Conservatives and the Confederate Flag

In this short video a black Republican argues against the Confederate flag. His understanding of the history of the Democratic and Republican parties is problematic, but the broader argument certainly complicates our understanding of the deep divisions that exist in this ongoing controversy.

[Uploaded to YouTube on November 25, 2014]

How High Schools Can Talk About the Confederate Flag

confederate flag high school

It seems like you can’t go a week without reading a story about a student who has decided to bring a Confederate flag to school or wear clothing with the symbol prominently displayed. Over the past few years the number of reported stories has increased in frequency. More interesting, these incidents have spread well beyond the South to every region of the country. While these stories make for great press what is usually ignored is how individual schools end up dealing with the fallout. While the courts have ruled consistently that school administrators have the right to limit the display of the flag that can do little to assuage the uneasiness and mistrust that is present in the hallways. Continue reading “How High Schools Can Talk About the Confederate Flag”

What I Told the Danville Museum of Fine Arts & History

This morning I had a pleasant conversation with the executive director of the Danville (Va.) Museum of Fine Arts & History about how to respond to public concerns regarding plans to remove a Confederate flag from the grounds. As you might expect, they have already received some angry emails and phone calls. I am not sure how they came by my name, but I was happy to listen and offer some thoughts. Here is what I shared.

  • Keep the focus on the local community. The museum’s most recent strategic plan, along with its programming, is designed to appeal to as wide a range of local residents as possible.
  • Educate the local community about why there is a need to move the Confederate flag. Be as clear and as open as possible. Bring in a speaker like John Coski, who can educate those interested about why such a move might be desirable given the goals of the museum and the racial/ethnic profile of the community.
  • Emphasize on the website and through other channels that the museum remains committed to interpreting Danville’s history in the Civil War.
  • Reach out to the local chapters of the UDC and SCV to see if there is room to work together. This is their community as well.
  • Understand that protests from individuals and groups outside the community have nothing to do with what is best for the Danville community. They have their own self-serving agendas.
  • Remember that it doesn’t take much to magnify the extent of the outrage against this planned move. The vast majority of people will likely not have a problem with this decision.

This issue should be resolved one way or the other within the next week or two.

Virginia Flaggers Looking For Disaffected Students and Alumni

Virginia FlaggersThe Virginia Flaggers have now been on the ground for the past few weeks in Lexington protesting W&L’s decision to remove replica Confederate flags from the chapel and yet we have yet to see a single photograph of a student or alumni on the grounds calling for their return. “Plenty of support” indeed, just not the kind of support that matters.

On second thought, perhaps I misinterpreted their strategy. Perhaps the Virginia Flaggers are taking the long view and are preparing kids like these for admission to W&L. Once admitted they will bring about change from within. Brilliant.

“Last Capital of the Confederacy” to Remove Flag

There are three narratives that have come to define our Civil War sesquicentennial. They include the story of the black Union soldier, along with emancipation, as the dominant narrative as well as the rise of the Civil War in the West and guerrilla warfare. The last one has to be the steady retreat of Confederate symbols such as the flag and other references in public places. You can’t review the news without coming across an article and it is happening at a steady pace from Virginia to Mississippi. Continue reading ““Last Capital of the Confederacy” to Remove Flag”