The Confederate Flag is a symbol of Civil War era Southern pride. PHOTO: Thomas R. Machnitzki, CC License
A Confederate heritage group has announced plans to fly a Confederate Flag on I-95, the main highway running the length of the East Coast. The group Virginia Flaggers said that the Confederate Flag would be flown just south of Richmond, Virginia. Group founder Susan Hathaway explained their interpretation of the Confederate Flag:
“Basically, the flag is being erected as a memorial to the memory and the honor of the Confederate soldiers who sacrificed, bled and died to defend Virginia from invasion,” she said.
If you were hoping that she means invasion from the British, prepare to be disappointed: the Confederate Flag made its first appearance in the 1860s, right around the time of the American Civil War and almost a century after the War of Independence. The “invasion” of Virginia that Hathaway refers to was from soldiers of the North in a war largely over whether America should continue to keep Africans as slaves. That’s what the Confederate soldiers were fighting for.
The Virginia chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) opposes the planned flying of the Confederate Flag:
“It would be an embarrassment,” said Virginia NAACP Executive Director King Salim Khalfani.
“It’s going to continue to make Richmond look like a backwater, trailer park, hick town,” he said, adding “if [the Confederate soldiers] had been successful, I’d still be in chains.”
Virginia Flaggers is saying that they are simply being proud of their heritage, but are they really proud of what the South stood for during the Civil War? Apparently they are. We can only conclude that they are willfully deluding themselves. One can’t really make a case that the Confederate Flag doesn’t represent being okay with slavery. Everyone has some ugliness in their past, but the Confederate South carries the most shameful in American history. That doesn’t mean that current Southerners carry that burden, but it does mean that there are parts of their history that they should not be proud of or seek to honor.