More From the Heritage of Hate

Word comes from Atlanta that several Confederate flags popped up at Ebenezer Baptist Church and the Martin Luther King Historic Site, where the civil rights leader was buried.

And so the exchanges continue, with damage being done to Confederate monuments and reports of a series of incidents (several of them videotaped) of people going after Confederate flags, stealing them, defacing monuments, and so on. All of this is counterproductive, foolish, and wrong … not just some of this, as someone from Pensacola insists on her hate blog.

As she declares: “I haven’t seen where Simpson condemned or disapproved of threats to people and damage to property connected with the war on Confederate heritage.” I guess she overlooked the posts about “Anonymous CSA,” where someone made threats due to the current controversy. But in the screecher’s world, #onlyConfederateheritagematters.

Nor is she a careful reader … but enough with such tripe.

Someone please explain to me how what happened at Atlanta reflects paying homage to the service of Confederate soldiers. You would think that if the Sons of Confederate Veterans deplores the incorrect use of the Confederate flag, the new chief of heritage operations would be on this in a flash.

I suspect we’ll hear someone declare this is a “false flag operation.” We’ll see.

What Would You Do as the SCV’s Chief of Heritage Operations?

It’s been a rough time for Confederate heritage, and I’m not limiting that observation to recent events. Ben Jones took over the job of chief of heritage operations just as the replica flags were departing from Lee Chapel, and just over a year later he leaves in the aftermath of the removal of the Confederate Battle Flag from the grounds of the South Carolina state house.  Confederate icons, flags, and statues are under attack, and the response has been something between a holding action and a fighting withdrawal.

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(Don’t) Sing Along With Susan Hathaway

Susan Hathaway may be silent when it comes to Raymond Agnor or Anonymous CSA, but she loves to sing … especially “Carry Me Back to Old Virginny.”

Here are the original 1878 lyrics to that song:

Carry me back to old Virginia (or Virginny),
There’s where the cotton and the corn and taters grow,
There’s where the birds warble sweet in the springtime,
There’s where this old darkey’s heart am long’d to go,
There’s where I labored so hard for old massa,
Day after day in the field of yellow corn,
No place on earth do I love more sincerely
Than old Virginia, the state where I was born.

CHORUS: Carry me back to old Virginia,
There’s where the cotton and the corn and taters grow,
There’s where the birds warble sweet in the springtime,
There’s where this old darkey’s heart am long’d to go.

Carry me back to old Virginia,
There let me live ’till I wither and decay,
Long by the old Dismal Swamp have I wandered,
There’s where this old darkey’s life will pass away.
Massa and missis have long gone before me,
Soon we will meet on that bright and golden shore,
There we’ll be happy and free from all sorrow,
There’s where we’ll meet and we’ll never part no more.

Note that this is a post-Civil War set of lyrics, so its usefulness to honor the service of Confederate soldiers is problematic.

Of course, modern eyes would see something else problematic about the song’s lyrics. In 1997 the commonwealth of Virginia responded to that criticism by adopting a new state song.

However, Susan Hathaway and the Virginia Flaggers remain fond of the song, and Susan likes to sing it. She did last month at a Flagger function covered by Richmond media. The reporter shared the lyrics (which Hathaway thoughtfully provided) to her readers. Blogger Al Mackey noted the media account, complete with film.

Here’s Susan’s offering her talents in 2014:

We appreciate that Susan likes to identify with “darkeys,” as people once called African Americans. We hope that she still identifies with African Americans as she addresses  Mr. Agnor’s restrictions barring black people from his land (although Connie Chastain seems just fine with such exclusions). After all, the Flaggers owe that respect to their colleague, Karen Cooper.

Karen told us that slavery’s a choice, Susan. So’s your silence. So’s your song and lyrics choice. We know people by the choices they make. Choose wisely.

The Sounds of Susan’s Silence

The silence from Susan Hathaway and the Virginia Flaggers about their association with Raymond Agnor and about speculation about the identity of Anonymous CSA is deafening.

We know that Susan Hathaway and Connie Chastain are friends. Heck, Connie’s posted evidence of their exchanges on her blog, where they were agreeing on strategy in light of the death of Anthony Hervey. So we know that if we were off base about either Agnor or Anonymous CSA, we’d hear about it in a series of cackling screeching posts, much like this:

But what has Chastain said about Anonymous CSA?

And what has she said about Raymond Agnor’s association with the Virginia Flaggers?

But then we all know the common reaction to a Backass post:

It appears that Susan Hathaway wants to remain silent in the face of evidence of discrimination against her fellow Virginia Flagger, Karen Cooper. Why she would choose to involve the Flaggers with someone with Mr. Agnor’s views is best left for her to explain.

Then again, we know two ways in which the Virginia Flaggers and the Sons of Confederate Veterans are one and the same:

[1] They both claim they don’t tolerate racism and discrimination based on race.

[2] Neither is telling the truth.

A Receding Tide? Flagging Interest in Confederate Heritage

We are coming upon forty days since a person fond of the Confederate flag gunned down nine people in cold blood in a church in Charleston, South Carolina. Within days outrage and anger about that event became transformed into a rather testy debate over Confederate heritage and its symbols, with South Carolina’s decision to remove the Confederate flag from the state house grounds in Columbia marking a important moment.

Of course, the debate did not stop there. People argued about removing the Confederate flag from license plates, famous TV cars, and National Park shops; there were discussions about moving (or simply removing) statues and one pair of bodies. As might be expected, defenders of Confederate heritage rose up in opposition and did their best to suggest that they were making up ground, although several of these protests were somewhat less impressive than their supporters claimed. For example, at its height a protest in Fredericksburg, Virginia, drew less than three thousand hundred dozen people, as this film suggests … and not a lot of people were paying any attention:

By the way, my understanding is that this was not a Virginia Flaggers function … too many people for that. But I also understand that 149 people promised to show up. Desertion remains a Confederate tradition.

By now we have a pretty good idea about what will happen. The once-surging tide will now begin to recede … not because Confederate heritage advocates have prevailed (they have lost serious ground) but because people soon get interested in other things. What happened in Columbia remains the emotional high point of this recent controversy. As many people pointed out, at most it was a first step in addressing far more serious questions. But it did not mark an end to gun violence, as we’ve seen since then; it did not mark an end to racism or to white supremacy; and in fact it remains to be seen whether the discussion that commenced on the heels of the Charleston murders will persist before people grow tired of it or turn their attention to the Kardashians or Donald Trump. Certainly the debates have grown predictable once more (and a little boring); while I expect to see a few more flashpoints in the fight over Confederate heritage in the coming weeks, I think the front is stabilizing, so to speak, as people sort out gains and losses.

This is not to minimize the importance of the discussion, merely its persistence. While the participants may continue to argue, the attention-span of the broader American public, always short, will decline absent another vivid event. Some people swept up in the initial fervor that looked as if it would sweep everything before it will find that there are other things to talk about, and it remains to be seen how many proposals will be acted upon. More will happen than one might have anticipated two months ago, but less than one hoped (or feared) might happen three weeks ago.

What do you think? What really happened over the last forty days? What will persist? What has changed? You tell me.