Steve Gilliard has a pretty interesting post on his site about a high school in Kentucky that is decorated all over with Confederate Flags. As one would expect, the white students generally like the flags, and assume that the black students, who don’t speak out against the flag, think it’s fine (they don’t, but no one seems to ask them about it). And while the students and school try to defend the flag as part of their history/tradition/heritage, it turns out that Kentucky actually fought on the side of the Union in the Civil War, not the Confederacy.
How the hell does that happen?
Here’s a quote from famed Civil War documentarian Ken Burns:
the point you bring up about the confederate flag is a hugely disturbing thing. The confederate flag was adopted by many of the states as their flag, not before the Civil War, not during the Civil War, or not even in the immediate period afterwards, that much misunderstood period called Reconstruction. Those flags were instituted in the 1950’s and there’s only one thing that happened in the 1950’s that would have caused the southern states to add the confederate flag. They took one of the battle flags, and it wasn’t even the most popular confederate battle flag, and made it the symbol of segregation and resistance to civil rights and codified it in their flags.
So the “tradition” of the Confederate flag stretches all the way back to the ’50s, as a symbol of white supremacy. A star-spangled swastika, if you will.
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