In June 2006, I wrote an op-ed in the little known Santa Monica Daily Press criticizing Republican’s for embracing the Confederate Battle Flag. Among other things, I noted its history of being heralded by The Savannah Morning News as a “white man’s flag” and as symbol of “our higher cause, the cause of a superior race.” The flag was put to rest by all Confederates states except Mississippi until 1954 when the Supreme Court delivered a fatal blow to segregation in Brown vs. Board of Education and the “white man’s flag” was resurrected as a symbol of southern defiance.
In Georgia, for example, the leader of the effort to add the Southern Cross to the state flag has since conceded it was intended to demonstrate defiance of the Brown ruling. Similarly, Alabama Governor George Wallace first flew the Southern Cross over the statehouse in 1963 to protest a visit by his nemesis U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy.
I argued that
The defenders of the Southern Cross simply ignore the fact that the flag has principally been embraced by those who wish to defy or subvert the Constitution, rather than protect and defend it.When this flag was reintroduced to state capitols, it had a clear meaning to its people — it was a “white man’s flag” that was and remains a symbol of slavery and defiance of the Federal government.
It should be beyond debate that no person or state that claims to uphold the principles of the Constitution should embrace the Southern Cross as a symbol of pride and its display should elicit the same disgust as flag desecration.
This column in a small southern California newspaper triggered a flurry of responses from white supremacists across the country, including one then serving in Iraq.
It has been extremely gratifying to see how quickly support for the flag eroded after the Charleston church massacre with
- the state of Alabama taking it down;
- Mississippi planning to vote to remove it from its flag;
- Georgia and Virginia planning to ban it from license plates; and
- retailer after retailer announcing they will no longer sell the flag.
Yet still it flew on the capitol grounds in Columbia, South Carolina, facing north in case us Yankees ever returned (as a friend once told me), until today. That is because on Saturday Bree Newsome took it upon herself to bring it down.
In case you thought that Bree Newsome—the woman who scaled the flagpole outside the South Carolina State House to remove the Confederate flag flying high atop it—couldn’t get any more incredible, check this out. It turns out that Newsome, along with being a North Carolina-based activist and youth organizer, is also a filmmaker, musician, and possible card-carrying member of the BeyHive.
Bravo Bree, Bravo!
I just wish Gov. Haley would instruct the groundskeepers to keep the flag down until the legislature votes.