Blog 4: Geography of the South Posted on November 17, 2014 by saorsa2014 This is the official blog post for this week…due Sunday at midnight,,, Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading... Related
7 thoughts on “Blog 4: Geography of the South”
The Confederate Flag should never be flown with a state flag or the American flag. Yes, the flag means many different things to many different people but the flag is a symbol of treason, regardless of how you look at it. “The flag is a symbol of our Southern heritage.” This is a terrible excuse. That heritage is slavery and racism. Southern heritage is almost synonymous with both of those. That flag should NEVER be flown on any government structure or on any government grounds. By doing so says you support treasonous activities against the United States of America. The flag should remain in private areas, just like religious icons. (I’m not equating the flag or the ideologies behind it to religion).
The James Meredith Statue is a beautiful symbol of the fight for integration. However, the so-called “gentlemen” of the Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity thought otherwise and threw a noose around the neck and draped the old GA state flag around it. Fortunately their chapter was shut down for the act. This shows that even today, we have to fight racism. My own family, shameful as I am to admit it, is full of stone cold racists. I am fortunate enough to have been able to move off and receive an education and have learned from my family’s mistakes and stupidity. Racism is here and sadly, I don’t think it’s going anywhere for a while. At least we do have some equality among the races but we sure do not have as much as we should. This is the UNITED States of America. We should all be united as Americans and put the color of our skin to the side. But, for some reason we still have these terrible racial inequality ideals and racist ideologies. I am proud of the students of Ole Miss for standing up against racism and hate. Their school has such a bloody history and they have to fight that old image and keep their school a safe place of interracial harmony.
The vote is our voice in government. However, some people want to prevent people from voting. The black and Hispanic vote is usually Democratic. If you follow the news, places that have a Republican controlled voting commission love trying to make it hard for minorities and even college students to vote. One state’s commission tried to remover early voting stations from college campuses and move them miles away so to deter the most likely liberal college students from voting Democrat. Just let the people vote. Maybe if you had better policies and candidates the minorities and college students would actually vote for you. The people should not be barred or restricted from voting. I don’t care if I absolutely hate and am against the issue being voted on, everyone should be able to have his or her voice and vote. Voting laws are getting out of hand and we must put up a fight against the fight on voting. People have died for this right and we should not keep that right from anyone that is legally able to vote.
In response to the image with South Carolina’s flag next to the confederate flag- The Citadel Military College is an institution that trains the officers of our countries military. As leaders, it is imperative that their actions reflect positive core values, as well as having a strong moral/ethical character in order to get respect from their superiors or subordinates. If I was a graduate from The Citadel I would be extremely worried that the schools decision to fly the confederate flag would poorly reflect my character and values – Especially since there’s such a high percentage of African American active duty enlisted members (18.3% in 2012). Who would respect an officer from such an institution? I’m not saying that every cadet believes this symbol is acceptable, but I guarantee if a rainbow flag was raised up there it would be irrefutably taken down.
In the United States people are constantly looking at the government to intervene to create social equality, set price standards, minimum pay standards, etc. The more power we give the government, through the creation of laws, the less freedom we actually have. In a free market economy prices are set without government intervention and are set according to economic conditions. In theory, (with perfect competition) as long as a good or service is set at an appropriate price, and of quality standard, it wouldn’t matter who, or what, creates the good because everyone benefits. If we viewed society in such a manner it wouldn’t matter what the color of your skin is, where you’re from, or what language you speak-if you’re a dumb ass you’re a dumbass and society will wean you out through conditions of competition. If a school decides to raise an ‘offensive’ symbol they should be allowed to do so, and students who agree with it should be able to go to school there. Then when the graduates start looking for a job they will either have to work at a place where they are surrounded by like-minded idiot people, or they will be shunned away for being ignorant. If enough people shunned away the ignorant dumb asses maybe they would all join together and create their own unequal, unhappy, limiting society. This could allow those who want economic growth and social equality to thrive in their own FREE society that doesn’t have to rely on government intervention to fix failures.
Obviously this isn’t possible- and way out there- since our society operates (overall) based on its own self-interest which inherently dooms the possibility for a truly equal society.
….kNOw equality kNOw freedom….
While the diverse faces of Ole Miss students defending the statue of James Meredith offer a glimmer of hope, I am stunned by the fact that racism remains pervasive in this country. I was ignorant enough to think that while extremists persist in their hateful hearts, racism had peaked decades ago and that the civil rights of the LGTBQ community was the new fight for sociopolitical equality. While that fight has begun, in earnest in some areas, I feel now that racism is still common. Globalization and (even just the fear of) economic faltering coupled with widespread fear-mongering in the media are, I believe, giving new energy and boldness to racist views. While the ‘free market’ can help a society grow more inclusive of ‘others’ I worry that the slope back into a more racialized culture is slippery.
“Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.” – Samuel Johnson, 1775 (1709-1784)
Defenders claim that the display of the Confederate battle flag is to show respect for the soldiers who fought and died, and for that reason among others that flying the flag is a demonstration of Southern pride not a thinly veiled symbol of a desire to re-segregate races or re-subordinate blacks. It wasn’t a major symbol until the 1950’s! (The fact that the concerted effort to remove the battle flag from PUBLIC buildings occurred in the 1990’s makes my skin crawl.) When I read that a Georgian state flag was left with the noose on the Meredith statue last winter I looked into the history of that flag and others. The fact that the Confederate cross was ADDED to the state flag in Georgia in 1956, the same year as the Brown vs. Board of Education decision, is evidence of the hollowness of the defending claims. The Citadel chapel’s Confederate flag was raised earlier, in 1939, but the South Carolina State House raised their Confederate cross in 1962, in the middle of the Civil Rights Era…how can this not be interpreted as direct defiance of the intentions of the movement to establish equal rights for all?
The swath of red across the map of the changes in party voting from the presidential election in 2004 to the election of Obama in 2008 indicates that to some extent racism is more pervasive in the southern states, though it is certainly possible to argue other motives were in play across Arkansas, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Louisiana. The efforts by members of the GOP to fight the non-existent problem of voter fraud is truly frightening. (see the slate and thinkprogress articles below) The Christian Coalition and the so-called 15% solution to lower voter participation are not relegated to the annals of history. People like the late Paul Weyrich and Arthur Ravenel, Jr. are our contemporaries, not figures of the past.
(Also – if you’re bored, google Ravenel’s son – Thomas Ravenel.)
I have always remembered the Magnolia State to be friendly with good music and food. I was raised about 30 minutes from Greenville, Mississippi. My family used their airport and mall on several occasions. I never knew of the struggles with African Americans in Mississippi because of the problems dealing with racism in my state of Arkansas. Those pictures are scenes describe to me that those struggles were apparently conjoined with Delta region as a holistic difficulty of continuous setbacks for African Americans. Mississippi and Arkansas are one of the least economically developed states in the nation. Voting rights were suppressed for so long when the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was finally passed, the ripple effects of injustice had damaged the outlook for a change or fairness for people living in the Delta. Before the Voting Rights Act or the Civil Rights Act, James Meredith dared to enroll at Ole Miss in 1962. The money spent on trying to keep one qualified African American student from enrolling in school must have been mind boggling for government personnel in charge of Meredith’s safety. Meredith graduated and Ole Miss decided to honor such an achievement with a statue. I was amazed that James Meredith’s statue was vandalized in 2014 with a noose tied around the neck with a confederate flag pinned to it as well. The sign “We Are the Face of Ole Miss” in which asked alumni to support and respect with dignity of a fellow alum who paved a way for all to have equal consideration to attend college was classic. It was classic, because Mississippi was one of the most or the most advocate of Jim Crow Laws and still managed to have Meredith graduate in 1963. The Chancellor of Ole Miss is working closely with the FBI to find out who was the criminals that vandalized Meredith’s statue. With all that the statue in which symbolizes Civil Rights, Mississippi aligns their political idealism of the Republican Party. There is a significant amount of African Americans living in Mississippi. But the voting practices are under-attack with Gerry Meandering of the Yazoo Delta Region and the lack of representation of the people of Mississippi. Mississippi has never sent a woman to Washington or elected governor. I find hard to understand, since there have been women governors in Louisiana (Kathleen Blanco), North Carolina (Beverly Perdue), and South Carolina (Nikki Haley). Even Mississippi’s sister state Arkansas has sent the first elected woman to US Senate (Hattie Caraway 1931-1945). The signs that read “Don’t’ Lose Your Voice” or “Your Vote Is Your Voice” should wake up the citizens of Mississippi and help to motivate and stop all the injustice that state has endured over the last 50 years.
Brown, J. (1997). A Seed of Doubt. American Libraries, 28(8) 37.
Hammond, A. (2014, July 10). Mississippi Ranked Most Corrupt State. Retrieved from News Channel 3: WREG Memphis: http://wreg.com/2014/07/10/mississippi-ranked-most-corrupt-state/
Noose Tied on Ole MIss Integration Statue. (2014, February 8). Retrieved from AP The BIg Story: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/noose-tied-ole-miss-integration-statue
Smith, M. (2014, November 5). Why Isn’t Mississippi Sending Women to Washington? Retrieved from News Channel 3: WREG Memphis: http://wreg.com/2014/11/05/why-isnt-mississippi-sending-women-to-washington/
The images contained in this week’s blog post all deal with different aspects of contemporary Southern politics. Unfortunately, race is still a very major issue in the South. For me, the map is one of the most interesting images in this week’s blog. It shows the difference in voting between the 2004 and 2008 presidential elections, with red counties voting more Republican in 2008 than 2004, and blue counties voting more Democratic. In 2008, the vast majority of the country voted more Democratic than it had in 2004. However, the South is a notable exception. Much of the south, including almost all of Arkansas and Tennessee, along with a good portion of Louisiana and Texas, and the Appalachian South, voted more Republican. The map is so interesting for me because it shows a major division within the South. The Black Belt and urban areas saw big increases for Democrats in 2008. Much of the South that voted more Republican consists of larger numbers of poor, low educated whites, who likely voted against Obama because of his skin color.
The image on the right shows students protesting near the statue of James Meredith, who integrated Ole Miss, after fraternity members vandalized the statue by putting a noose around the statue’s neck and draping an old Georgia flag (with the Confederate battle flag) on it. The fraternity responded to the incident by suspending the chapter at Ole Miss. This event shows how the issue of race still exists on college campuses even though they have been integrated for quite some time. It is pretty easy to notice that most fraternities and sororities consist primarily of white, upper middle class individuals. When people with the same backgrounds and ideas constantly surround them, the members cannot sufficiently broaden their horizons and realize that all people are equal, and events like this one happen. I know that integration at the University of Arkansas with Silas Hunt came quite early and peacefully compared to Ole Miss, but I would like to look further this element of our University’s past.
The top left image shows a Confederate flag flying side by side with a U.S. and South Carolina flag. Having lived in other parts of the South, I’ve noticed that the Confederate flag appears to be much more common here in Arkansas. There were not many Confederate flags to be found in Dallas or Jacksonville. The arguments for displaying the Confederate flag in the contemporary South always seem to center on the idea of it being a part of the South’s cultural history. While the Confederacy and the Civil War are important parts of the South’s history, that doesn’t mean we need to hold symbols of that era in high regard. Modern Germany (and most of the world) is extremely disapproving of Nazi symbolism. The difference, perhaps, is that Germany has moved on from its Nazi past, but the South hasn’t moved on from its Confederate past.
The final image in the middle left shows people protesting about the Supreme Court case of Shelby County v. Holder, which declared a key provision of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 unconstitutional. This provision allowed the federal government to require certain jurisdictions (mostly in the South) to get federal preclearance before changing their laws regarding the voting process. After the decision in Shelby County v. Holder, many of these jurisdictions implemented new voting requirements, such as ID requirements. These new requirements placed new burdens on voters, which some people could not afford, depriving them of their right to vote. In the South, these voter ID laws primarily affect minorities and the elderly.
Three flags are shown in the picture above; the flag of the united states, flag of south Carolina, and the flag of the confederate states or what we can call it “the confederacy” flag. South Carolina state is the first state that vote to seceded from the union in 1860, and then the other 10 states followed on 1861 (see the table that shows the date of seceded and readmitted to union of the 11 states) http://www.factmonster.com/ipka/A0194016.html. Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Georgia, and Texas are the deep south states who were seceded from the union with other states to make 11 confederate states of America. There 11 states were established on 1860, and defeated on 1865, the end of civil war. They created their own rule of slavery as a slaveholding states. Knowing that Abraham Lincoln is a republican who aims to abolish slavery in the United states, his presidency election that was made in 1860 was a big threat to the confederate states. After the end of civil war, many states remain separated from the union. By the year 1870 all the states were readmitted again to the union. Georgia was the last state that readmitted, on July 15, 1870.
Between 1950s and 1960s, the Civil Rights period, attempts were made to desegregate schools and many other facilities. Knowing that the flag represent a very racial concept in the United States, especially in the south, the south Carolina senate put the confederate flag on its chamber, and they it fly on the dome of the State House. A symbol like this flag, which carry a lot of meanings of racial discrimination, would be very effective in that period of Civil Right. The flag remain on the dome for 38 years between 1962-2000, and became the subject of a political conflict “that involved three governors, state legislators of both political parties, and the members of interest groups, including the NAACP and the state Chamber of Commerce” http://www.usca.edu/aasc/Flag.htm.
Things change such as opinions and political opinions. In 1996 a poll was conducted to find out that 49 percent of the South Carolina population want to take the flag down from the dome or move it somewhere else, and 40 percent wanted to keep the flag on the dome. So this means opinions had changed about racial issue. Now the flag of confederate states flies on the State House grounds close to the African American Monument.
The upper right image is of the United States flag, the confederate battle flag, and the state of South Carolina flag. I think it is fairly indicative of how Southern States represent themselves, their identity of being a member of the United States, their confederate history (distinguishing themselves from the rest of the U.S. that was union), as well as their personal flag. In the case of South Carolina, their flag design was based on one of the first Revolutionary War flags; the blue field is the same color as their militia uniforms, the crescent originally had the word liberty then remained without the words, the tree is a palmetto tree which can be found on the Atlantic coast including in South Carolina. There are several incarnations of the Confederate flag, the most popular version that appears in the photo is of the battle flag. The flag is square and the number if stars reflected the number of states in the Confederacy. This flag is controversial for its current use as a symbol of ancestry, which includes the slavery then ill treatment of the African American population. Some view the flag as a symbol of southern heritage and tradition, while others use the flag as a symbol of wanting to return to the past, such groups include the Klu Klux Klan.
The photo to the right is of the statue of James Meredith. James was the first African American to attend the University of Mississippi, which had until his arrival been a segregated university. He was denied access to the university twice, then with the help of the NAACP (the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), sued for the right to attend university. The governor of Mississippi, Ross Barnett, made efforts to deny James access to the university. President Kennedy and his brother Attorney General Kennedy had to get directly involved before he was able to enroll for campus. This caused such a riot by white students and segregationists. The U.S. Marshals were called to escort and protect Meredith while on campus. The rioting escalated and troops from the National Guard were called in to diffuse the situation. Two people were killed, and about 200 Marshals and National Guardsmen were injured. After two semesters of harassment and verbal abuse he graduated from the University with a political science degree.
A statue of James Meredith was dedicated October, 2006 on campus to honor his efforts, and the efforts of others in the civil rights movement to attain equal opportunities for everyone in the South. In the photo the statue is surrounded by black and white students holding signs for equality and unity, This was after the statue was vandalized in 2014 by members of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity. A noose was looped around his neck and the former Georgia state flag was draped around his shoulders. The noose represents the lynchings that occurred in the South against African Americans that were primarily hangings and is a part of the white supremacy movement, For almost 50 years the state flag of Georgia included the Confederate Battle flag, It wasn’t repealed as the state flag until 2001, because residents found it more offensive than historical, and recognized its association with the white supremacy movement.