The Confederate flag
To the Mailbag section
Johnson City Press, Johnson City, TN:
I could not help but notice the article, "New twist in Confederate flag flap" in today’s edition of the Johnson City Press, March 15th, 2012. Concerning the positing of the flag pole, this is just another way Dawn Peters, vice president of the Watauga Historical Association, appears to be using to ban the Confederate flag again, the picture showing the pole being positioned in the narrow space between two tombstones, it would be odd if the pole is actually running through the actual remains of someone buried in a grave. With past bigotry related to the Confederate flag by Dawn Peters and some members of the Watauga Historical Association, the Sons of Confederate Veterans should request that the University of Tennessee or State of Tennessee archaeologist come in and investigate this issue. Whose paying for the private firm, Cultural Resource Analysts, findings? Would Dawn Peters and her followers in the Watauga Historical Association accept the findings of University of Tennessee or State of Tennessee archaeologist findings?
The real problem with the Confederate flag flying in the Green Hill Cemetery is what I’ve been seeing in the past several years in various historic related organizations and societies. Today’s historic organizations/societies has turned into either political correctness, membership is for social status (In the minds of many members), outsiders trying to rewrite our history and/or becoming money making organizations/societies that only the membership benefits from, for parties, dinners, etc. These type organizations/societies were organically created to preserving historic facts and the members were those who truly had a love of history of the community, preserving local historic sites, honoring their ancestors who actually took part in historic events of the period, which is why I began joining such organizations about 45 years ago, I loved history of my community, state and country and my ancestors who took a part in many historic events.
But in many of today’s community historic organizations/societies leadership and members actually knows very little about the actual history of their area, historic sites, etc. that their suppose to be preserving and teaching others about through their organization/society and they give the wrong information when asked at events. I’ve been known to step forward and correct the person giving the wrong information.
It appears in the case of Dawn Peters, the Watauga Historical Associations vice president, she seems to know very little of the actual causes of the War Between the States, that slavery wasn’t even an issue until 1863. That there were slaves in the North, there were former slaves who later became slave owners themselves. According to the country’s leading African-American historian, Duke University professor, John Hope Franklin, records that in New Orleans over 3,000 free Negro’s owned slaves, or 28 percent of the free Negro’s in that city and there is a lot proof related to other cities. One of the fifth biggest and richest slave owners in the Charleston, S.C. area was a freed slave who illegally had his name changed to William Ellison. On August 6th, 1824 he and his family who were members of a predominantly White Episcopalian Church were allowed to put a bench on the first floor, among those of wealthy White families. Other Blacks, free and slave, and poor Whites sat in the balcony. Later another wealthy Black family joined the first floor worshipers. The last U.S. President of the U.S. to ever own slaves was U.S. Grant.
Does Dawn Peters and her followers approve of flying the United States flag, if so why? The U.S. flag flew over slavery of Blacks for over 80 years, whereas the Confederate flag flew over slavery for less than 4 years. And what about Native Americans? But, the politically correct never has stood up for them and most Americans don’t realize that Native Americans are the only race of people in the U.S. that has to recognized as a people by the state or the federal government, Tennessee state government still won’t recognize Native Americans in Tennessee as a people after 216 years as a state.
Also, if you look at the large KKK marches of Southern and Northern members during the 1920’s-30’s in Washington, DC, you won’t see Confederate flags, just hundreds of U.S. flags. And yes, skin heads and
other racist groups, I’m sorry to say, carry the Confederate flag, but they also carry the U.S. flag and the Nazi flag, to bad the politically correct won’t get as upset about the Nazi flag, as they do the Confederate flag.
Also, the Sons of Confederate Veterans has African-American members, they and their families enjoy fellowship with the White members. The Sons of Confederate Veterans also marks and dedicates Black Confederate veterans graves and presents the descendants with a Confederate flag.
I have no idea if Dawn Peters is from East Tennessee or not, but as a vice president of a East Tennessee historical association should have some knowledge about the history of the War Between the States. A large majority of native East Tennesseans had ancestors who fought in both the Confederate and Union armies. One branch of my family had a father and son who were officers in the 37th Tennessee Infantry, Confederate Army and the fathers brother had two sons in the Union Army, all four were killed in action during the war. And if a person like Dawn Peters and any of her fellow members of the Watauga Historical Association thinks we shouldn’t honor our ancestors who fought and died under the Confederate flag and only should honor our ancestors who fought and died under the Union flag, they’re a disgrace to their family bloodlines.
If Dawn Peters and her followers wants to do something constructive in the community and keep our history alive, quit being bigots to promoted their personal political correctness feelings that isn’t backed by historic facts, with no knowledge of historical facts of the area, and quit worrying about being a money making organization. I have quit every organization that made money the topic of meetings instead of having historic subjects with speakers, etc. Also, Ms. Peters, there were Peters from this area who served in the Confederate Army and like the vast majority of the Confederate soldiers, White and Black, they owned no slaves, since your like to use slavery as an issue for your bigotry views against the Confederate flag.
Actually I would like to see a historic organization created in this area with no dues, no meetings that are mainly related to making more and more money, where true lovers of the area history can meet others with the same interest, true heritage and culture education, historic facts not rewritten history to suit a few bigots and racist, no matter if their Western European-American descent, Native American descent or African American descent. And so called historic organizations/socials that promotes false history, members who uses the organization for personal politically correct feelings, bigotry, racism, making it a money making organization, etc. needs to be boycotted and any activities where they charge entrance fees needs to be boycotted also, until the organization goes back to being what it was founded for, preserving historic sites, preserving historic facts, promoting area heritage and culture events for educational and family activities not to pad the organization/society bank accounts.
Capt. Lynn R. McR. Hawkins, Ret., FSA Scot
Bluff City, TN