“Obama Has Been Bloodied By It”

Civil War Culture, Lost Cause

Update: It looks like the SHPG decided to take down the post, which should not come as a surprise to those of you familiar with this group.

I hesitate sharing this with you, but it is another wonderful example why the Confederate flag is slowly receding from public view.  It should come as no surprise that this screenshot comes from the Southern Heritage Preservation (facebook) Group.  The image was posted by Gary Adams, whose commentary is unintelligible.  Now I have no idea who is responsible for this sick image, but what I find incredible about the comments that follow is that these are the same people who claim with a straight face that the flag does not have racial overtones.

Anyone with even a little knowledge of American history knows the dark story of lynching and organized violence against African Americans during the 1950s and 60s – often in full view of a Confederate flag.  John Stones doesn’t know how right he is.  Many African Americans have been bloodied by that banner and given his role as group administrator one would think that Stones would be more careful if we assume that he simply does not understand the historical context of his own words.  In this case I am not going to give Stones or “Virginia Southron” the benefit of the doubt.  They mean exactly what they say.

It is interesting that the very same people who argue that the flag has no connection to a racist past are the very same people who here reinforce its connection better than anyone.  It truly is the “gift that keeps on giving.”

26 comments… add one

  • Tony Oct 24, 2012

    Most lynchings of blacks occurred between 1890-1940 and then tapered off by the 1950′s and 1960′s.

    • Kevin Levin Oct 24, 2012

      Hi Tony,

      Yeah, that was a poorly constructed sentence on my part. Thanks.

      • Bryan Cheeseboro Oct 25, 2012

        I don’t disagree with Tony’s understanding of the facts but I don’t know how “poorly constructed” your sentence is, either, Kevin. What you wrote does not suggest that most lynchings occurred dring the 1950s and 1960s- it just says for the lynchings that occurred during those times, they were often “in full view of a Confederate flag.” Granted, I don’t really know this because wasn’t there (I wasn’t born until 1965) but it’s just as well because if I had been, they would have lynched me, too. The 1880s through the early 20th Ceuntry is understood by many as being the nadir of American race relations.

        But as far as the 1950s and 1960s, I have to share this story. several years ago, I read an article in a newspaper titled, “Their killers Still Walk Free.” The story was about six Black men who had been killed by racist violence and the White men who most likely killed them, who evaded justice on this earth but as they approached the end of their lives, realized they were getting closer and closer to the moment they would stand before God and have to give an account of the things they had done. Anyway, what really struck me about the news article was that all of the murder victims except for one were killed in my lifetime. So much for what some people say about “all that racism stuff” happening so long ago, as if it happened before anybody alive today was born, and not having anything to do with today.

        • Andy Hall Oct 25, 2012

          Bryan, that’s exactly right. The violence of the Civil Rights Movement era is important not because it was more widespread than in decades past, or because it was worse, but because it happened within living memory, within the memory of millions of Americans living today, including a substantial portion of the folks who populate that group.

          The Confederate Heritage™ movement in general has built up a self-affirming fantasy that the reputation of the Confederate flag has been tarnished by extremist groups — a few bad apples, as it were — while decent, God-fearing Christians have never used that as a racial intolerance and intimidation. That’s not even remotely true, but it makes them feel better.

          There’s no excuse for this sort of self-delusion and dishonesty, except to point out that it’s necessary for them in order to continue to actively embrace those symbols as their own. It’s a lie as much to convince themselves as to convince others. But every now and then, they have an unguarded moment, and some rancid foolishness like the thread above bubbles up to the surface. They can’t help themselves; it’s who they are.

          And it’s going to get worse before it gets better.

          • Bryan Cheeseboro Oct 25, 2012

            “And it’s going to get worse before it gets better.”

            I think it will get worse but I wonder if it will ever get better. I don’t see many of these people ever coming to rational understanding.

            I have no problem with Confederate flags at reenactments or on soldiers’ graves or any other historical contexts but Al Sharpton was right when he said that flag is “America’s Swastika.” The SHPG thread really proves this.

  • Tony Oct 24, 2012

    Kevin,
    Yeah, I wasn’t trying to sound snarky I just did research on lynching while getting my bachelors in history at DePaul University. If anyone is interested in the topic of lynching there was a really great monograph recently published by Amy Louise Wood titled “Lynching and Spectacle.”

    • Kevin Levin Oct 24, 2012

      Hi Tony,

      I don’t mind at all. I guess what I was relying too much on folks emphasizing lynching and organized violence as denoting a broader span of time. Wood’s book is an excellent suggestion. I would also add Fitz Brundage’s Lynching in the New South.

  • Charles Bowery Oct 24, 2012

    Just last week I had an acquaintance of mine tell me that there is no racist component to dislike of President Obama in this country. It’s a “red herring,” to quote him.

    My fellow citizens disappoint and frighten me.

    • Kevin Levin Oct 24, 2012

      I am sure that in this case it’s simply a disagreement about policy. :-)

  • Brooks D. Simpson Oct 24, 2012

    As usual, once outed for who they are, they removed it.

  • Andy Hall Oct 24, 2012

    Looks like it’s gone now, down the memory hole. But not before John C. Hall, Jr., of Dublin, Georgia, posted

    Schwarzer Mann gehört nicht in der Nähe unserer Flagge!
    (Black man is not close to our flag!)

    Apparently that’s the way they do things in “Dixy.” He’s quite a piece of work, that one.

    It’s also worth noting that two of the people commenting in that screen capture above are long-standing members and officers in that group, and Stones is the chaplain — ostensibly someone who might otherwise serve as a the moral conscience of that group.

    • Kevin Levin Oct 24, 2012

      Can’t say I am surprised.

  • Bummer Oct 25, 2012

    I had relatives on both sides of the racial divide. As a young boy, a clear memory of my great uncle who was a chain gang guard in southern Missouri, when asked if he had ever shot anyone replied, “never shot any white men”. I remember how his comment confused me. I asked my father and he related that people were all different and that time, circumstances and environment sometimes dictated peoples thinking.
    It still baffled me.
    An event at our dinner table, when I was ten going on thirty, I used the N-word, my father slapped me out of my chair and admonished me to “never use the word again in his company.
    I learned from other relatives that my father’s mother was very ill after his birth. A neighboring black farmer’s wife had nursed my father when he was an infant.
    The farming community where my father’s family lived was inhabited by mainly subsistence laborers, poor, white and black, neighbors were, more often than not, split along a racist mentality.
    The Klan was active in the community and my father’s younger brother had a completely different racial mindset than my dad’s.
    Community violence, in rural southern Missouri as told to me, seemed almost a way of life, even though the church was a mainstay in all families. This post is a reminder of the undertones of a divided people, of lost causes and of a mystery that is still hard for me to fathom today.
    There is so much to share on this topic and the impact it had on my genesis, it will just have to wait for another time and place.

    Bummer

    • Kevin Levin Oct 25, 2012

      Fascinating story and thanks for sharing.

  • Rob Baker Oct 25, 2012

    Can’t say that I am surprised. It seems like the post is missing a few comments though. Was there an initial post comment with the picture or was it posted as is?

  • Michaela Levin Oct 25, 2012

    Actually the translation of the German sentence is: “Black man does not belong in the vicinity of our flag”. Of course, as the “elite” minds of the SHPG go, the grammar in the German sentence is wrong. However, I am not surprised to see that they use the German language for racial slurs. If they were in Germany they probably would still find many arguments why Hitler was such a “success”…all in the “gentle” spirit of “heritage”, excluding Jews, commies and the rest of “them”. The only thing that makes my day is that the overall education these people enjoy and their general attitude to life, especially their choice of diet will statistically make enough a difference that they croak earlier than the average person in the US. Bless their heart!

    • Rob Baker Oct 25, 2012

      What’s interesting is that you are wrong for the most hilarious of reasons.

      They (SHPG) would more likely compare Hitler to us (historians) as the PC fascist crowd. Funny right?

      • Mike Musick Oct 25, 2012

        It is true that the Confederate battle flag was in evidence in demonstrations against the civil rights movement. On the other hand, at the “Rally on the High Ground” conference at Ford’s Theater in 2000, I heard a distinguished historian remark on the presence of that flag at lynchings. This intrigued me sufficently to go over a book of lynching photographs (most taken for widely distributed postcards). It’s horrifying and grisly evidence, but nowhere in these pictures was there a Confederate flag. This may well be due to the fact, as noted by John Coski, that the widespread display of the CBF did not occur until the 1940s -1950s, but it’s worth noting. I can recall Virginia newspaper editorials in the 1960s that made the case for display of that flag only in solemn, respectful, and appropriate historical context.

        • Kevin Levin Oct 25, 2012

          That is my understanding as well.

        • Bryan Cheeseboro Oct 26, 2012

          Someone once showed me the book “Without Sanctuary: Lynching Photography in America ” and you’re right, Mike- I don’t recall seeing any Confederate flags or any other flags, for that matter- in any of those photographs.

          However, I would still associate the Confederate Battle Flag with lynching, as part of the whole atmosphere of racism, segregation, Jim Crow and violence against African-Americans since the flag was created. And I realize you’re not saying, “Well, the flag is not in any of the pictures, so it has nothing to do with racism.” If anything, it says that racist people simply didn’t need a flag to unleash their hatred on Blacks.

  • Billy Bearden Oct 25, 2012
    • Kevin Levin Oct 26, 2012

      I realize the flag was created by this group, but that doesn’t have anything to do with the commentary on the SHPG. What I find funny is that you don’t condemn it as a misuse of a symbol that you supposedly venerate.

      • Billy Bearden Oct 26, 2012

        I have expressed my negative opinion of this flag elsewhere. Consider it done here too, just so I dont have to lie awake at night worrying about you laughing at me :D

        • Kevin Levin Oct 26, 2012

          We don’t want there to be any questions about your priorities, Billy. Thanks for the clarification.

  • Eric A. Jacobson Oct 26, 2012

    A strange combination of images to be sure, but having looked at the DailyKos site, the concoction is not what I thought it was when I first saw it on the SHPG site. The image that was the SHPG site shows the left side of Obama’s face covered in red whereas the “true” image shows the right side covered in red, as his campaign posters showed. Again, strange it may be, but the world is filled with strange creations. So am I missing something? Did someone recreate the image for the SHPG site?

    • Andy Hall Oct 26, 2012

      Eric, the banner covered by DailyKos may have been the inspiration for the design of this one, but this is a new concoction — the Kos one uses the famous Shepard Fairey poster design, while this one uses a different photo all together. I doubt Gary put this one together; Lord knows where he found it or what the original intent was. This is a case where the original document does not reveal as much as the reaction to it does.

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