Tag Archives: Sons of Confederate Veterans

The End of Confederate Heritage

The reason why the members of the first generation of Sons of Confederate Veterans and United Daughters of the Confederacy emphasized such a strict code governing the display of the Confederate flag was that they understood the risks of it being appropriated in a way that threatened to disconnect it from its Civil War roots.  By the 1950s and 60s that battle had clearly been lost through its use as a symbol of Massive Resistance and later through its appearance on everything from cigarette lighters to bikini bottoms.  This story of a black University of South Carolina Beaufort student who chose to display a Confederate flag in his dorm window is but the latest example of this gradual decline.

So here we have a flag that was carried by the military arm of a government pledged to defend slavery and white supremacy and that remained a symbol of racism and hatred for this student’s parents has now become little more than a colorful rag in the hands of a young black man.  What does the flag mean to him?

“When I look at this flag, I don’t see racism. I see respect, Southern pride,” he said. “This flag was seen as a communication symbol” during the Civil War.

“I’ve been getting a lot of support from people. My generation is interested in freedom of speech,” Thomas said.

“I think he’s got a really good point. It’s just a flag, and in and of itself, it doesn’t have any racial meaning. It only has as much meaning as you put into it,” said Reed.

That’s about it.  The flag was a “communication symbol”… you know, guys waved them back and forth to send signals.  The student in question doesn’t seem to have any interest in the Confederate war nor does his display of the flag seem to have much to do with the Civil War era at all.  So much for Confederate/Southern heritage.  That hasn’t prevented the Confederate heritage community from embracing him as their latest hero.  In the past few weeks the most popular defenders of Confederate heritage include a middle school student from New Jersey and now this guy.  Hilarious!

The Confederate Flag Belongs To Rev. G.V. Clark

Rev. G.V. Clark of Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Austin testifies before the Texas DMV board of directors against a Confederate flag license plate sponsored by the Sons of Confederate Veterans.  This is for anyone who believes that they alone or as a group have a monopoly on the meaning of the Confederate flag.

Flagging a Symbol Into Oblivion

Old Soldiers' Home in Richmond, Virginia

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:

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Are License Plates Confederately Correct?

Harper's Weekly, September 17, 1864

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.

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