This is the first image of inside Lee Chapel that I’ve seen since the Confederate flags were removed.
With each perceived heritage violation the Virginia Flaggers somehow manage to place themselves further from the mainstream when it comes to the display of the Confederate flag. Their assumed stance that they alone ought to dictate what it means to commemorate and remember the Confederate past has won them very few, if any, allies in Virginia and beyond. Even after all the protests they have yet to garner one significant victory.
The controversy at W&L was a perfect opportunity for the Virginia Flaggers to demonstrate their ability to engage in some creative thinking and sincere interest in a solution that would be satisfactory to all constituents. Unfortunately, but perhaps not surprisingly all the Flaggers could muster was much of the same extreme outrage and self-righteousness in response to what most observers believe was a reasonable response by the president. Continue reading
Amidst the focus on replica Confederate flags being removed from inside Lee Chapel on the W&L what has almost entirely been lost is the decision to properly exhibit original Confederate flags on a rotating basis in the museum space below the chapel. The first flag which will be displayed in the Lee Chapel museum is Battle Flag No. 62.
Captured at the Battle of Gettysburg on July 3, 1863, by the 12th New Jersey Infantry, this flag is believed to have belonged to the 26th North Carolina Infantry. A history of the 26th Infantry records the following report on the incident in which the flag was captured: “Our color bearer, a member of Company K, Facuett’s Company from Alamance County, succeeded in passing over this fence, but fell mortally wounded. He died that night with his face to the enemy. Our colors fell with our brave color-bearer not ten steps from the rock wall.” July 3 was the last day of fighting at Gettysburg.
Descriptions of the other battle flags scheduled to appear can be found here.
Yes, I can certainly see why so many people are outraged.
It should be no surprise that not everyone approves of the decision made at Washington & Lee University to deal with concerns expressed by a group of students, who call themselves The Committee, over the school’s Confederate past. A good deal of this first wave of outrage comes from the usual suspects, who believe that they alone hold a monopoly on what it means to properly commemorate Robert E. Lee and the Confederate past.
Charges of political correctness and an administration that caved into the demands of a select few abound. Not surprisingly, the decision to remove reproduction flags from the chapel has caused the most outrage among those who are best described as reproduction Confederate heritage advocates. No mention of the fact that the school is going to display the original Confederate flags that once hung in the chapel in the museum section of the building below. Does this really reflect caving into demands? One Virginia blogger worries about a slippery slope: Will the Recumbent Statue of Lee be next? Continue reading
The president of W&L University has issued a statement about the college’s display of Confederate flags in Lee Chapel and other aspects of its Civil War past. As many of you know this controversy began a couple of months ago after a group of African-American law students issued a statement and list of demands about their school’s relationship to its past. Continue reading