Confederate flag losing prominence years after Civil War


photo used with permission of Valery Tenevoy under

Man holding a confederate flag at a protest in Moscow on June 12.

Rhea Rajeev, Staff Writer

The bright red background with two intersecting blue and white lines containing white stars has a very controversial and appalling history in this nation. In 2020, a massive Confederate flag flying on private land near Interstate 95 in Stafford County was permanently removed. Protesters have been rallying to have the flag brought down for about as long as it has been flying.

Several groups have appeared at Stafford Board of Supervisors meetings over the years, requesting that it be removed in some way. The board said they have no control of it, claiming that the county lacked legal authority to remove the flag because it was on private land and that the First Amendment, which guarantees free expression, was being violated. Finally, the flag was removed due to the fact that it was a disturbance to drivers. 

“The flag was used in a war fighting for a racist system, so people associate the flag with racism,” junior Alyssa Dausch said. “The flag is also seen as anti-American because it was used by the group who wanted to not be a part of the United States anymore.”

The Confederate flag is a symbol of historic pride and opposition to far-right believers; to society, the flag represents white supremacy and racial violence. During the Civil War, the Confederate flag was flown by the seceded southern states, which declared themselves the Confederate States of America. According to The Guardian, years after the Civil War, the Confederate flag became a common emblem among white southerners fighting against federally imposed racial integration. Segregationists proudly marched and protested alongside the flag, deliberately linking the Confederacy to a new cause that merged “states’ rights” with “white supremacy,” a phrase used to establish a racial hierarchy. This is anti-American because the Confederacy’s racial ideals contradict the Constitution’s concept that “all men should be created equal.” 

“To me, the Confederate flag represents the disgusting past and present of systematic racism that has terrorized and oppressed Black people since the moment they were forced to set foot on this continent,” junior Samarra Pack said. 

According to Conservation, while white Southerners who advocate the flag’s legitimacy argue that it is an emblem of their heritage, the Confederate flag represents a time when African Americans constantly lived in fear and faced oppression and injustice. Black civil rights activists argue that by honoring their ancestors with that flag, white Americans are dishonoring the hardship and misery that Black Americans’ ancestors suffered. The continuous protests to take down the Confederate flags will indeed make a change and pressure law enforcement to dismantle them. These flags are up there, despite being symbols, because of a white supremacist mentality and prejudice toward the totally and absolutely false idea that African Americans are not equal and are less than. 

“Some history is taught with different biases depending on where you are, and the perception of history can be taken differently by everyone,” junior Katherine Richer said. “I also think many people can have hurtful experiences, and have the flag used as a racially-motivated offense towards someone.“

Taking down Confederate flags isn’t the same as “erasing history.” It is the act of removing these disdainful flags and symbols to promote peace and equality. Although it is undeniably true that history is complex and unchangeable, the notion of removing these flags represents a united and understanding society to those who have endured so much pain through the flag. Removing Confederate flags from public spaces, such as National Parks and other state and local government-owned Civil War battlefields, makes them more welcoming to all Americans. In order for America to truly be a society welcoming to all, we need to erase all historical signs that represent racism. Virginia is continuing to seek out confederate flags that are being proudly displayed and take them down. They are also educating people on its history and contribution to society. 

“The flag represents racism, plain and simple,” junior Alyssa Dausch said. “History is important, but I think people blur the lines between remembering history and celebrating history.”