Quick Thought About the Confederate Flag Controversy in Lexington

Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia

I’ve taken a little time this morning to check out the responses surrounding the Confederate flag in Lexington, Virginia.  I am struck by the over-the-top/vitriolic nature of much of what is being posted around the Internet.  Blanket generalizations are being issued about what motivated the city council as well as emotional statements promising never to return to the city.  It seems to boil down to the belief that Southern heritage has been violated or the rights of southerners have somehow been cruelly violated.  What are we to make of this?

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The Lost Cause Loses in Lexington

Confederate Flag Used as Symbol of "Massive Resistance" in Public Schools During Civil Rights Movement

While I am much more interested in how many t-shirts H.K. Edgerton sold, I would remiss if I didn’t note for the record that the City Council of Lexington voted last night to maintain the ordinance preventing the display of the Confederate flag on city street poles.  The Sons of Confederate Veterans have made a big deal about this, but the issue was never whether the flag could be displayed in parades and other venues.  In fact, the ordinance doesn’t change much of anything in terms of the visibility of the flag.

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Entertainment For White People

Today the city council in Lexington, Virginia will vote on a controversial ordinance that would ban display of Confederate flags on Main Street.  As many of you know, Lexington is the burial place of Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee and the home of the Virginia Military Institute.  The city is steeped in Confederate history.  The local chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans is staging a parade to encourage the city to strike down the ordinance.  To help out they are bringing in some heavy guns, including everyone’s favorite black Confederate, H.K. Edgerton.  Edgerton started out early this morning outside of Lexington on a roughly ten mile hike in uniform and waving his Confederate flag.  I’m sure he created quite a spectacle and I have no doubt that his address in front of the city council later tonight will cause quite a stir.

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What I Learned About Black Confederates At Harvard

I had a great time in Cambridge earlier today where I took in a talk by John Stauffer on the subject of black Confederates.  The talk was held at the Harvard Faculty Club, which was quite impressive.  They served a really nice lunch before the talk and the room was packed with about seventy people.  This is clearly an important subject, even at Harvard. 🙂  I was pleased to hear Stauffer mention my blog as well as some commentary by Brooks Simpson at the very beginning of the talk.

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The Only Way Ann DeWitt Knows How To Respond

Ann DeWitt's Black Confederate Website

Imagine my surprise today when I opened my email to find a notification from YouTube that my video screencast/critique of Ann DeWitt’s Black Confederate website had been removed owing to copyright infringements.  The copyright infringement was instigated by Ms. DeWitt herself:

We have disabled the following material as a result of a third-party notification from Ann DeWitt claiming that this material is infringing:

Examining Black Confederate Websites: #2
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jxor1UY_tT8

Please Note: Repeat incidents of copyright infringement will result in the deletion of your account and all videos uploaded to that account. In order to prevent this from happening, please delete any videos to which you do not own the rights, and refrain from uploading additional videos that infringe on the copyrights of others. For more information about YouTube’s copyright policy, please read the Copyright Tips guide.  If one of your postings has been misidentified as infringing, you may submit a counter-notification. Information about this process is in our Help Center.  Please note that under Section 512(f) of the Copyright Act, any person who knowingly materially misrepresents that material was disabled due to mistake or misidentification may be liable for damages.

Sincerely,

— The YouTube Team

You may remember that I recently uploaded two screencasts in which I critiqued some of the more popular black Confederate websites.  I’ve noticed that Ms. DeWitt’s postings at the Southern Heritage Preservation page are no longer public.  No doubt, her recent discovery of a regiment of black Confederate cooks led to this decision.  For someone who claims to have built an educational site she certainly has little patience with formal critiques that point out shortcomings and outright distortions in her own “research.”  Is this how an educator responds?  Not to worry as I still plan on using her website as part of my teacher workshop presentations on digital media literacy.

Now who is trying to suppress open discussion?

 

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