This essay is long and tedious. Enjoy! Barack Obama handed the Confederate battle flag to Clementa Pinkney at her funeral last week. Many believe it is the final, if not delayed, sentence in public life. He said he believes it belongs in a museum.
The battleflag’s history is more complicated and contested that Obama’s resolve. Or the substantially united voices of the media may suggest. While the president’s condemnation mirrors the public mood, attitudes towards the flag are deeper.
The Battleflag’s First Life
Obama was conscious of his connection to a seven-decade-old history of African American public agitation against Confederate flag.
The African-American perception of the flag in 1954 as a symbol of desegregation. Became a self-fulfilling prophecy after Brown v Board of Education.
The popularity of the battle flag in 1950s Confederate America may have also contribute. To the decision to use it as a rallying point. It was first used in a variety of contexts, from sporting fans to electoral campaigns. It is not as simple as you might think.
Although it is commonly call the Confederate Flag but it was never an official Confederate flag. The Confederate regime changed its flag design three more times in four years. Designs that are not well-known to the public today are the Confederate Flag.
The flag is not the best format for military use. The regulations require that the flag be square in different sizes to suit different branches of military service. It was the St Andrews cross in blue and red.
After the war, rectangular flags became more common. They were use in the Confederate navy and armies west the Mississippi, but not in their original form. Confederate motif flag manufacturers in industrial settings decide to make the flags standardise with all their other products, creating a rare relic that was not part of wartime experience.
The battle flag has not cause the same extreme language to be use by actual Confederate flags even though they are officially associate with a regime that enshrined Chattel slavery. They don’t appear to cause what Washington and Lee University law students called psychological chains in their 2014 petition to remove battle flags from Robert E Lee’s tomb.
The Rise Of Battle Flag
The battleflag was almost invisible until the 1940s. Veterans and organizations such as the United Daughters of the Confederacy kept it from being used for memorial ceremonies and honoring fallen soldiers.
It is closely connected to the issues of mourning family members and former comrades. However, it rarely leaked out into explicitly racist/racial contexts. There are many images that show the Ku Klux Klan using stars and stripes in the interwar heydays to invoke imagery of totalitarian regimes, including the iconic images of a massed protest in Washington DC in 1925.
In the post-second-world-war boomtime the flag became a popular cultural fad. In an age when travel by car or air was more affordable than ever before, the flag became a popular symbol on souvenirs for tourists. New forms of consumption and desire for the flag were a result. This was in direct contrast to the American Civil War (1861-1865).
It was in this period that the many Confederate battleflag-themed clothing, including swimwear, started to appear. These items are still available for purchase.
The second world war saw an increase in unofficial, spontaneous awareness of the battleflag by the US military. This continued into the Korean War. The flag was associated with the far north and the south of the country, as well as with a certain good-humoured and rough resilience that Australians began to call “larrikinesque” during the same period.
After Vietnam, The Battle flag
Individual military personnel continued to deploy the battleflag in Vietnam War, even though African-American soldiers frequently protested against Confederate symbols or rituals. Officials from the army tried to limit these unofficial displays of battleflag because they created tensions and divisions within racially-mixed facilities.
As civilian enthusiasm for the battleflag shifted from military to civilian life, the association of the battleflag and working-class masculinity, sports enthusiasts, car racing and elaborately customised vehicles, professional truck drivers, country and western music, and car racing began in the 1950s/60s.
Confederate heritage groups expressed concern about insults to flag due to working class appropriations. These ideas were consolidated by the Dukes of Hazzard television series, which was dedicated to the antics and adventures of the Duke family of Georgia.