Here is another story concerning the public display of the Confederate flag, this time in the former capital of the Confederacy of Richmond, Virginia. A small, but dedicated group is protesting the removal of a Confederate flag from the grounds of the Confederate War Memorial Chapel, which sits on ground owned by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. The chapel was at one point part of a camp for Confederate veterans, known as Robert E. Lee Camp No. 1, also known as the “Old Soldiers’ Home.” In 1993 permission was given to the Sons of Confederate Veterans by the VMFA to lease the building, which is when, as I understand it, the Confederate flag first went up. In 2010 the lease was renewed with the stipulation that the flag be removed on the grounds of research done by museum staff showing that the flag had never been displayed when the building was in use by Confederate veterans. The following local report adds some context:
Slap on a Confederate t-shirt for school and when the authorities tell you to remove it claim that your right to celebrate your heritage is being violated. The mainstream media will eat it up and there are plenty of people, who will embrace you as the latest member of an oppressed group. Actually, this story about a young New Jersey girl, who was suspended for wearing a sweatshirt with a Confederate flag to school is really a story about an irresponsible mother, who framed the issue this way: “The Indian kids get to wear turbans. The Jewish children can wear yarmulkes. That’s their birth right, their heritage. It’s my daughter’s heritage.” Can’t you just feel that deep attachment to the South oozing forth.
Yes, the girl in question was born in Virginia, but only lived there for one year. She is twelve years old. Are we really suppose to believe that her ties to the South and its history are that strong? Really? The young girl admits that she doesn’t understand the history of the flag and I suspect that if we pressed her we would learn that her knowledge of Southern history is just as shallow. Like I said, this is really a story of an irresponsible mother, who should have known better than to place her daughter in this situation. Now we learn that the girl is receiving death threats. Nice work, mom.
This video was done by a couple of students at D.S. Freeman High School in Richmond, Virginia as part of a school wide discussion centered on whether they should get rid of their “Rebel” mascot. The video offers a nice overview of the school’s history and includes a number of interviews with students and teachers. Well done.
Ford’s Theatre National Historic Site in Washington, D.C. has decided not to sell the bestselling book, Killing Lincoln by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard. The decision was made following a thorough review of the book by Deputy Superintendent, Rae Emerson. I don’t have any problem with the NPS making such a decision; in fact, I applaud it. The NPS review is included in the Salon article for your consideration. When I posted the article to the Civil War Memory page one of my readers responded that she had canceled her order for it. That got me thinking. Let me be clear, there are plenty of mistakes in this book, but I still wonder whether they render the book unreadable.
It should come as no surprise that the Sons of Confederate Veterans attributes yesterday’s unanimous decision by the Texas DMV as another attack on Confederate symbols and “Southern Heritage” more generally. It may surprise you to learn, however, that the leadership of the SCV at the turn of the twentieth century likely would have viewed yesterday’s decision as a victory.