Virginia Flaggers Still on the Wrong Side of History and the English Language

It’s been a tough summer to be a Virginia Flagger or to have any association with a Confederate heritage organization. Since the beginning of June roughly seventy-six Confederate monuments have been removed, including some of the most iconic monuments in Richmond, Virginia. The eventual removal of the Robert E. Lee memorial will leave Arthur Ashe as the only representative of Richmond’s history on Monument Avenue.

The Virginia Flaggers have experienced one defeat after another, but they are not going to go down without a fight. On Saturday while residents of Albemarle County and the city of Charlottesville, Virginia gathered to remove a Confederate soldier statue from Court House Square, the Flaggers protested NASCAR in Richmond with a flyover.

This should read, “Still Capital of the Confederacy.” This is not the first time that the Flaggers have had problems with the English language. Back in 2015 they misspelled the word “heroes” as part of a protest of an event that took place on Monument Avenue in Richmond. They tried to correct for their error by posting a Photoshopped image on their website.

They will always have Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery in Lexington, Virginia. Wait, that’s been renamed as well.

You almost want to feel sorry for these people.

About the author: Thank you for taking the time to read this post. What next? Scroll down and join the discussion in the comments section. Looking for more Civil War content? You can follow me on Twitter. Check out my latest book, Searching For Black Confederates: The Civil War’s Most Persistent Myth, which is the first book-length analysis of the black Confederate myth ever published. Order your copy today.

29 comments… add one
  • Benjamin Watkins Sep 29, 2020 @ 18:53

    I understand how a black person would not see the original purpose for certain statues in their eyes Lincoln statue is a good example with the black man kneeling before Lincoln like that. But is it subjugation or is it a showing of appreciation? Open for interpretation and rightly so after all it is art what needs to be done is surround it with today’s art highlighting our accomplishments with two figures on either side of Lincoln, a black man and a black woman of equal stature as that of Lincoln but showing their appreciation for what he had started. People seem to forget he had been assassinated for his beliefs. Honor our history by not burying it but surrounding our past with our progressive steps to where we are now. That’s why we have art n books. What I find so discerning is how people fail to look at history in the eyes of those who are writing that history in actuality with their actions. It’s a timeline thing try to imagine a person of that time nothing of today existed ideology n moral compass of the time has to be considered as well as the plight of the unfortunate and the obstacles they had to face to overcome so that we may be where we are today in the “space age”! Don’t forget our country is a babe among countries n institutions that have been around a thousand years n slavery is a product of the Spaniards n Catholic Church if I remember my history. What was taught to me about the dilemma our founding fathers faced about the issue of slavery is imaginable since money was a major concern in a successful revolution slavery could be dealt with later for they trusted in the declaration and what it stood for

  • terry6400 Sep 18, 2020 @ 8:55

    The present movement is similar to Medieval times when the conquerors first destroyed the memory and history of those they conquered, or those who refuse to believe in the Divine will of the conqueror. Seeing that history destruction did not dissuade the unbelievers, the conquerors burned at the stake and beheaded those peasants who refused to bow to the King. Before long, demands will be “off with their heads.”

    It’s off with their heads
    It’s the least i can do
    Off with their heads
    Is the only phrase that always rings true
    Never gets old
    So i say to you
    With conviction
    Off with their heads
    It’s my one real milieu
    Every one dreads what the queen may say
    Though hats they may doff
    It will be off with their heads
    I try to be even and fair
    But as you see
    I’m almost never
    All quite there

    Musical: Wonderland: Alice’s New Musical Adventure. Song: Off with Their Heads!.

    • Jimmy Dick Sep 19, 2020 @ 7:26

      I am still waiting to see the history presented by those in favor of keeping the monuments in place. They do a lot of talking, but I see nothing of historical substance. They can whine and scream, but they can’t use an actual fact to support their whining. That is because they don’t have any facts to support their claims. They say history, but can’t show any history.

      On the other hand, those who are removing the monuments can show all kinds of historical facts to support their claims.

      Now you know why the monuments are coming down.

      • Terry Sep 19, 2020 @ 20:11

        Actually, those who are destroying the monuments only show their complete disregard for law and utter ignorance of history. What historical facts in particular are you seeking? I find it ironic that despite the fact that Confederacy only lasted for years, the Confederacy and monuments are still being blamed for social ills 150 years later.

        • Kevin Levin Sep 20, 2020 @ 1:36

          This is nonsense. Only a fraction of the monuments and memorials that have come down have been removed by protesters. The vast majority have been removed by local governments. That’s called democracy in action.

          • Terry Sep 20, 2020 @ 7:48

            Kevin,
            Since you are responding to comments I addressed to Jimmy Dick, please respond to what i in fact said “Actually, those who are destroying the monuments only show their complete disregard for law and utter ignorance of history.”

            As to your assertion that “Only a fraction of the monuments and memorials that have come down have been removed by protesters. The vast majority have been removed by local governments. That’s called democracy in action”, I never quantified or addressed the actions of local governments. Since you raised the issue, it should be noted that while some jurisdictions removed monuments lawfully and followed due process, others did so in violation of various local and state laws. Are you comfortable with jurisdictions violating preservation laws? In your view, does the end justify the means?

            Where is the body of evidence supporting the claim that the memorials to the Southern soldiers were erected in support of white supremacy, racism and Jim Crow. Logically, if these unpleasant aspects of our society were advanced by monuments to Confederate soldiers erected in the South, how does one explain identical manifestations in the North?

            • Kevin Levin Sep 20, 2020 @ 13:31

              Since you raised the issue, it should be noted that while some jurisdictions removed monuments lawfully and followed due process, others did so in violation of various local and state laws.

              Those communities have provided legal reasons for their actions. There is certainly room for the courts to push back. We shall see.

              Where is the body of evidence supporting the claim that the memorials to the Southern soldiers were erected in support of white supremacy, racism and Jim Crow.

              First, many Confederate monuments explicitly reference white supremacist ideas, while others promote the “loyal slave” myth, which I have written about extensively in my last book and elsewhere. What I have said overall, however, regarding Confederate monuments that were dedicated at the turn of the twentieth century is that they went up during a period of legalized segregation. In other words, African Americans were not legally included in the political process of how public spaces were used to commemorate the past. That, in and of itself, reflects the racialized context in which these monuments were dedicated.

            • Jimmy Dick Sep 20, 2020 @ 20:55

              Terry, Where is the history those monuments represent? Do they teach people that the Civil War was about slavery? Do they teach people that the Confederates were traitors? Kevin and others have consistently shown the evidence about the erection of the monuments. The dedication speeches show the obvious truth about the racism involved. That’s actual history.

              Local communities can and are removing those monuments to traitors. If you don’t like it, run for office and prevent it from happening. Oh wait, people have already done that and LOST. That’s why the monuments are coming down. The majority of people want them gone. Therefore, they are coming down.

              • Terry Sep 22, 2020 @ 6:44

                Thank you for you asking, Jimmy!

                As to your question “Where is the history those monuments represent”…..or perhaps expressed more succinctly “Where is the evidence of what those monuments represent”, one would presumably rely on the written narrative included on said monuments. Any interpretation, other than what is written on the monuments, is unfounded speculation based upon assumptions. Typical inscriptions such as “Erected in memory of our Confederate Dead” are quite concise and not at all unlike inscriptions found on memorials to Union troops.

                Why would you suggest that the monuments teach people that the so called “Civil War” was about slavery? While admittedly slavery was indeed a most divisive and unpleasant topic of the period, the practice was sadly sanctioned and protected by the United States Constitution of the time. A country does not go to war in support of overturning its own Constitution! The memorials to Union troops typically reference commemorating the patriotism and courage of fighting for the preservation of the Union, not the abolition of slavery!

                President Lincoln, in his Inaugural Address of March 4, 1861 reiterated ” I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.” He further stated ” I understand a proposed amendment to the Constitution–which amendment, however, I have not seen–has passed Congress, to the effect that the Federal Government shall never interfere with the domestic institutions of the States, including that of persons held to service. To avoid misconstruction of what I have said, I depart from my purpose not to speak of particular amendments so far as to say that, holding such a provision to now be implied constitutional law, I have no objection to its being made express and irrevocable.” It is obvious that President Lincoln’s motivation, in calling for 75,000 volunteers to engage the South, was not connected to the abolition of slavery.

                As to your contention that Confederates were traitors, can you provide evidence that any Confederate leaders were convicted of treason? Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederacy, was in fact indicted and imprisoned for treason but never tried and convicted. To this day, there is considerable speculation among historians and legal scholars as to the reason why the trial never proceeded-concern the prosecutors could not win the case, concern that conviction would be a deterrent to reconciliation, or presumption that failure to secure a conviction would bolster the legitimacy of secession.

                Regarding your comment that “the dedication speeches show the obvious racism involved”, I will acknowledge that “some” individuals remarks at dedications were indeed disturbing and did project racism. However, one cannot and should not project racist views universally on all things Confederate. My understanding is that stereotyping, generalization and bias are attributes vigorously rejected by historians and academicians.

                Yes, some communities are removing monuments- some legally, some through violence and some in direct violation of due process and the law! The decisions of the Courts in many contested cases have yet to be determined, and it is unclear whether the majority of people want them gone.

                • Jimmy Dick Sep 23, 2020 @ 15:00

                  To start with, read what the people who started the Civil War said was the cause of it. They said it was slavery. They wrote it down to make sure everyone knew that cause. So anyone who says it was not slavery is flat out lying like you are as usual.

                  Why did Lincoln call up troops? That is because the United Stated of America had been attacked by traitors in South Carolina. He had the legal obligation to do under the Constitution. Don’t sit there and try to use preserving the union to get out of the cause of the war. Secession was caused by slavery. When Lincoln refused to do what the traitors wanted, they attacked the US. You obviously are ignored the root cause because it does not fit into what you want to believe. No surprise there.

                  Davis could not be tried as it would have been double jeopardy. Here we go again with the usual Lost Cause defense based on lies. You just can’t stop it, can you?

                  There is no real debate among experts as to whether it was treason. The SCV is not made up of experts. The Constitution of the US made it clear. There is no real debate about why Davis was not tried. Chief Justice Chase made it clear. Of course, you don’t like it because it doesn’t support your beliefs.

                  This whole post of your is just one giant Lost Cause defense which has no and I mean absolutely NO basis in reality. I notice you ignored the FACT that the Confederates were pardoned. That’s typical of the Lost Cause defense. You ignore the facts that prove you are lying.

                  The Confederates were traitors. That is a fact.
                  The Civil War was caused by slavery. That is a fact.
                  The monuments were erected to support white supremacy. That is a fact.

                  They will continue to come down. In case you didn’t notice, the people in the local communities are making the decisions. They are choosing to remove them. You can’t stop them.

                  • Terry Sep 24, 2020 @ 7:02

                    How disappointing that so many in the academic community have difficulty in discerning the difference between secession and war. To suggest that the war was fought over slavery is disingenuous, ignoring that the fact that the United States Constitution recognized and protected the “peculiar institution”.

                    As per your suggestion, let us examine what the people who started the war said, beginning with President Lincoln.

                    From President Lincoln’s March 4, 1861 Inaugural Address:

                    “I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.”

                    “Resolved, That the maintenance inviolate of the rights of the States and especially the right of each State to order and control its own domestic institutions according to its own judgment exclusively, is essential to that balance of power on which the perfection and endurance of our political fabric depend; and we denounce the lawless invasion by armed force of the soil of any State or Territory, no matter what pretext, as among the gravest of crimes.”

                    “I understand a proposed amendment to the Constitution, which amendment, however, I have not seen–has passed Congress, to the effect that the Federal Government shall never interfere with the domestic institutions of the States, including that of persons held to service. To avoid misconstruction of what I have said, I depart from my purpose not to speak of particular amendments so far as to say that, holding such a provision to now be implied constitutional law, I have no objection to its being made express and irrevocable.”

                    Presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, in her book “Team of Rivals” references that President Lincoln himself instructed Senator William Seward of New York to introduce the Corwin Amendment, an amendment precluding the Constitution from ever being altered to abolish or interfere with slavery in the States.

                    Clearly, slavery is not the issue that will cause Lincoln to call for 75,000 volunteers!

                    Further reading of Lincoln’s own words clearly establishes his doctrinaire belief in the perpetual nature of the Union and what will ultimately lead to bloodshed.

                    “I hold that in contemplation of universal law and of the Constitution the Union of these States is perpetual. Perpetuity is implied, if not expressed, in the fundamental law of all national governments.”

                    “It follows from these views that no State upon its own mere motion can lawfully get out of the Union; that resolves and ordinances to that effect are legally void, and that acts of violence within any State or States against the authority of the United States are insurrectionary or revolutionary, according to circumstances.”

                    “Plainly the central idea of secession is the essence of anarchy. A majority held in restraint by constitutional checks and limitations, and always changing easily with deliberate changes of popular opinions and sentiments, is the only true sovereign of a free people.”

                    “In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow-countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war. The Government will not assail you. You can have no conflict without being yourselves the aggressors.

                    “You have no oath registered in heaven to destroy the Government, while I shall have the most solemn one to “preserve, protect, and defend it.”

                    Differences of opinion regarding secession had existed from the time the Constitution had been adopted. Reasonable people would presume an interpretation as to the exact nature of the Constitution would fall within the purview of the United States Supreme Court and an opinion could possibly have averted war. However Lincoln stated unequivocally “At the same time, the candid citizen must confess that if the policy of the Government upon vital questions affecting the whole people is to be irrevocably fixed by decisions of the Supreme Court, the instant they are made in ordinary litigation between parties in personal actions the people will have ceased to be their own rulers, having to that extent practically resigned their Government into the hands of that eminent tribunal.”

                    Lincoln’s line in the sand was preserving the Union and not the abolition of slavery!

                    • Kevin Levin Sep 24, 2020 @ 8:14

                      Quoting Lincoln to better understand how Confederates understood the importance of defending slavery makes little sense. In his Second Inaugural Lincoln acknowledged slavery as the cause of the war and he rightfully noted that for most Americans the statement was uncontroversial, but again that is neither here nor there.

                      If you want to understand how tightly Confederates held to slavery just look at the very public debate they engaged in beginning in 1864 and extending to March 1865 over the question of slave enlistment. Confederates understood that the decision to enlist was a threat to what Alexander Stephens referred to as the “cornerstone of their nation. How do we know this? Because they said as much during the debate. I wrote a book about it. I didn’t have to make anything up. The fact that the Confederate Congress barely passed legislation in March 1865 speaks to the importance of slavery.

                      You can continue to babble on and on, but until you confront what Confederates actually said during the war you will never fully understand this history.

                    • Terry Sep 24, 2020 @ 9:37

                      The most recent topic being discussed by Jimmy Dick and myself was the causation of the war. I can think of no better primary source to use than Lincoln’s own words just prior to the war. Lincoln does a very compelling job of defending slavery in his first Inaugural, going so far as to advocate for an additional constitutional amendment prohibiting any federal intervention abolishing slavery in perpetuity. Obviously, the United States did not go to war because of slavery. Are you in denial as to what the everlasting impact of the Corwin Amendment would have been, had it been made “Express and Irrevocable”?

                      Lincoln’s 2nd Inaugural occurred four years after the start of hostilities. Of course Lincoln would contradict himself and claim that the cause of the costly and unpopular war was slavery. Politicians often engage in duplicity to promote and protect their self-interests.

                    • Kevin Levin Sep 24, 2020 @ 10:18

                      Lincoln does a very compelling job of defending slavery in his first Inaugural…

                      Lincoln wasn’t defending slavery in that address. He was trying to save the Union.

                    • Jimmy Dick Sep 24, 2020 @ 12:07

                      Nice try, but as usual you come up short. What were the words used in the secession conventions? SLAVERY. Do a word search of the speeches. Do a word search of the secession declarations. It was made clear what the issue was. You keep trying to separate the issues by ignoring the root cause.

                      Without the issue of slavery there would have been no secession and therefore no civil war. Historians are trained to look for various levels of causation. In this case, the ultimate or distal cause of the Civil War was slavery. All other possible causes are at best peripheral and interwoven into the issue of slavery. You are addressing a proximate cause, the preservation of the union. That would not have been necessary had the ultimate cause of secession over slavery not taken place.

                      Basically, you are trying to obfuscate the cause of the Civil War with one fact while ignoring the facts that prove slavery to be the ultimate cause of the conflict.

                      As Kevin said, you are ignoring all the facts and cherry picking one or two to support what you want to believe. This is an easy exercise to use with students.

                      Why did Lincoln need to preserve the Union?

                      What caused some slave owners to desire to break apart the Union?

                      Why was slavery that cause?

                      If there is another cause, what is it? You can’t say the tariff. That’s been proven to be false. You can’t say state’s rights because the only state right being mentioned over and over again was the right to own slaves and to move those slaves into the western territories.

                      As I have challenged everyone, if you want to prove the cause of the Civil War was something other than slavery, show me the primary sources to support your opinion. You tried and failed. In fact, your primary source actually supports slavery being the ultimate cause of the Civil War.

                    • Jimmy Dick Sep 24, 2020 @ 12:10

                      I’m still waiting on the history the monuments are supposed to explain. Honoring Confederate dead…you left off the part that states they were traitors against the United States of America. Do the monuments state the traitors fought to preserve slavery? No, they don’t state that. They don’t tell history. They are not about history. That was not their purpose.

  • David Hubbard Sep 14, 2020 @ 7:33

    Would love to see this wannabe Levin ride down a street in Richmond, and let his leg tinglers Black Lives Matter/ANTIFA THUGS surround his car, beating on it, then see how much problem the Virginia Flaggers are to him and the other snowflake liberal Socialists who are his sheep. Funny thing, Levin NEVER mentions the desecration of Union Statues, Memorials, or the U.S. flag…
    But cheer up Levin!!! YOU, or anyone else will NEVER take my Battle flag from my front yard, and the more you pathetic airheads of history whine.. THe more flags and Memorials will go up.. Hint…. Its not the Race Card BS you spew. You wouldn’t make a pimple on the ass of any Southerners who fought in the War for Southern Independence.

    • Kevin Levin Sep 14, 2020 @ 7:53

      YOU, or anyone else will NEVER take my Battle flag from my front yard…

      I have no interest in the flags that you fly on your private property. Fly as many as you wish. What matters to me is that they will never again fly in public spaces that represent the collective values of the entire community. Good day.

    • Neil Hamilton Sep 14, 2020 @ 17:27

      This pile of anger helps no one, does nothing, solves nothing.

      And unfortunately, it’s always expected from people with no love of actual history, believers of myth and legend.

      You do no honor to the men who fought on either side of the Civil War, much less Confederate soldiers.

    • Lisa McDonald Sep 26, 2020 @ 19:34

      If you wish to fly a flag acknowledging you are from a family of slavery supporters that got their butt whooped and hair parted by yankees that is on you!
      Makes me a little prouder every time I drive past one knowing my family fought on the right side of American history unlike yours!
      To me you flying that flag is like hanging your pee stained bed sheet out the window! That pee stained bed sheet is probably closer in color to the real confederate surrender I mean battle flag!

  • paineite Sep 14, 2020 @ 6:22

    So appreciate your conversation and promotion of this important topic. We must ALL stand in whatever ways we can at this time of great trouble and struggle. Thank you.

  • Xathos Sep 14, 2020 @ 5:12

    Are they still waving those huge symbols of ignorance, treason, and racism on the interstates? Those have been great at getting people to support the removal of the statues and other symbols of ignorance, treason, and racism all over America. In many ways, the flaggers have shown us that they are their own worst enemies.

  • David R. McCallister Sep 14, 2020 @ 4:28

    “The first step in liquidating a people is to erase its memory. Destroy its books, its culture, its history. Then have someone write new books, manufacture a new culture, invent a new history. Before long the nation will begin to forget what it is and what it was.”

    ― Milan Kundera, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting

    • Jeff G Abbey Sep 14, 2020 @ 6:51

      The above clearly applies no matter which side of this issue you are on.

      Though we clearly need pubic debate on monuments on public property and in public places- viewed from today our nation’s founders were all human and flawed. If we expect perfection we will never have someone to look up to or build monuments to commemorate.

      We do need to continue to make progress in delivering on the vision set forth for these United States of America.

      We hold these truths to be self evident- all men are created equal.
      unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
      one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

      If we continue to pursue and deliver on the vision set forth, we and our posterity will thrive

    • Walter Kamphoefner Sep 14, 2020 @ 9:06

      Don’t worry, we’ll never forget treason or who opposed it. When does George Thomas get his monument?

    • Neil Hamilton Sep 14, 2020 @ 17:22

      The first step in creating an ignorant people is to twist it’s memory completely away from historical fact. Deny it’s history, destroy it’s culture with myth. Then have someone write new books, manufacturing a lie, a history that never was. Before long the nation will begin to believe the endless retelling of myth and lies and forget all the folks who did their dead-level best to destroy a nation.

      –Neil Hamilton, In reply to the myth of the Lost Cause

  • Terry Sep 14, 2020 @ 4:10

    “You almost want to feel sorry for these people”? In case you haven’t been paying attention, it’s not just “those people” anymore! All types of monuments, memorials and grave sites are being removed,vandalized,desecrated and destroyed. It is no longer just Confederates but monuments to Union troops,explorers,missionaries,Saints, abolitionists, revolutionary war heroes, churches, veterans of WW1, WW2, Korea and Vietnam ad nauseum. Direct your sorrow to the fate of the entire country and the cancel culture…..or to the failed educational system that produced activists unable to discern the difference between historical figures.

    • Rob Baker Sep 14, 2020 @ 8:49

      In the pendulum swing of monument removal it is inevitable that other monuments, either misinterpreted or misrepresented, will come into the crosshairs of those wanting to remove symbols of white supremacy. It is important to remember that these are not watershed moments. They are typically exceptions to what is happening. Confederate Monuments in National Battlefields are still protected and very little has been said about their removal. Given that, I find it very unlikely that a broad stroke attempt at removing all monuments will be seriously considered by most people.

      • CliosFanBoy Sep 14, 2020 @ 9:25

        very well put…..

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