Wednesday, June 24, 2015

I'm a Daughter of the South

Yep, that's me... Alabama born and bred. George Wallace was Governor or husband of the Governor and finally former Governor in all the Alabama history books I studied from in school.

I grew up in segregated grammar schools, and in my first year in junior high, the schools were suddenly not segregated. It seemed to bother the adults, but not so much the kids. We scoped each other out, then got along, then made friends, worked and played the ALABAMA...and all was good.

I grew up, got a job, made friends, some of whom I confide my deepest secrets to...guess what...they are Black. Does it matter? Not to me, not to them. We just call each other friend.

Am I proud of my heritage? Yes I am. I'm a daughter of the south. Growing up I was told that all my ancestors were poor and never owned slaves. I've proved that wrong since I've been doing genealogy for years. I've found a few slave owners. I've also found the poor dirt farmers that the slave owner's daughters married. The ones that went to war...under THAT flag. The ones that died and left wives and small children behind. The Stars and Bars...THAT flag. The one that is suddenly causing so much controversy. Do I apologize? No. I didn't have anything to do with it. It's history. I had no more to do with it than with Cain killing Abel.

Do I think it symbolizes slavery? I know it does to many. I've done my reading. I believe it symbolizes the Rebel in us all. I've seen a lot of misinformation, some meant to inflame. I'm not going there. I don't believe anything I have to say would change anyone's mind on the notions they already have. I'll just ask that you actually read the Emancipation Proclamation:
Library of Congress. Public Domain.

President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, as the nation approached its third year of Civil War. The proclamation declared "that all persons held as slaves" within the rebellious states "are, and henceforward shall be free."

What does THAT FLAG mean to me? That I'm from the South, that I've got ancestors who died for it. I've got a little bit of Rebel in me.

Do I think it should fly over our capitol dome? No, I don't.
Do I think it should fly at Civil War memorials? Yes I do.
Do I feel that citizens of the United States should be able to fly THAT flag if they choose? Yes I do.
Do I think that all Civil War memorials should come down? I think that's ridiculous. The founding fathers owned slaves. Why would you erase history just because you don't like it?

In the news today I'm seeing news reports of defacement of memorials, calls for the Confederate Battle Flag flying high on I-65 to come down (it is on private property and flies over a Confederate Memorial Park), memorials in city parks to come down. It scares me. ISIS is doing the same thing to sites that offend them. Where will it stop?

Yes, we lost the War Between the States. We realize this. The flag remained a symbol of Southern Pride, sort of like our state motto "We Dare Defend Our Rights". Somehow the thought that this country was founded by traitors to the British flag escapes some people. I'm descended from those Rebels too.

The flag has become a symbol of hate groups, and I HATE hate groups. I HATE that that deranged guy in South Carolina was trying to start a race war, and this controversy has given him the attention he was looking for.

Do I think that everyone that owns a coffee cup, bumper sticker, or T-shirt with a Rebel flag is proclaiming they are a hater? No. If you do all I can say is well bless your heart!

I personally don't fly the battle flag. I realize some people find it offensive, and I respect that. I am shocked that now many retailers are no longer selling the Confederate battle flag. How will I decorate my ancestors's graves?