The Confederate flag has a long and complex history, much of which is not in its favor. The beloved “Southern Cross” is only one edition of the confederacy’s flags, but it is the most common and relevant to racism in America as a whole.
So here’s a little history:
It is true that the South illegally seceded from the rest of the United States and went to battle over states rights, but they were fighting for states rights to own slaves. In fact, the Corner-Stone of the Southern Confederacy states that the foundation of the Confederacy is based upon, “The great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man.”
Slavery was obviously widespread throughout the nation prior to the Civil War, but the southern states of the Confederacy were endeavoring to maintain that “right” after the Union decided that it wasn’t such a great idea after all.
Fast forward to the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960’s and suddenly the Confederate flag is miraculously resurrected. African Americans were fighting for equal rights, which angered many racists so they brought back the Confederate flag to remind black people of their place in history and in the current society of that time. It was meant to be a symbol of white supremacy, a symbol of the inferiority of African Americans.
Aside from the obvious race issue, the confederate flag also represents treason. The Confederacy literally did not want to be part of the united States anymore and in an attempt to achieve this goal, they very illegally seceded from the rest of the nation. In other words, it is a very anti-American flag, and keeping it on state property is unnecessary, ironic, and offensive.
In light of recent events, the largest chapter of the KKK, the “Loyal White Knights” will be holding a rally to protest the potential removal of the flag. They have planned to gather outside the Statehouse in South Carolina on July 18. To many forward-thinking Americans, it remains evident that it’s probably not the best idea to be on the same side as the KKK.
84 thoughts on “A Brief History on the Rebel Flag”
Thanks for enlightening us. Your post helps put the current issues facing America into context. Well done.
Thank you! I’m glad I could help.
America’s a nation of MORONS! But indoctrinated, hating morons, which is even more dangerous. Whites don’t even know, they’ve been used for centuries by the white elite to keep our nation torn apart and it’s apparent, ignorance never evolves. Great post.
Thank you! And I agree.
You’re welcome. I should say, white racists have been used for centuries. We’re not all bad 🙂
So your answer is to pigeon hole everyone? A lot of us are very educated and well-informed. But, we are one person and it is difficult to shake the machine. That being said, the ripple effect can be strong.
To say, “America’s a nation of MORONS,” i find that to be offensive. Don’t let the media sway you.
My follow up response, in case you didn’t read it, was we’re not all morons. But most of America is sorely uneducated, and I don’t mean in the university sense. I don’t watch the news, I don’t even have TV, so don’t know what the media is saying about all this. I was being half sarcastic. People do offend easily which is why I really dislike social media and I am thinking of signing off permanently. I do apologize. It is difficult to shake the machine as you say, it’s been forced on us but maybe one day…
You don’t have to apologize for your opinion. I read your follow-up but I took it as somewhat coming in lighter on your previous opinion. Sarcasm often doesn’t translate easily on text.
Yes, most Americans are sorely uneducated, this is very true. This is why the media and politicians are able to manipulate the public so easily.
I haven’t voted since 2008 because I haven’t seen anything worth voting for. The argument I am given is you should vote because it is your right and people died for this. My grandfather died for his country – but he didn’t die for this – political corruption, manipulation, embezzlement, and lies. He died for integrity, honor, and respect and those are the qualities I carry forth.
I see little to vote for. Most of the interviews and town hall meetings are mud slinging – how about telling me what you can legitimately do for this country rather than false lies that you know you can not fulfill because you will fall to the lobbyists?
We can create small ripples and hope they create waves. Be well my friend.
You’re correct. I don’t vote either. I do hope we can evoke change as well. Thanks and take care also.
I’ve learned that big change rarely works but small changes can create big changes.
Great post, love the insight. Very informative.
The sad thing about symbols and hateful beliefs is that it causes people to act against there own best interest. Poor Whites, Blacks and Latinos could be a powerful voting block, as they all are equally hurt by income inequality and benefit from programs like food assistance and social security but yet many poor Southern Whites support politicians that support their prejudicial beliefs yet try to take away the very programs that would help the poor of all races. It’s pretty sad really.
Oh it’s very sad
I partially agree with this post. The Confederate States of America viewed slave labor as money and they were upset that slaves were only deemed 3/5 of a person. Thus, with regards to population, the Southern states were denied what they termed full voting privileges and thus lesser representation, equating to money. Since the Northern states were counting slaves as such, it was used to limit and control the Southern States and showing not much more respect to individuals who were enslaved as the Southern States were. Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves, yes, but he wanted to send them to Liberia in Africa so they could go “home” but revisionist history has taught us not so much.
Revisionist history teaches us the war was over “slavery” but it wasn’t because the majority were in favor of black individuals being freed men. It was due to the money that was involved in the trade. Like most wars, it boils down to gold.
It is also a misunderstanding (not suggested by your post, though) that many Southern people had slaves which they did not. Few very large plantation owners had slave labor because they could afford it. Most people in the Southern states were poor. That being said, it doesn’t excuse the behavior.
To modern times, I agree with your sentiment about the Confederate States battle flag being a traitor flag. It is unfathomable to me that South Carolina is able to fly the flag over their capital and be a part of the United States of America. How this stands to reason is beyond me? Pick any other country in the world. If a US state flew that flag over their capital, there would be uproar.
I’m originally from Georgia, which, one might argue, is one of the most “Southern” of the Southern States. The thing that boggles my mind is how the idea of the Civil War has been kept alive so long. No one alive today was a slave in this country nor owned a slave. Why people perpetuate this from the Black and White side is beyond me. The nostalgia of this event to further agendas is perplexing.
I meant to say “the majority were not in favor of black individuals being freed man.”
Sorry about the typographical error. That unfortunately changed the entire tone of my argument.
I’ve always wondered what was to happen had the south won the war. Did they plan to remain a separate nation, force the north to join the CSA or simply let slavery continue while making slaves a full 1 person count in state representation then rejoin the union as though nothing had happened? What was the end game, did they have a plan beyond winning the war?
Those are actually questions I have pondered as well. I have often wondered how the world would be different if major historical events had turned out differently.
Notable history textbooks, from which I have studied, such as that of Eric Foner, do not include any “revisionist” history. Interpretation of history is up to the individual, but facts are facts.
So which facts that I pointed out are you challenging?
I’m not challenging any historical facts. And I certainly didn’t mean to imply that Lincoln deserves the credit that some people award him with.
I didn’t think you were implying that. I just pointed that out because I don’t necessarily agree in entirety with the first portion of your post that the North, in some general terms, was against slavery. I think it didn’t fit into their culture as they moved away, on a broad spectrum, from farming and more towards industrialization. But, perhaps I am misguided in my interpretation of what you wrote as well and that wasn’t the impression you were attempting to give.
I guess I was confused. I thought you were pointing out there was something in my initial post you did not agree with so I was interested in your take but it seems perhaps there was not.
I see what you mean. I realize the north wasn’t a moral icon as they did support slavery up until it became less necessary. I was just trying to point out the significance of what the confederacy itself stood for.
Okay. I understand. Thank you for hosting me on your blog and the discussion.
I think Lincoln had the right idea, based on what we now know and how the Egyptians handled freeing the Jews and the Exodus. You basically are signing up for perpetual problems if the oppressed is removed from the object of their oppression but remain in constant contact with their oppressor and vice versa. The oppressor will begin looking at the entity that they once oppressed as the source of all of their problems. The weight of guilt, the pressure cooker, has no relief valve. No release.
Some Southerners fighting in WWII used the Confederate flag as their unofficial symbol. It’s not a racist symbol to everyone. For some, it’s a symbol of pride, like the U.S. flag, and people have a right to fly it for whatever reason they wish. That’s their free speech. Even if they’re flying it for hate, they have a right to hate (not physically harm, though).
The Confederate flag is very much a part of American history. Yes, it’s a flag from an illegal secession, but America came from an illegal secession from England and they seem to have gotten over that pretty well. But anyway, those who fought in the Civil War under the Confederate flag should be honored with that flag, and their ancestors should be allowed to raise that flag as a symbol of pride. The South fought, they lost, let them have this one. They deserve it for at least trying.
Finally, you can talk about all of the tragedies and all of the bad things the Confederate flag represents, but think about all of the tragedies the U.S. has committed around the world, the millions of innocent lives the U.S. has destroyed because of its tyranny (normally in the name of greed and corporate profit). Considering this, and how the U.S. is viewed in those countries it has greatly harmed, how do you think the U.S. flag is received in those countries? If we’re going to take down the Confederate flag for reasons of suffering, then shouldn’t we respect the suffering inflicted around the world and not fly the U.S. flag either?
Or do we have freedom of speech and can fly any flag for the reasons we wish based on how we view it, such as to honor our fallen troops in the battles they fought, no matter if they won or lost?
The point is, despite the Confederate flag being used as a racist symbol, that is not how everyone views it and we shouldn’t allow racists to decide for everyone how we view the Confederate flag, just as we don’t allow certain countries around the world to color our view of the U.S. flag.
I am in favor of it being removed specifically from state/federal property. Individuals can obviously do whatever they want. And while it is true that the US as a whole has been involved with and/or cause many atrocities, it is not quite as relevant to the issue at hand.
So, by your reasoning, Germans should proudly fly their swastika flags in homage to their battles and bodies lost?
I agree we should all be free to fly whatever flags we want on private property but how can anyone with a conscience stand up for freedoms that symbolize evil causes…including hate.
Maybe the south was not treasonous in their effort to be free from the union. “Independence”, they called it? Independent…and free…to be keep humans as property?
Personally, i am only too glad that they fly their rebel flags in their yards and vehicles. I can identify them and can run in the opposite direction.
A wise man once told me, “If you really want to learn something, argue for the position you’re against.”
Understanding comes not from believing that you’re right and the other side is wrong (because there is no side that believes they’re wrong), but in transcending right and wrong and seeing everyone on a level playing field with their own nature, nurture, intentions, and emotions and respecting those things.
If you truly are accepting of people, then you have to accept people for who they are, no matter if you agree with them or not, even if they don’t accept you.
Understanding maybe, but certainly not agreeing
YOU may respect anyone you wish. Your heart; your conscience. Remember though that by accepting them, you condone it and if you do so, then you too are guilty of perpetuating painful memories for the sake of pride.
Maybe God will accept you or will punish you. I am not God and won’t punish you but I certainly won’t accept you either.
Even if you are not a god-fearing man, Karma is not to be messed with.
I’m glad you’ve chosen a side. 🙂
I’m glad South Carolina has chosen MY side. 🙂
I agree with your thoughts and have expressed some of these same thoughts on my own site. Some people have a tendency to try and justify their actions or the distorted sense of pride this flag represents. I’m glad you wrote what you did.
Wonderful post! Thank you for this.
No, thank you!
as long as one group of people are allowed to do something and another group is not, as permitted by this government or any any other, there will not be forward thinking, social progression and racism will continue to exist and THAT is the issue at hand. not a flag or a history of incidents that happened years ago. it’s called a double standard and it happens everyday RIGHT NOW in all of our faces. so while we sit here and discuss hoe a flag divides us, i must laugh because the only thing dividing us is US. the only person capable of making you or I or any group feel that they are victims of anything is that said party. not a flag. although i could give a shiz what happens to the flag in question, i have seen my family and friends (all races including white, black, chinese etc etc etc.) grow up and make wonderful lives for themselves, and never once did any of us (there are lots of family and friends over this way) blame the confederate flag for anything. i don’t even think it ever came up once in conversation in twenty years and now bang all of a sudden all of our problems in the world are blamed on it and THAT is amazingly ridiculous to me but hey whatever floats your boat and MY opinion is just that. if feeling that all the world’s problems are to blame on this said flag is what makes you feel happy then hey you go girl! but in all honesty it isn’t. you’re a great writer and very intuitive.. i hope to eventually see you focus on something NOW and it’s not this flag. believe me. until we get rid of the REAL racist entities, (black entertainment television, the united negro college fund) then we will always be divided. whites are not allowed (white entertainment television or the united caucasion college fund) and that’s racist. no one group of people should have to pay and deal with a discrimination (not even white people) if they are held at fault well that you have what is called racial tension and racism. i hope they do ban the confederate flag, this way you and everyone else who wants it banned can see that it never was the REAL issue at hand. WE ARE. oh and have a great weekend and keep posting 🙂 love reading your stuff 😀
Of course the flag itself isn’t the cause or major source of racism. There are just quite a few people who believe that it had absolutely nothing to do with race and that it is purely a symbol of southern pride, which is inaccurate. And thanks!
Excellent post !!!!
I love this post! A classmate, who was, in fact, born and raised in the Chicago suburbs is a HUGE Confederate flag supporter. Strangely enough, she is also racist. If people don’t comprehend the meaning behind the flag, they must be lying to themselves–the Southern economy at the time of the Civil War was dependended on the maintence of white supremacy! The simple fact that white people are the flag’s defenders speaks volumes. Thanks for sharing 🙂
Exactly! Thanks for reading. 🙂
and why wasn’t this ever brought up before the shooting incident? why didn’t you or anyone else make a fuss about the flag before this? all of a sudden the flag is an issue? and aside from that, do you really think getting rid of the flag will make your friend not a racist anymore? :laughs: too funny. 😀 (and no i am not for or against the flag, just a logical person)
Personally, I have discussed this before. And of course I don’t think removing the flag will make people stop being racists. That was never my argument.
The reason I wasn’t upset about this before the shooting is that I hadn’t heard about it. And while eliminating the flag from a government building in SC will probably not change my Midwestern friend, it will remove a symbol of massive racism and prejudice from a public building, where everyone is supposed to have a voice. To use an analogy, that’s like having WBC signs up at a state capitol building, in that it shows pride in intolerance–something that simply shouldn’t be around the government of a relatively free people. So while my argument may be “:laughs: too funny” to you, recognize that people are fighting this fight for a reason, and that reason is to eliminate a symbol of white supremacy from a building that is supposed to protect everyone.
Very interesting, as I knew little to nothing about this. Ironic that the fuss in the media over the flag may well have been used to smoke screen the fast tracking of the TTP agreement which effectively gives 80% of the governments powers over to corporations.. Is this against he American way? I think it’s hard to tell anymore, looks like your heading back to the days of slavery but without the average American seeming to realise that they will be the victims. I think us in Britain will be next if TTIP and Fracking get pushed through like they have in America..
Thanks for reading
Fracking has been rejected by Lancashire County Council. One. As you say, coming form Facsist white Trash Britain, you will know little about this. What do YOU know about the “American Way” either? You have no idea what you are talking about that is clear if TTP is all you have to worry about.
YOu could do a bit better than that. You could have told everyone that it was actually rejected by the South as a flag and that it was originally the flag of the North Virginia Army. That it then went into the “white flag”, in the left corner on a background of white – to indicate, yes, race. And that it was only and only adopted by Missiissippi of all the Southern States and that the Governor of Mississippi at the time said that the war was about subjugating the black second class in order to preserve equality amongst the whites. Bye.
Maybe but the emphasis of my argument was its use during the civil rights movement. Bye.
That’s the history of the Civil Rights Movement. Bye.
Have a nice day!
Taken from a facebook post. (My own.)
that’s EXACTLY the point Adam is making. just because you drive that car doesn’t mean you believe in ‘this’ or you ‘feel this way about people’. same with the people who own that flag etc. i have a black friend that keeps a Confederate flag made out of cloth behind the bar at his house. it’s huge and covers the entire back wall behind the bar. he’s not racist obviously, he’s just a crazy southerner. and well said Adam. you really DO understand, i can see that.
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and you’re right too Andy.. why so many years? why now? one incident suddenly makes everyone aware that this flag is the problem now? behind all racist acts in the US? in the world? c’mon people. that’s bullshit and you know it. so get rid of the flag and we get rid of the racism right? never happen. to erase racism we gotta do a whole hell of a lot more than ban a flag. laughing. the people who are making the most noise about this don’t even know the truth about the the slave trade. why not ban everyone’s flag? once again the liberals want you to know only what they want you to know and not the whole story. it’s a familiar pattern and once they DO ban the flag it’ll be something else with these people. always a problem with them.
if you ban the confederate flag then what Adam says what happens is absolutely correct. you admit guilt and in doing so will only increase racial tension and keep racism moving at a steady forward pace and tell me folks.. where is the sense or logic in that?
It’s Time to Face the Whole Truth About the Atlantic Slave Trade
Mr. Stern taught African American history at the college…
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Banning the flag was not mentioned once in this article.
oh I know Catherine and pardon me if you will. I mean no harm toward you or anyone else here. I’m just so damn proud of my country is all; even throughout it’s bad times. History is important in that we can all learn from it and to extract everything we can, the good and the bad, so that we can build a better future together. When I see the confederate flag, it reminds me that we had won that war and so much good has come from it. To be reminded of such a thing makes me smile as i wake up each and every day. It is a crucial time right now in that we are all educated and very careful and make the right choices or we’ll all end up making the same mistakes again. I’d not hope for that in a million years. Thank you for allowing us all to post up on your blog. Oh and have a wonderful weekend! 😀
You as well.
For this reason the trending of this flag is ugly.
Yes! Great post. I actually didn’t know the history of the Confederate flag exactly so your post really intrigued and helped me to learn the symbolism of the flag. Thank you for enlightening me.
I agree with what you say on a well done and informative piece.
What I worry about is revisionist history. Not a fan of revisionist nursery rhymes and/or childrenns stories either.
What got us from there to here has an important place and shouldn’t just be buried because it is offensive. “Lest We Forget” right?
Just to play devil, s advocate: I believe the Constitution did not explicitly prohibit secession. Secession wasn’t illegal, per se, which is why the Confederate States referred to it as a “War of Northern Aggression”. To the bigger issue: certainly the Confederate flag can serve as nothing but a thumb in the eye of racial equality.
sad shadow side of the American dream. .
Reblogged this on stillness of heart.
There are some inaccuracies taught in High School history books. The South did want to succeed for many reason. And the war began as a way to prevent succession, it did not begin as a way of freeing slaves. Lincoln did entertain the idea of freeing slaves at some point in the future. He believed that Slaves should be freed and that they should be forced to leave the United States and settle farther west in the so called “undiscovered” lands. He wanted the out of the country. However, when it was clear that the North would not win the war, the powers that be went to lincoln and said look, if we make slavery illegal, this will cripple the south financially because they depend on slave labor to run their wealthy plantations, which was true. Lincoln was originally against the idea because it made slaves free and allowed them to remain in the country. However, like many presidents, after enough pressure from his advisors he gave in and passed the law to free slaves. Which caused the North to win. Afterward, Lincoln was seen as this great man with a burning desire to bring freedom to the slaves, but really he was just a normal politician. You can find this information is several older history books, like A History of the American People by White. In addition, most graduate and undergraduate history classes will teach the true version of our history concerning Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation.
And I refer to undergrad textbooks as well. Of course Lincoln wasn’t a big hero. My point was about the implementation of the flag at the peak of the civil rights movement.
I do enjoy your post immensely and understand your point. However, at some point we must realize that equal rights and freedom of speech must apply to everyone to be successful. This includes the people with whom we disagree. We get to the point that we are promoting equal rights for one group by stomping on the rights of another. If we support the United Negro College Fund and Son’s of Norway, then how can we tell another group that they can not have the same rights? I neither agree nor disagree with the confederate flag, I simply agree with equal rights for everyone.
I agree. It was only problematic because the flag was on state property and it has since been taken down.
Yep … this very subject stirred quite a bit of discussion on another blog I read; not quite as much on my own when I tackled the issue, but I was still compelled to respond with yet another blog to my “Old Friend.” LOL Quickly (since at this point it’ll make very little difference in this thread) to Gabriel: The flag of our nation is the flag of our nation. Yes, the U. S. has certainly committed atrocities; however, the purpose of our flag is national identification, just like other national flags the world around. Period. The Confederacy’s national flag, which one hardly ever sees, is the flag of a defeated nation. The Confederate flag one most commonly sees is the battle flag; that in itself is antagonistic, literally belligerent (the root meaning of the word means war.) There simply is no justification whatsoever for the U. S. (read Union) allowing any state, locality, business ~ and here I disagree with rejectreality ~ even individuals to publicly display the battle flag (or national) of the defeated Confederacy. And the battle flag IS especially antagonistic today precisely because it WAS raised again in belligerent opposition to the Civil Rights movement. Make no mistake, when Gov. G. C. Wallace raised the battle flag over the capitol building in Montgomery, everyone knew what statement he was making… I don’t think most Americans even realize just how close we came to another Civil War… One other quick point, just as a matter of Constitutional perspective: I believe that it is, in fact, written into the Constitution itself that any state(s) have the right to dissolve their ties with the Union. Believe me, I certainly don’t like period of our history at all! However, as a technical point, I think the Southern states abided by the constitutionally legal process in place for severing their ties… I may, of course, be wrong. I don’t have my copy of the Const. in front of me (and this early, too lazy to fetch it! LOL) Anyway, great article! Again!
Thank you! I appreciate your input.
LOL Well, thank you! By this point I didn’t even think anyone was reading/inputting on this thread! Anyhow, thanks again for tackling the subject and making the important points you make! Love your blog, btw! Peace and Cheers! 🙂
You’re welcome! And thank you 🙂
Tell it like it is!
Thank You for taking the time to share something of such great importance. Knowledge is truly power and when we become more enlightened on these social issues, it become the necessary catalyst to bring about change.
Of course! Thanks for reading