In light of the senseless and racially motivated murder of nine African-American parishioners that occurred in Charleston at the Emanuel AME Church on June 17, the founder and principal consultant at Carolina Historical Consulting, LLC, Dr. Eric Plaag, issued the following statement on June 19 at 3:35pm about the continued and shameful presence of the Confederate flag on the grounds of the South Carolina State House in Columbia, SC:
As a professional southern historian, I feel strongly that the Confederate flag and its story belong in a museum, in much the same way that the Nazi flag does. It was once the flag of a powerful government that fought passionately for certain ideals and had a profound impact on the lives of millions of people. Indeed, there is a cautionary tale for the generations to come in considering both flags and what they stood for, as well as how a body of people--many of them reluctantly--could be swayed and forced to fight and die for a government that flies such flags and espouses such beliefs. That is a story worth telling, and a museum is the place for remembering such symbols.
The lawn of the State House of a modern government of the people who reject such beliefs is not. Like the defunct government for which it was a symbol, the Confederate flag stood in its time for ideas and viewpoints that are reprehensible and indefensible, especially in the 21st century. No governmental entity that claims to support freedom, democracy, and equality of its citizens should be flying this flag in a ceremonial or symbolic way, not even to honor the dead who once served under it. Such an act would be unthinkable in today's Berlin. Why is it still lauded in Columbia, SC?
We are fully aware that some residents of the Carolinas and the South, including some of our clients, will not agree with this position. That's your right, of course. But we here at Carolina Historical Consulting, LLC, refuse to stand idly by while that flag still flutters on the property of the South Carolina people, mocking daily the freedom, equality, and rational good sense that any decent Carolinian and American should stand for.
For those who now want to argue that the Confederacy was not about slavery but states' rights, and thus the flag is a symbol of heritage and political freedom, not hate, well...we urge you to re-read the Articles of Secession from the Confederate states. Not just the Ordinances...the Declarations as well. You can find all of them right here.
States' rights was merely a euphemism for something much less polite. To say otherwise is either intellectual dishonesty or outright ignorance.