Confederate Flag Controversy at the Beaufort Campus of the University of South Carolina

Byron Thomas is a 19-year-old student at the University of South Carolina Beaufort. He had a Confederate battle flag hanging in the window of his dormitory room on campus where it could be seen by people walking through campus. Just before Thanksgiving, university officials told him to remove the flag. After he posted a video online at CNN explaining his views, officials relented and told him he could display the flag.

In an email to the campus community, a university spokesperson stated that officials had asked Thomas to remove the flag “out of respect for his fellow students’ concerns.” But the email went on to state that the university had a firm regard for the First Amendment right of free speech and that “the university cannot and will not prohibit these flags or other symbols that our students choose to display.”

By the way, Thomas is an African American.

Here is the video of Thomas explaining his views.

Related:


Comments (23)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Mary S. Northington says:

    To Byron Thomas: Please give thought to these words of an 82 year old woman who is described in the statistics as African American. First, however, let me compliment you on your efforts toward independent thinking.

    Yes, as you say, what happened in the past happened in the past, but be aware that it has great bearing on what is happening today and what has happened during the interim. Many African Americans have fought many battles and lost their lives to enable you to be a student at the University of South Carolina.

    You say that when you see the Confederate flag you do not see racism. You see respect. Respect for whom and by whom ? It certainly does not symbolize respect for you or for anyone who looks like you. You may not feel that you experience the racism that it unabashedly represents, but I guarantee you that you will know it sooner than you expect and in ways that you don’t expect. In spite of efforts to overcome it racism is alive and well in America.

    I agree with you “change has to start somewhere.” You are to be commended for trying to be an instrument for positive change. Do try, however, to learn about, recognize, and appreciate the change that has been accomplished through the pain, blood, sweat, and tears of your forebears under the oppression of those who historically have used the flag as a symbol of and justification for the oppression.

    With you, I also hate the term African American. As you suggest, it can make one feel like a half person, or less of a person than other Americans. I hope you are aware that at one time people sharing your heritage in this country were legally considered to be non-persons or fractions of a person. Historically, and for various reasons we have been called by names far more odious than African American. While I object to it, at the the present it serves a very practical purpose statistically. On one hand it sets us apart as different, and in the eyes of some, as inferior. However, the statistics are important as they give us some idea of how far we have come and in what directions we are moving. they define the battles yet to be fought and won.

    You indicate that you want to be different. You ARE different. I prefer to say that you are unique, as is every human being. Continue to be who you are, but be informed and know the realities of the world in which you live.

    You are now 19, a mere babe. Check back when you are 29, 39, 49 . . . Hopefully the statistics don’t get to you and you end up being one of the casualty groups currently overpopulated by black males.

  2. Ronald B. Saunders says:

    Would some noted scholar please give this young Black man a true/honest lesson on the Post and Pre Antebellum period in this country and what the Confederate flag stood for and symbolized.

    My daughter displayed the Red, Black and Green flag proudly in her dorm room at the University of Virginia.

    So what am I missing here?

    This young Black man must be starved for attention.

    • Mary S. Northington says:

      To Ronald B. Saunders: Sadly the young man will probably have to learn the hard way. One wonders how his video happened to be made. I doubt that it results from his being starved for attention. He most likely is an unfortunately misguided child.

      • Ronald B. Saunders says:

        Mary S.Northington: My response is in reference to your many noteworthy above comments.
        In my communication, fact and statement of fact should remain paramount while subjectivity may remain or to be relegated to a position of secondary consideration.
        For the purpose of this discussion I will use the term African American. According to noted top scholar from the great Howard University Dr. Cain Hope Felder the current name of Africa is a misnomer which is adopted by everyone today. Dr. Felder further states that the name Africa was given to the continent by the ancient Romans. As we all know there are older names for the so-called Motherland than Africa.
        Whether I use the term Negro, Colored, Afro-American, Darkie, Black, African American, Nubian, Kemetian, Cushite, Ethiopian or Abssynians, Moor, Canaanite, or others those names don’t define or limit me in navigating my way successfully through a whole system of brutal white supremacy.
        As a racial plutocratic society we have not evolved enough in our thinking to only say that we are an American. There is no such thing as race, but race matters in the USA and throughout the African Diaspora because it is so deeply embedded in all the institutions.

        When we departed from our plane in Tangier Morocco a group of 30 unsavory looking Moroccans surrounded us, and they all had their eyes on our luggage. I knew about the snatch and grab tactics having grown-up in major city in the USA. I looked the Moroccans in the eye and said “We are proud Black Americans and if any of you guys touch our bags we will send you to your second heaven. They all smiled when I said the previously mentioned statement and shouted with joy Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X over and over for about three whole minutes. Those street people treated us like royalty for the rest of our stay in Tangier before we moved on to Rabat.
        The street people connected with us because we identified with being proud Black Americans and the only names they mentioned were Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X.

        When I broke the record in the 100 yard dash in the state of Maine in 1962 a white lady shouted from the bleachers “that colored boy runs like a deer.” Yes she compared me to a deer but isn’t a deer an animal that is graceful? Was the white lady’s remark a compliment or stereotype? Some of my white teammates were offended by her remarks, but her comment didn’t define me because I still won the race in record time even though I didn’t have a good start.

        May I suggest that you read the great book by Dr. Joy DeGruy Leary titled Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome: America’s Legacy of Enduring Injury and Healing. Dr. Leary’s book tells us why and how African Americans think, act, and behave the way we do while living in an oppressive atmosphere of intense white supremacy. Another great book is Fanon’s Black/Skin White Mask which also tells how and why we act and behave a certain way throughout the African Diaspora.

        Many if not all African Americans have (PTSS) the “slave mentality” due to 247 years of legalized racism coupled with a heavy dose of James Crow I and II.
        The psychic damage to African Americans, and people of African ancestry throughout the Diaspora, has been devastating. Black Africans who have lived under the cloak of neo-colonialism show the same pathologies of the Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome as their counter-parts throughout the African Diaspora.

        Byron Thomas’ thinking and actions in the instant case reflects one of the pathologies and antecedents of the Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome.

        Dr. Kenneth Clark presented the Black/Brown white doll test as an illustration in the hearing on Brown v. Board of Education as clear evidence of the Post Truamatic Slave Syndrome in African American kids.
        Many of your colleagues and friends still have the “Good Hair Syndrome.”

        Here are few lines from poem titled Ode To The Buffalo Soldiers.

        What’s Up!
        Buffalo Soldier,
        The same person who enslaved you,
        Stole all my Land
        Come join me
        So we can make
        A unified Stand

        What’s up
        Buffalo Soldier
        We have a common enemy and Foe
        Do you understand me
        Mr. Buffalo?

        The Buffalo soldiers fought Native Americans or First Americans on the Southern and Northern Plains, who were America’s first victims of white racism. The Buffalo soldiers fighting the First Americans helped make it possible and safe for white settlers to take their historical homelands which is another example of the Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome.
        Ode To The Buffalo Soldier was written from the perspective of an Mescalero Apache.

        Further some of the most enlightened African Americans such as Malcolm X, Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. W. E. Du Bois, J.A. Rodgers, G. Carter Woodson, Ella Baker, Fannie Lou Hamer, Angela Davis, Ida Wells Barnett, Thurgood Marshall, Walter White, Dr. Mark West, Dr. Cornel West, had some vestiges of Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome disorder.

        Nat Turner, Denmark Vesey, and Gabriel Prosser were enslaved Africans but their great minds were free and liberated.

        It should be noted that many African Americans served in the ranks of the Confederate Army as body servants, military laborers and in combat units. Many Blacks died in support of the Confederate Battle flag. The all Black Louisiana Native Guard were the first troops to defend the city of New Orleans.

        Black Confederates engaged in combat at Amelia County Court House Virginia against white Yankees. You may wish to read one of the best works on the role of Blacks in the Confederate military by Dr. Ervin Jordan, Jr. of the University of Virginia titled Black Confederates and Afro-Yankees.

        There has been a deliberate cover-up on the part of many American historians both Black and white to distort the role that Black Confederates played in the greatest conflict this nation has ever faced.
        I have a post card with Confederate Troops at the Shriver House in Gettysburg, Penna and three of those troops look like African Americans. Even their uniforms appear to be slightly different than other Confederate uniforms.
        The noted scholar Dr. James Brewer has written a ton on Blacks serving in the Confederate military, and his nephew John Brewer Jr. has a Confederate uniform in his possession which was worn by a Black Confederate soldier.

        The cover-up on the role that Blacks played in the Confederate military began right after the famous battle of Appomattox Court House Virginia on April 9, 1865 and continues to the present time.

        The Pre and Post Antebellum Period is one of the most complex and complicated periods in American history. The Confederate States of America couldn’t have a survived a day without the support of enslaved Africans or so-called free Blacks.

        Confederate history is an integral part of Black history in the United States and it shouldn’t be relegated to the back of the book shelves or not on the book shelves at all.

        As a country we must come to grips with the vital role that African Americans played in the Confederate military. These Black men and women who fought for and served in the Confederate States of America military should be fully recognized and appreciated by all Americans.
        Wherein the African American Confederates should have their names placed alongside of the 208,943 Black Union/Federal Forces on that Bronze Monument in said Washington D.C.

        • Barbara says:

          This is just one student. I was born and raised in the North but I teach at an HBCU in South Carolina. The administration and a large number of the student body respect the confederate flag as do their parents. They don’t fly it, but it is in their behavior and communication just the same. I have met some students whose ancestors fought for the confederacy. In the low country there is the history of slave-owning blacks as well. South Carolina is a fascinating and mind-blowing experience! This is the birth place of “economic” slavery. Unfortunately, after ten years of teaching here, many of my students and their families have taught me that no matter what I teach in the classroom, the confederacy is part of their culture. Living here I have also learned that we will never be one solid unified people. It does not stop me from teaching other students who want to grow, learn and expand their minds, but I do accept the reality of the way things are in this state.

          • Ronald B. Saunders says:

            Greetings Barbara: I am very well pleased to see that you have taken time out from your busy schedule during spring break to respond the above captioned matter.
            I commend you for teaching at an HBCU and your deeds have not gone unnoticed.
            “This is just one student” but how many more students and their parents think the way this young man does?
            At first I wrongfully attacked this young student because of his actions but it is better to address his thinking process( philosophy) that led him to embrace the Confederate flag.
            I think I did give greater clarity in my subsequent critiques on why this young man behaved this way in the instant case.
            Confederate history cannot be separated from the issue at the center of the Civil War, slavery.
            But it cannot be separated from history of segregation, James Crow I/II, massive resistance, and the fight against the civil rights movement.
            Historically, white Confederate versions of the past and the Confederate symbols have meant opposition to equal rights for all Americans.
            It must be noted that the free states did in fact rebel against the slave power states when they elected Abraham Lincoln to said presidency. But the slave power states were unwilling to submit peacefully and thus they attempted to destroy the Union by establishing a pro-slavery confederacy of its own.
            Further, Lincoln was against the spread of slavery into the new territories and we all know that Lincoln was about the preservation of the Union rather than eradicating the institution of slavery.
            You are absolutely correct in stating that South Carolina was the birth place of economic slavery and various different ethnic groups participated and benefited from the institution of slavery.
            The Confederate States went to war over the idea of protecting their states rights that included the preservation of there economic system of slavery.
            Slavery was the property right that southerners were trying to hold unto and 640,000 plus Americans died fighting each other in that internal conflict called the War between the States.
            The Black community in the USA has never been historically a monolithic body and there are different ideological approaches to solving problems.
            However there are far more important matters for all Americans to be involved in relative to a student carrying a Confederate flag such as the passage of H.R. 347 (Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011). There are many things happening in the Republic that are not in the best interest of the American people and the passage of H.R. 347 will help to erode the First Amendment.

  3. KJ says:

    I really think someone could have put him up to this. Before I looked at the video I was expecting two things:

    1. A not-so-well spoken black man
    2. Someone who might seem like they really believe in what they saying

    The media is never shy about putting not-so-great images of black people in the spotlight. Trust me, if this young man was another Pres. Obama they would have never put him on CNN. We are just made to look crazy by the media. This is why people like Jesse Lee Peterson, Herman Cain, etc gets so much air time.

    The argument of southern pride did catch me off guard but after I thought about it, what other argument could a black man have to support the confederate flag?

    • Ronald B. Saunders says:

      To KJ: You may elect to read what I said above more carefully. Racism erodes our very humanity. No One can be truly liberated while living under the weight of racial oppression. That is the primary point that Dr. Joy DeGruy Leary is making in her book titled, Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome: America’s Legacy of Enduring Injury and Healing.

      All African Americans and Africans throughout the Diaspora have some element or degree of (PTSS ).Yes many of us are denial about that fact of life.
      Even Malcolm X, like the vast majority of Black people had your typical Detroit Red Personality Syndrome. The Detroit Red Personality Syndrome is a manifestation of the ” Black Fool Personality that was made, cultivated and nurtured in Colonial America. In America we still live with all of the pathologies of the Black Fool Personality.

      I stated in my above comment that brothers Nat Turner, Denmark Vesey, and Gabriel Prosser were liberated free thinking Black men. That is the main reason why they did what they did because their minds were liberated.

      When brother Malcolm was exposed gradually to the truth of the American hypocritical system of white supremacy coupled with an extra heavy dose of Black pride and the correct history of African people throughout the world his mind became liberated. Thus Malcolm became a highly intelligent liberated free thinking new man, who was truly “Black and Proud.”

      I think your criticism about the way Mr Byron Thomas speaks is not warranted or justified, and it makes you look a little condescending.
      There are many poeple who have something to say as far content and substance who can’t articulate their message.
      Sir, there are thousands of Black people who can articulate far better than President Obama.

      KJ: Please explain why the Buffalo Soldiers killed America’s first victims of white racism the Native indigenous tribes which helped to make it possible for unsavory whites to take their homelands?
      How can you justify the Buffalo soldiers actions in the instant case?
      The vast majority of the Buffalo soldiers were former slaves or enslaved Africans and they thought like slaves. When the Civil War ended there very few jobs in the Post Antebellum South and there was fierce competition in both the North and South for jobs. The employers in both the North and South didn’t hang-up Equal Opportunity signs in said windows and most would not hire the newly freed slaves. That’s why they set-up the Freedmen’s Bureau to assist 4 million freed slaves in making the transition from slavery to freedom.
      The greatest successes of the Freedmen’s Bureau were in the field of education. More than 1,000 Negro schools were built and staffed with qualified instructors. Most of the major HBCU’s in the United States were founded with the assistance of the Bureau. Even though the Bureau helped former slaves find jobs the racial climate throughout the country was hostile to Blacks.

      The Black war veterans didn’t get any extra points for having served in the Federal forces and many employers wouldn’t hire these ex-veterans if they had knowledge that they fought for the Union.
      So these Black war veterans sought refuge in the military and eventually the U.S. formed two all Black Cavalry Regiments the 9th and 10th, which later became known as the Buffalo Soldiers.

      KJ: These Black war vets joined the military for self-preservation and survival. However it was nothing noble in what they did in killing Native people on the Plains for the white man.

      You may desire to read my blog post titled Ode To The Buffalo Soldiers of the United States 9th & 10th Cavalry Regiment at http://blackbuzz.blogspot.com/10/19/2009

      Much of the history of Blacks in the United States of America is painful and it is very unfortunate than many historians in the HBCUs’ and other schools attempt to denigrate, down-play, belittle, cover-up the true role that African Americans played in the military of the Confederate States of America.

      We need to tell the whole truth about about our history which is not quite so rosy as presented in the short month of February.
      As historians you have an obligation to search for the truth behind every nook and cranny regardless of where that truth may lead one.
      Most African Americans can’t look objectively at what I call ” Afro- Confederates.”
      Black Confederate Loyalty was pervasive and real.

      There are African American descendants of Confederate Civil War veterans living in Virginia, the Carolina’s , Mississippi, Georgia, Maryland , Alabama, Louisiana, Texas, Florida and throughout the United States of America.

      Based upon the oral history of my family one of my family members from Charlotte North Carolina, served as a body servant to his master who went off to fight the Yankees. The master gave him the (option) to stay on the Plantation or come with him into battle against the Union. He choose to go with the master because he said it was easier to work supporting the war effort than staying back laboring on the Plantation. It was matter of self preservation in the case of my family member.

      Many African Americans were forced to go with the master into battle and many voluntarily went. We still don’t know the actual numbers of how many Blacks went voluntarily or were forced or who ran away once the opportunity arose. We need more scholarship in this arena, but the best academic work on this subject is the book by Dr. Ervin L. Jordan Jr . titled Black Confederates and Afro Yankees.
      The history of the Confederacy is not just about the Sons Of The Confederate War Veterans.
      That Confederate history is also about Sons and Daughters of the Black Confederate War veterans.

      *The great historian John Hope Franklin points out that 29 percent of the free Black population of New Orleans owned slaves and many went into battle in support of the Confederate cause.
      * The Jewish Historical Society points that 75 percent of the slave owners in Charleston, South Carolina were Jewish.

  4. KJ says:

    To: Ronald B. Saunders – All I am saying is that the media picks very carefully the black people they put before us.

  5. Ronald B. Saunders says:

    KJ: I agree with your comment about the media in reference to who they carefully hand pick to present before Black people.
    As you are fully aware of the fact that the sponsored media is integral part of corporate America?

    Didn’t certain corporate special interest hand pick and sponsor Barack Obama?
    Who amongst Obama’s adminstration can we honestly presume has the people’s or even America’s best interest at heart? Goldman Sachs bankers? JP Morgan bankers? Corporate lobbyists? A phony CEO from GE?
    Indeed these are these same banking, corporate, and political interests that guided the agenda under Bush, Clinton, Bush Sr., Reagan and so on.

    • Michael A. Lingo says:

      When I first read this I thought, another Black youth has lost his way and mind. After further evaluation and insight I still can’t fathom the why and how of this young man’s thinking. I empathize with him on his stand to display this flag of separation due to the first amendment but coming from the south I detest this symbol of absolute racism with all my being. I feel for my forefathers for having to make the tough decision to fight for the Confederacy and they should by all means be recognized for their contributions albeit misguided by no means of their own but I don’t condone this symbol of repression and intolerance. I am pretty sure there are other imaginative ways to display Black Southern Pride in our Confederate counterparts besides the unfurling of this symbol of hatred of other races.

      • Ronald B. Saunders says:

        To Michael A. Lingo: Mike I would suggest you read my previous comments on this matter which goes into much detali on why Byron Thomas thinks the way he does in the instant case.

        May I also suggest that you read the book by Dr. Joy DeGruy Leary titled, Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome: America’s Legacy of Enduring Injury and Healing. Further you may elect to read the great book by Frantz Fanon titled Black Skin- White Mask. If you are a professor in higher education you should have read those books.

        Since you are a white southerner you should be fully aware of the historical fact the United States of America was established as a white society, founded upon the genocide of the First Americans and then the enslavement of yet another. That foundational systemic racism is still present in all of our institutions and it certainly didn’t go away with the passage of various Civil Rights laws, amendements to the U.S. Constitution, or the election of the first African American President. As a matter of fact, institutional racism, and individual racism is more pervasive today than in 1975. Wherein we can see how that racism manifests in many different state, individual, and corporate actions.
        Whites in America must admit the reality and begin to operate on the assumption that theirs is a racist society. Mike, positive individual attitudes are simply not enough, for as we have seen, racism is more than just personal.
        Mike: All white people in the United States have benefited from the structure of racism, whether or not they have ever committed a racist act, uttered a racist word, or had a racist thought(as unlikely as that is). Just as surely African Americans suffer in a white society because they are are Black, whites benefit because they are white. And if whites have profited from a racist structure, they must try to change it.
        To benefit from domination is to be responsible for it.
        Like Mary S. said above, either you are part of the problem, or you become part of the solution.
        Each honest white American has to be deeply engaged in solving the problems of institutional/individual racism which was created by your ancestors.
        Anyone who suggest or hints that we live in a Post Racial America is either misinformed, undereducated, naive, or living under a false illusion.

        How is Mr. Thomas’ actions any different than the “house servants” who betrayed Denmark Vesey and Gabriel Prosser in their quest for freedom?

        I didn’t ask you, or KJ, or Mary S. Northington to agree with Mr. Thomas’ thinking, but as educators you must understand his behavior.

        • Ronald B. Saunders says:

          Correction from above to Mike: May I suggest that you read my previous comments on the above subject which goes into much detail to explain why Mr. Byron Thomas thinks the way he does in the instant case.

          Perhaps will hear from Mr. Thomas some-day!

  6. KJ says:

    I guarantee you if this was a swastika it would be down already. SC is using this young man to desensitize the confederate flag. There are groups in SC who are still protesting the confederate flag being at the capital.

    • Ronald B. Saunders says:

      To KJ: I would have to agree with you in reference to flying or posting the swastika in any form on said campus. Jewish Americans, and other groups on campus and throughout the world would protest this action and it would be removed pronto.
      You have stated that SC, is using this young man to desensitize the confederate flag. Are you suggesting the state of South Carolina or the University of South Carolina Beaufort, which is a part of the state is using this man to desensitize the confederate flag? Could you please provide us with some evidentiary proof to support your position? Could you please clarify what you mean by desensitize the confederate flag?
      The State NAACP in SC, and the National Office has in the past conducted a campaign against the State of South Carolina for flying the Confederate flag over the state capital.

      At first I attacked this young man for his actions but we must understand why he is doing what he is doing.
      That’s why KJ, I gave a mild critique of the history of the Confederacy in the context of the role that African Americans played in that important history. I did say that Byron Thomas like the vast majority of African Americans have the Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome which would fully explain why Mr. Thomas acts, and behaves a certain way. Even African Americans who work in academia are not immune to the Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome. The African Americans in academia are able to mask and camouflage the Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome better than members of the so-called Black Underclass; But they do display all of the pathologies of that disorder in their actions, deeds or lack of thereof.

      Everyone that has a modicum of intelligence understands that Confederate symbols have demoted opposition to equal rights. Many Confederate and Union soldiers thought that the Civil War was thought over slavery. Some have tried to rewrite history to make the war solely about States Rights.

      KJ, as painful as the history of the Confederacy is to African Americans we were integral part of that history and our role and place in that history should not be relegated to a position of secondary consideration.

      Post Antebellum history is the most complicated, complex and difficult periods in American history. It takes a lot of very good scholarship, sensitivity, understanding to fully appreciate the Pre and Post Antebellum period in the South.

      Confederate history means more than the four years which the Confederate states fought a war to form a separate country called the Confederate States of America.
      It does in fact refer to many uses of Confederate symbols and evocation of Confederate history in the almost century-and half since the battle of Appomattox Court House Virginia.
      Remember Confederate history is and was all about race and slavery. The real State Right that Confederate States were advocating for was the preservation of its slavery economic system.

      • Nathan says:

        ‘I guarantee you if this was a swastika it would be down already.’

        So, tho it may appear to be a swastika, the Buddhist symbol of Buddha’s footprints is no longer tolerated by society.

  7. Mary S. Northington says:

    To KJ: One can only imagine what is in this young man’s thinking and how it got there. Also, the origin and purpose of the video is a matter of speculation. It is certain, however, that a lot is yet to be done in the education of our youth and in the battle against racism. “Let down your bucket where you are”(Booker T. Washington) and become a part of the solution.

  8. Deborah says:

    Here is what I will never understand about individuals and states loyal to the confederate flag: the flag is an ILLEGAL representation of states committing an unpatriotic treasonous act: 11 states seceded from the union, formed their own government, wrote their own constitution and elected their own president in the middle of a constitutionally formed country! What insolence! What audacity! What gall! So states wish to venerate an illegal act? Is that patriotic? Now, hundreds of years later after the illegal flag was created, when American citizens today are challenged on every word spoken against issued against country, defend and profess loyalty to their own brand of home grown terror: racial profiling, religious profiling, revision of voting laws in certain southern states, and the legalized McCarthy/KGB tactics of satellite spying, cell phone tapping, invasion of privacy in personal affairs, and the government’s careful attention to free speech (the PATRIOT Act can declare a citizen a non-citizen if someone is declared an enemy of the state—with no preconditions, no one challenges any of this loudly (Re-read Brave New Word and Animal House folks). Yet, the preservation of the historical symbolism of the confederate flag is defended stoically and valiantly. I just don’t get it. As an African American, Negro, Colored, and Black female, I have lived through atheists controlling prayer in schools, Brown vs. the Board of Education, the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, the Women’s Movement, the Green movement, and now, the “Oh, that’s in the past” history movement (thanks to many post-1970s parents and those teachers who stand before the children in the classrooms). We are asleep in the garden again and some of you recall what happened when the loyal slept and continued to sleep while a plan of action was put into effect. The persistence of contentious icons such as the confederate flag would never be tolerated if a state legislation wanted to raise a flag impressed with a hammer and sickle or an iron cross. I don’t want America to be America again. I want us recalling, remembering, and coining the phrase “never again” as a resounding commitment to end vestiges of treasonous acts and division. My ancestors suffer and we still suffer as a people. Dixiecrats, get over it. Go make a state flag with the symbol of a pole cat, badger, or possum or something!

    • Ronald B. Saunders says:

      To Deborah: You have made many positive, and noteworthy comments in that they were I believe, not only well-meaning and well informed but courageous, non-politically motivated, nor orchestrated by the status-quo.
      However you have a made few historical factual errors in reference to southern states actions relative to secession. Please show me where in the United States Constitution does it say anything about states leaving said Union would constitute an illegal act of treason? Please show me where in the United States Constitution does said document say anything about secession? Could you tell me who or what body determined that said southern states actions were illegal and unconstitutional?
      What we do know in the instant case is the fact that President James Buchanan, said that there was nothing in the Constitution to prohibit the Southern States from leaving the Union. Buchanan did not have the power in the constitution to stop South Carolina from leaving the Union.
      Although President Lincoln, stated that the Southern States actions were illegal he fully knew that there was nothing in the Constitution to support his position. Lincoln’s interpretation of the Southern States actions relative to secession was not based upon the Constitution but in his belief that slavery was morally wrong.
      Lincoln’s main goal was preservation of the Union, not in eradicating slavery. Some scholars belief that Lincoln goaded the South into the war with the actions by his Congress and his stance against the spread of slavery into said territories. With the election of Lincoln the South knew that the handwriting was on the wall for secession.

      Do you think the colonist’s rebellion against the English Crown was unpatriotic and treasonous? Wasn’t the English Crown the government who was in charge of the running the affairs of the 13 colonies?
      Didn’t the colonists in the independence movement state that they felt that the crown was acting contrary to their best interests?

      The supporters of secession compared their actions to the colonists when they declared their independence from Britain nearly a century earlier. Where the actions of the colonists illegal in their quest for freedom from the British Crown?
      Didn’t the people in the American independence movement protest loudly about taxation without representation?
      Note the President of the Confederate States of America, Jefferson Davis, cited the Declaration of Independence as another reason for leaving said Union.

      The northern states had a majority in the House and they passed many laws against the southern states which favored the Northern manufacturing base. The Southern states thought they were being taxed unfairly by the Federal government which is one of the primary reasons that they left the Union.

      Also note that the southern states left the Union to protect their state property rights, which was defined in the U.S. Constitution as three/fifths of a person. So the states rights that Confederate States of America were trying to protect was the economic institution of slavery. The southern states of America fought a war to protect their economic interest, which was slavery.

      Many Americans in all parts of the country are still fighting the Civil War with their racist mindset. These southerners just can’t get over the fact they lost the shooting part of the war, but they won the heart and soul of most White Americans, which is evidenced by their adoption of the southern point of view in reference to Black people coupled with another 130 years of James Crow I and James Crow II.

      Whites can’t retire the Confederate battle flag because they are in complete denial about what it stands for in the context of their battle to maintain the status quo. Why haven’t Black people demanded that the Confederate flags be placed in museums? What are we afraid of? Is the Confederate flag causing the Black on Black crime and the racial learning gap in all grades? Is the Confederate flag responsible for all of our systemic problems that plague the Black communities?
      The United States was founded and established as a Slavetocracy for white people.
      All of the 13 Colonies were engaged in the practice of holding Africans in bondage/slavery.
      Race is part of America’s complex DNA. Racism is a disease of the mind, body and soul. Just as all Black people may have some vestige of the Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome, Whites have remnants or vestiges of racism down deep in their soul. How can one live in an infected environment with the disease of racism and be immune from the disease? Tell me how! I’m waiting!
      Confederate history is all about race, class and slavery. Black people like it or not were an integral part of that history of the Confederacy in the Antebellum South. That history of the Confederacy as painful as it for Black people must be studied, researched and told correctly to the American people.

      I agree with your position that home grown terror group memberships have risen in the last five years while the U.S is looking at Muslim extremists around the world. The white nationalist movement is conducting all kinds of acts that would indicate they are getting ready for their “racial holy war.”
      Review the Southern Poverty Law Center’s year ending report.

      Deborah: The new state voter photo ID laws were just not enacted in the southern states. The states of Rhode Island and Wisconsin also have new voter photo ID laws which are designed to limit and make it more difficult for certain demographics to vote. Fifty percent of the Black people in the state of Wisconsin don’t have photo ID’s. So who do you think they are targeting with these new voter photo ID’s Laws?
      What will the Obama Justice Department do about these state actions? Give lip service?

      Yes Deborah we have been sleeping very hard since Obama won the election but we must rise again because our movement was always bigger than any one person or organization. Silence is just another form of oppression. We must never become silent about things that matter.
      The Struggle for Black Liberation is a life long struggle and we must be the hope of the world who inspires other like minded movements.

      • Deborah says:

        Mr. Saunders, thank you for the elucidation of the historical facts pre/post-Civil War and now. I do appreciate the reiteration of the facts. Truly, I do. You have enlightened me and reminded me. You are right, the textbooks don’t tell the truth in secondary school and history is still an elective in college. Plus, much of what is told as Truth depends on the professor. I see that you do understand the heat in my response to the confederate flag issue. I guess I’m tired or already battle-weary with the interest-convergence coinage “color-blind society” especially as I still witness overt oppressive acts by local law enforcement, state assemblies, or individual legislators undermining hard won rights of American Blacks. Throughout early American history up to the 1950’s Blacks have not found much favor with the courts. I do understand the need to protect First Amendment rights, but what is the test for reasonableness? What will it take to respect history and respect what offends? Can’t the court conduct a fact-sensitive analysis to end the contention? The court seems to spend a lot of time debating the constitutionality of municipalities’ Christmas decorations, but will not take this matter to task…or have they? As I mentioned in my previous statement, there are symbols that our country refuses or declines to publicly endorse that are taboo because these symbols represent terror or injustice for other groups; yet, the confederate flag poses “no harm no foul” for ours. Hmm.

        • Ronald B. Saunders says:

          Sister Deborah: I do in fact agree with your above critique on the flag in question.
          Ever since the United States Supreme Court ruled in Brown v. the Board of Tokepa Kansas, and with the enactment of various civil rights laws there has been well orchestrated, strategically planned relentless assaults on said rulings and those laws.

          This assault is coming from some of the most powerful forces in the American society as people of color continue to sleep as important battles are waged against us on all levels.

          Various Executive Orders 11246,10925,11375, the Philadelphia Plan, the Pittsburgh Plan dealing with affirmative action have been so watered down that one might not even recognize them, and compliance and enforcement appears to be very weak at best.

          We were brutally attacked with Bakke v. Regents, Wygant v. Jackson Board of Education, the United States v. Paradise, the City of Richmond v. Crosan, Hopwood v. The University of Texas School of Law, Grutter v. Bollinger, Gratz v. Bollinger, Proposition 209 in California, Propostion “I 200” in Washington State, Jeb Bush’s “One Florida” Initiative, Parents v. Seattle, Meredith v. Jefferson, the ban on affirmative action in Nebraska, and Ricci v. DeStefano. Let us not forget the SP rulings in Defunis, Brian Weber and Fillilove. Those cases were filed against our interests.
          Our young people appear to be in a deep sleep and moribund to the actions of folks who are waging these horrible actions against our interests.

          Many of our schools throughout the U.S.have been resegregated and the goal of integration appears to have been lost on people of color. Special Projects at UCLA and Harvard have done good work in the area of school desegregation.
          A war has been waged against people of color on all fronts as we sleep foolishly. Black people can ill afford to put all of their hopes and aspirations in one person or the corrupt Democratic or Republican parties. We must try to recapture some of the spirit of the 1972 Convention in Gary Indiana, and develop a progressive well planned Black Agenda for the 21st century.
          We should not fall in lock-step behind the Democratic Party.
          Deborah we don’t have any credible accountable national civil rights leaders in the USA. Most who purport or claim to be said leaders have been co-opted by the system for jobs/positions in the corporate sector and self-aggrandizement.

          Keep up your great deeds and work and happy holidays.

          Thank you

  9. Creole says:

    I am 26 black creole and that confederate flag can be seen all around the world. However this young man is sadly misled on the value and history of that flag. Yes, there where some blacks that fought for the confederacy but the general history of that flag represents racism and white supremacy. Supporting people who represent that flag will not gain you favor with racists and it’s disrespectful to what the black struggle produced over the generations. In Creole culture there is a term called “passe blancs” for mulatto lightskin blacks who have features that are white enough for the dominate “white society”. This is where some of the black confederates come into history, but you must understand back in those times even with the knowledge of being mixed race, whites still did not consider these men equal to them. This young man really needs to stop because he making himself a target.

    • Ronald B. Saunders says:

      Creole: Miscegenation was very widespread in the US and throughout the African Diaspora. We simply don’t know how many Africans have passed back over into the White race and who are living as bona-fide white people.
      We don’t have the scholarship that would support with evidentiary proof the number of people who have been miscegenated with in reference to the dominant culture and the indigenous tribes of the Americas.
      Because of miscegenation this produced societies of Quadroons, Octoroons, Mulattos, Creoles, Eurafricans, Colored, Mestizo’s, Zambo’s, Griffe’s, Mestee’s, multiracial and biracial.

      All human beings on earth can trace their ancestors back to the continent of Africa for we are all mixed.

Leave a Reply



Due to incidents of abuse and harassment that have occurred in the past, JBHE will not publish telephone numbers or email addresses of individuals in this space. If you want to contact someone in a particular article, we suggest you contact them directly not in an open forum.