South Carolina Tragedy Sparks Confederate Flag Debate: Is It Time To Retire This Symbol From American History?

Black "Confederates" Celebrate Their Heritage (image source: google images)

South Carolina, where the Confederate Battle Flag flies at the State House and Dylann Roof has now confessed to killing 9 black churchgoers during prayer services in a historic black church. All of the elements necessary to get a normally apathetic public engaged in lively debate. Evidence would appear to support the claims that the shooting at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston SC was a racially motivated hate crime. This has spawned a lot of debate, on guns, on race relations and of course on the Confederate Flag.

The first national flag of the Confederate States of America. (image source: wikipedia)

The Confederate battle flag, also called the Southern Cross, is the most recognizable symbol of the Southern Confederacy although it never represented the Confederacy as a whole in the form we are accustomed to seeing. The first national flag of the Confederate States of America was the “Stars and Bars” which bore no resemblance to the battle flag at all. This was the symbol of the South at the beginning of the Civil War (1861-1863). It bears a striking resemblance to the current State Flag of Georgia as well.

The second national flag of the Confederate States of America. (image source: wikipedia)

The second national flag of the Confederate States of America was the “Stainless Banner” which did include the “southern cross” in the upper left corner on a field of white. It flew from 1863-1865 and was redesigned, allegedly due to the resemblance to a “flag of truce” and a vertical red bar was added to the tail of the flag and referred to as the “Blood-Stained Banner.”

The third national flag of the Confederate States of America. (image source: wikipedia)

The third national flag of the Confederate States of America. (image source: wikipedia)


Yet, only the Confederate “Southern Cross” Battle Flag remains in use today. On South Carolina it flies at the State House, yes, but not over the State House itself. It flies over the Confederate Soldiers’ Monument, on the Statehouse grounds.

So, why the history lesson, you ask? To illustrate two thinks, that there is history attached to these symbols and that symbols have meaning far beyond what we perceive on the surface. Just like the American flag is a symbol that many revere and many revile, just ask Native Americans about how they feel about the American flag. In recent years, the American flag has come to be viewed as offensive by many immigrants and Muslims. It has been defamed and defiled by many, including black Americans, who treat it as if it was the Confederate flag itself. Did slavery and white supremacy play a role in the secession of the South and ultimately the Civil War? Of course it did. Is that the sole motivation and core reason? Not hardly, however with the population blinded by racial animosity and division, that is all that is seen.

The point is, symbols are just that, symbols. They do not promote, nor justify, any attitude, offense or stereotype other than that which WE attach to it. When we look upon a symbol with reverence or disgust, it is OUR perception that gives it power. Regardless, these symbols are and will forever be a part of our history.

The Confederate Battle Flag remains divisive solely because the races in America remain divided. The flag is not the source of that division, nor does it represent the source of that division, ie. slavery. The division exists in the hearts and minds of the men and women who choose to perpetuate that division. Rather than erase a symbol from the past that many see as an honored symbol of their heritage, why not erase the hatred, resentment and animosity from our own hearts and minds. Then, and only then, will we come together as a human race and be able to honestly discuss our past and forge a path to the future as one nation.

About the Author

Jon Britton
Joining the U.S. Air Force right out of high school, Jon had the opportunity to experience many different parts of the world and different cultures. His post military career path, both white collar and blue collar, allowed him to work alongside both CEOs and average Joes. "Writing was never a goal or even vaguely contemplated as a career choice, it just happened, an accidental discovery of a talent and a passion." A passion that has taken him in many directions from explorations of the zombie subculture and writing zombie stories to politics and News. He is an avid "people watcher," political junkie and has a ravenous appetite for history and current events alike.

6 Comments on "South Carolina Tragedy Sparks Confederate Flag Debate: Is It Time To Retire This Symbol From American History?"

  1. I wouldn’t be syrprised if some scumbags goes after the American fkag next,smh..

  2. It is sad that the people who are encouraging this animosity are not able to engage in a meaningful discussion. They can care less for the supposedly offended people, only there ability to claim triumph over others.

  3. Avatar Stephen Harvey | June 25, 2015 at 6:38 pm |

    I would challenge you to think about any other symbol that is in existence that has been popularly used by violent extremism, and then argue wether you would agree to build… say… a mosque near the twin tower memorial? A nazi memorial in France flying the swastika, honoring the brave army’s sacrifice on DDay? These would be fine, I guess… they’re just sybols after all.

  4. Too bad the Author was not honest enough to tell the truth about why the Civil war was fought FACT is it had NOTHING to do with slavery and it had everything to do with TAXATION without representation, and it was far worse than what caused the Boston tea party that was being done to the South by the Northern controlled Washington DC by Liberals of the North east. Both whites and blacks suffered under Lincoln’s reign of stupidity. But don’t let facts get in the way of trying to twist history to your liking.

    I will advise people to avoid this junk site as there is no truth here only Liberal pandering.

  5. James, I am afraid you have grossly misinformed about the causes of the Civil War. The war was in fact primarily fought over the preservation of the institution of slavery and of white supremacy. This is made abundantly clear in writings from the time leading up to secession, as well as the official declarations issued by several of the “slave-holding states” (their choice of phrase, not mine) giving their reasons for secession. I don’t know where you get this idea that the Civil War was primarily about “taxation without representation”. Perhaps you are getting it confused with the American Revolutionary War.

  6. I to believe that symbolism only has the power people give to any given symbol. But the rebel or Confederate flag that is in use today has been used for hate and racism that is it’s history, whether linked to the Civil War or not it has been used by white supremist to commit acts of violence and hate against African American people. You want to change the majorities view that it is a racist symbol, okay start by flying it over your head in a public speachless televised around the word apologizing for what you’re ancestors did to the African American people. In your statement you should have a largely organized group of people supporting this apoligy. Next your organized group should openly do acts of charity around the world and make a point of uniting all races, regardless of creed, color, religion, or sexual orientation. If you want people to stop hating this symbol and it’s representation prove it.

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