The more disconcerting part of this discovery is the idea that there might actually be a market for this particular banner here in town.
In addition, I have, on the rare occasion, seen the Confederate flag displayed on the cabs of trucks driving through the city.
While this does not necessarily mean Sudburians are proudly showing their support for the Confederacy, this type of indifference and ignorance is part of a wider disconnect that many people have with this controversial flag.
Here’s a brief history of the Confederate flag and why people should not be waving it in any shape or form in the 21st century.
The British Empire abolished slavery in the late 1830s, and as an extension, so did Canada. However, the United States continued to allow African slavery, most notably in the south.
By the 1850s, the Republican Party was determined to stem the tide of slavery and eventually abolish it. This led many in the southern United States to call for separation or secession of the union.
By the 1860s, the slavery issue had reached a tipping point, and in 1861, some of the southern slave states formed the Confederate States of America, also known as the confederacy.
This, of course, was one of the driving factors that led to the eruption of the Civil War a couple months later. During this extremely bloody conflict, which lasted until 1865, the Confederacy adopted several flags, which were to be distinct from the Union’s stars and stripes.
The most significant of these variations was a flag with a red background accompanied by a blue saltire or diagonal cross that had stars inside it.
While it was never officially adopted as a national flag, it was used extensively on the battlefield and was quite popular overall in the south, and a result, is most commonly associated with the confederacy.
But the takeaway message is that the people who flew or rallied behind this flag were the ones that still thought it was acceptable to own black people.
After the Civil War ended and slavery was abolished, the flag was still prevalent in the southern states, and remained a symbol of racial oppression, as it was commonly flown in states that supported segregation, a racist policy that persisted until the 1960s.
Since then, the flag has been appropriated by many people and groups in the United States, claiming it as a symbol of southern heritage, while overlooking the obvious racist undertones that it possesses.
Hopefully this has shed some light on the history behind the Southern Cross and has provided enough reasoning why it is not acceptable to fly or purchase this flag in any location today.
History PhD candidate, McMaster University