NAACP can still claim victory on flag issue
Dear Mr. Bender:
I read your on-line article entitled "NAACP can still claim victory on flag issue", and I believe you failed to consider the facts that 1) African slavery in the New World started in approximately 1625, 2) although slavery had been abolished by Great Britain, the secession from the Crown by the United States perpetuated the institution of slavery in the United States after our independence, 3) at the start of the War Between The States in April of 1861 there were more so-called "Slave States" still in the Union than there were in the Confederacy, 4) throughout the War the institution of slavery remained legal in the United States in Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Missouri, as well as in Washington, D.C. and, shortly after the start of the War, the Federally-held western portion of Tennessee, and 5) slavery continued in those States and Territories under the control of the United States government until December of 1865 when the Thirteenth Amendment was passed by the U.S. Congress. Although slavery existed in the British Colonies and the United States from 1625-1865 (240 years), it existed in the Confederate States of America only from 1861 to 1865 (4 years). It is ludicrous to try to claim that only the South held slaves!
Your article tries to make it appear that the War Between The States boiled down to the anti-slavery North fighting the slaveholding South for the sole purpose of ridding the nation of slavery. That is an absolute falsehood, has no basis in historical fact, and should not even be included in the argument of an obviously educated individual such as yourself.
The NAACP, which at one time was a courageous and relevant civil rights organization, is now an out-dated relic of the civil rights era looking for "windmills to tilt" now that Americans of color have full and equal civil rights. The NAACP continues to have highly paid executives, but the coffers are running empty because the NAACP now has to manufacture racial tensions where there are none in an effort to attempt to cover its expenses. This brouhaha over the Confederate flag is just an example of the NAACP’s modern-day worthlessness.
I have read many times that tourism dollars in South Carolina have actually increased during the years that the NAACP’s so-called "boycott" has been in effect. Confederate history is a part of American history, and a part of South Carolina history. You cannot adequately portray South Carolina history without including its role in the Confederate States of America. To attempt to do so, as the NAACP is attempting to do, is nothing but bigoted historical revisionism.
As I am sure you are aware, the South Carolina Capitol building still bears visible scars of Union cannonballs that struck it during William T. Sherman’s attack and rape of Columbia in 1865. The soldiers’ memorial which has stood on the Capitol grounds for over 100 years was erected by the women of Columbia in memory of the sacrifices of their men in defending the city, and was erected with their private funds–not by use of any tax monies. The battleflag that is a part of this memorial is representative of the flag under which these brave men fought and sacrificed, and is a historical remembrance of their sacrifices.
If the NAACP could snap its fingers, and make every single vestige of the Confederate States of America suddenly disappear–the flags, the names, the memorials–it would serve no purpose whatsoever in alleviating the problems faced by modern-day black Americans. The problems faced by black Americans today are sociological, not historical. Those problems are due to crime, unemployment, poverty, family disintegration, etc.–not the Confederate flag.
I had relatives who fought in the 24th, 25th, and 26th South Carolina Infantry regiments during the War, and brothers William Albert Dotterer and James Blair Dotterer of Charleston were both killed defending their families in 1864. William had been in medical school, and James had been attending what is now The Citadel when the governor called for all able-bodied South Carolinian men to come to the defense of their homes and families when Abraham Lincoln declared war on the state and raised an army to attack and subjugate it. The losses to my family and many others were personal.
The so-called "boycott" by the NAACP is a tactical failure on the organization’s part, and it is for all the wrong reasons. The NAACP fails to recognize that they are hurting South Carolina as a whole less than they are hurting its black entrepreneurs with this asinine "boycott", but they just cannot seem to risk losing face by calling it off, in spite of the fact that the demand for the Confederate flag to be removed from atop the Capitol was met by the legislature.
By some official estimates, as many as 50,000 or 60,000 "persons of color" served the Confederate armed forces during the War in such capacities as teamsters, cooks, combat engineers, and–yes–even as soldiers and sailors. I, myself, have attend memorial services at the grave sites of Black Confederates, and have read many historical accounts–from both Confederates and Federals–of armed Black Confederates participating in battle. Blacks fought for the Confederacy for the same reason poor and middle class Whites did–to protect their homes and property from the Northern invasion–and they all fought under a Confederate battleflag of one type or other.
I, too, hope the day will come when we will see thousands of Black South Carolinians, and other Black Southerners, acknowledging the sacrifices of their ancestors in defending their homes against Northern aggression by proudly and ceremoniously waving their own Confederate flags, and those of us who are already proudly waving the flag will welcome them to our ever-growing numbers.
D. A. Anthony