Tag Archives: South Carolina legislature

‘Southern heritage’ surfaces yet again

Can there be a more profound demonstration of what the Confederate battle flag means to most Americans than what transpired recently at a famous Atlanta, Ga., church?

Surveillance video captured images of a couple of men placing the flag around Ebeneezer Baptist Church, where the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. — one of the 20th century’s greatest Americans — used to preach.

Hmm. Very interesting, don’t you agree?


Why do you suppose the individuals seen on the video were doing that? Was it because they wanted to demonstrate their “pride” in their “Southern heritage”?

Or, perhaps they wanted to send some other kind of message to the congregants at the church, the vast majority of whom are African-American.

Here, folks, is why the Confederate battle flag has become such a symbol of hate.

It’s been in the news lately. Nine African-Americans were murdered by a white gunman as they studied the Bible together in Charleston, S.C. A young suspect arrested and charged with the crime is known to have hatred toward African-Americans and he, too, has been photographed displaying with great pride the Confederate battle flag.

The South Carolina legislature voted to take the battle flag down from the statehouse grounds where it had flown since the 1960s to protest landmark civil rights legislation enacted by Congress.

Now this, at Ebeneezer Baptist Church.

“To place Confederate flags on the campus of Ebenezer Baptist Church – after this horrific act in Charleston [and] in the wake of all that’s happening in our country – whatever the message was it clearly was not about heritage,” the Rev. Raphael Warnock said. “It was about hate.”

Do you think?

Heritage? OK, let’s talk about it

All this talk about the Confederate battle flag has ignited a side discussion.

It deals with “heritage.”

There are those who contend that the battle flag doesn’t symbolize hatred, bigotry and enslavement. It symbolized people’s “heritage.” They say it’s a historical symbol that embodies a region’s pride.

Interesting, don’t you think?

The South Carolina Legislature’s decision to strike the flag from the statehouse grounds was a welcomed event to many of us. I cheer the fact that the flag is now down. It was put there to protest the Voting Rights Act of the 1960s.

The flag, of course, is displayed prominently at Ku Klux Klan rallies. I don’t need to remind you what the KKK stands for.

Heritage? Do we want to look at other elements of our nation’s heritage? Do we want to salute these chapters?

* Our heritage denied women the right to vote from the founding of the Republic until 1920. Do we celebrate that denial?

* U.S. heritage also contains the imprisonment of Japanese-Americans during much of World War II after the Roosevelt administration decided it couldn’t trust these Americans to be loyal to their country. Hey, let’s celebrate that event, too.

* Native Americans had their land taken from them as settlers marched westward in their conquest of our continent. Oh, and those settlers slaughtered millions of head of bison along the way. Let’s honor that, too.

The word “heritage” has become almost a throw-away line in the discussion about the Confederate battle flag.

The flag that’s been part of this discussion flew over the Army of Northern Virginia, which fought with other Confederate forces to tear apart the United States of America. The Confederates State of America sought to form a new nation and sought to preserve the right of human beings to own fellow human beings.

That’s the heritage some Americans want to honor?

No thank you.

Strike the rebel flag in S.C.

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley has done what she had to do.

She signed a bill that brings down the Confederate battle flag that flew in front of the statehouse in Columbia, S.C.

Yes, it’s a mere symbol. However, it’s a powerful symbol … of hate, bigotry, tyranny and enslavement.

The South Carolina legislature debated the issue passionately, but decided ultimately to do what it had to do.

It needed to come down. The context, of course, is the horrifying massacre in that Charleston, S.C., church in which a gunman killed five African-American church members — including its pastor. A young man, Dylann Roof, has been accused of the crime and what we know about young Roof is that he is an avowed racist who waved the Confederate battle flag proudly as a demonstration of his intention to start what he called a “race war.”


The flag is down and I’m glad about that.

However, one can take this campaign too far. I think it’s starting to veer into some tricky territory. TV Land has stopped showing “Dukes of Hazzard” reruns because the car that Bo and Luke Duke drove in the show had a battle flag emblem on its roof.

Now comes talk of removing Confederate military figures’ statues.

There is a certain historical significance in many of these monuments. These individuals were answering a call to duty. Yes, they were fighting to break up the Union. It’s good, though, to remind ourselves of our nation’s dark moments.

I have no problem with the battle flag coming down in places like South Carolina, where the Civil War started in 1861. The flag has become the emblem of hate; you see it flown at Klan rallies. The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles banned the flag from appearing on license plates, and the Supreme Court upheld the state’s right to issue that prohibition.

The flag is a hateful symbol. But not all monuments dedicated to the Confederacy conjure up the same level of intense loathing among so many Americans.

So, let’s seek to dial back the knee-jerk responses to other symbols that carry historic significance.