Confederate Heritage Gone Wild

Both Andy Hall and Brooks Simpson have highlighted another instance of Confederate Heritage gone wild. It’s nothing new, whether we are discussing the latest Virginia Flagger fiasco or SCV misstep. I’ve been accused of highlighting heritage follies for the sake of blog stats and there is some truth to that. At the same time, however, I think it is important to highlight as wide a range of perspectives as possible during this sesquicentennial. Much of this has only emerged owing to social media channels such as Facebook, YouTube and blogging, which allows for incredibly nuanced narratives and perspectives on the past.

While these stories attract a great deal of attention both in the blogosphere and mainstream media, it is easy to exaggerate their long-term impact. Overall, these past few years have witnessed an impressive range of thoughtful and meaningful commemorative and educational events. Many of these events take place beyond the focus of the media – which is looking for the next story about an African American who wears a Confederate flag t-shirt – but collectively they will leave a much deeper mark.

The recent raising of a Confederate flag by the Virginia Flaggers off of I-95 just south of Richmond is the perfect metaphor for the point I am trying to make. Nobody can see it. Something to remember next time you are outraged.

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

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6 comments… add one
  • Frank Apr 27, 2014 @ 13:47

    Michael Aubrecht, it’s greedy people like Waite Rawls that are destroying it. There is also another flag going up north of Richmond that will be clear for all to see in the very near future.

    • Kevin Levin Apr 27, 2014 @ 13:49

      Waite Rawls has done more to preserve American history than you will ever do. Congratulations on another flag that most people who live in the vicinity will no doubt be embarrassed by.

    • Michael Aubrecht Apr 27, 2014 @ 14:01

      My point is that it is far more important to spend our time and energies and money preserving the actual battle flags carried into battle than on these cheap reproductions that are more about making a political statement than preserving actual artifacts. Honor your ancestors by honoring THEIR flags, not yours.

  • Michael Aubrecht Nov 12, 2013 @ 10:05

    The sad truth is that the Confederate heritage movement is ultimately killing REAL historical preservation. So when all the museums (like the MOC) are closed and all the collections have been redistributed, the heritage crowd will have no one to blame but themselves. Instead of using their time and talents (and money) to help promote respect and preserve actual Confederate battle flags, they have been too pre-occupied waving fake ones in protest of people that really don’t care about their cause. So in the effort to promote the historical memory of their ancestors, they have inevitably erased it. Oh the shameful irony!

  • Pat Young Nov 12, 2013 @ 7:07

    Sorry, but the headline is all wrong. I was drawn to read this article in hopes of seeing Southern belles at South Padre Island in CBF bikinis. Imagine my disappointment.

  • Sam Vanderburg Nov 12, 2013 @ 6:09

    All I can add is that the effort to ascertain that history remain accurate that we remain subjective enough that emotions do not develop into a personal hatred for those who are opposed. Some deserve pity. All deserve an accurate answer.

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