Research Exercise: Where Are the Flags?

Our friends at the Virginia Flaggers recently offered this 1908 photograph of the Old Soldiers Home at Richmond:

VMFA 1908

They also offered this text:

Old Soldiers Home, Richmond Virginia, Circa 1908. Look closely at the photo and you will see Veterans in their wheelchairs on the porch on the right. These men answered the call of Virginia to defend her from invasion. They fought with honor and bravery, and spent the last years of their lives on these grounds, now desecrated by the Commonwealth and the VMFA.

RETURN the flags!
RESTORE the honor!

For the flags to be returned, they must be visible in the first place. Could someone show me where there’s a Confederate flag in this photograph?

Indeed, let’s ask: where’s an image of the Confederate flag flying from the portico of the War Memorial Chapel before 1993? Anyone? Bueller?

(Substitute “Hathaway” and the effect is the same.)

No, showing me Confederate flags flying elsewhere on the grounds won’t do, folks. Show me the War Memorial Chapel with flags flying from the building itself … prior to 1993.

Poll Questions: The VMFA, the SCV, and the War Memorial Chapel

We have two poll questions for you to consider today.

The first concerns whether you think the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts will permit the return of the Confederate battle flag (or any other Confederate flag) to the portico on an ongoing basis when it renews its agreement with the Sons of Confederate Veterans’ camp. This isn’t asking you what the VMFA should do, but what you think it will do.

The second concerns what the SCV should do if the VMFA adheres to its present position concerning the display of these flags. We’ve hear explanations that the SCV’s representatives didn’t know what hit them in 2010, but, whatever you make of those explanations, they no longer apply. Everyone knows the current situation.

Enjoy … the comments section is open.

“Restore the Honor!”

One of the pet phrases of the Confederate heritage group known as the Virginia Flaggers is “Restore the Honor! Return the Flags!” The target of this declaration is the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, because the Virginia Flaggers hold that institution accountable for the removal of Confederate flags outside the Memorial Chapel back in 2010. Never mind that that other groups, including the local chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, were complicit in that decision. No one forced the SCV to sign that agreement.

Continue reading

The Flaggers on the Museum of the Confederacy

Here’s an interesting analysis of recent events offered by someone claiming to represent the Virginia Flaggers on a Confederate fantasy blog:

A relevant question might be how’s that “not flying the Confederate flag to attract more people” thing working out for Waite Rawls and the MOC. 18 months after the opening at Appomattox, sans flag, the Museum (by their own admission) was in such dire financial straits that it was forced to sell out to Tredegar to stay afloat.

Let’s ponder the implications of that astute analysis. Continue reading

Another “Heritage” Crime?

Al Mackey offers his take about the new name of the merged Museum of the Confederacy/American Civil War Center in Richmond.

I’ll simply point out that according to the logic whereby the Confederate flag(s) is (are) American flag(s), then Confederate history is American history, and thus the new name of the joint venture reflects the very reality some people want us to embrace concerning the Confederate flag(s). In short, people like the Virginia Flaggers helped inspire this rebranding. Congratulations to them for their success.

Two Richmond Museums Plan to Merge

As reported on Kevin Levin’s blog (and a host of media outlets, including Richmond’s leading newspaper), the American Civil War Center and the Museum of the Confederacy have announced plans to merge by 2015.

Not everyone will welcome this news. Rumors of a merger created quite a stir in some corners of the Confederate heritage committee and led to some incomplete reporting. No doubt we’ll hear of a continuing war to eradicate Confederate heritage. It will be interesting to see whether their protests amount to anything. I’ll be interested to learn how the branch of the Museum of the Confederacy at Appomattox will be treated in this reorganization, as it is a Confederate museum, not a Civil War museum.

Plans for the Robinson House at the VMFA

I came across this article describing the history of the Robinson House, which is currently being renovated in accordance with plans drawn up by a leading architectural firm in Richmond.

As the article reminds us, this building once housed administrative offices, an infirmary, and a museum where pride of place was given to Stonewall Jackson’s own Little Sorrel.

The article points to the future when it says:

When visitors glide off the interstate into the revitalized Robinson House, they’ll find an introduction to Richmond embracing war and peace, slavery and freedom, and a history of architecture and art.

hathaway oppsSince some of those visitors would have been struggling to view a certain rather well-concealed flag alongside the interstate (and the site of a far less well concealed piece of machinery that is no longer there, perhaps due to the fact that certain parties highlighted its presence), it remains a matter of curiosity whether a flag or flags will be flying in front of the Robinson House in 2015 … and what that/those flag/flags will look like.

My understanding is that a Confederate flag once did fly near the Robinson House, according to this diorama. So one must believe that one will fly there now … or the Virginia Flaggers would be all over this.

No word yet from Susan Hathaway as to what she makes of the project. Indeed, the Virginia Flaggers are very quiet about this project, which is surprising given their well-known opposition to the VMFA’s position on the flying of the Confederate flag at the nearby Confederate Memorial Chapel. Nor have we heard any explanation as to the cause of Hathaway’s silence or the silence of her loyal followers concerning the plans for the Robinson House. Then again, although this mock cover of Time magazine shows Hathaway with the question, “Is the Confederate Chapel Next?” (next for what, one might ask, after the Flaggers’ funny fiasco along I-95), we haven’t seen Hathaway personally working to “restore the honor” at the Confederate chapel lately, either.

And, of course, no word on what happened to that piece of machinery along I-95. Its absence makes it all the more difficult to spot the little flag in the woods. No word on what happened to the original flag, either.

Finally, it’s worth noting that many Union veterans and veterans’ organization contributed to the Confederate soldiers’ home on this site … the very veterans now being mocked by so-called advocates of Confederate heritage. For people with such long memories, it’s amazing how quickly they forgot this.

But are we surprised?