Viewpoint: Let’s Tell the Truth About the CSA Battle Flag Origins

By George Hawthorne
President, Diversity Program Advisors, Inc.

I have seen and heard the comments from “CSA Battle Flag” supporters that have invoked the “teachings of tolerance” of Dr. M.L. King to justify flying the CSA battle-flag. However, Dr. Martin Luther King said two things that are very instructive regarding the flag controversy:

1. The two most dangerous things in the World today are sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.

2. Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.

You must realize that the CSA Battle flag provokes images and memories of some of the most despicable atrocities against African-Americans in American history. This flag was the “symbol” of unity among some individuals that practiced white supremacy and supported the ideology that Black people were inferior to whites. This symbol was seen at KKK-cross burnings, lynchings, rallies and protests against the rights of Black people and is still prominently displayed at White Supremacy gatherings today. This imagery is negatively burned into the psyche of African-Americans who see this as a relic of past oppression and provides current evidence that racial discrimination still hounds the America today.

The “history revisionists” who take up the “battle for the Battle Flag” are probably “sincerely ignorant” of CSA’s founding principles and ideology on racial equality and/or “conscientiously stupid” for supporting founding principles of the CSA.

The reality of the CSA’s “cornerstone” ideology is best illustrated in the “Cornerstone Speech” by Alexander H Stephens, on March 21, 1861, in Savannah GA, where Mr. Stephens was explaining to people about the “founding principles” of the CSA and its Constitution’s fundamental differences to the American Constitution. In this speech he clearly explains the CSA’s ideology about Black People, as he explained verbatim.

“Our new government [the CSA] is founded upon exactly the opposite idea [than the Union]; its foundations 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 normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth.”

Stephens then further claims that the “Northern” idea of racial equality was “insanity,” and further stated,
“They assume that the negro is equal, and hence conclude that he is entitled to equal privileges and rights with the white man. If their premises were correct, their conclusions would be logical and just but their premise being wrong, their whole argument fails. “

The “Cornerstone Speech” made it abundantly clear the CSA’s cornerstone of its democratic State were based in an ideology slavery and black inferiority were a “matter of principle,” and that, the CSA would be unwavering as its rights to oppress were “a divine truth from God,” as it further stated.

“That we, in maintaining slavery as it exists with us, were warring against a principle, a principle founded in nature, the principle of the equality of men.”

This historic speech clearly articulated the CSA’s fundamental cornerstone of succession and the primary principle on which it was founded being to “institutionalize oppression of Black people” in contradiction to the “insanity” of the Union, as it definitively stated. ”They were attempting to make things equal which the Creator had made unequal.”

If the supporters for the CSA Battle Flag want to discuss history of the flag and the CSA, they need to know the truth regarding the nature of the CSA’s founding principles and ideology that led to the “Battle Flag’s” creation. If we are going to succeed as a Nation we must begin to understand our past.