Tuesday, June 23, 2015
CONFEDERATE FLAG TO BE REMOVED FROM GROUNDS OF STATE CAPITOL OF SOUTH CAROLINA
My mother is a native Italian and at the age of 26 married my father on December 1, 1945 in Livorno. For the most part they remained in Italy until 1957. All three of their children were born there.
At the age of 3, I moved with my family from Italy to the Georgia in 1957. We knew nothing about the segregation and racism of the south until we got here. We learned quickly.
My mother had to contend with the rise of fascism in Italy and directly with Nazis who occupied her city during the war years. The attitudes of many, many true southerners in Atlanta and Augusta, Georgia where we live in the time of segregation was and is racist! It was engrained racism and little old educated southern belles were just as racist as any ill-educated white and the "n" word was to be found on their lips and frequently and directed to the face of blacks.
My mother didn't drive, thus my father made sure we lived on a bus line in both Atlanta and Augusta. So I rode the bus frequently, very frequently, from 1957 until about 1967. Blacks were forced to ride in the back of the bus until about 1966 I think it was. If more whites were on the bus than blacks, the seats for the whites were pushed back, meaning more blacks had to stand.
I agree that for some people the Confederate Flag is a symbol of a historic time when the south seceded from the Union and was its own nation for a short but illegal period of time. The south fought the union for their right to secede from that Union under the Confederate banner. The United States went to war with the Confederacy to protect the unity of the United States of America. The Confederacy lost the war and at a huge cost of lives both in the south and the north. No one denies this history and the role of the Confederate banner in this regard.
Southerners will say it wasn't about slavery but state's rights. Yes it was about states' rights, the right of the state to have the institution of slavery, to seceded from the union if they so chose to do so along with some other side issues. The Confederate Flag is about states' rights in the south and the maintaining of slavery for economic reasons and to separate from the Union and the national laws of the land when a particular state decided to do so. It is about the violation of the human rights of slaves and thus keeping people enslaved for the almighty dollar!
Having been in the south now for 58 years or so, I know the mentality of some southerners and their attitudes about blacks. Those who fly the confederate flag on their property have attitudes about blacks that would make many whites in the south blush and be ashamed.
The Confederate Flag belongs in a museum or should only be flown in a historic sense. It should never have been on the state capitol building in Columbia, SC or on the grounds of the state house for the flying of it signifies states rights during the time of slavery to maintain that dreadful institution.
However, if the Confederate Flag is flown to show the different flags that a particular state has been under, then certainly it has a place in that historic context and as just one among the many legitimate flags of a particular historic time. Florida has done this. I know that Riverwalk in Augusta has the different flags Georgia has been under to include the Confederate one and other places do this as well. There is a big difference in context.