Debating the Confederate Flag, 2000

Click this link to read a transcript of a discussion in 2000 on PBS’s NewsHour in the wake of South Carolina’s decision to cease flying the Confederate flag from the top of the state house at Columbia.  Among the participants are Shelby Foote, Roger Wilkins, Ronald Walters, and artist Bill Dunlap.

9 thoughts on “Debating the Confederate Flag, 2000

  1. Al Mackey November 13, 2011 / 6:15 pm

    Old Shelby was a terrific writer, but a lousy historian. Apparently he thought that southern whites had no agency in oppressing African-Americans during Reconstruction and after.

    • Brooks D. Simpson November 14, 2011 / 8:54 pm

      And yet he’s an authority on Nathan Bedford Forrest. 🙂

      • Al Mackey November 14, 2011 / 9:17 pm

        Authority or worshipper? 🙂

        There is so much about Foote’s responses that makes one just shake one’s head.
        “I do know perfectly well what pain it causes my black friends, but I think that pain is not necessary if they would read the confederate constitution and knew what the confederacy really stood for.” Yeah, Shelby, read the confederate constitution and know what the confederacy really stood for and you’ll see why people say it is a banner of slavery and white supremacy.

        “I don’t object to any individual hiding from history, but I do object to their hiding history from me.” Bizarre. Simply bizarre.

        “it was contributory to the North winning the war because of Lincoln’s definition as a war about slavery. It was not that in the first place or the last place. It was other things, many other things.” Wow. More lost causer than anything else.

  2. Ric Ben-Safed November 13, 2011 / 10:28 pm

    Many indeed supported the idea that southern whites were not of all one mind, and indeed had several ‘agencies’ resisting different federal encroachments of their human and civil rights. They were in truth militarily occupied and their state governments were push aside.

      • Al Mackey November 14, 2011 / 8:48 pm

        People who haven’t read much actual history.

  3. Neil Hamilton November 14, 2011 / 7:05 am

    Professor Simpson,

    Sir, if I may ask, and seeing this question always turning up about the meaning of the Confederate flag and what it represented, what do you believe was the cause of the American Civil War?


    • Brooks D. Simpson November 14, 2011 / 8:53 pm

      Oh, that should be left for the subject of a post later this week. However, my answer is not all that complicated, even if it’s mine.

  4. Al Mackey November 14, 2011 / 8:51 pm

    Neil, I would guess that he would agree with much in Edward Ayers’ essay, “What Caused the Civil War,” which can be found in the book of the same name. 🙂

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