Archive for June 2015
The Confederate Flag is everywhere in the news right now, and I’ve taken that opportunity to learn about this suddenly controversial symbol.
Personally, I’ve never had any particular affinity for the Confederacy, nor have I identified strongly with “Southern Pride” or “the South.” I grew up a Midwesterner, I thought. When Mizzou merged into the SEC a couple of years ago, one Southern criticism was that perhaps Missouri wasn’t “Southern enough” for the SEC.
So what’s all this Southern pride in the Confederate flag really all about?
1. What everyone is calling “The Confederate Flag” really isn’t that at all.
This may just be verbal shorthand, but I think there is an important distinction here: the flag that so many people are celebrating as “The” Confederate Flag is more properly called the Confederate Battle Flag. The Battle Flag was an element of later Confederate flags, but only an element.
This flag served as a battle flag for the Army of Northern Virginia. From Wikipedia:
The Army of Northern Virginia battle flag assumed a prominent place post-war when it was adopted as the copyrighted emblem of the United Confederate Veterans. Its continued use by the Southern Army’s post-war veterans groups, the United Confederate Veterans and the later Sons of Confederate Veterans and elements of the design by related similar female descendents organizations of the United Daughters of the Confederacy led to the assumption that it was, as it has been termed, “the soldier’s flag” or “the Confederate battle flag”.
The square “Battle Flag” is also properly known as “the flag of the Army of Northern Virginia”. It was sometimes called “Beauregard’s flag” or “the Virginia battle flag”. A Virginia Department of Historic Resources marker declaring Fairfax, Virginia, as the birthplace of the Confederate battle flag was dedicated on April 12, 2008, near the intersection of Main and Oak Streets, in Fairfax, Virginia.
A similar flag in a rectangular design became the Confederate Navy Jack, the flag flown from ships of the Confederate Navy after 1863:
This symbol was used to rally and inspire Confederate soldiers & sailors. The purpose of those soldiers and sailors? Their job was to kill American soldiers and sailors … American citizens that were protecting the Union. That’s the origin of this symbol.
2. The Confederate States of America actually had three different official “national” flags.
The first version went through four revisions, with the number of stars standing for each state that had joined the Confederacy. However, all four of these were found to be too confusing on the field of battle: they looked too much like the flag of the USA.
To create a flag that was less confusing to soldiers, a white flag with the battle flag (“stars & bars”) in the upper left field was created. This version was also confusing on the battlefield, as it looked like a surrender flag if no wind was blowing.
With that problem, the third and final flag version was created … all for a “nation” that lasted only four years.
3. “Southern Pride” is symbolized by the Confederate Battle Flag.
This idea is very strong in some circles, and truly surprises me.
It’s fine to be proud of your heritage, and proud of where you’re from. Even the Beach Boys taught us to be “True To Your School.”
However, to take as your symbol the flag of a failed army is an odd choice. Here are a few incontrovertible facts:
- The Confederate Army lost the war.
- The Confederate Army surrendered their flag to the victorious army of the United States of America. General Robert E Lee counseled citizens of the south to stop displaying the battle flag, as he feared they would be accused of treason.
- The designer of the Confederate Battle Flag believed that it stood for the right of the white race to enslave the black race.
4. 150 years after the Civil War ended, some are confused about what the War Between The States was all about.
Some revisionists claim the Civil War (or, “The War Of Northern Aggression”) was about states’ rights. Although there is a splinter of truth in that claim, it is a gross exaggeration to say the war was about states’ rights and not about slavery.
The Civil War was, in fact, about the Southern fear that Northern states would abolish their “right” to subjugate the “inferior African race” as slaves. Secession happened because too many Southerners feared Lincoln was an abolitionist (he was!). Four states actually wrote a document that outlined why they were seceding. CivilWar.org did an analysis of those documents, and found that slavery was overwhelmingly the reason for secession cited by the state governments as they were seceding.
What you learned in school was correct: the Civil War happened because Southern states seceded so they could keep slavery. Lincoln abolished slavery, won the war, and stitched the Union back together again. There were many complications, of course, but that is the simplest view of what happened in the 1860s.
5. Some states still have the Confederate Battle Flag incorporated into their state flag. In 2015.
Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi all have state flags that have their origins in the flags of the Confederacy. Before you conclude that racism is over in our country, it’s best to check the symbology still being used today by our governments.
My Bottom Line
You want to personally display any of the flags that were used by that failed “nation,” the Confederate States of America? Knock yourself out. I believe in free speech. If you strongly identify with a flag that was created as a symbol for those that wanted to destroy the United States of America so they could keep what they believed to be an inferior race as slaves to support their area’s aristocracy, then go right ahead.
Me, I’ll just wonder what point you’re trying to make.
Full Disclosure: I come from Missouri, which was a border state in the Civil War. I have ancestors that fought on both sides of the conflict, but I have no evidence that any of my ancestors ever owned slaves. Shortly after the Civil War, some of my ancestors moved from North Carolina to Missouri … perhaps to escape from the toxic environment that was the Reconstruction Era South? We’ll never know for sure, but move away from the “Old South” to the “Midwest” is exactly what they did.
It’s a delicious summer treat!
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1-3/4 cups shortening
- 3 Tbsp white sugar
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup water
- In a large mixing bowl, combine all-purpose flour, shortening, sugar, and salt. Blend together with a pastry cutter until crumbly.
- In a small bowl, mix egg with water. Blend into flour mixture. Chill in refrigerator until ready to use.
- Bake @ 425* for 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown. Makes 3x 9″ pie crusts.
- 2 (8″) pie shells, baked
- 2-1/2 quarts fresh strawberries
- 1 cup white sugar
- 2 Tbsp cornstarch
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1 (3 ounce) package strawberry flavored Jell-O
- In a saucepan, mix together the sugar and corn starch; make sure to blend corn starch in completely. Add boiling water, and cook over medium heat until mixture thickens. Remove from heat. Add gelatin mix, and stir until smooth. Let mixture cool to room temperature.
- Place strawberries in baked pie shells; position the largest, prettiest berries with points facing up. Pour cooled gel mixture over strawberries.
- Refrigerate until set. Serve with whipped cream, if desired.
Once a board is cut to shape and smoothed by either the planer or the drum sander … then it’s time for me to generate the finest sawdust that’s detested by Mrs. M. Sanding is no one’s favorite job … I actually use 7 different sanding machines to get the boards smooth.
The Board Chronicles is an ongoing series of articles about the adventures of Mrs M’s Handmade as a vendor at community festivals & craft fairs. Mrs M’s subsidiary, Mr M’s Woodshop, has been approved to create this chronicle for the good of vendorkind.
This is the first event that is a true repeat from Mrs M’s Handmade’s inaugural year, 2014. What did we learn? You can’t beat the heat.
It peaked at 100* on the day of the event. Good thing the event was scheduled to be over at 2pm. The reality is people started leaving in droves after the dump truck unloaded its 500 beach balls to the crowd at 12:30pm … and vendors were disappearing by 1pm. I took down the booth a bit early (which I NEVER do), and had the car loaded by 2:09pm. At that point, I was the only vendor left on the field.
No need to stick around in the heat with sales not happening, right?
I came into this event with very low expectations. Last year, in more temperate weather, sales were $250, including Mrs M’s lotions. This year, given the heat, I was soloing with just the cutting boards & such. Mrs M and her lotions stayed home in the air conditioning.
Though she was ready to help me set up at 7am. I believe I surprised her when I declined that honor as unnecessary.
I was unloaded by 7:17a (and as soon as I did, a nice young man asked if he could help me load. His words. I told him I was already unloaded, thank you, no help required.). Set up was complete at 8:30am. No help required.
This is a great event, I believe, for 5 year old boys and girls and their parents/grandparents/etc. If you want to clamber over a dump truck (and who doesn’t?) then this is your chance. Fire trucks, police cruisers, hot rods, a Santa Clarita graffiti removal truck (who knew?) … lots of big metal here. Horns to honk. Sirens to, uh, siren. Great event for young families.
I don’t think this is a great event for handcrafted cutting board makers and small batch lotion makers. I came to that conclusion as I was dripping sweat on the drive home.
- The event was 3 miles from home. I was back home in the air conditioning before 2:30pm.
- Lots of volunteer help was available to help with both load-in and load-out. Not sure who the load-in help was provided by, but some very nice LDS young adults loaded my car for me.
- There were 18 vendors, I believe. About half were doing direct sales; the rest were commercial promoters (burial plots, financial services, health care, political groups, etc). Only one other handmade vendor, I believe.
- I was solicited in my booth three different times by other vendors – interrupting conversations with shoppers a couple of times. I was most unhappy with this.
- The event’s DJ was funny. He had the most personality of any part of this event, IMHO. He did push it by playing “Let It Go” twice in 4 hours, though.
- A local environmental group, SCOPE, was across the aisle from me. They spent the entire day standing in the aisle in front of their booth handing out their literature to everyone in the aisle. They intercepted people before they could enter my booth to give their spiel. Politics aside, this was very frustrating to me (and the public, I believe).
- Don’t know if we’ll garner any residual benefits from being here, but Velda has already been given permission to tell me “NO” if I suggest doing this event in 2016.
Saturday Lunch: Beef Brisket Cheese Quesadilla off of the “Burnt To A Crisp Texas Roadhouse” food truck. Yum.
- Total miles driven: 7
- Booth cost: $50
- # of people we met during the event from the producer: 1
- Total sales: $130
- # containers of product taken: 8
- # boards available: 61
- Saturday alarm: 6:01a
- # transactions: 2
- # soap & lotion vendors: none
- # woodworking vendors: just me
- Edge grain vs. end grain: 2 : 0.
Boards sold: 2
It all started June 22, 2012. The MowryJournal is now 3!
Here are my favorite posts from the last year: