Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The White Man's Flag

It is odd the way that we as Humans latch onto a symbol. We enshrine something as important to our society or heritage for countless reasons. Some of them are exceptionally important while others, not so much.

One such symbol is the “Stainless Banner” This is the name given to the first flag of the Confederacy to have the familiar insert that we all recognize. The person that created this flag called it the “White Man’s Flag”. If you do not believe me look up William T. Thompson. He owned a newspaper and published his thoughts on why he created his flag. This is a quote from him in his own paper. So it is probably not a misquote.
“As a people we are fighting to maintain the Heaven-ordained supremacy of the white man over the inferior or colored race; a white flag would thus be emblematical of our cause.”

This quote was from 1863 at the beginning of the war. No one wrote angry letters of protest to his paper. No one threw away his idea for the flag because he thought it was supporting the subjugation of the slaves. Everyone in the Confederacy was pretty much cool with his view on the subject.
The other interesting thing about this flag is that it was not flown over the capital of South Carolina or on it’s grounds for decades after the civil war. The good people of South Carolina only needed to put the flag up after the Civil Rights Movement won a few victories. How can anyone, with a straight face, say this is not symbol of white people being superior.

It would appear the South did not need reminded of their heritage until they couldn’t kick around black folks any more.

The current defense is that the flag, being a battle flag, represents the valor and bravery of the Confederate Soldiers. As a Yankee I see I view the actions of Southerns as treasonous. No matter how you cut it they thought they were not going to get what they wanted under the Lincoln Administrations. Did they wait to see if a deal could be struck? No they raised an army and killed hundreds of thousands of their brothers.

There is a story that took place shortly after the war that involved Robert E. Lee taking communion with a Black Man. The quote I found on it as follows:

"NEGRO COMMUNED AT ST. PAUL'S CHURCH," CONFEDERATE VETERAN, 13 (AUGUST 1905): 360. "Col. T. L. Broun, of Charleston, W. Va., writes of having been present at St. Paul's Church, Richmond, Va., just after the war when a negro marched to the communion table ahead of the congregation. His account of the event is as follows:

Two months after the evacuation of Richmond business called me to Richmond for a few days, and on a Sunday morning in June, 1865, I attended St. Paul's Church. Dr. Minnegerode [sic] preached. It was communion day; and when the minister was ready to administer the holy communion, a negro in the church arose and advanced to the communion table. He was tall, well-dressed, and black. This was a great surprise and shock to the communicants and others present. Its effect upon the communicants was startling, and for several moments they retained their seats in solemn silence and did not move, being deeply chagrined at this attempt to inaugurate the "new regime" to offend and humiliate them during their most devoted Church services. Dr. Minnegerode [sic] was evidently embarrassed.

General Robert E. Lee was present, and, ignoring the action and presence of the negro, arose in his usual dignified and self-possessed manner, walked up the aisle to the chancel rail, and reverently knelt down to partake of the communion, and not far from the negro. This lofty conception of duty by Gen. Lee under such provoking and irritating circumstances had a magic effect upon the other communicants (including the writer), who went forward to the communion table.

By this action of Gen. Lee the services were conducted as if the negro had not been present. It was a grand exhibition of superiority shown by a true Christian and great soldier under the most trying and offensive circumstances."

This is a quote from a witness that clearly did not like Black People. There is some question of if this happen or not. We do know that is daughter was arrested in 1900 for defying Jim Crow laws by sitting in the “Colored” Section of Street Car. She clearly learned this behavior from somewhere. And it is likely that it was from her father who has been held up by many as a moral and just person.

One thing that we do know was that Robert E. Lee was the President of what was then Washington University, now Washington and Lee University. He was buried there at the beloved institution that he helped turn around from some lean years before his tenure. During his time there the Confederate Battle Flag was never flown over any pat of the campus. In fact at his burial on campus he forbade use of the flag or uniformed Confederate Veterans. If anyone on the planet could have justified having that flag represent them it was him. He understood that is was not appropriate. The man that sent thousands to die and kill under that banner knew that it’s day had passed

The south should look to the example of it’s greatest hero and his family. In them is a forgotten symbol of what this country should be.

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