The Confederacy Has Risen Again

Sketch of MOC exhibit at Appomattox

Unfortunately, you wouldn’t know this from those folks who proclaim themselves defenders of “Southern Heritage.”  Many of these people are preoccupied with silly battles surrounding the display of the Confederate flag.  Anyone who follows this nauseating debate can see that the pro-flag forces are on the losing side of history.  Whether they are willing to acknowledge it or not, the majority of Americans do not want to see the Confederate flag in public spaces and supported with public dollars.  As the title of the post suggests, however, there is reason to celebrate.

The Museum of the Confederacy’s new museum at Appomattox is beginning to take shape.  The center-piece of the exhibit will be the uniform and ceremonial sword that Robert E. Lee wore at the surrender ceremony.  Looking for Confederate flags?  Fifteen flags will be set up in front of the building in full view of U.S. 460 and you can bet that they will all be properly interpreted by museum staff.  Here is a wonderful example of the preservation of Confederate/American history that all of us can embrace.

The only Southern Heritage that is under assault is the one mired in ignorance and hatred.

Searching for Black Confederates: The Civil War’s Most Persistent Myth

“Levin’s study is the first of its kind to blueprint and then debunk the mythology of enslaved African Americans who allegedly served voluntarily in behalf of the Confederacy.”–Journal of Southern History

Purchase your copy today!

49 comments… add one
  • Lilli Buck Nov 5, 2011 @ 7:59

    You are ignoring the historical importance of the flag and the Confederacy. How about the British flag over Colonial Williamsburg? Britain was defeated in battle too. But they are making a historical display. The South also has a right to make a historical display.

    What about the Scottish flag at the Highland games? They are also making a historical display and celebrating an ethnic heritage.

    • Kevin Levin Nov 5, 2011 @ 19:35

      I am not ignoring anything. I am simply making the point that not all southerners want their tax dollars to support a symbol that they find offensive.

      • Jimmy L. Shirley Jr. Nov 5, 2011 @ 20:03

        But Kevin,
        Dont those of us who do want this count? I dare say there are probably more folks who are at least sympathtic to us than are not. Certainly there are far fewer partisans, such as myself.
        But like I ask, dont we count? Whose “rights” aughten to trump whose? In these past dozen years or so, I have been hearing about “spreading democracy” around the world so that the peoples of the several countries can have a say in their governments.
        I was taught in school that democracy is “rule by the majority”. I was also taught that this country’s form of government is a republic-representative government. Yet, it seems to me that, when it comes to the display of the Confederate flag on public grounds, even if the majority either wants it or they dont mind, it is the vocal minority who oppose it that get their way.
        Is this right or fair?

        • Kevin Levin Nov 6, 2011 @ 2:33

          Hi Jimmy,

          Of course, you count, but I fail to see where anyone is impinging on your “right” to display the Confederate flag. You can display the flag on private property as long as the owner will allow it, but the public sector is a very different story. Perhaps you can provide an example where you see the will of the majority being overridden. Thanks.

          • Jimmy L. Shirley Jr. Nov 6, 2011 @ 6:34

            Ok, I will give it a try. Consider the Georgia State Flag from 1956-2001. You know the story. A Mason-Dixon poll completed and released in January 2005 asked several questions of those polled. They are as follows:
            * QUESTION: The Georgia legislature is presently considering holding a referendum to permit the voters to choose between the current State Flag and the 1956-2001 State Flag, which contained the Confederate battle emblem. Do you believe that the people of Georgia should be allowed to say which State Flag represents them, or not?

            YES NO NOT SURE
            STATE 79% 15% 6%

            QUESTION: If another referendum were held, which Flag would you choose: (ORDER ROTATED)
            – The present State Flag, or
            – The 1956-2001 Flag with the Confederate battle emblem?

            PRESENT FLAG 1956-2001 FLAG UNDECIDED
            STATE 47% 40% 13%

            QUESTION: If another referendum were held, would you be satisfied with the Flag that received a majority of the votes regardless of the outcome, or not?

            YES NO NOT SURE
            STATE 70% 23% 7%

            Present Flag 50% 41% 9%
            1956-2001 Flag 92% 5% 3%
            Undecided 74% 13% 13%

            QUESTION: Do you view the Confederate flag primarily as: (ORDER ROTATED)
            – A symbol of southern heritage and pride, or
            – A symbol of segregation and racism?

            STATE 60% 29% 4% 7%

            QUESTION: Do you believe the referendum held in March 2004, which did not include the 1956-2001 State Flag, was fair to the voters of Georgia, or not?

            YES NO NOT SURE
            STATE 33% 54% 13%

            I know it looks like I just shot down my own argument, but I think not because of this. The overwhelming majority viewed the, what ‘WE’ call the REAL GEORGIA FLAG, as a symbol of pride, would be satisfied of the vote regardless of the outcome, believed the people of Georgia should choose which flag best represents them, believed March 2004 referendum was unfair because the ’56 flag was off the table.

            The poll goes into some detail of its sampling and, as predictable, most Black folk oppose the Real Georgia Flag. It is also broken down by gender and certain regions of Georgia.
            So, take this for what it is worth, I interpret it as the will of the majority was thwarted by a powerful minority and a group of spineless politicians.

            • Kevin Levin Nov 6, 2011 @ 6:44

              First, keep in mind that the flag went up in response to Brown v. Board of Ed as it did in other southern states. It’s a wonderful example of how the flag has been used as a political statement. You proved my point on a number of levels. The history of this particular flag should give you a better sense of why African Americans may not want to see it on public grounds. The poll is interesting, but there is nothing about it that would suggest that the democratic process has suffered. After all, Georgians can go to the polls and either vote for or against their representatives based on the positions taken.

              I have consistently maintained that these are local issues. If residents decided to display the flag on public grounds than so be it. My point is simply that we no longer live in an environment where an entire race is disfranchised so it is not surprising that the issue has become more divisive or that one side no longer has a monopoly on the flag’s meaning.

              • Jimmy L. Shirley Jr. Nov 6, 2011 @ 7:04

                Kevin said: “First, keep in mind that the flag went up in response to Brown v. Board of Ed as it did in other southern states. It’s a wonderful example of how the flag has been used as a political statement.”
                Except for South Carolina, how did it go “up in response to Brown v. Board of Ed as it did in other southern states” and which “other southern(sic) states”?
                More importantly, with the approaching Centennial of the war, according to the man behind the flag change in 1955-56, Judge John Sammons Belll, was written about this way: {{ The chosen design for this new Georgia flag would include the Battle Emblem because of the belief it would create a living memorial to the Confederacy, and at the same time would provide Georgia with a distinctive and historically significant flag. Judge John Sammons Bell, the mind behind the design of this new flag said, “The confederate Battle Flag Emblem was placed as a living memorial to a brave and valiant people who gave so much and suffered so much during the War Between the States.” Bell later boasted in 1992 that the only reason for the flag change and the motivation behind having the flag changed to include the battle emblem was so that it would build a living memorial to the Confederate soldier. Thirty-six years later Judge Bell still tried to make his case that there was not racially geared motives that led to the decision to include the battle emblem of the Confederacy on the new flag. He also still tried to persuade people that this change took place because the state of Georgia needed something to serve as a reminder of those brave men who fought for their rights in the War Between the States, the great Civil War.}}
                ~ Source:

                Additionally, consider this train of thought. {{Lillian Atkinson noted that the new state flag received a great deal of thought and was not just thrown together overnight. Her article “Under 12 Flags” which appeared in the Savannah Morning News Magazine, 22 March 1964, depicted the meaning of the new flag. This flag design was symbolic and served to show Georgia’s patriotism to the state, served as a reminder of the Confederacy, and showed loyalty to the nation. The main thing about this flag was it contained the colors of the nation – red, white, and blue. This symbolically showed Georgian’s respect for the country. The Battle Emblem, St. Andrew’s cross, represented a love for the Confederacy, and finally yet importantly, the flag contained, within the field of blue next to the staff, Georgia’s Coat of Arms containing her motto: Wisdom, Justice, and Moderation.}}
                Source same as above.

                Not all things are as seems.

                • Kevin Levin Nov 6, 2011 @ 7:09

                  Again, I suggest you read John Coski’s book on the history of the Confederate flag. You are likely to get a bit more analysis than what you will find in a 1964 newspaper article or website. The book offers extensive commentary on the Georgia flag. From the website you include:

                  As early as April 1955, “Suggestions first appeared supporting the addition of the Confederate emblem’s to Georgia’s State Flag.”15 Talks and suggestions of changing the Georgia state flag quickly resulted into action. Legislators met and agreed that there was a need for a change of the state flag, and the new flag should include the Confederate Battle Emblem, after all this would preserve the heritage of Georgia and the South. Judge John Sammons Bell drafted the Bill that would enact into law the flag change.16 The vote for a flag change took place on 1 February 1956. The vote was for whether or not to include the Confederate Battle Emblem on the State Flag. The Bill passed in the senate by a margin of 41-3.17 “When the Bill was passed by the General Assembly, it was promptly signed into law by Governor Marvin Griffin on February 13, 1956, to become effective on July 1, 1956.”18 Governor Marvin Griffin’s decision to sign into law the state flag change exemplified his desire to stay true to his campaign oath in which he promised to preserve two of Georgia’s greatest traditions. Some traditions he desired to preserve were the ideas of segregation and the ideas of the county unit system.19

                  I wonder if you could tell me what percentage of the black population in Georgia had the opportunity to speak through their representatives on this issue?

                  Whatever the case may be it has little to do with my argument.

                  • Jimmy L. Shirley Jr. Nov 14, 2011 @ 14:03

                    Do Black folk dictate to you your conscience? Not mine! Am I wrong for this?
                    Also, I ask you this. Why do you spend so much tyme and mental energy assailing us? WHY?!!
                    As surely you must know, the MSM does not afford us the space and energy to us so that we can defend our position, unlike they once did back in the 10’s 20’s and 30’s. Yet, you spend loads of tyme/energy attacking us. We do not attack you unless you attack us.
                    So why, Kevin?? Explain why you attack us?!!

                    • Kevin Levin Nov 14, 2011 @ 14:15

                      Hi Jimmy,

                      I appreciate you taking the time to comment, but I don’t quite know what to make of this.

                      Do Black folk dictate to you your conscience? Not mine! Am I wrong for this?

                      You are going to need to explain what you mean here. Yes, I am interested in the history of race and slavery, but beyond that my conscience is shaped by a whole host of factors.

                      Why do you spend so much tyme and mental energy assailing us? WHY?!!

                      I know this is a popular rallying cry, but I honestly don’t know how to respond to it, in part, because of the vague reference to “us.” Perhaps you can explain further.

  • Aaron Kidd Nov 4, 2011 @ 16:06

    You sir, are full of hatred and ignorance. We Defenders of Our Heritage don’t want to force our heritage upon others. We want our Ansestors recognized for their cause of Independence, and we want Our Symbols honored. If we shouldn’t have the right to honor Our Ansestors and defend them then neither should yankees. Even though we may be historical losers as you say, we know the Truth and what Our Heritage is about.

    • Kevin Levin Nov 4, 2011 @ 16:18

      Thanks for showing us all what it means to not respond out of anger.

      • John Buchanan Nov 7, 2011 @ 6:49

        “Thanks for showing us all what it means to not respond out of anger”
        (Tongue Firmly Planted in Cheek)

    • James Harrigan Nov 4, 2011 @ 17:33

      Aaron, I know what your “Heritage” is about, too – white supremacy. Your “Ansestors” fought to establish a republic based on slavery, and no amount of bravery by individual Confederate soldiers can change that simple historical fact. The Confederate flag has been a powerful symbol of white supremacy since the day it first flew, and that is why I find it so repugnant.

      • Jimmy L. Shirley Jr. Nov 4, 2011 @ 19:19

        James said, “…fought to establish a republic based on slavery,” Exactly what the colonials did from 1776-83, among other reasons. All 13 of them. And even though I disagree with your whole premise, lets say you are correct for the sake of argument. Well, given that the United States codified “such persons” “person held to Service or Labor” and “those bound to Service for a Term of Years…three fifths of all other Persons” into its Constitution for some 76 years, it did ultimately abolish it via the 13th Amendment. But suppose the British had reconquered these errant colonies as a result of the War of 1812. Might we now be reading about those horrible slaveowners and consider the Stars and Stripes a “painful reminder of slavery” as the Black folk do today? And might it have the same sort of scorn that so many of you have for the Confederate flag today? After all, the British abolished it and compensated their owners in the early 1800’s. How are we to know if the CSA would have followed suit had it lived long enough?
        Based on this premise, I think it patently unfair to hold the CSA prisoner to the ideals most of the cilvilised world had up to the early 1900’s. After all, if one were to have told an American back in, say, 1900 that within 100 years, the Black race would hold such legal protections so as to create a privileged, entitled class, they would have thought he ready for the lunatic asylum. Yet it happened and lots of White people are just fine with that.
        The point is, things change. Just like the Confederate flag. Once, it was venerated by most Americans, but not anymore, thanks to Marxist-type teachings in the schools. there are those of us who endeavour to correct that and restore the flag to its rightful place it once enjoyed. So why do y’all stand in our way?

        • Kevin Levin Nov 5, 2011 @ 6:12

          Once, it was venerated by most Americans, but not anymore, thanks to Marxist-type teachings in the schools.

          You lose all credibility wheh you say such things. With all due respect, pick up a copy of John Coski’s book, The Confederate Battle Flag and learn some history.

          • Jimmy L. Shirley Jr. Nov 5, 2011 @ 6:53

            {{Once, it was venerated by most Americans, but not anymore, thanks to Marxist-type teachings in the schools.}} Kevin said: ” You lose all credibility wheh you say such things”

            Then how would you explain it, another reference to what some like-minded individual said/wrote?

            Just because you disagree with me, is this giving you a right to say I “lose credibility”? As if my opinions lack credibility? Opinions are just that – opinions. If we are exchanging known facts and I state as truth what can easily be refuted, that is one thing.

            So, speaking of fact, here are a few. Fact: the news media almost never misses a chance to make visual association of the Confederate flag with any sort of racial tensions even if the flag is not at the source of the issue. Fact: “Gollywood” almost never misses a chance to make visual association of the Confederate flag with any sort of racial tensions in their movies and TV shows.
            Fact: Black people are teaching their children and grandchildren “HATE” by telling them the Confederate flag is always associated with violence against their race. On this one, this is not to say all Black Americans do this all the tyme, but how else to explain why young children regard the flag as a “hate symbol”. Some White people do this as well, teaching their children “HATE”.

            Yet, like I said, we are trying to reverse this trend. Why are people like you standing in our way?

            • Kevin Levin Nov 5, 2011 @ 7:03

              Many black Americans today lived through a time in American history when the Confederate flag was used as a symbol of hate and racism. You certainly can’t blame them for not wanting to see it in public places and supported by their tax dollars.

              You seem to think the flag can be selectively divorced from certain moments in history. That’s the rub. No one has a monopoly on how to interpret such a rich and divisive symbol. For a long time the flag could be displayed in public spaces because the segment of the population whose interpretation of it diverged sharply was not allowed to participate in public discourse owing to segregation. Times have changed.

              Finally, stop playing the victim card. No one is standing in your way. You are free to make your case as best you can. I would suggest, however, that your case is more and more falling on deaf ears. That you so easily attribute it to vague references to political correctness and cultural correctness tells us more about your narrow view of things than anything having to do with reality.

              • Jimmy L. Shirley Jr. Nov 5, 2011 @ 17:45

                Kevin said, in part: {{ I would suggest, however, that your case is more and more falling on deaf ears… tells us more about your narrow view of things than anything having to do with reality.}}

                Is this not as well decribing those who will not consider our point of view, those with “narrow view of things”?
                Now, I wish to address Forester. You claim to be a Southerner. Then you make the highly offensive statement of comparing the Confederate flag to the German swastika, therefore contradicting you own words – “simply one of politeness. As a Southerner, I was taught to use good manners and respect other people’s feelings”. Simply being born in the South does not make one a “Southerner”, IMHO. That title is reserved for those who are born here but also love it and defend it from her enemies and naysayers. Otherwise, without adhering to these three, one is simply born here. Just like it does not make “Southerners” out of any of these recent foreign immigrants, legal or illegal, if/when any of them are born here.
                And you offended me by using the swastika as a comparison to the Confederate flag, even though upon examination it falls flat. I am always offended when that analogy is used. In keeping with the propaganda used by the nazi regime, “you keep repeating a lie long enough, people will begin to believe it”. Hitler and Karl Marx, two of the most heinous villains of all tyme whose philosophy/policies resulted in genocides unequalled in world history, both sided with a. lincoln. How then can one make the nazi connection with the Confederate flag?
                So, if you really believe your own words, then you owe me and others an apology and a promise not to make that comparison ever again.

                • Austin Idol Nov 6, 2011 @ 5:17

                  I’m supportive of the flag, and Confederate symbols in general, at appropriate historic sites and events. However, as soon as folks from either “side” start go down the “you’re a Nazi/you’re a Socialist” road, I lose interest. I think a lot of people are turned off by the histrionics. If you can’t state your case calmly and rationally you aren’t going to drum up a lot of support, regardless of the issue.

                  • Kevin Levin Nov 6, 2011 @ 5:19

                    Hi Austin,

                    Thanks for the comment. I agree. The Nazi/Socialist/Politically Correct/Revisionist, etc… is a non-starter and has nothing to do with the complexity of the issue at hand as well as the relevant history.

                • Forester Nov 6, 2011 @ 23:45

                  @ Jimmy: I used the Nazi flag analogy for a reason, which you seem to have missed. I didn’t sat that the Confederate Flag is the same as the swasitka, but rather I used the highly offensive swastika as an aid for relating to black people. Like the swastika, the Reb battle flag has become associated with hate in people’s minds. Would you be happy to drive down I-95 and see a bunch of men in SS uniforms waving Swastikas and “flagging” the Interstate? No, you’d probably be furious.

                  Like it or not, that’s how blacks and other minorities see us when we do such nonsense with the Rebel flag. It doesn’t matter a BIT if the analogy is “wrong.” It’s how they feel. Ask them (people have) and 9 times out of 10, they will compare it to the swastika. Sure, I would defend the South from an unjust attack. But I’m only acknowledging an attitude that already exists.

                  And why did I use Nazis? Well yes, I’d like to use a less cliche example. But it’s hard to find any other example of that level of hatred forced on “my” people (American/English/Western whites) because … well, it just doesn’t happen to white people very often unless they’re gay. Hitler was all I had to work with — throw me a bone.

                  Not to descend into ad hominem squabbles, but I find YOUR post highly contradictory. You criticize my swastika analogy, than follow it up with a comment about how immigrants are not Real Southerners. Gee, reminds me of a certain guy who had some opinions on what made a real German. Just sayin.’

                  The simple fact is that yes, being born in the South DOES make you a Southerner. So does your parents heritage, or simply LIVING there. Immigrants and black people are also Southern. The South existed long before and long after the 5 short years of the Confederacy. I am proud of my Confederate ancestors, yes. But to be honest, most of my “warm and fuzzy” feelings are for the post-war and twentieth century South. The antebellum is a completely different era that I can’t really relate to, and I think our character as a people was brought to bloom by the sufferings of war and reconstruction.

                  But I know that’s not what you mean by “Southern.” You specifically invoke the term to designate white people on one side of a conflict 150 years ago. But the simple fact is that blacks and Unionists are Southern also. I remember an episode of “The Waltons” where the Grandmother revealed that her father was on the Yankee side. It was viewed as the family’s shame, but John-Boy (being a more modern thinker) couldn’t see why that was wrong or shamefull. This story was set in the Great Depression, when some people from the Civil War were still alive. But we are living in an even LATER period than that! We should certainly seek a more inclusive view of history (or at the very least, acknowlege that people were complicated and held more than one outlook on the conflict).

                  As for the “hate” associated with the Confederate Flag, I’ve seen this hate first hand in photographs, while studying WWII in the Norfolk Public Library archives. I saw photos (and I’ve held the originals, they weren’t faked) where KKK people held parades in downtown Norfolk, flying the Confederate flag in the 1920s. Segregationist candidates as recently as WWII flew the flag in their election rallies, and even had miniatures on their cars (there was a photo in the Nofolk-Virginian Pilot, circa 1942 or 43, whenever the election was). I cannot blame anyone for seeing the flag on a state house and thinking “oh my God, those days are coming back.”

                  Though nobody is disallowed to have the flag in their home, yard or even business in Virginia. After the recent debates, people seem to think it’s banned. Not true. Truck stops and souvineer shops in VA slap the flag onto every possibly item they can (coffee mugs, shot glasses, pens and pencils, cell phone cases, hats, shirts, mouse pads, ties, pins, bikinis, lighters, clocks, watches, silver baby spoons, thimbles, ratcher drivers …. the list goes on and gets more rediculous). Country music bars always have one on the wall …. no Rebel flag would be like no Jack Daniels (whats the point?). All totally free and legal. Might I also add that there is NO penalty for wearing the Confederate Flag and I see it all the time (even on tattoos). I see it on car windows and bumpers also, and this is in Norfolk — a transient Navy town that doesn’t even have a prevalent Southern accent. Drive down Route 17 and you’d think you’re in a seperate Confederate nation. The flag is NOT illegal or threatened, at least not in my state. It’s too profitable.

                  (One more thing: the statement about “Marxist education” causing the flag to be villified. Marxism is an economic/social philosphy and has nothing to do with Civil War History. I assume it was meant as a synonym for “Liberal” education? Also, some Marxist/leftists actually sympathize with the Confederacy, so it’s simply incorrect to call modern revisions a product of a completely unrelated philosphy.)

            • Michael Nov 5, 2011 @ 8:43

              Mr. Shirley, every time I’m minded to give a further benefit of the doubt to this “heritage, not hate” meme, I recall the thinly- (and sometimes not so thinly-) veiled racism with which you and some of your colleagues can’t resist tainting the issue. And my doubt as to that flag’s meaning is erased just a little bit more.

              • Jimmy L. Shirley Jr. Nov 6, 2011 @ 6:46

                First of all, Michael,
                Why do you think it ok for the pot to call the kettle black? Human nature is such that all people are inherently hostile to varying degrees towards those not like us, you included. It is how we as any particular race/ethnic people have survived down the centuries and millenium. How we deal with this in modern tymes is another thing altogether. Some feed it and let it grow. Some starve it to uselessness. Some in between.
                Second, when and where did I make any veiled or not so veiled references of “racism” by whatever else you call it? Are you strictly bespeaking of “Black” references? Referring to Jews? Muslims? Cubans/Mexicans/Puerto Ricans, etc? WHAT?

              • Michael Nov 6, 2011 @ 9:38

                I haven’t the slightest as to what you intend to convey with your pot/kettle reference. I’m not going to exchange quips with you as this thread is not the proper place to do so even if I were interested in such engagement. I will say a couple of things though. When I say racist, I mean exactly that. Judaism and Islam are religions, not races.

                I haven’t any idea how you feel about Hispanics or Asians. I *do* know, from your own words, that you’ve got a “grudge” against African Americans. Sometimes it’s in the form of snide little remarks about African Americans being a “privileged, entitled class.” Your remarks about the desirability of racial separation come to mind. Your occasional comments on “the Blacks” in reference to modern-day African Americans have been noted by myself.

                Your continual rationalization of slavery in the south is particularly odious. When not touting the “cradle-to-grave care” mantra, you’re making statements like “. . .slavery was and still is an accepted form of human relations. . .” Or, one of my favorites, in regard to slavery, you state that it was a “no harm, no foul” proposition and that, “. . Whites did not HATE the Blacks, then, but that came later. In more modern tymes.”

                The icing on my particular cake comes with your sage pronouncement that African Americans who “whine” about slavery “need to get over it.” Talk about pots calling kettles black! This, from folks who still cannot get over the fact that they were on the losing side of a war they started to preserve white supremacy over black chattel!

                As to your question re “when and where,” I can only say that you’re not the only person who follow or participates in Civil War discussions around the ‘net. I’ve seen your comments in quite a few places. Hell you even popped up on discussions of the MLK memorial with your venom.

                I hope your curiosity re my comment has been assuaged and that I’ve answered your question. That’s all I have to say. As I noted, above, I have no interest in engaging in fruitless debate or lending credence to bitterness and myth masquerading as history.

        • Ray O'Hara Nov 5, 2011 @ 9:57

          Massachusetts abolished slavery in 1781. that was before the end of the revolution and even in the Northern States where slavery was legal the economies weren’t based on slavery and they also peacefully abolished it.
          It was the Siouth that chose to be militant about slavery and plonged the nation into war over it.

          • Jimmy L. Shirley Jr. Nov 7, 2011 @ 7:12

            Abolished slavery did not equal good relations. The ONLY reason they did so was to kick them out of Massachusetts. AND, the slave owners were compensated and it was not abolished outright, but by certain conditions.

            • Kevin Levin Nov 7, 2011 @ 7:22

              Abolished slavery did not equal good relations.

              You are absolutely right, but the story is much more complex than you acknowledge. African Americans experienced varying degrees of discrimination throughout much of the North. In some places civil rights gradually disappeared by the beginning of the nineteenth century. In some states they were prevented from legally settling.

              The ONLY reason they did so was to kick them out of Massachusetts.

              That is simply not true. I suggest that you do more reading before you make such claims. Many states, north and south, debated the issue of slavery in the wake of the Revolution. Massachusetts ended slavery for moral reasons, though you rightly note that the end of slavery did not necessarily mean that whites believed blacks to be their equals. Massachusetts remained one of the more friendly places for blacks throughout the antebellum period. Finally, you are correct that many northern states gradually abolished slavery, in part, to protect the economic/financial interests of slaveholders.

              Again, I suggest that you do a bit more reading if you expect to be taken seriously.

              • Jimmy L. Shirley Jr. Nov 7, 2011 @ 18:18

                Kevin said, {{Again, I suggest that you do a bit more reading if you expect to be taken seriously.}}
                Although this is YOUR web blog, still, smugness is a bit condescending, dont you think? As if this information supplied here by the webmaster is the be all and end all of the several issues and opinions related to the cause of the CSa and why they deemed secession as a patriotic duty.

                Kevin said, {The ONLY reason they did so was to kick them out of Massachusetts.{That is simply not true. I suggest that you do more reading before you make such claims.} I have read plenty about race relations and involuntary African servitude in both yankeeland and the South.
                So consider this ~{ Massachusetts had a strong, politically active white working class which perpetually sought an end to slavery, not for the benefit of blacks but to remove them from economic competition. “If the gentlemen had been permitted by law to hold slaves,” John Adams wrote, “the common people would have put the Negroes to death, and their masters too, perhaps.”
                Source ~” Letters and Documents Relating to Slavery in Massachusetts, MHS Colls., 5th Ser., III (1877), pp.401-2″
                From this web source:

                This is in direct responce with specificity to Massachusetts. Please look into the rest of the website, if’n ye hath not in yonder past. <;-)

                • Kevin Levin Nov 8, 2011 @ 2:31

                  What do you expect when you can’t even get basic facts right. I am so glad to see that you can quote John Adams, but what does this have to do with your mistaken claim that Mass. ended slavery just so they could “kick them out”? I just recently moved to Massachusetts and I am doing extensive reading of its history. I don’t know everything, but I am more than happy to pass on some suggestions for further reading.

                  • Jimmy L. Shirley Jr. Nov 8, 2011 @ 5:32

                    Did you even bother to check into the website I offered? There is a wealth of information about the condition of slavery in the north and how it went about abolishing it, and why. None of them did so for moral reasons of right and wrong, although, to be fair, there were those who did oppose slavery on the basis of morality. Just as there were in the Olde South.
                    Also, while you are there in the Kennedy Kingdom, find and read the book, “COMPLICITY”, about how the north enriched itself on the trading and traffiking in human cargo.

                    • Kevin Levin Nov 8, 2011 @ 5:38

                      I have shelves of books on slavery and race in the North in my personal library. I was responding to your mistaken claim that Massachusetts ended slavery simply to remove its black population. That statement is wrong, but you seem to have a problem with taking responsibility for it. Yes, I am familiar with Complicity. Unfortunately, the authors frame their argument as if no one had touched on it before them. This is simply not true. Of course, northern states benefited from slavery in the decades leading up to the Civil War. Am I to interpret this as some kind of revelation? LOL

    • Will Stoutamire Nov 4, 2011 @ 22:27

      Aaron wrote: “We Defenders of Our Heritage don’t want to force our heritage upon others.”

      Without debating how you actually define this heritage, let’s accept your statement for just a moment… By your words, you don’t want to force your ‘heritage’ on anyone else.

      Aaron wrote: “We want our Ansestors recognized for their cause of Independence, and we want Our Symbols honored.”

      See the inherent contradiction? Requiring others to recognize the Confederate cause (specifically, the cause as you define it) and the symbols associated with that cause (or, well, the symbols modern groups now associate with that cause) IS forcing your ‘heritage’ on others.

      • Aaron Kidd Nov 5, 2011 @ 9:22

        Considering the fact that we’re forced to accept Lincoln and the north through the history books as winners of the war, and them telling us that Our Ansestors were wrong, it seems that they’re forcing their heritage on us. “Every man should endeavor to understand the meaning of subjugation before it is too late… It means the history of this heroic struggle will be written by the enemy; that our youth will be trained by Northern schoolteachers; will learn from Northern school books their version of the war; will be impressed by the influences of history and education to regard our gallant dead as traitors, and our maimed veterans as fit objects for derision. – General Cleburne

        • Kevin Levin Nov 5, 2011 @ 19:34

          Please provide references that support your claims, which are incredibly vague. What textbooks are you even referring to?

    • John Buchanan Nov 7, 2011 @ 7:04


      As Kevin and others have repeatedly pointed out you entirely free to have your views and express them as you see fit. But your interpretation that your views are the only valid ones on the subject are fallacious.

      From my study of the Civil War I come away from a very different interpretation than you.

      As a retired Army officer I also have a dim view of those who swore an oath to defend the Constitution and then turned thier collective backs on that oath when they took up arms against their country.

      I am sure you completely disagree with that view. That is your right. But I have no more right to demand that you honor my point of view than you have me to honor yours.

      And I am not so sure I would agree that I learned these views based on some Marxist worldview school agenda…since I went to Catholic school for 12 years and Catholicism and Marxism do not mix well.

  • Billy Bearden Nov 4, 2011 @ 8:43

    Perhaps you might tone down the rhetoric a wee bit there Hoss. While a battleflag design on a birthday cake at the local bakery might be silly, some fights demand full counter assault from our side. Pine Hill Cemetery in Auburn 2009 is but 1 example. I am working on another situation right now regarding display of CBFs that have serious legal implications. Silly? Absolutely NOT.

    • Kevin Levin Nov 4, 2011 @ 8:45

      Thanks for the comment, Billy, but it’s hard to take you seriously when the issue is framed in terms of “our side.” That is exactly why you are engaged in a lost cause.

    • Ken Noe Nov 4, 2011 @ 13:44

      Don’t forget that Kevin also protested what the councilman did at Pine Hill.

      • Kevin Levin Nov 4, 2011 @ 13:53

        Thanks, Ken.

        Just in case you forgot about this:

        Who says I am not a friend of the Confederate flag? 🙂

        • Billy Bearden Nov 8, 2011 @ 12:23

          Yes, Kevin did speak out – here in this blogosphere. Doubtful things stated here reached the ears of the Auburn City Council, but it was a start in the right direction, which is a good thing. I too spoke out, and for my troubles wound up as poster-Flagger on the splc hatesite.

          My current efforts have led from a flag removal from Confederate graves “yeah, we pulled them up and we shall do it again” to “We have allowed them back up” and while it is far from over, it is none of the things you state above.

  • Forester Nov 4, 2011 @ 7:06

    My issue with the Confederate flag debate is simply one of politeness. As a Southerner, I was taught to use good manners and respect other people’s feelings, even and especially at my own expense. “Yes Ma’am'”, “yes sir”, give your seat to an old person, ect. This was “Southern heritage” for me, the lingering tradition of nineteenth Century courtesy, updated for modern sensibilities.

    Therefore, I cannot in good conscience force a flag on people that they don’t want to see. It’s rude, divisive and most of all …… SELFISH. In fact, it goes against all of the supposed attitudes that “Southern gentlemen” are supposed to exhibit. We’re supposed to put others’ feelings first (unless they’re black, I guess?)

    Swap the Confederate flag for the swastika and you can see why people get mad. Imagine a “German heritage” group going around arguing that not all Germans were Nazis, the immorality of Allied bombing campaigns, and insisting on the display of swastikas in public American places. I would be infuriated. The holocaust and the war were so bad that most Americans (especially Jews) feel instantly sickened by the flag, regardless of whether all Germans were Nazis. It’s the same with the Confederate Flag, and whether all Southerners owned slaves or not, it definitely means “slavery” to black people, it draws lines of social division and incites conflict.

    I used to be a major Confederate flag supporter, but I had a tie with the flag that I never wore. Less for fear than sensitivity — I work in a pharmacy with a lot of black customers, and i didn’t want to give them the wrong idea about me (first impressions are important). When I thought about the swastika analogy, I realized the effect the flag might have (something I was immune to because I am white and I grew up with it).

    I think the flag defenders would have more success if they stopped trying to force it one people. I see the updates on Facebook all the time where they are “flagging” highways and street corners …. it’s childish, and they only make a hundred more enemies every time.

    • Andy Hall Nov 4, 2011 @ 7:27

      My issue with the Confederate flag debate is simply one of politeness. As a Southerner, I was taught to use good manners and respect other people’s feelings, even and especially at my own expense. “Yes Ma’am’”, “yes sir”, give your seat to an old person, etc. This was “Southern heritage” for me, the lingering tradition of nineteenth Century courtesy, updated for modern sensibilities.

      Therefore, I cannot in good conscience force a flag on people that they don’t want to see. It’s rude, divisive and most of all …… SELFISH. In fact, it goes against all of the supposed attitudes that “Southern gentlemen” are supposed to exhibit.

      Well put, sir.

      I see the updates on Facebook all the time where they are “flagging” highways and street corners …. it’s childish, and they only make a hundred more enemies every time.

      Indeed. It’s hard to imagine that folks who wear shirts like this actually believe they’re changing anyone’s minds. It’s belligerent, jingoistic onanism, intended to please the wearer and reassure those of similar views.

      • Kevin Levin Nov 4, 2011 @ 7:36

        Of course, the other problem is that the media has blown the issue completely out of proportion. The SH folks end up latching onto every kid who can’t wear a Confederate flag t-shire as a violation of their heritage. It’s ridiculous.

        • Carl Roden Nov 6, 2011 @ 17:28

          Not exactly every one of them Kevin.

          We do investigations and background checks into the situation. If the kid’s actions reflect an attitude negative to the ideals of defending the honor of Southern identity and heritage, then they are condemned (I can certainly site the sources to prove this if you want to call me on it).

          I mean if a pair of teenage hooligans climbs a water tower or bridge and places a flag on top of it, or hangs one off a bridge, or puts it on their schools flagpole without official permission such actions and juvenile stunts are condemned by us, by the SCV, UDC and every other legitimate heritage preservation group.

          Now in most cases of a t-shirt or flag violation at a school, the SCV would try to get in touch with said school, get the appropriate information, and if it is determined the school district acted rashly, try a reasonable approach to end the situation.

          In the case of my own SCV camp, when a kid (who turned out to be African American and from Pennsylvania actually) placed a battle flag on a local high school flagpole, it caused a great deal of tension between groups of students (I would point out there were already tensions about other issues but the flag issue only exacerbated them).

          We resolved it by offering to come to the school, present a presentation to students in an assembly about the history of the flag and its symbolism. The offer was present reasonably and while a full assembly was rejected, we were allowed to set up a table in the school’s lobby for a Friday and present our case to any student who was interested.

          We had over 200 students stop to talk to us, more than a few got into a heated debate, but I am happy to say listened to our POV. Most of the black and Hispanic students were respectful, indeed it was white students who were belligerent more often than not. I won’t claim that every one of them was won over, but we were treated well by students and teachers alike. The US History teacher wanted us to come back and do a small presentation for his class when they got to the War period later next year. A few students told us of their own ancestors role in the war, including one boy from New Jersey who had a Union ancestor at Gettysburg, LOL! (and no he wasn’t one of the belligerent ones) It turns out one of our camp members who was there among the four of us had an ancestor or two who fought in the same part of the battlefield.

          The end result: We actually got two new young members to our camp from that, and the tensions died down, mostly when it was determined who put the flag up, and I wont take credit for anything except to say our small part might of helped, and if so its something to be proud of.

          The point is that once people get around name calling and actually listen to the other’s POV anything can be resolved, even issues over this flag.

          I know you are fond of quoting Coski’s book on this matter Kevin, maybe you remember this one part, which I have always found quite meaningful:

          “It is a fundamental mistake to believe that one’s own perception of a flag’s meaning is the flag’s only legitimate meaning. Many people believe that the flag is an honorable symbol of heritage, but this does not make the flag an honorable symbol of heritage to everyone. ((I would point out that SH people also see it as a symbol of Southern identity, heraldry, and a living memorial to Southern dead…but anyhow)) Others have just cause to regard the flag as a symbol of racism, but this does not make it a symbol of racism to everyone. ((The majority of the world’s population…but again I reiterate)) People must not impose their interpretation of the flag’s meaning onto others’ motives for displaying it. Just because someone views the flag as a symbol of racism does not give him (or her) the ethical right to assume that someone who displays it is a racist. To make such a judgement is an exercise in prejudice. ((Amen brother!)) ~The Confederate Battle Flag: America’s Most Embattled Emblem by John M. Coski, Pg. 304

          I believe with all my heart that someday the view of that flag as a symbol of racism will be, if not entirely ended, then at least an oddity in American society with enough hard work and good people to stand up against any and all misuse of it, though proper education and true tolerance that is not backed up by any one political or social agenda. I think that someday it wont be anymore of an issue for a Confederate flag to fly at a soldiers’ monument or a grave site than it would be for any other historical flag, or even the US flag at the site of US Veterans memorials. And even now, for all of the attacks, I believe in the realm of public education, we are prevailing slowly.
          In terms of generations, I think in about the time the Bicentennial of the War comes around the display of the flag will be put in proper perspective. I think its history, for good and for bad, will be put in proper historical context, that everyone of good will and tolerance can and will respect the memory of the Confederate service man, and the role of his flag in the unique identity of the American peoples of the Southland.

          Of course, you are free to disagree….I respect your right to do so, but know that I will fight everyday for that vision of the future to be a reality. Or at the very least to ensure that racist misuse that flag will never be taken seriously by society again. Above all, I will do my part…such as it is…to see that we as a Southern people will never again allow a political or social ideal that shows contempt for our own to have sway over the banner our forefathers shed their blood defending.

          ((No need to post this part)) Kevin, I know that you are not big on allowing me to post on your blog but how about we show a little maturity for a moment and conduct business like civilized people? I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt of course, but hey that’s who I am, the eternal optimist.

          • Kevin Levin Nov 7, 2011 @ 2:35


            The point is that once people get around name calling and actually listen to the other’s POV anything can be resolved, even issues over this flag.

            I find it funny that you of all people feels comfortable making such a claim given what you have consistently written about me on other sites.

            You are, however, correct and if you look at this very thread you will see that reasonable people can disagree without being disrespectful. As I have suggested the question of the flag’s meaning and its place in the public space is being “resolved” by people who have a stake in the issue. Many of these people were prevented from taking part in these debates just a few short decades ago, especially in those places where the flag is most visible.

            You cited a passage from Coski’s book that I believe hits the nail on the head. For some people it is a positive symbol and for others it is not. We will have to wait to see whether your optimistic prediction comes to fruition. In the meantime these points of view that will continue to compete with one another.

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