Release Date: June 24, 2015
BUFFALO, N.Y. – The Confederate flag represents efforts to keep African Americans enslaved during the Civil War and has come to represent resistance to desegregation, says University at Buffalo associate professor of history Carole Emberton.
And as a result, she said, the flag should not be flown from public buildings.
“When people say they are in favor of the flag because it is about heritage and not hate, it is difficult for me to buy that,” said Emberton, whose research focuses on the Civil War. “If you say this represents my great-great-grandfather who fought for the Confederacy, you have to recognize people fight and die for bad causes all throughout history. You can’t disentangle all those things.”
Emberton, who recently wrote a book that explores how the violence of the Civil War shaped the meaning of freedom and citizenship in the new South, said it is reasonable to think the younger generation may not understand the history behind the flag. It has become associated with country music and NASCAR.
However, for numerous people there is a political significance behind the flag – an anti-African-American or anti-government meaning, she said.
“I thought for a long time this flag should not be on public buildings,” Emberton said. “It is an enemy flag and it is absurd that such a divisive symbol would fly from a government building. It represents a nation founded upon the cornerstone that the black man is not equal to the white man and it should be gone."
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