Civil War Memory Pic of the Day

Confederate Flag Classroom

Tennessee Florida Classroom c. 1957.

26 thoughts on “Civil War Memory Pic of the Day

    1. Kevin Levin Post author

      Why are you so dismissive about such an incredibly rich photograph? It’s a fascinating image.

      Reply
      1. Christopher Shelley

        I prefer “sarcastic” to “dismissive.” But it’s hard for me not to be when I see a photo of a 1957 classroom in the South of smiling white children backed by smiling white teachers next to a Confederate battleflag. “All deliberate speed” indeed.

        I’m mean, this is what Lost Causers they get if they win, right? This is exactly the past that neo-Confederates fondly wish for: a world devoid of blacks, where they get to wave their little colored rag in patriotic glory. I would go so far as to say this is what 1957 would have looked like in the South had the Confederacy won the war, except for the fact there wouldn’t have been public schools at all.

        Sometimes photos I react to with the critical distance of a historian. This is not one of them.

        Reply
        1. Kevin Levin Post author

          Fair enough and thanks for the follow up.

          You have to admit, however, that those kids are pretty damn cute.

          Reply
  1. Bryan Cheeseboro

    Seeing this picture reminds me a lot of the post on the Sam Davis Youth Camp from a few weeks ago.

    Kevin, I would like to know why you consider this to be an “incredibly rich photograph” and a “fascinating image.” Not to put words in your mouth but do you think it’s because, at one time, a public school classroom was allowed to exist without controversy? Or is it just because it’s so distant and nostalgic? I’m not criticizing your liking it; I’m just curious why you liked the picture so much.

    Reply
    1. Kevin Levin Post author

      Thanks for the comment. There is definitely an ordinariness to it that many likely stands out for many, but I don’t see any connection to the Sam Davis Youth Camp. The latter was established precisely to counter the mainstream and this image beautifully captures it. As I said in a previous comment, the kids are adorable. I particularly like the one boy by the Florida flag who is covering his face. Still trying to figure out what is on the wall in the rear of the classroom.

      Reply
      1. Bryan Cheeseboro

        I made the connection with the Sam Davis Camp because I believe if the people that run the SDYC saw this image, they would see it as a time they work hard to recapture for their kids today. The Sam Davis kids were cute, too.

        Reply
    1. Kevin Levin Post author

      Impossible. They are all smiling except for one girl in the back who is screaming. They are all adorable so it is unlikely that Connie is present. :-)

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      1. Marian Latimer

        What about the kid doing the facepalm in the back as well? A Yankee in Rebel Land, perhaps? Did they have witness protection back in 1957?

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        1. The other Susan

          If it was really taken in 1957 then this school may have been refusing to follow the law to integrate. Hence the flags, hey where is the American flag anyway.

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          1. The other Susan

            Ah here we go. This article answers the question as to why they were still not integrated after the supreme court ruling.

            http://www.jstor.org/stable/2966704

            “In its immediate application, the Brown decision pertained only to the states which had initially been defendants in the litigation. Clearly, though, the Court’s pronouncement that “segregation is a denial of the equal protection of the laws” would encompass all states that either required or permitted segregated education for blacks and whites, Florida among them…..

            Despite the initial moderation with which Florida whites met the Brown case, that response was misleading, perhaps no more than surface deep. And the optimism of Florida blacks proved to be misplaced. The first black did not enter a predominantly white institution of higher learning in Florida until 1958, more than four years after the Brown opinion. The first black did not enroll in an all-white public school until 1959, over five years after the decree. In the meantime, the state did all it legally could to put off the day when it would have to obey the Supreme Court.”

            Reply
  2. Boyd Harris

    This picture reminds me of something my father (b. 1953) once told me: “Boyd, when I was growing up you only had two choices for a haircut: shaved and crewcut.”

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  3. Tom Heaney

    What flag is between the state flag and the battle flag? At first I thought it was the US flag, but the stripes don’t look right. Is it the Union Jack?

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      1. Ken Noe

        A Spanish flag in the other corner, plus the Stars and Stripes, would turn this into a “flags over Florida” display.

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  4. London John

    Indeed. But a flag nerd might say they’ve got it wrong because the CBF wasn’t actually the national flag of the CSA – or have I got that wrong?

    Reply

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