Who Are the Virginia Flaggers?

heimbachandflaggers

Update: Well, you heard it here first. Tripp Lewis of the Virginia Flaggers declares that Matthew Heimbach is a “good guy.”

Screen Shot 2013-08-31 at 8.24.18 PM

The Virginia Flaggers are still intent on placing a large Confederate flag off of Interstate 95 near Richmond, Virginia by the end of September. The Richmond media has interviewed Susan Hathaway and others about their goals in placing the flag in such a prominent place and their preferred interpretation of the Confederate flag. What the major news channels have not done, however, is look into the membership of the Flaggers and whether their talk of Confederate heritage reflects the broader values of the Richmond community.

Thanks to Brooks Simpson (and here) and Andy Hall we are learning more about individual members (or individuals who are claimed as members by the Flaggers) such as Matthew Heimbach. Susan Hathaway and the rest of the Flaggers have gone on record attacking prominent members of Richmond’s history and museum community for their supposed Confederate heritage betrayals. The Virginia Flaggers should be held accountable to the very same standard. Richmonders should ask themselves whether Matthew Heimbach’s view of Confederate heritage represents their own.

This should be important to Richmonders and I believe the Richmond media has a responsibility to look into this story further. The city of Richmond has never been better positioned to reflect on its rich and complex history. It’s museums, including the National Civil War Museum at Tredegar, Museum of the Confederacy, Richmond National Battlefield Park, Virginia Historical Society, Valentine Museum and Maggie Walker House, offer residents and visitors multiple windows into the region’s story. It’s commemorative landscape of markers and monuments reflects a city that has embraced and celebrated an ever wider spectrum of stories and legacies.

It may not have been a pressing issue to look into Flagger membership when they were content to walking up and down the Boulevard in front of the VMFA, but as they have emerged in the public’s eye they should expect increased scrutiny when questions are left unanswered or intentionally ignored. There may be nothing that can be done legally to prevent the Flaggers from flying their Confederate flag off of I-95, but Richmonders have an interest in knowing who is donating money and who is working behind the scenes to make this happen. Until then, the Virginia Flaggers’ claims to defending any kind of heritage is bunk.

13 responses... add one

Knowing them as I do and knowing some of the racists comments and actions from followers of Susan I would not be surprised by any of their backgrounds. Confronting Susan only begs to invite anger and snide remarks. Confront her and them on her so called Facebook pages induces HATE. I found two self proclaimed racists commenting her page

I wouldn’t want to base too much on who comments on their Facebook Page. For now I think it’s enough to look into the people who are marching with or officially embraced by Susan Hathaway and the Virginia Flaggers.

I find Susan Hathaway to be a very clever person. She knows she has a temper and a way that won’t go over well in the media if she doesn’t restrain hereself, although she appears unaware of how social media works. So she tempers her tantrums rather well in public. She has other people do her dirty work (and once admitted it, a sign that she isn’t that clever). Part of this story, however, is how the Flaggers have failed to control their own message. One of their most visible spokespeople is so outrageous as to be a source of great humor, however unintended; others have misspoken and gotten off message or simply said something remarkably stupid (hello, Tripp Lewis!). The pole-raising’s four weeks away, but I suspect the media show is far from over.

The pole-raising’s four weeks away, but I suspect the media show is far from over.

I hope you are right. I would love to see some of these more recent questions raised both before and during the ceremony to raise the flag.

Hello,,,I am a Yankee from Buffalo, NY…..but I applaude your efforts to maintain the confederate flag and fly it wherever and wherever you like!
Don’t let those left wing liberals try to take that away from you!!!! We put up with their gays, etc., so they can put up with our southern flag.
Incidentally, I lived in Atlanta at the time they took the confederate flag off the Georgia state flag! I want them to put it back!!!!

The thing I don’t understand is the British and American flag flew over slavery for years before the Civil War. The Confederate Battle Flag was a soldiers flag. It was not a Confederate National Flag. Check your history. I think this is a right under free speech. Keep it flying. My ancestors would be proud.

Thanks for the comment. I’ve never understood this particular argument. The Confederate battle flag was utilized by the military extension of a government whose explicit purpose was the preservation of slavery. Regardless of why soldiers entered the army (voluntarily and involuntarily) they were all fighting for slavery. The United States abolished the international slave trade in 1808. In the 1850s the call to re-open the slave trade was heard more and more in the South.

Finally, I see no reason to believe one way or the other that your ancestors would be proud or ashamed of the Virginia Flaggers.

Kevin, im not going to debate this. You have a right to your opinión as i. But, i know My ancestors. My Great, Great Grandfather died holding the Battle Flag next to his heart. This is why i fly My Flag everyday. I also club the American Flag because My grandfather and father fought for this country. Just because i fly these flags doesnot mean i believe in slavery. I dont. My ancestors joined the Confederate army because of states rights and you Had an army taking food, livestock, and stealing anything of value from them. So, My friend you believe what you want. I believe what i know. We have this right in América.

I don’t doubt that you believe you know your ancestors. To be honest, I am not sure what that has to do with this post. I never suggested that you do advocate slavery. Perhaps you should go back and re-read what I wrote. American soldiers in the 1960s (before the draft) volunteered to fight in Vietnam for any number of reasons. Their reasons, however, may have had little in common with why the United States fielded an army in that part of the world at that time. Union and Confederate volunteered for a wide range of reasons, but why their respective nations organized their respective armies is a separate issue. Thanks again for taking the time to write.

I think another critical point that seems to be left out by Kyth is that there is a reason that the “Confederate” flag aka the ANV Battle Flag, etc., either by itself or as part of the design, evokes intense negative reactions when the First National flag, the South Carolina state flag, or any other battle flag used by a Confederate military or naval unit that doesn’t include this as part of the design do not. To a large extent, it’s the ANV Battle Flag’s use as THE symbol of white supremacy and its massive resistance to desegregation, especially from 1948 (the Dixiecrat Party) on. Many people objecting to it don’t have to look to the Civil War to have this negative reaction. They’ve seen its use as the symbol of bigotry in their lifetimes. That ship’s sailed. I don’t think it’s possible for it to ever be just an artifact of the Civil War.

Join the Conversation