Virginia Flaggers Led By Stonewall Jackson in Lexington

Update: The battle flag erected outside of Lexington is in violation of Rockbridge County’s zoning ordinance.

I think it is perfectly fitting that the Virginia Flaggers were led down the streets of Lexington, Virginia this past weekend by an individual portraying Stonewall Jackson, who (as of 2015) is also a member of the League of the South. I love the way it ties a war to expand slavery and protect white supremacy with organizations that continue to openly profess white supremacy.

While I am not a fan of anonymous blogs, but the pics speak for themselves.

What separates this group of Flaggers from groups like C.A.R.E.? Take a look at who is leading them.

Mr. Randall has attended numerous Flagger events over the past few years. Very few people in the media have asked Susan Hathaway to explain their connection to individuals like Mr. Randall. The communities in which the Flaggers intervene have a right to know just who these people are and what they believe.

Some things never change.

28 comments… add one
  • Sandi Saunders Jan 17, 2017

    “Birds of a feather…”

    • Kevin Levin Jan 17, 2017

      Exactly. There is a track record that is perfectly consistent.

  • Patrick Jennings Jan 17, 2017

    As the right to peacefully protest, march, or be heard is fixed and firm in our laws, I have no real problem with these people. I do not agree with them and I do question the focus of many of their leading members. Equally, I agree with Kevin that the organization’s entire membership deserves to know the true nature of many of their leaders. Beyond that, assuming the pictures convey the peacefulness of the march, it simply looks to me like a bunch of folks marching along with…to quote the comedy “Tropic Thunder”… a dude playing a dude disguised as another dude.

    • M.D. Blough Jan 17, 2017

      As Bruce Springsteen sang in one of his solo albums, “With every blessing comes a curse.” You’ve demonstrated that the First Amendment’s blessings come with a curse. It requires someone, if they truly believe in it, to defend the rights of people and views they despise to be covered by the First Amendment’s protections (the ACLU and the Nazis in Skokie, IL, are a prime example). You’re also demonstrating the other side of the First Amendment that many of those on the extremes, while claiming its protections, can’t comprehend. The answer to what one regards as “bad” speech is more speech. The free marketplace of ideas (a common phrase in SCOTUS rulings on First Amendment cases) is where conflicts are to be worked out, not government censorship, either before or after the event.

      • Andy Hall Jan 17, 2017

        The events of this past weekend in Lexington seem like a useful example of the “marketplace of ideas” in action. CARE Rockbridge obtained a parade permit for the Saturday of the MLK weekend by filing for one under the process established by the city. The Confederate heritage folks were complacent, and have been carping about it ever since, arguing from a (barely) unspoken assumption that they should have preference for that date over other community groups.

        I haven’t seen firm numbers for the CARE parade event, but there’s little doubt that it was much larger than the roughly 200 folks who marched the sidewalk on Saturday.

        • Kevin Levin Jan 17, 2017

          …but there’s little doubt that it was much larger than the roughly 200 folks who marched the sidewalk on Saturday.

          You mean “flanking march.” 🙂

  • Rob Baker Jan 17, 2017

    I just want to know if more than one Stonewall Jackson showed up to the event….

    • Patrick Jennings Jan 18, 2017

      Did they blush over being dressed the same?

  • Shoshana Bee Jan 17, 2017

    After reading through the material provided in the post, a few thoughts come to mind:

    1. Not only were the flaggers outflanked, but they were outclassed, too.

    2. The NYT picture of Hathaway holding a CBF with a sign under her nose stating “Smash White Supremacy” is just precious.

    3. Maybe next year the flaggers can march on the street like the big kids 🙂

    • Patrick Jennings Jan 18, 2017

      Shoshana,

      Just for the sake of argument…why can’t Ms. Hathaway hold the simultaneous views that she has the right to preserve a history she thinks is valuable while condemning the acts and views of bigotry? Why must one exclude the other? Keep in mind that I am not arguing in favor of the the accuracy of her history, just her ability to possess two potentially conflicting ideas at the same time.

      My “X-number” great grand pappy fought for the Confederacy. I am neither appalled nor necessarily proud of him. He took a decision based on his world views at the time. He could no more see the future than I could suffer his past. It is enough to say that he and his family paid a price for his decision and time moved on.

      As an historian and preservationist I am disturbed by any action to remove a monument from public property. Still, I accept that some towns may elect to do just that and because I do not live their lives so I stake no claim in their argument. In my town I fought against the move and continue to do so. That does not make me a racist.

      The heart of the question is this…Why must we all be simplistic binary thinkers who follow the currently approved path?

      • Kevin Levin Jan 18, 2017

        Shoshana can certainly answer for herself, but let me take a crack at this.

        …why can’t Ms. Hathaway hold the simultaneous views that she has the right to preserve a history she thinks is valuable while condemning the acts and views of bigotry?

        I think she can, but there is evidence to suggest otherwise. In fact, the evidence is overwhelming that Flagger membership includes a number of people who hold racist views. It is difficult to see Confederate history and contemporary race issues as occupying separate spheres. They clearly merge in the form of the Stonewall Jackson reenactor who is also a member of the League of the South. Spend some time on the Flagger Facebook page and you will be bombarded by the unapologetic racism of its visitors and members.

        • Rblee22468 Jan 18, 2017

          It’s not that she can’t at all, it’s that she doesn’t.

      • Shoshana Bee Jan 18, 2017

        Patrick,

        Please see Kevin’s comment. below. He has completely stolen my thunder, and took the rain, too 🙂 I could not, and cannot say it any better than he has.

        I walked the bloody grounds in which a White Supremacist “rally” turned stabbings occurred, compliments of the organizational efforts of fellow Va Flagger, Matthew Heimbach.

        Look up at the picture that heads this post. Look closely, and you will see Hathaway and Heimbach rubbing shoulder to shoulder. Look and see what REALLY co-exists in this universe.

        Sometimes plain and simple makes the case.

        • Patrick Jennings Jan 19, 2017

          Look, at heart I agree with what you and Kevin have written. I do not use Face Book (or any other social media) as an historical research reference because it is too hyper-charged (and I hate the platform in any case).

          My comment is more broad. I am even willing to exclude Ms. Hathaway as I do not know her media presence. Overall, however, my question remains the same…Why must this argument be binary?

          • Shoshana Bee Jan 19, 2017

            “the right to preserve a history she thinks is valuable while condemning the acts and views of bigotry”
            _________________________________________

            I have thought long about this statement, along with the follow-up statement:

            “Why must this argument be binary?”

            Patrick, there are those on this blog right now who can attest to the fact that I have spent hours of their time trying to understand confederate heritage. Hours. 10 pages of exchanges on the topic, so my conclusions have formed slowly over time on this topic.

            Can someone remember their confederate ancestors and keep their place in family history, US history, and give recognition to their sacrifice, whilst not engaging in bigotry? Yes. I find that with these folks, remembering is a personal thing — not an agenda, not a badge,nor politics or advocacy. It is memory.

            Do I believe that any of the people pictured above the post fit into this category that I just spoke of? NO. Why? Because they tell me so with their words, actions, and beliefs. Why should I doubt them.

      • Msb Jan 20, 2017

        I think your question needs refinement. I have read your post several times, and it seems to me to be saying that efforts to preserve Southern (Confederate?) history should not be automatically assumed to be racist. I think few would disagree with that statement in principle.
        In practice, I think it wise to consider what these efforts consist of (e.g. Keeping the CBF in a state flag?), the historical background of artifacts (e.g. The CBF’s very wide use in the massive segregationist movement underway in my youth) as well as the other behavior and associates of proponents. considering these factors and the ways in which the Flaggers have so blatantly and persistently fouled their own nests, I think their motivations are clear.
        In contrast, Andy Hall (if he doesn’t mind me using him as an example), has CW ancestors (both sides, I believe) and spends a good deal of time supporting preservationand instruction in his neighborhood, as well as factual accuracy on the CW in general. I wouldn’t assume that because he addresses Confederate history, that his work is racist.

    • Andy Hall Jan 18, 2017

      One of the more, um, illustrative moments in understanding who exactly supports the Flaggers came in 2015 when Bree Newsome took down the CBF in Columbia. They know perfectly well who their backers are.

      • M.D. Blough Jan 21, 2017

        In addition, while the Flaggers expect infinite solicitude for their feelings, they show nothing but, at best, indifference and, at worst, total hostility for the feelings of others. While there are some who refuse to acknowledge the CBF’s development as THE symbol of white supremacy in the South (an almost universal tell is the use of the infamous photo of a march of robed and hooded Klansmen marching down Pennsylvania Avenue carrying a sea of US flags. Of course that march occurred in 1925, when the KKK was making a major move to be a national organization. Beginning as early as its use by the Dixiecrat Party in the 1948 Presidential Election, the CBF began to be used as a symbol of massive resistance by Southern white supremacists to the beginning of federal government to enforce the 13th-15th Amendments to the US Constitution, instead of as a quaint historical artifact like the 3rd Amendment (quartering of troops in private residences).

        Whatever the subjective intent of individuals regarding their display of the CBF, the Flaggers to show their true colors by their refusal to acknowledge that the CBF has been and continues to be used by white supremacists as their symbol and, so, not only do African-Americans and everyone else who oppose racism have every right to feel negatively towards display of the CBF but that those feelings are not “political correctness” but a reasonable response.

        • Andy Hall Jan 21, 2017

          “The Flaggers to show their true colors by their refusal to acknowledge that the CBF has been and continues to be used by white supremacists as their symbol. . . .”

          It’s not so much that they refuse to acknowledge it, as they hand-wave it way as unimportant and irrelevant to the discussion. They’re always ready to condemn — but only in the abstract — various groups and individuals who have “brought dishonor to the noble banner of the southern states,” etc., etc.That’s easy enough to do, as it doesn’t actually cost them anything, and provides a sufficient fig leaf to tell each other that someone else, over there, is the real problem in that it doesn’t have anything to do with them.

          (Same thing with the question of slavery — it was a cruel and immoral institution in the abstract, but their own ancestors either didn’t own slaves or were caring and solicitous masters.)

          Their actions, of course, tell a different story. Not long after they put up that giant flag on Raymond Agnor’s property, he took out a paid ad in the newspaper warning “democrats and black race” to stay off his property, for all the damage they had supposedly done to the country. Rather than openly repudiate his comments, the Flaggers have rationalized that Agnor’s views have no relevance to them, or his willingness to put up a giant Confederate flag (at the Virginia Flaggers’ expense) on his property. Not only have they not ended their relationship with Agnor, they recently celebrated putting up a new giant flag on his property to replace the old one.

          They know who these people are, they know what they believe, and they’re perfectly fine with being associated with them.

  • Andy Hall Jan 18, 2017

    “The battle flag erected outside of Lexington is in violation of Rockbridge County’s zoning ordinance.”

    It’s kind of amazing how the Flaggers and similar groups will spend months and years ridiculing, insulting, and dismissing local officials, then be shocked and dismayed when those same officials refuse to look the other way when they ignore basic and long-standing local ordinances.

  • Sandi Saunders Jan 19, 2017

    Of course Ms. Hathaway and anyone who supports the SCV and Confederacy CAN “hold the simultaneous views that she has the right to preserve a history she thinks is valuable while condemning the acts and views of bigotry”. In fact, that is what many of us have been hoping and praying those in the so called “heritage” movement would do, and do without reservation, for decades, It is the only path to healing IMO.

    It was and remains their choice not to do so and sadly often to instead reinforce the racism, bigotry and anti-government mindset of the neo-confederate that keeps the South in pain and shame. One does not “exclude the other”. It is quite easy to respect my confederate ancestors and all others before and since without glorifying the rebellion, decrying black people (or telling them what to do and think), or insulting Abraham Lincoln, the North and U.S. Grant et al. In the big picture they are not even “two potentially conflicting ideas”.

    My ancestors fought for the Confederacy, one died in doing so. I am somewhat appalled at their choices but I do understand the time they lived in and while I can wish for enlightenment to have abounded, I know well that it did not. I do not condemn them for their time or their choice, but neither do I parade it as the best, noblest, most honorable of choices either. I can honor everything about being Southern and my heritage without glorifying the effort to choose and enable a slave republic to the point of making war on our nation.

    If you are “an historian and preservationist” then you know well why the many propagandizing monuments and memorials were built and as such should understand also the reason so many people are not supportive of them on public property and having public remembrance celebrations of their fight.

    Fighting “against the move” is not what makes anyone a racist. How you fight, what you say, what you support, who you associate with and value (or not), is what can make anyone a racist.

    Many of the “heritage” movement folks choose to be “simplistic binary thinkers” who claim we are all either with them or against them. They also insist against all documented history that we have no reason to not be with them. Pretending this is only an issue of “us” not accepting “them” is not fair at all.

    • hankc9174 Jan 23, 2017

      I think the use, and meaning, of the battle flag can be summed up in several, somewhat overlapping, emotions and actions.

      Pride – there is, no doubt, a feeling of historical pride among many confederate descendants,

      Individuality & defiance – the flag, and whatever issue it overlays, is important to *me*. (Recently, the Gadsden flag has become a similar political symbol, though I think it’s strictly because it has the word ‘me’ in the motto).

      white supremacy – the cbf is certainly used as a dog whistle to fellow travelers and a warning to others,

      and lost cause – the idea that flying the flag buttresses one of the 3 above but deep-down the underlying issue is truly a hopeless one. In this case I think the Perry , ‘Don’t give up the ship’, flag is more appropriate.

  • Andy Hall Jan 23, 2017

    Here’s an interesting twist on the dispute over the new roadside flag — it turns out that Brian Rowsey, the pawn shop owner who worked with the Flaggers to put it up, and who’s been shouty and defiant about it on social media, doesn’t actually own the property where the pole was set up — he’s a tenant. It’s going to be the property owners, not Rowsey, who get cited and fined over this thing.

    I haven’t heard where the owners stand on this zoning dispute, or even if they approved of the project to begin with. But they can’t be happy with Rowsey going out of his way to antagonize local officials when he’s not the one who’s going to have to be writing checks to Rockbridge County.

    • M.D. Blough Jan 23, 2017

      I wonder if the Flaggers bothered to find out if Rowsey actually owned the land or otherwise had the legal right to authorize the erection of the flagpole & flying of the flag. I’d also be interested in the terms of the lease and as to whether this provides the owners of the real property a legal basis for evicting Rowsey.

      It is never prudent to needlessly antagonize someone whose permission or, at least, good will you need to do something important to you. However, it is typical of the hardcore CBF advocates. They do not seem happy unless they are almost physically shoving it in the face of those who do anything other than enthusiastically support their position. One wonders what they could achieve if they ever entertained, even as a hypothetical, the slightest notion that any one who didn’t unquestioningly agree with them might have a POV that merited consideration.

      • Andy Hall Jan 23, 2017

        They’ve had trouble like this before. The very first flag they put up in 2013, on I-95 south of Richmond, violated several local permitting requirements. That flagpole was apparently quietly removed last year.

        However, it is typical of the hardcore CBF advocates. They do not seem happy unless they are almost physically shoving it in the face of those who do anything other than enthusiastically support their position.

        This is what “heritage defense” has become, an effort to demonstrate how unreconstructed they are to their fellow travelers. All the incentives within the group are to be louder and angrier, rather than work constructively toward any sort of compromise. Time and demographics are not on their side.

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