Black Student Who Fought to Fly Confederate Flag Changes His Mind, and That’s a Good Thing

8 Dec

So after fighting for the right to fly his Confederate flag in his dorm room window, and winning, University of South Carolina student Byron Thomas has now decided that he won’t exercise that right.  My guess is that someone sent Byron a long list of links to historical records and narratives that contradict his southern indoctrination.

It is telling that Southern revisionists continue to promote the fiction that the main cause of the Civil War was something other than slavery.   It is just as telling that some black people readily buy into it.

It’s almost as if some black people feel as though those who fought under the Confederate flag, and those who still support the cause, couldn’t have possibly gotten it all that wrong. There must be some alternate explanation. The thing is, there isn’t an alternate explanation and the idea that there is one is just a  boldface lie.

Consider that in Mississippi’s secession declaration, it boldly asserted that “our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery — the greatest material interest of the world.” Hear that Byron? Mississippi viewed slavery not as a regrettable institution or an afterthought, but the greatest institution in the world, one that it was willing to shed blood to protect.

But in addition to the obvious financial benefit of free slave labor, we should also consider the societal implications at play in the ratchet up to the Civil War. The revisionist account fails to acknowledge the truth; that the antebellum South was not simply a place with economic roots in slavery, but a slave society. This was about white supremacy as much as anything, and good ‘ol Byron would’ve been shot on sight had he come across a group of Confederate soldiers during the Civil War.

Had the Confederacy had its way, Byron would’ve been in the field picking cotton instead of at the University of South Carolina getting an education because, in the South’s estimation, savages couldn’t read, or at least they shouldn’t.

A lot of Yankee blood was spilled so that Byron could have the opportunity that he has today and that’s where his allegiance should reside.

In 1858, Lincoln said, “this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved – I do not expect the house to fall – but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing, or all the other. Either the opponents of slavery, will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in course of ultimate extinction; or its advocates will push it forward, till it shall become alike lawful in all the States, old as well as new – North as well as South.”

The question that had to be settled was not just whether folks like Byron and I would remain chattel, but for how long the institution itself would endure.  Since that time, our government has continued to grapple with the Negro question.

But I don’t want to come down too hard on Byron because he’s just a young and impressionable college student. University is, of course, a place where students grow and expand their knowledge of the world and purge themselves of stubborn mythologies. Any time now Byron. We’re all rooting for you.


10 Responses to “Black Student Who Fought to Fly Confederate Flag Changes His Mind, and That’s a Good Thing”

  1. nojokester December 8, 2011 at 10:05 pm #

    well well ,My Sister Carnell., Covered expertly. non bias. fact based, To err is human, to not acknowledge said error is ; atid bit stupid. Your insightful coverage of a wind array of subjects is refreshing. , even when the topics aren’t. This young man , may well go on to bigger better things , based on truths,

  2. Tekia December 8, 2011 at 10:36 pm #

    Good job Byron. Now racist White kids at the University have agency to fly this flag from their dorm windows, and can claim it’s not offensive because a Black man, YOU, fought for the right to fly the flag…Smh

  3. poo December 9, 2011 at 12:43 am #

    they should fly him… from a tree

    • poo December 9, 2011 at 12:43 am #

      by his neck

      • nojokester December 9, 2011 at 2:38 am #

        was not a ‘cool’ reply . mistakes are human. hope readn the follow up. chanes your attitude

      • Christo_72 September 10, 2014 at 2:41 pm #

        typical racist….this reply was not “surprising” in the least. all you know is violence and savagery. hmmmm…maybe it’s in your ancestors DNA. all those cold winters in northern Europe.

  4. Harold L Carter December 9, 2011 at 12:55 am #

    It’s like a Jewish student insisting upon displaying a Nazi swastika flag in his dormitory window … Byron may have lived in a suburban white neighborhood, attended a predominantly white school, but to southern Confederate state whites who insist upon displaying the Confederate flag, Byron is still a Negro with ancestors subjected to over 400 years of slavery by their white ancestors!

    • Anonymous December 7, 2012 at 8:38 pm #

      Actually, the yanks more closely represented nazis.
      Who was more antisemitic? The South had a Jew, Judah P. Benjamin, serve at multiple high level positions in the government. The north had Ulysses S. Grant who was an anti Semite who issued orders to expel all Jews from Ky and Tn. Sherman said he was fighting the war “I independent of cotton, Jews, and n*****s.”.
      Who ignored their neighbor’s sovereignty? The north, who invaded, or the south who was invaded?
      Who practiced slavery? Both. Remember the north practiced slavery too until it was thoroughly replaced by industrialism. Except in the border states that remained with the union, where slavery was practiced throughout the war.
      Who committed genocide? Lincoln orders the largest mass execution in American history when he ordered the execution of over 100 Native Americans. Sherman wrote in his letters that he wished to commit genocide against Southerners
      Who committed war crimes? Both. The north committed far more. Perhaps this was only because the majority of the war was fought in the South, but regardless.

  5. Gcole February 11, 2012 at 7:02 pm #

    Byron in other words; is a damn fool!

  6. Gary Adams May 24, 2012 at 11:18 pm #

    I resent one thing being called a revisionist as if we are saying the same thing now as 150 years ago the revisionist would be the individual trying to reinvent what we said or meant as if they would know. Further 150 years ago we could have said anything we wanted there was no PC police so why didn’t we? Have you read “Forced Into glory” by Bennett? I have learned one thing about the Afro American community, rather than just erase that I want to apologize, I should have said I learned one thing about groups who support a belief even when confronted with the truth they “REFUSE” to even consider the alterative. I recently was invited to support the banning of a Bedford Forrest license plate and unlike many people I consider and review each issue. However, when I heard the reasons were that he started the KLAN and ordered the Fort Pillow massacre I declined. When I provided absolute truth that these were myths they turned around and continued to perpetuate a lie. (I would on one condition be more than happy to show you the same evidence, that condition being if I prove to you I am right that you will in the future ensure you’ll do the same when discussing this topic).

    Back to the reason of the war please allow me one question? Then you tell me what you think? “If the war had been over slavery the South could have at any time rejoined the Union passing the amendment securing her slaves, and even though Lincoln repeatedly made that offer (The last time on February 1865 on the ‘River Queen’ outside Fort Monroe, when both Seward and Lincoln again made the offer return pass the amendment and keep your slaves) they refused”. What were we fighting over?

    Please consider this offer please come and join our group (Southern Heritage Preservation Group) on Face Book, we discuss myths and facts and we both could learn from each other. Thank you and regards, Gary.

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