Romanticized and demonized, the Confederate battle flag remains a divisive and polarizing influence, still part of a cultural dialog that permeates the soft boundaries of personal identity and its relation to racism; whether racist ideology outright or one’s own sense of security in cultural insulation,the importance of regional identity, regional unity, the truth itself is lost in a mist of states rights, property rights, and outright militarism. That is all not to say that the sacred convictions of those who fought bravely against the odds is not to be admired, but the sentiment at the fringe, that the South will rise again, is still unsettling to many.
From an article that well articulated what has transpired: ( see link at end) The revival of the Confederate flag during the 1940’s can be attributed to two groups: college students and soldiers in the United States Army. Southern colleges incorporated the flag into their football games, while southern fraternities used the flag to symbolize their organizations. Southern men going into the army used it as a way to identify themselves among their northern colleagues. The flag had strayed from the traditional representation of heritage and had taken on what Coski called a “good ole boy” and “rebel” reputation.
It became clear during the 1950’s that the successors of the Confederate soldiers were not happy with how the flag was being used by others. They became increasingly disgruntled in 1949 when the flag was used by the Ku Klux Klan (KKK). By today’s standards, the KKK has had one of the largest influences on the symbolism of the Confederate flag.
At the time, however, the KKK’s use of the flag might still have faded away and been ignored by the public if it was not for the Dixiecrat party. The Dixiecrat party was established in 1948 and was made up of college students opposing the civil rights movement. They chose the Confederate flag as their party’s symbol, and it remained so until the 1970’s. To those in the Dixiecrat party, the flag symbolized opposition against equal rights for African Americans. These political parties were influential in establishing much of the negative symbolism surrounding the flag.Read More:http://thepointnews.com/2011/10/the-confederate-flag-americas-most-controversial-symbol
…I was astounded by what Stephens said to the people of Savannah, Georgia on March 21, 1861. In this speech, delivered after the inauguration of Lincoln and before Fort Sumpter when Southerners believed the Confederacy would peacefully achieve its independence, Stephens repudiated the Declaration of Independence as “the sandy foundation” of the old Constitution.
In the course of his speech, Stephens acknowledged slavery to be the cause of the sectional crisis besetting
nation, and claimed that the new Confederate constitution would solve the problem upon which the “old Union” had foundered. The “foundations [of our new Government] are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and moral condition…”
So the old saw that states’ rights and not slavery was the cause of the Civil War is not true.Read More:http://www.ashbrook.org/publicat/oped/owens/00/flag.html
…It cannot be denied that the Southern Confederacy was formed in order to perpetuate an evil institution. But it is also true that in this bad cause, Southerners fought with great bravery and perseverance against immense odds, long after prudence dictated that they should have given up. Defenders of the flag see themselves as honoring this bravery.
In fact, no group of Americans has ever suffered more as the result of war than Southerners during the Civil War. As the Pulitzer Prize-winning Civil War historian James McPherson has noted, one quarter of the white men of military age in the South died in the war. “Altogether nearly four percent of the Southern people, black and white, civilians and soldiers, died as a consequence of the war. This percentage exceeded the toll of any country in World War I and was outstripped only by the region between the Rhine and Volga in World War II…. ( ibid.)