an earlier comment. Regardless of why they are there they are clearly misinformed and likely because of information passed on by the SCV. Thanks Raffi. Reply EarthTone May 5, 2010, 3:27 am A related issue is that the country hasn’t found a way to “comfortably” commemorate the institution of slavery. I’ve been browsing through Slavery and Public History: The Tough Stuff of American Memory by Horton and Horton. It reminds me that all over the South, we have these kinds of events, noted above, to honor the CSA, but very few which talk to the experiences of the slaves. So, there’s no “counter narrative,” if you will, that shows, let’s say, the “dark” side of the CSA. And even more – southern Unionists may be the real invisible men (and women) in these remembrances. I wonder how many ceremonies are held in the honor of those folks? There’s a lot of southern memory that needs to be re-claimed in our public memory and public events. Reply Kevin Levin May 5, 2010, 3:45 am ET, You may be interested in this post that I wrote some time ago: http://cwmemory.com/2006/09/15/the-real-price-of-forgetting-the-past/ Reply Kevin Levin May 5, 2010, 10:01 am The Horton book is a great place to start on this subject. I highly recommend it. Reply Robert Moore May 5, 2010, 4:10 pm “And even more – southern Unionists may be the real invisible men (and women) in these remembrances. I wonder how many ceremonies are held in the honor of those folks?” I couldn’t agree more. Regretfully, I think any ceremonies or events to recognize Southern Unionists will be few and far between. This is why Southerners interested in the full-bodied version of the South in the war, need to step up and join together in independent initiatives to make those long lost voices heard again. It would be tremendously sad if the Sesquicentennial passed without so much as a hint of the sacrifices made by these “other Southerners” and otherwise obscured by a much heavier legacy of the Lost Cause. Reply Andy Hall May 5, 2010, 11:48 am Interesting, the video shows a Confederate MIA/POW flag that this particular camp sells to raise money. These guys know they ain’t comin’ back, right? Oh, well. At least it’s not in sequins, on a prom dress. Reply Confederate Nation May 6, 2010, 3:29 pm Hey Andy, We know their not coming back. Neither are the pows from all the other wars that were not accounted for. That includes misinformed liberals who think they know everything about everybody. In the end you may have won the war, but what did you really win? Entitlement programs, affirmative action, welfare, fatherless families, food stamps, and last but not least you won Barrack Obama, the first socialist president of the U.S. Hope you are really proud of yourselves. Now make sure you call me a “racist”, “bigot” “redneck” or anyother adjutive you would like to use. In the end you can’t argue facts, you can only call names and condem those who don’t think like you. You and people like you are pathetic. Reply Kevin Levin May 6, 2010, 4:17 pm Thanks for the comment. It sounds to me like your interest in the flag is much more about modern political issues than the history of the Civil War. In the end, you’ve got a very strange understanding of the consequences of the Civil War. You essentially jumped from 1865 to the 1960s. Reply Andy Hall May 7, 2010, 3:46 am Thanks for your comment. The sun is shining this morning, the mockingbirds are singing, and it looks to be a fine day. Reply Eric Roy May 7, 2010, 7:11 am If anyone here has not been following Doonesbury’s current series of strips about Confederate History Month and certain Civil War re-enactors, it is perfect in every way concerning the discussion on this blog re: history vs. current politics. I think today’s installment (5/7/10) sums it up. http://www.doonesbury.com/strip/dailydose/index.html Reply Nat Turners Son May 8, 2010, 6:00 am Well one thing I know it is a Flag without a Country because that Nation died with the end of the Civil War. Reply Leave a Comment Cancel Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email.