[2015 08 31] Update! August 31, 2015
The Guardian presents a news article today with good news. The University of Texas at Austin is moving its statue of the President of the Confederacy to a private museum. This was the action I recommended below, and I hinted at the complexity of that task, while predicting that we will start this task in the USA quickly and make rapid progress toward rapid completion. I will not define how rapid, and it will take place in a just manner, a fair manner, but enough is enough.
I added a book to the list of references at the end of this article, Slavery by Another Name, the Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II, by Douglas A. Blackmon. Surprisingly, the Wall Street Journal is to thank for that book, since they assigned the author to do the in-depth investigative reporting. [The 2010 book Merchants of Doubt explains the harm done to climate change reporting by the Wall Street Journal, not just in its editorial pages, but also on page 1.] Today I found the website of Blackmon’s book. Its opening page features this quote from the author, “Why must the Confederate banner come down? Because it is the battle flag of white cowards, And those angry that white privilege is ending.” That is the title of his blog entry, which I will read later today.
My great friend and neighbor tells me the Confederate flag represents heritage, meaning it need not be removed from government property in the USA. The coming changes are part of another heritage. Civil War historian Douglas McPherson said Reparations are not appropriate since we already paid with the lives and other sacrifices in the Civil War. I paraphrase his comments, probably from a recent interview on National Public Radio. That comment is probably a reference to the June 2014 cover story for the Atlantic magazine by Ta-Nehisi Coates. My first thought was, “What about Reparations for events since the end of the Civil War?” Today, as I think of the coming changes to flags, statues, and more, I say that these changes are in part to honor our heritage.
[2015 08 18] August 18, 2015
This seems obvious to me now. Change the flag, Mississippi! This can happen quickly, but we need public support. An online petition might help.
No Confederate flag is appropriate for any government institution or government property.
The flag of the state of Mississippi. Image credit: Wikipedia.
In the USA, we have many such urgent tasks ahead of us in the near future.
Oddly, PBS television repeated a show this week about Muscle Shoals and two famous music recording studios, hit-makers. It was a great show. At one point, they put the spotlight on a band, Lynyrd Skynyrd, but they showed some live concert footage featuring a giant copy of this Confederate flag on the stage. The show defined Southern Rock starting with Duane Allman, an amazing guitarist, and the Lynyrd Skynyrd concert was a private event, not a government event. (They became big stars after opening for the Who on a two-year concert tour, as I recall from the show.) With time, that Confederate flag will lose its popularity. Its popularity keeps increasing as part of the huge backlash following events such as civil rights movements. That Confederate flag’s popularity received a big boost in 1948, too. Michelle Alexander explains (below) that Dr. Martin Luther King moved his focus from civil rights to human rights, by the way.
A year or two ago I photographed a small flag of the state of Mississippi on an ocean-going ship of the federal government of the United States of America! It was a NOAA ship. I will post that photograph here when I find it. No rush. Obviously, Americans will not long tolerate any form of any Confederate flag on any federal vessel. The change will come soon. Things are changing. When this change comes, it will be fast.
[2015 08 19] August 19, 2015: While looking for my photograph of the NOAA ship flying the state flag of Mississippi in Galveston Texas USA, I came across this article from the Guardian dated June 23, 2015. “Mississippi to propose removal of Confederate emblem from state flag.” The article and its web page link to a few related articles in the Guardian. One link leads to an article explaining that six other state flags contain symbols that require changing as much as the state flag of Mississippi:
[2015 08 20] August 20, 2015: While reading Salon (salon.com) today, Britney Cooper’s article mentioned a Confederate memorial on the grounds of the Caddo Parish courthouse in Louisiana. Internet search engines show plenty of images. As I mentioned above, this work is in our near future. Of course, there are many such examples, such as Confederate memorials in public parks in Charleston, South Carolina USA. The reference below to Michelle Alexander’s book explains that the ongoing backlash against civil rights was handled well by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., when he moved his focus from civil rights to human rights. An earlier Britney Cooper article at Salon convinced me that endorsing a small federal government in the USA was always (and still is) a way to keep the Blacks down. That compromise or design in 1776 and 1789 (a weak federal government) was a central principle in our history. It changed with the New Deal, a complex story. We will keep most of those New Deal changes, including a strong federal government, despite the work of Movement Conservatives described in the writing of Heather Cox Richardson.
- North Carolina
Some references about race relations and the USA:
- Ta-Nehisi Coates appeared on PBS television on the Bill Moyers show, and that interview can be seen online at www.billmoyers.com. The subject was the June 2014 cover story for the Atlantic magazine, The Case for Reparations. See also two books written by Mr. Coates, the Beautiful Struggle and Between the World and Me. I recall reading his blog at the Atlantic magazine website, too.
- The New Jim Crow, Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, the 2010 book by Michelle Alexander. The book ends with a quote from James Baldwin’s book, The Fire Next Time.
- The 2014 book Dog Whistle Politics, How Coded Racial Appeals Have Wrecked the Middle Class, by Ian Haney-Lôpez. He also appeared on Moyers & Company on PBS television, and those episodes are available at www.billmoyers.com. Ian Haney-Lôpez wrote some blog entries there, too.
- Soon after Bree Newsome climbed that flagpole and removed that flag in Charleston, South Carolina, it was voted down, so to speak, so the flag was removed permanently. I will link to her website here later. Many thanks to her friends and helpers, including the friend spotting for her at the base of the flagpole.
- The 2014 book This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate, by Naomi Klein. Once the James Watt version of the steam engine arrived, the Industrial Age started, and now we know that greenhouse gas emissions, mostly from fossil fuels, caused damaging global warming, 0.85C (Multiply by 1.8 to convert to F.) so far. Most nations agreed in 2009 to 2C as a guardrail. Earth is now at a point of no return, and that point is moving in a bad direction. The Industrial Age is linked to slavery (and capitalism, and colonization).
- [Update Monday, August 31, 2015] The 2009 book Slavery by Another Name, the Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the End of the Civil War to World War II. by Douglas A. Blackmon, a book created thanks to his Wall Street Journal investigative reporting. The website of the book is excellent!