In the Daily Nebraskan, Kasey Montgomery of King NC defends his decision to display a Confederate flag from his dorm room window at the University of Nebraska. Other North Carolina citizens also respond to the paper in defense of Montgomery (below). ______________________________________________________________________
REMINDER OF HERITAGE WRAPPED UP IN FLAG
By Kasey Montgomery / Sophomore architect major
September 01, 2004
College is a special place filled with new and unique experiences. One of the most apparent parts of college is the diversity displayed on a daily basis.
I came to this university with an open mind about diversity, and I was expecting to meet new people with different views and lifestyles. I have heard and acknowledged Angel Jennings’ view on my Confederate flag, and I have hid it during the part of the day when I am not in my room.
Heritage is very important to me, and the flag flying is merely a way for me to preserve my heritage and educate the people about my view.
In no way do I support racism or slavery – and neither did my parents or grandparents. The flag reminds me of where I grew up and the Southern way of life, which I know and love.
If you want to think the flag is a symbol of slavery, then this might help you reconsider or expand your view:
America legalized slavery in 1654 – 207 years before the Confederate states even existed. In fact, the American flag and not the Confederate flag flew over all ships that brought Africans to America for slavery. So exactly which flag should we be pointing fingers at?
We can’t place this blame solely on the Confederate flag. Although I do know a number of hate groups have adopted the flag, I do not support or believe in any of these groups’ practices or teachings. I want people who see my flag flying to know that it is merely a form of expressing my heritage and feel at ease knowing the person flying it doesn’t support racism in any form.
So even if you don’t agree with my culture or views, at least know where I am coming from. Diversity goes both ways. ______________________________________________________________________
STUDENT SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO DISPLAY FLAG
My opinion: Ban anything from being displayed in dorm windows.
Regarding a student’s right to display any flag, I believe that each student has the right to display symbolism that denotes his or her cultural heritage, and those that find such displays offensive simply avert their eyes. The question is, would the same student be offended if there were an Israeli flag in the window as a display of a Jewish student’s cultural heritage, or perhaps the national flag of Kenya, or for that matter the American flag?
By displaying a Confederate flag, I believe a person is simply stating to all, "I am a son of the South" and nothing more, but for another person to attach their own independent belief system – or to assume the person displaying the flag is attaching any other symbolism to the display of that flag – is displaying an extreme bigotry and bias, which is a problem that has reached overwhelming proportions in this country.
I live in the south, however, I am a son of the northern states, and when I display an American flag I do so not to state, "I am a son of the North," but to display that I live in unity with all Americans.
I do not find anything offensive in the display of the Confederate flag, and I fought so that a student has the right to display his flag, opinion, beliefs, heritage, and/or his underwear (but I prefer they be clean) if he so desires.
Vietnam veteran and retired police officer
FLAG SHOULD BE SHOWN TO CELEBRATE WHITE HERITAGE
It is not right that Kasey Montgomery was asked to remove his Confederate flag from his dorm window due to complaints from other students. No one asked those other students to look at his window! When is it going to be OK to allow people who view the flag for what the flag was during the Civil War? That flag still stands as a symbol of sovereignty.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People will only be happy when the United States has total black power. We tolerate Black History month, Miss Black USA and black Emmy Awards. Yet if there were a Miss White USA, they would be hollering about that also. Please start supporting the white students who wish to keep their heritage alive. Stop caving into the threats of the NAACP and start giving equal rights to all students.
Haw River, N.C.
STUDENT SHOULD TOLERATE FLAG, EVEN IF OFFENDED
I suggest Angel Jennings look the other way if she sees something that "offends" her. After all, "tolerance and diversity" is a two-way street and I believe college students should be mature enough to understand this simple principle.
— In NCSouth@yahoogroups.com, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
Kasey Montgomery, a North Carolina native who is a sophomore at the University of Nebraska, has been forced to remove a Confederate flag from his dorm window due to complaints from other students. Montgomery, a native of King NC, said that the Confederate flag "reminds me of my home, where I’ve lived all my life. I wasn’t trying to be mean." See the complete story below in the Daily Nebraskan.
Please contact the Nebraska student body by sending a letter to the Daily Nebraskan. Ask that they demonstrate tolerance and diversity by welcoming this display of native heritage from one of their fellow students. Letters can be sent to the paper at 20 Nebraska Union, 1400 R Street, Lincoln NE 68588-0448, by fax at (402) 472- 1761 or via e-mail at email@example.com
Also consider sending Montgomery a card to commend him for continuing to display his Southern heritage while he is away from home. Cards and letters may be sent to 0330A Husker Courtyards, 733 N 17th Street, Lincoln NE 68508.
CONFEDERATE FLAG HIDDEN AFTER STUDENT COMPLAINS
By Robert Hawkins / Daily Nebraskan
August 30, 2004
A display in the apartment window of a Husker Courtyards resident caused a stir among some students last week.
Kasey Montgomery, a sophomore architecture major, hung a Confederate flag in his window facing 17th Street when he moved into the complex about one week before the semester began, he said.
He has since been asked by Husker Courtyards Resident Director Erron Reynolds to remove the flag because of complaints from a student who finds the flag offensive.
"I don’t see redneck, I see something different," said Angel Jennings, a sophomore journalism and business administration major, speaking of when she sees the flag.
"I see oppression, hatred, years of slavery and segregation," she said.
Jennings, who grew up in Virginia, said she complained to housing authorities after being pushed by faculty members to defend what she believes.
Montgomery, who was raised in North Carolina, said his motives for displaying the flag, sometimes referred to as the "Southern Cross," are based on his "heritage and history," and "not based on race at all."
But faced with the complaints, he has hidden the flag from outside view by closing his window shades over it.
"I was just trying to be nice," he said.
Montgomery said he sympathized with the views of students who may see flag as a symbol of slavery and racism.
But, he said, some in Husker Courtyards have voiced their support for Montgomery’s display, saying he should defend his First Amendment rights.
"My roommates support me," he said. "They think I should keep it up."
Montgomery said he only "sort of" thinks his rights would be violated if he were forced to take it down.
Jennings said Montgomery’s choice to display the flag "is his freedom," but she also said it was her First Amendment right to protest what she called "a burning reminder" of intolerance.
The display of the Confederate flag in public venues has been the subject of vitriolic debate in recent years, mostly centering on the dichotomy of the flag’s perceived symbolism: Supporters claim it represents heritage, and opponents argue it represents intolerance.
Though the flag was originally conceived as a symbol of the sovereignty of the South in the Civil War, militant white supremacist groups and neo-Nazis have since adopted it.
In 2000, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People declared a boycott on tourism of South Carolina because of objections to the flag’s presence at the state capitol.
Also in 2000, Louisiana State University students burned a Confederate flag with the words "Pride" and "Shame" spray-painted on it.
In 2003, the University of Alabama proposed a ban on all displays in dormitory windows, which some conjectured was aimed at curbing displays of the flag.
Similar protests have occurred when students displayed the flag at the University of Missouri and New Mexico State University.
"It reminds me of my home, where I’ve lived all my life," Montgomery said. "I wasn’t trying to be mean."
Jennings said she "will write him a thank you note" for hiding the flag from view.
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