The south won’t rise again

Taylor Knight
Contributing Columnist

Illustration by Annette Allen.

At least two days a week The Virginia Flaggers can be seen in front of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts parading Confederate flags while they are ignored by passerbys. The Virginia Flaggers have been attempting to preserve Confederate history by “flagging” locations which they believe have “attacked (their) flags, heritage, and ancestors.” The most frequently protested place by this group is the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts because it took down Confederate flags from the Confederate memorial chapel that is on its property.

This removal enraged enough people to initially create the Flaggers, which now has about 40 committed members and more than 4,000 “likes” on Facebook. They have been flagging the museum for almost three years.

When asked about the VMFA’s reaction to these flaggings, Chief Communications Officer Susan Hall said that the institution still stands by their official statement from 2011 which states that the original chapel did not have flags hanging from it therefore the current ones were removed in, “an effort that returned the historic structure to its original appearance.” The Flaggers’ foundation for their organization is already a fallacy because they say they want to preserve their heritage but then go about wanting this chapel to be historically inaccurate.

The Flaggers have also jump-started the Interstate Memorial Flag Project, which entails the organization finding property off of the interstate that was close to a Civil War battle site and placing Confederate battle flags on them. These flags are erected “to the memory and honor of the Confederate Soldiers who sacrificed, bled, and died to defend Virginia from invasion” and are an unnecessarily large 30 feet by 22 feet and hang from 90-foot-long poles. There are currently three flags with one each in Richmond, Fredericksburg and Cold Harbor. There have been attempts to take these flags down, but they are on private property and violate no laws. It is not obvious from the interstate that these flags are memorials of any sort. The only purpose these flags are serving is to agitate people. Almost no one who drives by is going to think of these flags as anything other than an ignorant and offensive gesture.

Among the most ludicrous things the Flaggers have requested is that the entire town of Lexington, Virginia be boycotted due to the removal of flags from a Robert E. Lee Memorial there. They also have had rallies in West Virginia, which literally exists because it wanted to be a part of the Union. The flaggers speak of the Confederacy in present tense.  It seems as if they are not trying to preserve history but revert Virginia to the Confederacy. The Flaggers also claim that “The Confederacy was the American Empire’s first conquest,” — which is ridiculous when you consider the treatment of Native Americans well before the Civil War.

There is a line between historical preseveration and the over-glorification of this flag and the Virginia Flaggers have crossed it. When it boils down to it, the Confederacy existed to uphold the institution of slavery and it failed. The Confederacy divided the nation and now could be used to divide our community if enough people paid attention to The Flaggers. This flag only existed for the last two years of the Civil War and was never an official flag of the Confederacy.

With so many hypocritical acts like trying to make buildings historically inaccurate and promoting the Confederacy in a state that was a part of the Union, The Virginia Flaggers cannot truly claim their goal is to preserve Virginia’s history when they are actually preventing it from progressing forward.

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15 Comments

  1. How come the Confederate Constitution ban the importation of slaves? I mean if they were all pro slave etc? The Confederate flag never flew on slaves ships coming to America. The U.S. one did. The US Flag flew for 89 tears above slavery in this country, and flew when it was killing millions and millions of Indians but no one has a problem with that right? (not yet at least but it is coming_) Mr. Knight I would suggest you pick up a history book but so you don't look so uneducated. You won't though because you have a agenda which doesn't have a ounce of truth to support it. We aren't going anywhere.. Enjoy the flags as we honor our ancestors.. Thank Ol' Alex at the VMFA when you see him. He is responsible for all of this..

  2. Actually, you're leaving off the most important reasons WHY the Confederacy didn't import slaves:

    1) The British Navy had been patrolling the African coast for decades, shooting any would-be slavers on sight.

    2) Not importing slaves made slaves more valuable, thus, it was in the interest of the slave-owners running the Confederacy to keep slaves in short supply.

    As for how they were Pro-slave, they wrote it into the Constitution as a requirement for membership in the CSA, made slavery a constitutional right, made slave-ownership a requirement to vote, claimed slavery as the reason for session in 2/3s of the session articles submitted by the states, and exempted people who owned more than 10 slaves from military service.

    If asked, I can provide articles and citations to each point.

    Take your own advice, and read a history book. Then kindly face the music: The South lost. And we're better for it.

  3. Isn't it sad, but certainly NOT surprising that Taylor Knight would pound out this article on her keyboard…YET, she and a male with her tell the VA Flaggers what a great job they are doing…."Could we have our picture taken with you?"…..then takes this article shown in print…..and opens it for the "photo op?" Looks to me she is a bit of a coward that is ashamed of her own words…if not, then why didn't she say who she was and ask questions? As a Flagger, we all are more than willing to answer questions or respond to comments….friend or foe. We are not the problem…..but cowards like Taylor Knight are for the mere fact that they don't have a clue what VA Flaggers are all about and doesn't have the courage to actually take the time to speak with any Flagger. What does she do? Print garbage like this article. Proves nothing except she refuses to educate herself in the truth!

  4. Isn't it sad, but certainly NOT surprising that Taylor Knight would pound out this article on her keyboard…YET, she and a male with her tell the VA Flaggers what a great job they are doing…."Could we have our picture taken with you?"…..then takes this article shown in print…..and opens it for the "photo op?" Looks to me she is a bit of a coward that is ashamed of her own words…if not, then why didn't she say who she was and ask questions? As a Flagger, we all are more than willing to answer questions or respond to comments….friend or foe. We are not the problem…..but cowards like Taylor Knight are for the mere fact that they don't have a clue what VA Flaggers are all about and doesn't have the courage to actually take the time to speak with any Flagger. What does she do? Print garbage like this article. Proves nothing except she refuses to educate herself in the truth!

  5. Well next time you stop by Mrs. Knight speak up and say hi. I will personally sign your article for you dear. Don't be afraid and hide behind a keyboard and run that pretty little mouth of yours. If your going to stand up for something speak up in p-u-b-l-i-c when your on the front lines.

  6. Sean CW Korsgaard
    1) Decades? Which decades? Be specific if we are talking about points of time in history.

    2) Your are correct in the supply and demand but mathematically it would not have made that much difference in the price of the slaves at that time considering how many slaves were in the south (and north). If there was any concern of price fixing we would see evidence of a breeding policy instituted by the states of which there is no evidence of.

    3) Slavery was wrong but it was something that practiced by both sides not just the south. Matter fact if you go back and look you will see that it was practiced many many years under the US flag and no one has a problem with that or the millions of Indian blood that is on that flag.. No problems there either.

    4) I read lots of history books matter of fact I run the largest WBTS search engine on the internet. Any time you would like to stop and learn something about history please do. You sound like you need help and are confused. A shame. http://www.confederatearchives.com

  7. Tripp Lewis
    1) Beginning with the Slave Trade Act of 1807, and culminating with the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833, the British Navy patrolled the coast of West Africa, via the West African Squadron established in 1808, originally to fine any ship captains shipping slaves, and then to sink or seize them, to the point that the British Navy seized some 1,600 ships by the 1870s.

    This in turn was a major driving force behind the US banning the importation of Slaves in 1808 – much like the Confederate act in doing the same, merely acknowledging that the slave trade had been brought to an end by the Royal Navy.

    2) Actually, keeping the price of slaves artificially high was a driving force behind many Confederate laws, most notably prohibiting slaves being brought across state lines in the CSA Constitution. Again, this was done to both keep the supply of slaves steady, and prohibitively expensive for anyone but a plantation owner to afford.

    As for breeding – you are aware slaves were pimped out for breeding in the South right up until the end of the US Civil War, correct?

    3) Yes, both sides practiced slavery, but by and large, the North would have gotten rid of that peculiar institution years before had the Southern states not tooth and nail to keep it intact – thus why comprise after compromise was offered.

    Plus, for all the sins of the North, they did not revel in them like Dixie did. I'll take lip service to "land of the free and home of the brave" over a nation that, in the words of its founders "Our new Government is founded upon exactly the opposite ideas; its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and moral condition."

    4) Forgive me if I am not all that impressed that you run a search engine operated by the Virginia Flaggers, which pervading bias aside, lacks credibility as a source, and is about as impressive as a wordpress blog.

    If you read a lot of history books, here's some to add to your list:
    Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era, by James M. McPherson
    Look Away!: A History of the Confederate States of America, by William C Davis
    The Cause Lost: Myths and Realities of the Confederacy, by William C Davis
    Baptized in Blood: The Religion of the Lost Cause, by Charles Reagan Wilson
    The Myth of the Lost Cause and Civil War History, by Gary Gallagher
    One South or Many? Plantation Belt and Upcountry in Civil War-Era Tennessee, by Robert Tracey McKenzie
    Lincoln's Loyalists: Union Soldiers from the Confederacy, by Richard Nelson Current
    Confederate Reckoning: Power and Politics in the Civil War South, by Stephanie McCurry
    The Scalawags: Southern Dissenters in the Civil War and Reconstruction, by James Alex Baggett

  8. that flag doesn't just represent the war it represents alot of pain and suffering, the horror stories my grandfather would tell me about the white people in the south and how they would wave the flag in celebration after killing black people i will never be for that flag

  9. Regina Marshall, don't forget about during the war itself either – I had a relative who spent some time in Andersonville who would tell you just how far Southern hospitality goes to anyone in Union blue.

    Slavery, treason and war crimes against their countrymen – THAT is what the Stars and Bars personifies.

  10. I do understand that, but that flag has a different meaning for Black Americans. it represent diversity and segregation, the south called that flag the bluecross. Some southerns are for that flag because they come from the south and they love where they come from, and it's fine to love where you from, but when you hear from loved one that endured alot from that flag to the point where it's to painful for them to see that flag. It changes your perspective on it. My grandfather died at 93 years old and he went through alot growing up he was a very intelligent man and he was dark skinned and southerns didn't look kindly on that alone made it worse for him. Seeing that flag waved, hurts because it represents so much more…..

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