Susan Hathaway, Rob Walker Jr. and the Virginia Flaggers Have Some Explaining To Do

Michael Givens (SCV) and Susan Hathaway on the Boulevard in Richmond, Va.

Michael Givens (SCV) and Susan Hathaway on the Boulevard in Richmond, Va.

Brooks Simpson has learned from the Richmond Police Department that there is no report related to a supposed vandalism incident that took place on Thursday at the Jefferson Davis Monument in Richmond.  According to the police: ““We can find no record of such an incident ever occurring.”  According to Hathaway’s posting, Mr. Walker called the police, so there would be a record. Given the details of the report written by Virginia Flagger, Susan Hathaway, it is safe to assume that it is doubtful that the incident took place.

It is now time for Hathaway and Walker to explain themselves.  I assume the Virginia Flaggers themselves will want an explanation given the fact that so many commented on and/or shared the story through various social media channels such as Facebook.  How embarrassing.  Here is how Hathaway explained what took place at the Davis Monument:

We do not believe there are ANY coincidences or happenstance in what has transpired since we began our work 20 months ago.  There is no denying God’s hand in this… in bringing Rob to Monument Ave. last November, and then, miraculously again last night at the exact moment and time to prevent what could have been irreparable damage to one of our most treasured monuments AND facilitating the first arrest (that we are aware of) of these punk vandals that have no regard for the rule of law:  neither God’s nor man’s. – Susan Hathaway, Virginia Flaggers

Given the religious culture of the Flaggers this may turn out to be the most offensive aspect of this whole story.  Who is going to “Restore the Honor” of the Virginia Flaggers?

You may remember that yesterday I shared a previous comment from Walker, who claimed to have only a professional interest in the Flaggers.  Not only can that claim be challenged, but I would suggest his professional reputation as a documentary filmmaker is also at risk.

The Virginia Flaggers are notorious for their attention-seeking antics.  Well, they may have achieved that goal beyond their wildest dreams.  I do hope that Susan Hathaway and others take advantage of the opportunity if the Richmond Times-Dispatch and other news outlets choose to follow up on this story.

23 thoughts on “Susan Hathaway, Rob Walker Jr. and the Virginia Flaggers Have Some Explaining To Do

  1. Rob Baker

    Bizarre. Following this story has been an emotional roller coaster. I am wondering what is real, what is embellished, and what is fabrication.

    Reply
    1. Kevin Levin Post author

      Ultimately, it doesn’t really matter what is true or false. The principal players involved had an opportunity to respond to the questions posed to them through different channels. That silence speaks volumes. I anticipate that the usual suspects will rally around Hathaway and Walker, but beyond that their reputation has been significantly damaged if it wasn’t already.

      Reply
      1. Rob Baker

        I’ve got to respectfully disagree with that. This event, if minuscule in fact, or simply non-existent, serves as a terrific example of “memory” in action. How many people took this story as fact, and will not bother to look any further than her statements? It’s a fable, that may or may not be based in truth, that might very well manifest into Southern Heritage lore.

        You are right about reputation. Though it seems that the people that see Hathaway and Walker’s reputation as damaged on this occasion, are in the minority. The majority of people that pay her and other flaggers attention will likely continue on in bliss. We shall see in the long run.

        Reply
          1. Rob Baker

            Sorry for not elaborating. You said “Ultimately, it doesn’t really matter what is true or false.”

            That’s what I disagreed with. Though I think now that you were referring to their silence rendering the details of the case moot, rather than it simply not mattering.

            Reply
  2. Jimmy Dick

    This is becoming an apparent bid for attention by the flaggers. The general public doesn’t give a care about them. I do not think this will do much for them because they need something to sustain their beliefs and it just isn’t happening.

    Reply
    1. Kevin Levin Post author

      Anyone who has followed them over the past year or so is aware of their attempts at publicity. Susan Hathaway once Flagged the History Mobile in Fredericksburg not too long ago. A friend of mine who is in the NPS inquired whether she had ever actually toured the truck. Of course, she had not. Same holds true for their picketing outside the MOC in Appomattox.

      They could easily have focused their energies on something productive at the Pelham Chapel in Richmond, but instead they chose a different route. I am still not clear as to who is ultimately responsible for this story. Did Walker make it up to gain more attention to his Flagger documentary and Hathaway just ran with it?

      Reply
  3. Larry Cebula

    This reminds me very much of the time I single-handedly saved the Earth from an alien invasion, using only a Swiss Army knife and my fast wit. Of course the government covered the whole thing up to avoid mass panic, but it TOTALLY HAPPENED.

    Reply
    1. Kevin Levin Post author

      First, thank you for your service.

      The Virginia Flaggers mission is to convince the rest of the community that Confederate heritage is under assault. Nothing up til now has worked, which leads directly to just making it up. I am surprised that the two individuals in question weren’t described as wearing Che Guevara t-shirts, which would have completed the picture.

      Reply
  4. Andy Hall

    It struck me as a little odd at the time that Walker’s film-making focused on Oakwood Cemetery, when the Flaggers’ (and Tripp Lewis’) main focus locally — their flagship project, as it were — has always been the VMFA. Now I know why — at the same time he was following Lewis around at Oakwood, he was in the running for (and subsequently was awarded) a 2013-14 VMFA Visual Arts Fellowship.

    Reply
    1. Kevin Levin Post author

      And the plot thickens. I wonder if the Flaggers are aware that Walker was awarded a VMFA fellowship. :-)

      Reply
    2. Kevin Levin Post author

      Just a few minutes late on the irony of it all. Walker will likely use the money from the VMFA to produce a documentary about the Flaggers.

      Reply
  5. Jonathan Mahaffey

    After losing the Civil War, being imprisoned by the Federals, and (more recently) having his home wiped out by Katrina, Jefferson Davis must be glad God is finally looking out for him, even if it is only in statuary form!

    Reply
    1. Kevin Levin Post author

      Perhaps he doesn’t care if the story is fabricated just as long as he is remembered at all. :-)

      Reply
    2. Jonathan Mahaffey

      I am genuinely curious, if preventing this vandalism qualifies as a sign of divine favor over the Flaggers’ cause, how do they fit the defeat of the Confederacy into their religious worldview? My impression is that their Confederate ancestors saw their defeat as a chastisement from God, though not necessarily for slavery itself but rather for the manner its was implemented in the South. But I don’t think that view would fit into the mindset of modern Confederate apologists who refuse to think slavery was really that bad or that their honorable, Christian ancestors were capable of such sin. Given that assumption on their part, why then did God allow the Confederacy to lose? Was it a chastisement, but for a lesser sin or some minor impiety? Or have they so idolized their ancestors and demonized the Yankees that they view the Civil War as an instance of religious persecution by the pagan North against the Christian South?

      Reply
      1. Kevin Levin Post author

        I don’t claim to have any insight into the worldview of the Flaggers. You are correct in pointing out that some white Southerners did see defeat as a reflection of God’s displeasure, though that wasn’t always in reference to slavery. I recommend George Rable’s recent book, God’s Almost Chosen People (UNC Press) for a thorough examination of these questions.

        Reply
  6. Bill Vallante

    Memo to Kevin the Great….I do love it when you and your sanctimonious pals act like little old ladies, squealing with delight when you think you’ve uncovered some neo-confederate conspiracy! Keeps you going, does it Kevin?? Memo to you, to Simpson and to all the other high holy twits out there…if Susan has to “explain” anything to anyone, it isn’t to you, or to Simpson for that matter. Get over yourselves.

    Reply
  7. Randy

    Before casting judgement on people how about people learning their facts first and as has already been said no one or any of the flaggers has to explain anything to anyone yes rob, offended a lot of us by his false claim you can not cast a judgement on all because of what one did if you done something and someone casted judgement on your whole family simplely because you yourself done something would it be right no it would not.

    Just like it is not right for you to cast judgement on all of the flaggers because what rob, done as I said I think it would be best to know the facts before blasting off about something just cause you think you got something on someone when you aint got a rats ass on no one and yes our confederate flag honors our heritage history family we had serve it and all who served it take the time to do alittle research and you will learn it has not one thing to do with race people from about every state race and country served in the confederate war and they are American as well you might as well also say yank down the union united states flag cause it was the first flag the kkk ever used before later wrongfuly picking up the confederate flag.

    Yes that is right the first flag the kkk ever used was the very flag that hangs outside of every school and the white house wanna call a flag racist well there is your true racist flag.

    And before you yell the war was about slavery you are wrong again the war was for southern independence not one slave ship left south going north but plenty left the north to come south to make money off their own people tell it right or do not tell it at all.

    Reply
      1. Randy

        Not a problem I just rather the truth be told im not here to offend anyone but right is right wrong is wrong rob, should had never made a false claim like that that is part of the reason now as to why peoples views are mixed up about our flag now cause so many stories that are far from the truth have been told about it the history teached wrong and and the kkk using it for events that we do not approve of at all we do not approve of our flag being used for any type of event that has anything thing to do with being racist.

        Reply
        1. Kevin Levin Post author

          Like I said, pick yourself up a copy of John Coski’s book on the Confederate flag and do some reading. Given the history of the flag there is nothing surprising about the KKK using it as one of their banners nor was it surprising to find it used by ordinary white Americans during the 1950s and 60s in protest against the civil rights movement.

          Reply

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