Who Are the Virginia Flaggers?


Update: Well, you heard it here first. Tripp Lewis of the Virginia Flaggers declares that Matthew Heimbach is a “good guy.”

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The Virginia Flaggers are still intent on placing a large Confederate flag off of Interstate 95 near Richmond, Virginia by the end of September. The Richmond media has interviewed Susan Hathaway and others about their goals in placing the flag in such a prominent place and their preferred interpretation of the Confederate flag. What the major news channels have not done, however, is look into the membership of the Flaggers and whether their talk of Confederate heritage reflects the broader values of the Richmond community.

Thanks to Brooks Simpson (and here) and Andy Hall we are learning more about individual members (or individuals who are claimed as members by the Flaggers) such as Matthew Heimbach. Susan Hathaway and the rest of the Flaggers have gone on record attacking prominent members of Richmond’s history and museum community for their supposed Confederate heritage betrayals. The Virginia Flaggers should be held accountable to the very same standard. Richmonders should ask themselves whether Matthew Heimbach’s view of Confederate heritage represents their own.

This should be important to Richmonders and I believe the Richmond media has a responsibility to look into this story further. The city of Richmond has never been better positioned to reflect on its rich and complex history. It’s museums, including the National Civil War Museum at Tredegar, Museum of the Confederacy, Richmond National Battlefield Park, Virginia Historical Society, Valentine Museum and Maggie Walker House, offer residents and visitors multiple windows into the region’s story. It’s commemorative landscape of markers and monuments reflects a city that has embraced and celebrated an ever wider spectrum of stories and legacies.

It may not have been a pressing issue to look into Flagger membership when they were content to walking up and down the Boulevard in front of the VMFA, but as they have emerged in the public’s eye they should expect increased scrutiny when questions are left unanswered or intentionally ignored. There may be nothing that can be done legally to prevent the Flaggers from flying their Confederate flag off of I-95, but Richmonders have an interest in knowing who is donating money and who is working behind the scenes to make this happen. Until then, the Virginia Flaggers’ claims to defending any kind of heritage is bunk.

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22 comments… add one
  • David Jinnette Jul 22, 2018 @ 9:17

    How do I join Virginia Flaggers?
    I met Susan yesterday (7/21) at the Antique show, very nice lady.
    Please reply by Email.

    • Kevin Levin Jul 22, 2018 @ 9:20

      Make the next left turn on Racism/Intolerance/Bigotry Avenue and you should see them ahead.

      • Andy Hall Jul 22, 2018 @ 19:15

        You made me spill my drink!

  • Harold Mills Jul 1, 2016 @ 7:25

    I just returned from a trip to Northern Virginia and saw the I 95 Battle Flag on the right going North on Sunday June 26th, but did not see it on the return trip on Thursday June 30th. On both days the flag honoring Lt Gen Wade Hampton was Not flying. What happened? Do you just fly the flags on certain days? FYI: We in SC are hoisting flags on Route 6 near Lexington and Gaston, SC.

  • kyth Banks Sep 30, 2013 @ 3:41

    The thing I don’t understand is the British and American flag flew over slavery for years before the Civil War. The Confederate Battle Flag was a soldiers flag. It was not a Confederate National Flag. Check your history. I think this is a right under free speech. Keep it flying. My ancestors would be proud.

    • Kevin Levin Sep 30, 2013 @ 4:30

      Thanks for the comment. I’ve never understood this particular argument. The Confederate battle flag was utilized by the military extension of a government whose explicit purpose was the preservation of slavery. Regardless of why soldiers entered the army (voluntarily and involuntarily) they were all fighting for slavery. The United States abolished the international slave trade in 1808. In the 1850s the call to re-open the slave trade was heard more and more in the South.

      Finally, I see no reason to believe one way or the other that your ancestors would be proud or ashamed of the Virginia Flaggers.

      • kyth banks Sep 30, 2013 @ 5:18

        Kevin, im not going to debate this. You have a right to your opinión as i. But, i know My ancestors. My Great, Great Grandfather died holding the Battle Flag next to his heart. This is why i fly My Flag everyday. I also club the American Flag because My grandfather and father fought for this country. Just because i fly these flags doesnot mean i believe in slavery. I dont. My ancestors joined the Confederate army because of states rights and you Had an army taking food, livestock, and stealing anything of value from them. So, My friend you believe what you want. I believe what i know. We have this right in América.

        • Kevin Levin Sep 30, 2013 @ 5:25

          I don’t doubt that you believe you know your ancestors. To be honest, I am not sure what that has to do with this post. I never suggested that you do advocate slavery. Perhaps you should go back and re-read what I wrote. American soldiers in the 1960s (before the draft) volunteered to fight in Vietnam for any number of reasons. Their reasons, however, may have had little in common with why the United States fielded an army in that part of the world at that time. Union and Confederate volunteered for a wide range of reasons, but why their respective nations organized their respective armies is a separate issue. Thanks again for taking the time to write.

      • M.D. Blough Sep 30, 2013 @ 8:05

        I think another critical point that seems to be left out by Kyth is that there is a reason that the “Confederate” flag aka the ANV Battle Flag, etc., either by itself or as part of the design, evokes intense negative reactions when the First National flag, the South Carolina state flag, or any other battle flag used by a Confederate military or naval unit that doesn’t include this as part of the design do not. To a large extent, it’s the ANV Battle Flag’s use as THE symbol of white supremacy and its massive resistance to desegregation, especially from 1948 (the Dixiecrat Party) on. Many people objecting to it don’t have to look to the Civil War to have this negative reaction. They’ve seen its use as the symbol of bigotry in their lifetimes. That ship’s sailed. I don’t think it’s possible for it to ever be just an artifact of the Civil War.

      • B McDonough Dec 3, 2018 @ 20:35

        Kevin Levin – I knew it would only be a matter of time before you would show up. And even deeper in the past. You are a smug and narrow minded individual that represents the closed minded teachings of the northern historian. CIVIL WAR MEMORIES. An example of the teachings within the colleges and universities around this nation. The minds of you and yours keep the attitude of racism and civil disturbance well and alive. Pat yourself on the back. Good luck with your continued thought that slavery only existed in the CSA 7 which then became 11. It was wide spread and immediately continued after the Pilgrims arrived. But Levin will tell you there was no slavery in the North. There wasn’t any slavery at the Battle of Gettysburgh was there Kevin. NO, the Bryant (Brian) house right in the midst of a battle that extinguished 53,000 men in a single weekend had no slavery whatsoever. The fact is slavery was right there at the battle of Gettysburgh. Just admit you are a hipocrytical northern historian. We all make mistakes. You only learn when you can admit it.
        Keep flying those flags, supporting Confederate Memorials and keep the memories alive of those valiant men and boys who stood for something because they refused to fall for anything..

        • Kevin Levin Dec 4, 2018 @ 2:06

          What a strange comment. Slavery in Pennsylvania in 1863? Now that’s a new one.

          • MARGARET D BLOUGH Dec 4, 2018 @ 8:38

            Well, it would help if he could spell. For instance, the town where the battle occurred is Gettysburg, NOT Gettysburgh (“Burg” is Germanic in origin; “burgh” short for borough is English in origin, ex: Pittsburgh. They have similar meanings in terms of a fortified area). Also, while the original Pennsylvania law that began emancipation in 1780 did so by gradual emancipation (emphasis on GRADUAL) there doesn’t appear to be any record of slavery in Pennsylvania after 1840. Any slaves in Gettysburg in 1863 would have either been runaway slaves finding refuge in the area or attached to the Army of Northern Virginia, either as laborers or as the number of Blacks, residing in Pennsylvania, who were captured by the ANV and deemed, without any due process to be runaway slaves from slave states.

          • Eric A. Jacobson Dec 4, 2018 @ 11:31

            By clicking Mr. McDonough’s profile one gets to see a post featuring H. K. Edgerton. Click that post and you end up at Save Southern Heritage. I think we now have sufficient evidence for motive. 🙂

            • Kevin Levin Dec 4, 2018 @ 11:46

              Good work, Eric. 🙂

  • Bill Gimble Sep 10, 2013 @ 5:53

    Hello,,,I am a Yankee from Buffalo, NY…..but I applaude your efforts to maintain the confederate flag and fly it wherever and wherever you like!
    Don’t let those left wing liberals try to take that away from you!!!! We put up with their gays, etc., so they can put up with our southern flag.
    Incidentally, I lived in Atlanta at the time they took the confederate flag off the Georgia state flag! I want them to put it back!!!!

    • Bill Gimble Sep 10, 2013 @ 5:57

      “Wherever and whenever”…….Sorry!

  • M.D. Blough Sep 1, 2013 @ 19:25

    Well researched article from the BBC. They even interviewed John Coski.

  • jmantz Aug 31, 2013 @ 15:08

    The BBC has an article up on the subject. Interesting from an English perspective.

  • John Tucker Aug 31, 2013 @ 12:32

    Knowing them as I do and knowing some of the racists comments and actions from followers of Susan I would not be surprised by any of their backgrounds. Confronting Susan only begs to invite anger and snide remarks. Confront her and them on her so called Facebook pages induces HATE. I found two self proclaimed racists commenting her page

    • Kevin Levin Aug 31, 2013 @ 12:50

      I wouldn’t want to base too much on who comments on their Facebook Page. For now I think it’s enough to look into the people who are marching with or officially embraced by Susan Hathaway and the Virginia Flaggers.

    • Brooks D. Simpson Aug 31, 2013 @ 19:44

      I find Susan Hathaway to be a very clever person. She knows she has a temper and a way that won’t go over well in the media if she doesn’t restrain hereself, although she appears unaware of how social media works. So she tempers her tantrums rather well in public. She has other people do her dirty work (and once admitted it, a sign that she isn’t that clever). Part of this story, however, is how the Flaggers have failed to control their own message. One of their most visible spokespeople is so outrageous as to be a source of great humor, however unintended; others have misspoken and gotten off message or simply said something remarkably stupid (hello, Tripp Lewis!). The pole-raising’s four weeks away, but I suspect the media show is far from over.

      • Kevin Levin Sep 1, 2013 @ 3:13

        The pole-raising’s four weeks away, but I suspect the media show is far from over.

        I hope you are right. I would love to see some of these more recent questions raised both before and during the ceremony to raise the flag.

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