Recognizing Five Years of Virginia Flagger Follies

Five years later and the Confederate Memorial Chapel – where it all started – is still without a battle flag. In fact, we can go down a list that includes protests against the Museum of the Confederacy at Appomattox, Washington & Lee University, the Virginia Sesquicentennial Commission as well as the cities of Lexington, Danville, Charlottesville and Alexandria and not find a single victory.

It’s hard to know what they are celebrating other than the large battle flags flying along Virginia highways, which they have always had the right to organize. Along the way, however, the Flaggers have offered the general public with a good deal of entertainment and concern for those who care to look.

For my latest piece at The Daily Beast I explore some of the partnerships formed by Susan Hathaway and the Flaggers and what this tells us about their stated goal to “Restore the Honor.”

Click here for my other essay at TDB.

This piece just scratches the surface of the backstory of the Virginia Flaggers. You can read more at the following blogs: Dead Confederates, Crossroads, and Restoring the Honor.

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!

5 comments… add one
  • chancery Sep 26, 2016 @ 22:00

    There’s a conspicuous typo in the headline: five, not fives.
    No need to post this comment.

  • Andy Hall Sep 21, 2016 @ 17:31

    From the article:

    “In 2012 the Flaggers were photographed parading with Matthew Heimbach.”

    Heimbach’s relationship with the Flaggers, along with other heritage groups, was considerably more substantial than that. He was not merely photographed with them; that was their explanation when they were first called out on it. He actively protested with them on more than one occasion and appears with them both on video and in numerous still images. When he received a major award from the Sons of Confederate Veterans national organization in 2012, the Virginia Flaggers put out a formal statement recognizing him and several other recipients as one “of our own Va Flaggers.” Even after his involvement with the Flaggers had been highlighted, they publicly invited him to one of their big, annual shindigs. They were perfectly happy working with Matt Heimbach and having him in their ranks (literally), and only begin denying any connection with him when his relationship with them became a public embarrassment. It was actually rather funny at the time to listen to the story change — first he had supposedly just happened by and posed for a picture with them, then when video of him marching in the parade with them appeared, then it was supposedly just that one time, then pictures from another event turned up, and — well, you get the idea. And while it is true that Heimbach is much more infamous now, in 2016, than he was back in 2012 or 2013, he was already making a name for himself even then as an undergraduate student at Towson University, scrawling “White Pride” graffiti around campus and organizing protests calling for the hanging of Nelson Mandela in South Africa. He was a known quantity even then, when Hathaway & Co. Where bragging on him as one “of our own Va Flaggers.”

    • Kevin Levin Sep 21, 2016 @ 17:42

      Thanks, Andy. I was hoping people would begin to help to fill out the picture. Admittedly, I only scratched the surface of Flaggers partnerships and membership.

      • Andy Hall Sep 21, 2016 @ 18:28

        Some of the blame for that can be laid at the feet of Kirk Lyons, who some years back successfully lobbied to have the SCV accept former klansmen as members. This occurred during the takeover of the group by a cadre of “hardliners” including Lyons and Ron Wilson, who is now a long-term guest of the Federal Bureau of Prisons for running the largest Ponzi scheme in South Carolina history. Lyons spent the first decade or more of his career immersed, personally and professionally, in a variety of white nationalist causes, until moving to North Carolina and reinventing himself as a legal advocate for Confederate heritage groups. The more you look at him, and them, the more you realize that’s not much of a stretch.

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