Update: The Tallassee Tribune is reporting that the flag will not be placed on property referenced in initial reports.

I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating that Confederate heritage groups like the Sons of Confederate Veterans are their own worst enemies when it comes to promoting their preferred interpretation of the battle flag. News that three such organizations intend to erect a 50-foot flagpole off of I-85 and within eyesight of Alabama State University (a historically black college) in Montgomery undercuts any denial of racist intent.

Despite claims to the contrary, cheers erupted when one group announced the proximity of the flag to the university.

Confederate heritage groups have worked tirelessly to re-interpret or remove the meaning of their battle flag from its long connection to resistance against civil rights in the 1950s and 60s and even the war itself. They have done this by denying the centrality of slavery to the war. In more recent years they argued that the Confederate flag was embraced by thousands of loyal black soldiers and, as a result, ought to be embraced by African Americans today such as H.K. Edgerton and Karen Cooper of the Virginia Flaggers.

But if the flag has no connection to the history of racism and slavery and if the individuals in these organizations are not motivated by racism, than why place the flag in this specific location? And why cheer when it is announced?

I don’t need to answer that question for you.

25 comments add yours

  1. Grayson Jennings of the Virginia Flaggers just left this comment:

    “And as long as Southern history is being eradicated,expect more and more across the South.We don’t just sit idly by and let our brave ancestors good names be dragged through the mud.”

    Here:

    http://www.alabamanews.net/2016/02/05/confederate-flag-planned-across-from-asu/

    The First Capitol Flaggers have been praised by the Virginia Flaggers:

    https://m.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=755043387963674&id=378823865585630

    https://m.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=755589917909021&id=378823865585630

    I think it’s a pretty safe assumption that this group is directly taking a play out of the Virginia Flaggers playbook.

  2. I posted your first link on my Facebook page and have folks defending the groups. Just don’t get how they can’t see this is a calculated move that is intended to cause hate.

  3. The problem extends throughout the community. I chaperoned a trip for my daughter’s 4th grade class to tour the state capitol. The docent made it a point to point out the site where Jeff Davis lay in state and the portraits of all the CSA heroes and vets. The bust of Lurleen Wallace and artifacts of George Wallace are prominent. Yet when the class walked down the street past Dexter Avenue Church there was not a word. I had to stop and explain to the students and parents who would listen the importance of the rather plain looking red brick building. None of the teachers (many of whom were African-American) said a word. We did visit the SPLC Memorial Center but the presentation and participation by teachers was decidedly underwhelming. The historical knowledge – even among African-Americans – of Alabamians about the war and the civil rights movement ranges from remarkably skewed to non-existent (and I teach at a regional university nearby). And it does not promise to get better as Alabama has just decided to allow uncertified teachers in the classroom with little to no oversight of their fitness to teach. Its sad and it gets sadder every day.

  4. Yes, they do know exactly what they are doing…better still, so do we. They give me energy to fight, decry and deny the flaggers and the SCV at every opportunity. As always, they create their enemies.

  5. Let’s do a fruitless exercise here and take them at their word that they hold no racial animosity and that all they desire is “intelligent conversation on the topic.” Dana Jones said, “we want people to ask questions, we want them to listen.” I’m sympathetic to the idea that with a sense of embattled identity, they want to find a way to fit their senses of self into the modern pluralistic world that often despises with them. In that way, “we want them to listen” sounds less like a patronizing instruction (which is what it really is)… less like an invitation to an intelligent conversation (which is what they want it to be)… and more like a pathetic plea for relevance.

    But why do they think that this is an effective method of historical education or an invitation to conversation? (Which undermines their claim that this is for Interstate drivers and not ASU students.) I suspect that in their imagination, curious ASU students will wander over and have the politically correct spell imposed by the dominant culture broken as Flaggers explain that no one has ever used the flag for hateful purposes before Dylann Roof (yeah, they’re saying that.)

    It reminds me of Thomas Brown’s description of the contemporary flagger sensibility of “combative masculinity.” Reminds me of the early 2000s South Carolina debate when they chanted “Off the dome and in your face!” In our time of politicians wanting to carpet bomb Syria, of concealed carry vigilantes, and of extreme distrust of deliberative processes designed to elicit and acknowledge different points of view, provocation* passes for “conversation.” (*Obviously, this is different from Freeman Tilden’s interpretive “provocation.”) A sense of righteous defiance in the face of persecution is the point, not conversation.

    Goes without saying that if education and conversation were the true intent, perhaps a more legitimate approach would be to take that money and donate it to a conservation project or to sponsor an exhibit at the Museum of Alabama. Or, they might get a discount on a bulk order of Kevin Kruse’s book “White Flight” and have a book club.

    But like I said, this is a fruitless exercise because this is Flaggers being Flaggers and it’s self-evident bull*hit.

  6. A noose and burning cross would be appropriate accommodations to their foolish flagpole.

  7. Robert, the VA Flaggers’ leader has spent considerable time in central Alabama over the last two or three years, mostly in Selma but also some small town SCV groups.

  8. I find it interesting that the land’s donor wants to remain anonymous. Where is his pride? Is he ashamed of his connection to this? If he thinks it would hurt his business, then why do it at all? Is hiding behind anonymity different than hiding behind a hood?

  9. “I think it’s a pretty safe assumption that this group is directly taking a play out of the Virginia Flaggers playbook.”

    It’s a very short playbook.

    The heritage folks seem to be completely adrift, and have been for a long time. Their strategy, if you want to call it that, appears to be “more of what we’ve been doing, but louder and angrier.” It’s an approach that further isolates them from the wider public. They’ve spent so long talking to each other — dismissing or ridiculing people who disagree with them, and reassuring each other of their own righteousness — that they don’t seem to be able to make a clear, affirmative case to people who aren’t already their fellow travelers. Deliberate and provocative stunts like this simply reinforce the wider image of Confederate heritage as being driven by bitter, bigoted, and ignorant people.

    Please proceed, dumbasses.

  10. How tragically right you are Kevin, these people are nuts. I was born in the South. I can trace my ancestry to men who fought for the Confederacy (note I did not write the South) both in the “big” war in the east and the “little” one in Missouri and even further back to men who rebelled against the very King their fathers once fought for . To push the whole thing way forward, I too served a government (the United States…North, South, middle parts and West). As a proud veteran I can safely say honoring a veteran is not the same as honoring the war, however, as it stands today the Sons of the Confederacy is the stuff of idiots.

    I first encountered them years ago at the screening of “Gods and Generals” where a kindly gentleman dressed in confederate garb handed me an SCV pamphlet and asked me if I were a “southerner.” I replied that I was and he peered closer and asked, “Are you a true southern man, or simply a person born in the south?” I sighed, peered back and told him I am an American, born in Texas, descended from people who selected the causes they fought for both well and poorly throughout history. They, however, are gone, as are their causes, and as the living bearer of my families past I am proud to be a “southerner” who is now part of the same US Army that defeated that of my great-great grandfathers. Does that make me true southern man?” Apparently it did not, he took his pamphlet back.

    I do wish the SCA would root out those members that use the organization as a vehicle for racism and anti-historical/anti-heritage actions. I wish I had the fortitude to join and fight from within, become president, and push the organization toward an accurate history and sustainable focus that would work to remember the past…warts and all.

    And no, I am not related to Grayson Jennings of the Virginia Flaggers. I doubt he would welcome me in his family tree.

  11. The SCV is not interested in rooting out the rot within it. Their mission statement shows they exist to preserve the memory of a lie while denying the racism and white supremacy via slavery that served as the cause of the Civil War. They drove out everyone who disagreed with them.

    It is very apparent that the confederate heritage groups are almost all ran by people promoting racist agendas. Most care next to nothing for the history and use the groups as vehicles for their modern political ideologies. On top of that, it looks like fiscal accountability is seriously lacking and some are nothing more than fronts meant to secure money from gullible people while doing little to nothing with the money other than to provide the group operators with funds to live on.

    Confederate Heritage: A lie, a scam, a political ideology, an embarrassment to the United States of America.

  12. Mike Williams of the AL SCV left a comment at my blog and claims that plans to erect the flag near the school have been scrapped. No mention of a new location.

  13. “…Dismissing or ridiculing people who disagree with them, and reassuring each other of their own righteousness.”

    Yeah, that’s called a cult which is really all groups like this are: No one is really right but us and don’t listen to or read anything from anyone else. It’s just brainwashing.

  14. From the updated news story:
    _____

    The location was unusable due to power line proximity, Dana Jones a leading member of the First Capitol Flaggers, said.

    She said after inspection of the grounds on Thursday Feb. 4 it was obvious that the flag which the FCF hoped would stand upwards of 50 feet in the air could not be placed there.

    The property’s exact location was not identified, and the donor’s name was withheld, but Jones said in one direction the flag would have fallen on a rooftop and in the other it would have fallen on cars.

    _____

    Shorter: “We’re not belligerent a-holes; we’re incompetent!”

    Okay.

  15. It is not just ASU, it is all of Montgomery , home of the Civil Rights movement. We all know about Claudette Colvin and her classmate who was executed for having been seduced by a white woman. we know about Vernon Johns who was replaced by Dr. King.

  16. I knew H.K. personally when I was in the SCV. H.K. was not. the SCV wanted me to take on a role like H.K. ,I refused. H.K. wanted me to find him an ancestor so he could join, I did , but I will not tell him. H.K. told me that the SCV treated him like a king, I witnessed it. that is what H.K. wants. I don’t know Karen Cooper , but from what she said in the newspapers , she has been radicalized by the Tea Party . she is logical , but not rational . the lines are blurred between liberty and freedom, liberty is God’s permission to fight against government and how you are empowered to do so is freedom. George Washington said government is force that must be balanced with force. Big government is what it is doing that you think it shouldn’t be doing.

  17. A SCV is charged with defending the Confederate soldiers good name. He is also charged as guardian of all Southern history including African American history , woman’s history, and Jewish history and Native American history in the South. The SCV tried to avoid their responsibility in this matter, by inserting S. D . Lee’s charge into the SCV constitution . “True history” means that they can skew “all history” and substitute “Heritage Defense”.

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