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.