Jewish World Review Nov. 17, 1999 /8 Kislev, 5760
NOW THAT THE SCHOOLS that black youngsters attend are educating well, the
devastating crime rate in black communities has abated and the black family
has recovered its past stability, the NAACP can now focus on perceived
indignities such as the Confederate battle flag flying over the Capitol Dome
of South Carolina.
The NAACP has done just that with a proclamation that calls for boycotts
and economic sanctions against South Carolina. Surely, the NAACP leadership
can't really believe that blacks have reached a point where we can now focus
attention and expend resources on social fine-tuning.
It must be ignorance, an ignorance I once shared. The NAACP crowd sees the
Confederate battle flag as a flag of slavery. If that's so, the United
States flag is even more so. Slavery thrived under the United States flag
from 1776 to 1865, while under the Confederate flag a mere four years.
birth of both flags had little or nothing to do with slavery. Both flags saw
their birth in a violent and proud struggle for independence and self
governance. However, if one sees the War for Southern Independence solely or
chiefly as a struggle for slavery, then it's natural to resent the
Confederate battle flag.
The idea that President Abraham Lincoln waged war against the South to
abolish slavery is fiction created by the victors. Here's an oft-repeated
sentiment by President Lincoln: "I have no purpose, directly or indirectly,
to interfere with the institution of slavery in the states where it exists.
I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do
so." Slavery simply emerged as a moral front for northern aggression.
A more plausible source of North-South antagonism is suggested in an 1831
speech by South Carolina Sen. John C. Calhoun where he said, "Stripped of
all its covering, the naked question is whether ours is a federal or
consolidated government; a constitutional or absolute one; a government
resting solidly on the basis of the sovereignty of the States, or on the
unrestrained will of a majority; a form of government, as in all other
unlimited ones, in which injustice, violence and force must ultimately
A significant source of Southern discontent was tariffs Congress enacted to
protect Northern manufacturing interests. Referring to those tariffs,
Calhoun said, "The North has adopted a system of revenue and disbursements
in which an undue proportion of the burden of taxation has been imposed on
the South, and an undue proportion of its proceeds appropriated to the
North." Among other Southern grievances were Northern actions similar to
King George III's Navigation Acts, which drove our Founders to the 1776 War
Though it's not politically correct for our history books to report, black
slaves and free blacks were among the men who fought and died heroically for
the cause of the Confederacy. Professor Edward Smith, director of American
studies at American University, says Stonewall Jackson had 3,000
fully-equipped black troops scattered throughout his corps at Antietam --
the war's bloodiest battle. Smith calculates that between 60,000 and 93,000
blacks served the Confederacy in some capacity. These black Confederate
soldiers no more fought to preserve slavery than their successors fought in
WWI and WWII to preserve Jim Crow and segregation. They fought because their
homeland was attacked and fought in the hope that the future would be better
and they'd be rewarded for their patriotism."
If the NAACP leadership just has to commit resources to issues surrounding
the Confederacy, I'd like to see them make an effort to see to it that black
Confederate soldiers are memorialized and
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©1999, Creators Syndicate