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Varied historical uses result in mixed connotations attached to Confederate flag

Conflicting+Perspectives+-+The+confederate+flag+originated+as+a+symbol+of+a+marginally+successful+southern+army.+Immediately+following+this+use+southerners+used+the+flag+to+showcase+their+pride+in+their+heritage%2C+but+it+has+since+been+used+to+promote+segregationists+and+white+supremacist+groups.
Conflicting Perspectives - The confederate flag originated as a symbol of a marginally successful southern army. Immediately following this use southerners used the flag to showcase their pride in their heritage, but it has since been used to promote segregationists and white supremacist groups.

Conflicting Perspectives - The confederate flag originated as a symbol of a marginally successful southern army. Immediately following this use southerners used the flag to showcase their pride in their heritage, but it has since been used to promote segregationists and white supremacist groups.

Conflicting Perspectives - The confederate flag originated as a symbol of a marginally successful southern army. Immediately following this use southerners used the flag to showcase their pride in their heritage, but it has since been used to promote segregationists and white supremacist groups.

by Jarah Cotton, Staff Writer

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The conflicting connotations surrounding the Confederate flag are what qualify it as one of America’s most prominent controversial symbols.

Since its inception as a symbol of the Confederacy, the flag has acquired a multitude of both positive and negative connotations. Some are of the opinion that the flag is an undeniable symbol of racism and oppression, while others argue that the flag purely symbolizes southern heritage.

Like any element of the past, the battle flag bears various connotations depending on the interpreter,” Kennesaw State history professor Brian Wills said. “The battle flag moved away from purely patriotic connotations when it became associated with resistance to the modern Civil Rights movement in the 1960s.”

In the years following the end of World War 2, a group of southern ‘democratic’ states seceded from the national Democratic Party. They gathered in defiance of the emerging northern Democratic principles that aligned with the efforts of the Civil Rights movement. The Dixiecrats stood for the South’s right to discriminate against African-Americans, and they used the Confederate battle flag symbolize their beliefs.

This is the meaning that many students associate with the flag.

“I feel like the flag is a symbol of racism and disrespect,” junior Victoria Agyin said. “When people fly it I feel lie it’s their way of showing that they think they’re better than us.”

The Dixiecrats promoted the use of the Confederate battle flag’s use as a symbol of white supremacy during the Civil Rights era. Supremacist groups such as the Ku Klux Klan later adopted this symbol, both proliferating its use and establishing connotative link to racism.

Despite these uses, a large population of Southerners maintain that the flag is a symbol of Southern heritage and continue to publicly showcase it.

“People see it as a symbol of the South as a bound and discreet place,” Brown University professor of Africana and American Studies Matthew Guterl said. “A part of the heritage that’s being celebrated with it is that the South is the South, that the region has clear borders that might collate with the borders of the Confederacy.”

Prior to the Dixiecrats’ use of the flag, individuals flew it in circumstances where southern patriotism would be appropriately celebrated.

“The battle flag made appearances in veteran reunions and memorial day-type or statue dedication ceremonies sometimes in conjunction with the U.S. flag,” Wills said.

Both the positive and negative connotations of the Confederate flag are rooted in history, albeit different historical eras. Radical supporters of either side are responsible for raised tensions and intensified conflict.

“Extremism on any side often does little more than raise temperatures (and tempers) and obscures the more important need to understand the past, with all of the good, bad and ugly elements it contains.” Wills said.

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The student news site of McEachern High School in Powder Springs, Georgia
Varied historical uses result in mixed connotations attached to Confederate flag