Wrong to say Confederate symbols reflect racism

First published: Friday, September 17, 2004

The Web version of your newspaper posted on Sept. 7 an article that alleged a single complaint from a lady about Confederate symbols at a fair.
In the same article, your writer stated that officials of the fair were going to take a look at the issue for next year.

It is certainly my hope that one complaint about Confederate symbols at booths at the fair — booths which, according to the article, had shown Confederate symbols for years — will not cause fair officials to become selective in their diversity and, for example, deny symbols of the Confederacy when others are not denied.

Were the officials to ban Confederate symbols next year, it would show them to be very insensitive to millions of Americans who live in the South. It is especially problematic when the complaint has been made in ignorance; for the symbols of the Confederate States of America are no more racist than the Stars and Stripes that flew over slavery and the slave trade for more than 89 years.

No Confederate flag ever flew over the slave trade, for it was outlawed in the Confederacy. It was the U.S. flag that flew over Jim Crow for nearly 100 years, not any Confederate symbol.

It was the U.S. flag that flew over the genocide of the Western Indians, not the Confederate flag. In fact, Native Americans flocked to the Confederate cause, served by the thousands in its armed forces and were given territorial representation in the Confederate Congress, something they have yet to achieve in the empire of the United States.

Jews and Catholics rose to the highest ranks of the Confederate government, nearly 80 years before they would get equivalent ranks in the United States government.

Nearly 90,000 African-Americans served in nearly all military occupation slots of the Confederate army and navy. They served in fully integrated units and received equal pay with white Southerners. They would wait nearly 80 years to get that same consideration in the U.S. military.

Col. Samuel D. Russell Camp 1617
Sons of Confederate Veterans
Natchitoches, La.

Link: http://www.timesunion.com/AspStories/story.asp?storyID=286423&category=LETTER&BCCode=&newsdate=9/17/2004