Lake City Florida confronting its past, present and future
I read your recent article entitled "Lake City Florida confronting its past, present, and future, and I noticed the comments by the President of the state Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), the Rev. Reginald Gundy, regarding his organization’s desire, as well as that of the NAACP, to revise American history to suit their own agendas. The fact of the matter is, there was a historically significant occurrence that took place not far to the east of Lake City that American history knows as the Battle of Olustee, or the Battle of Ocean Pond. It occurred in February of 1864, and involved roughly 10,000 American men, half of whom were fighting to preserve their homes, families, and independence as citizens of the Confederate States, and half of whom were fighting to preserve a political union of states known as the United States. Regardless of which side of the field they fought on, all the participants were Americans, so both the flags carried in that battle–the Confederate flag and the U.S. flag–are "American flags", and the citizens of Lake City certainly have the right to re-enact this historic event, which was the largest land battle fought in the State of Florida during the entire War Between The States. This is a historically significant educational event that certainly should be promoted and encouraged by the community and the local government.
Rev. Gundy and the NAACP would like to have everyone believe that this entire war in which 600,000 American men lost their lives was all about slavery and the future of black Americans, but that just is not historically accurate, and neither of those groups have the right to impose their agendas on the rest of us, many of whom had ancestors who participated in that war on one side or the other. In fact, it is entirely possible that some of the members of SCLC and NAACP have ancestors who fought under the Confederate banner because their families and homes were also in danger of being destroyed by the invaders.
I was particularly disturbed by the unhistorical comments made by reporter Stew Lilker who authored this article. Evidence of his personal bigotries was certainly in evidence in the article, particularly in the "Epilogue" portion of the article when he asserts that retaining the historical flags on the Lake City logo is tantamount to depicting the "Gateway to Florida" as being tied to "a contentious past". Celebrating the historical significance of this area of Florida certainly does not equate to promoting a "contentious past".
Mr. Lilker further inserts into his article the tired old falsehood that "some hate groups, such as the neo-Nazis and the current KKK, have taken the (Confederate) flag as its own." Any superficial investigation into this falsehood will reveal innumerable photos such as the one below which clearly show that the "official flag of the Ku Klux Klan" is, in fact, the United States "Stars and Stripes", and not the Confederate battleflag.
Where is the Confederate flag?
By simply Googling "official flag of the KKK", one can come up with a Klan website (http://www.kkklan.com/trueflag.htm) in which the following is unequivocally stated:
"Imperial Wizard Simmons made it plain. He openly declared that there was but one official flag of the Ku Klux Klan and that was the Stars and Stripes. He made it Klan law that NO flag at any Klan function was to fly above it and NO flag was to fly equal to it. All flags would fly beneath the flag of the United States! And if you look at old photos of the revival Klan for the most part the ONLY flag you ever see IS the Stars and Stripes."
The truth is that the NAACP in its 1991 National Resolution initiated the falsehood that the Confederate flag was the "official flag" of the Klan. The Klan itself never made that designation. The perpetuation of this myth by the NAACP and the liberal media is based upon a lie used to drive a wedge of division between Americans.
Lastly, I want to point out the historical inaccuracy that Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest was "a former member and Grand Wizard of the KKK". Mr. Lilker used this false piece of information to condemn the Sons of Confederate Veterans’ "Mechanized Cavalry" group for using a symbol which he wants the reader to consider a symbol of racism, rather than a symbol of Southern history.
Once again, a little bit of research by Mr. Lilker would have shown that the original KKK was founded by some Confederate veterans after the War, more as a social group for former veterans. When Reconstruction was enacted, putting the former States of the Confederacy under military, rather than civilian, law, and disenfranchising hundreds of thousands of former Confederate citizens and officials, the Klan began to fight back by targeting the violent Union League as well as the Carpetbaggers who came from the North to prey upon a destitute South. The intimidation of Southern blacks was not the goal of the original Klan.
The Klan leaders approached Gen. Forrest and asked that he become the head of the Klan, but Gen. Forrest refused. Although Gen. Forrest was not an active member of the Klan, when the organization began to become more violent in its clashes with the Union League and Federal Reconstruction enforcers, Gen. Forrest took it upon himself to urge the Klan leaders to disband before there was a renewal of wholesale hostilities between the South and the U.S. government.
It is unfortunate that organizations such as the NAACP, the SCLC, and the liberal media types continue to perpetuate falsehoods in an effort to paint the South as traitors and slaveholders while the North is portrayed as the abolitionist peacemakers. That sort of lies just continues to perpetuate what we are witnessing now in Lake City and elsewhere around the nation and perpetuates a spirit of divisiveness.
Confronting Past, Present And Future
Lake City Florida confronting its past, present and future