Monday, June 29, 2015

Random Tidbits About the Confederate Flag, Slavery, Racism

Man's historical inhumanity to man has come to be represented by symbols, icons, graphics and art, fabricated in cloth, formed from metals or painted on canvas.  The beauty or ugliness of these symbols remains in the eye of the beholder with vociferous arguments on both sides reflecting clear differences in perception.


The Confederate States of America, eventually including thirteen southern former states of the United States of America south of the so-called Mason-Dixon line, were represented by three different flags from 1861-1865, representations of which are still incorporated in the flags of Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi, while hinted at in the state flag of Arkansas.  Recently, at funeral services for the nine murder victims at a South Carolina church, President Barack Obama described the confederate flag as “a reminder of systemic oppression and racial subjugation”



The President was referring to the abhorrent practice of slavery, common in the United States since colonial days, wrongfully assumed to be the principal issue of the Civil War.  Then President Abraham Lincoln, in an 1862 letter to New York Tribune Editor Horace Greely, explained the real reason for that war:

"If there be those who would not save the Union, unless they could at the same time save slavery, I do not agree with them. If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time destroy slavery, I do not agree with them. My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union. I shall do less whenever I shall believe what I am doing hurts the cause, and I shall do more whenever I shall believe doing more will help the cause. I shall try to correct errors when shown to be errors; and I shall adopt new views so fast as they shall appear to be true views."

Lincoln's mumbo-jumbo not withstanding, the 400 year practice of Africans selling Africans into western hemisphere slavery, providing the economic engine for cotton and other agricultural crops is a huge blemish on humankind.  The purchase of slaves and their continued servitude by affluent Americans is a national disgrace and a perversion of Constitutional values hypocritically embraced.

Descendents of Thomas Jefferson, Sally Hemings in 1999
Many, many of the so-called founding fathers owned slaves, including Benjamin Franklin, John Hancock, Patrick Henry, John Jay, James Madison, George Washington and, of course, Thomas Jefferson.  Thomas Jefferson is claimed to have fathered six children with his slave, Sally Hemings.  Their descendants posed for the picture at the left in 1999.  

For those enslaved and those born into such slavery in the United States, the Confederacy and its flag came to symbolize their slavery, their misery, their oppression.  Otherwise liberal Southern whites countered by saying that the Confederate flag simply represented Southern heritage, Southern culture, not realizing that blacks with Southern ancestries just as lengthy were not included in that heritage or culture.  

In 1970, Neil Young, a rock 'n roller from Canada, released the song, Southern Man, clearly aimed at racism in the United States:

Southern Man

Southern man
Better keep your head
Don't forget
What your good book said
Southern change
Gonna come at last
Now your crosses
Are burning fast
Southern man

I saw cotton
And I saw black
Tall white mansions
And little shacks.
Southern man
When will you
Pay them back?
I heard screamin'
And bullwhips cracking
How long? How long?

After Young followed up with another anti-racist tune, Alabama, a southern blues/rock band, Lynyrd Skynyrd, issued a musical response of their own, Sweet Home Alabama.  Here are the pertinent, mock-argument lyrics:

Well, I heard Mr. Young sing about her
Well, I heard ol' Neil put her down
Well, I hope Neil Young will remember
A Southern man don't need him around anyhow

Sweet home Alabama
Where the skies are so blue
Sweet home Alabama
Lord, I'm coming home to you

In Birmingham they love the governor, boo boo boo
Now we all did what we could do
Now Watergate does not bother me
Does your conscience bother you? Tell the truth






9 comments:

  1. A defeated flag is no longer flag; It is a rag...

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  2. Rambling post. State a point and make your case. It's that sort of issue. Groan.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. An adult can make their own decision without everything spelled out for them. Find your "answers" elsewhere.

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    2. Shut up, Edward

      Delete
  3. The real reason for the "Republic of Texas".

    On this day in 1829, the Guerrero Decree, which abolished slavery throughout the Republic of Mexico except in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, was issued by President Vicente R. Guerrero.The decree reached Texas on October 16, but Ramón Músquiz, the political chief of the Department of Texas, withheld its publication because it violated colonization laws which guaranteed the settlers security for their persons and property. The news of the decree did alarm the Texans, who petitioned Guerrero to exempt Texas from the operation of the law. On December 2 Agustín Viesca, Mexican minister of relations, announced that no change would be made respecting the status of slavery in Texas. Though the decree was never put into operation, it left a conviction in the minds of many Texas colonists that their interests were not safe under Mexican rule. TSHA

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  4. Like it, or not it's our U.S. history! Leave the Confederate Flag alone, and punish those who use it to cause harm, and not those who use it to represent the South and our history.

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  5. The issue is not about using the Confederate flag to represent the South; it is about taking it down from public places, especially government buildings and license plates. There is no question some still want to use it and they should, but don't try to tell us that "our history" includes flying the battle flag of a defeated enemy alongside our national and state flags. History reveals that the Confederate flag was brought back in the early '60s to protest the Civil Rights Act. It is the failed flag of a treasonous group of states that stood up for what they believed was right, and they were defeated in a just war. There is no argument it now stands more for White Power than it does for the Confederate States.
    Again, use it if you wish, but not as a sanctioned part of government. People can use the Nazi flag, the Mexican flag, the Gay Pride flag or whatever to celebrate their history.
    You, Anonymous 9:18, this is not my U.S. history. And you can like it or eat shit.

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  6. To Anonymous 10:05AM . Long Live Peace! Viva La Paz! No need to get angry. Don't escalate things. Peace is Beautiful. I will leave it at that, and not escalate things any further.

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    Replies
    1. "escalate"? Is that a threat? Will you burn a cross in my yard?
      Anonymous 10:05

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