The Charleston, South Carolina murders triggered a national controversy about the Confederate flag (which still flies over the SC capitol). The defenders of that flag cite heritage, tradition, and a Southern way of life. (BTW - the same arguments got trotted out in the 1960s debates in the US Senate over the voting and civil rights acts.) But what is that heritage, that revered tradition, that longed-for way of life?
Mike Moore, a Community Columnist for the GV News, explains what the South fought for and does so in the words of a Vice President of the Confederate States of America.
... The fundamental issue in the South was slavery, the bedrock of the South’s economy — and the "right" of southern states to preserve it and to extend it westward. States’ rights and slavery were two sides of the same coin.
... Consider the words of Alexander H. Stephens, vice president of the Confederate States of America, and a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives. Stephens was an articulate and powerful spokesman for the Southern Cause. His speech in Savannah, Georgia, on March 21, 1861, just weeks before the war began, was a legendary summary of why the South chose to preserve slavery rather than preserve the Union. I offer just a snippet of his "Corner Stone" speech. (The speech can be easily found on the Web.)
And in the interest of brevity I will further snippetize Moore's selections.
"Our new government ... foundations are laid, its corner-stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery [and] subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, [to be] based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth. . . ."
The Confederacy may have been the first government to embrace this "truth" but it was not the last.
... "to men, women and children of African-American heritage, the Stars and Bars has one paramount meaning: racial superiority. To them, it is a racist emblem, a distant cousin of the Swastika."
David Fitzsimmons from the Daily Star has an appropriate graphic.