Originally created 01/09/98

Says Dixie's history 'more complex'



Some Yankees and Southerners will not quit fighting the "Civil War" -- at least the Reconstruction part. They want to purge the South of the Confederate flag, Confederate monuments and other historical symbols. ...

There is a flap about the Georgia flag, which incorporates a Confederate battle flag. There is also flap about the same battle flag which flies over the capitol building in South Carolina.

We Southerners defend symbols... (and) the best way to do that is to address the lies told about these symbols.

The Confederate battle flags, (yes there is more than one design) are not "racist" symbols. I understand perfectly that any black person who has had it waved in his or her face by some 20th century racist would consider it in the light. But 20th century yahoos have nothing to do with the 300,000 men (of which 20,600 were South Carolinians) who died for that flag in the 19th century.

They fought for Southern independence and for the constitutional republic created in 1787, which they believed that Northern states had betrayed.

That's better understood if you get rid of the Hollywood images of the Old South. Watching movies or television, you would think that there was nobody in the South except rich plantation owners and slaves. Nothing could be further from the truth.

In 1860, there were 7 million whites in the South, and 6.6 million of them did not own a single slave. There were 250,000 free blacks living in 15 slave states. Some of them owned slaves. Five slave states fought with the North. Some blacks, slave and free, voluntarily fought for the Confederacy.

History is infinitely more complex than demagogues, historically illiterate journalists and screenwriters try to make it. ...

Keith Frazier, Barnwell



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