1954?S Brown Vs. Board Of Education Essay, Research Paper
1954’s Brown vs. Board of Education case court ruling marked the dawn of desegregation in America. A short time after the sentence, South Carolina replaced their state flag with the Confederate flag, raising it above their statehouse, the Georgia and Mississippi state flags were changed to incorporate the Confederate flag, and Confederate monuments were suddenly built. The brief time period between the two events led many to believe the gesture to be the state of South Carolina’s reaction and response to desegregation in public areas. Many were offended by the exhibit and confused as to whether the flag responded to desegregation or honored the state membership in the confederacy. The erection of the Confederate flag was a reaction preponderantly to desegregation and has become a contributing factor to the pain of racism; it should be lowered as soon as possible.
~~For many American citizens, a controversial flag such as the Confederate flag flying above a government edifice delivers a great amount of pain. Emett Burns, an African-American involved in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, spoke of his views on the Confederate flag: “It [the flag] says to me ‘If I could put you in your place, I would.’” (qtd in Schaiver) The NAACP finds the flag extremely offensive and explained their outlook on it with frustration, saying, “enough is enough.” (qtd in Cabell) Mims, an African-American 42 year old disabled paper worker, announced his vista upon the flag: “It is like the Germans and the Jews—they are trying to eliminate us.” (qtd in Burritt) A recent legal case concerning the Confederate flag, the Plaintiff argued the flag to be “hostile, racially divisive, and a symbol of bigotry and racial degradation.” (qtd in Jefferson 22)
~~As the Confederate flag continues to provide racial inferences, it also provides Southern pride and an honoring to the state’s membership in the Confederacy and the Civil war. Angel Quintero and Sherman Evens have created a clothing line and use the Confederate flag as their logo. Surprisingly and ironically, both are African-American citizens. “The flag features red, green and black, the African-American liberation colors,” they say. (qtd Leopold) Collin Pulley, the chairman of the Heritage Defense Committee of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, sees the issue simply; he say, “Everything I’ve seen indicates the flags were changed for the Civil War Centennial.” (qtd in Leopold) Arthur Twigg, a member of Maryland’s Sons of Confederate Veterans, is proud of the flag; he exclaims, “It means a lot to me, my ancestors carried that flag into battle.” (qtd in Schaiver)
~~Defenders of the flag say moving, hiding, or replacing the precious piece of history will suggest to the public that it is immoral. (Leopold)
~~The history of the Confederate flag leads many to be suspicious of the impetus of it’s supporters, finding it to possibly be racist. As our nation has learned of the hurt inflicted by the Confederate flag several attempts have been made to bring the effect of the flag to a more moderate level, while still inspiring Southern pride. South Carolina’s major solution to the controversy was to lower the flag from the state house but place it on the lawn to honor Confederate dead. Too much opposition to this approach predicted this would not lower the level of controversy in the state. The Jackson, Mississippi city council voted to ban the Confederate flag and all other exhibits of it in the state because it was offending Mississippi citizens. The flag was not banned, though. The Mississippi state flag would have to be redesigned, as it holds a picture of the Confederate flag in it’s left hand corner. It was decided that changing the flag would be too much of an effort so the proposition was dismissed for the time being. April 26th marks the Alabama state Confederate Memorial day, on which the state flew the Confederate flag. Because of the offense taken by the Confederate flag, state government has considered replacing it with another flag of Confederate that looks more like the American flag. (Leopold)
~~However, none of these feasible solutions were carried out. An understanding cannot be reached as to why these proposals have all failed. A resolution such as lowering the flag from the statehouse and placing it on the lawn of the statehouse would still inspire the same feelings of Southern pride, honor Confederate dead, and honor the state’s membership in the confederacy; accomplishing the same goals as flying it above the statehouse. An approachable intention the supporters of the flag would hold is one of racism. These supporters want to use the flag as a tool to show African-Americans where they came from and where they should remain: as a white person’s slave.
~~Maryland’s Sons of Confederate Veterans is a group of men who are proud of the Confederate flag, so proud that they pardoned the state to issue them special license tags to reward their members with. These tags featured the ever controversial Confederate flag on them and it wasn’t long before complaints of the tags were noted. The state recalled the licenses and a case was filed. Judge Frederic Smalkin wrote his decision in a 20 page document which included a chastising of the state for recalling the lisence tags, saying it violated the First Amendment. Judge Smalkin said “For years the First Amendment restricted only the actions of the government. It took war—the Civil War—to extend the strictures of the First Amendment to state governments. Without the Civil War, the ghosts of which pervade this case, there would not have been a Fourteenth Amendment, the vehicle through which the Bill of Rights has been applied to the states. “The genius of the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment is the protection of minorities from majoritarian tyranny.”
~~The Fourteenth Amendment should protect the members of the Sons of the Confederate Veterans in this case. And the Fourteenth Amendment should protect those who have been offended in the courts ruling of whether or not the flag should remain raised. They are the minority, as they have suffered from the pain and confusion the controversy’s caused.
~~South Carolina has seemed to find out the hard way that corporations do not like controversy. The New South built it’s revival on attracting big corporations to the town. A representative of South Carolina is pondering the decision to lower the flag, as he was asked by Michelin and BMW to keep the level of controversy low by deconstructing the flag. The corporations both have shown that they would not enjoy doing business in a conflicted area. (Leopold)
~~ Just as corporations aren’t keen on controversy, neither are tourists or convention leaders…South Carolina is into a boycott. In Arizona in 1987, the state governor canceled Martin Luther King Day and this ended up costed the economy about $300 million. Colorado state voters passed a referendum that nullified local ordinances protecting gay and lesbian from housing and job discrimination in 1992, costing the state about $100 million. The Southern Christian Leadership and a Democratic Party both canceled the conventions they were going to hold in South Carolina pending the Controversy the state is currently holding. Tourists are also extremely important to South Carolina’s economy; they raise $6 billion directly for the state, with black tourists raising $300 million. (Cabell)
~~The Confederate flag’s controversy has divided it’s supporters and opponents—the South Carolina governor in one corner, and the South Carolina senator in the other. David Beasley is a Republic and a strong evangelist who reached his answer to the conflict after reading the bible and saying a prayer. He went on statewide television to explain to South Carolina, “A flag should be a symbol that unites all of those standing below it. One that every South Carolinian can look up to with respect and admiration.” He also said, “The Klu Klux Klan can misuse it as a racist tool, as it has, and others can misuse it solely as a symbol for racism, as they have.” Beasley desires the flag be lowered because he sees South Carolinians being hurt by the flag, and trying to tell them not to see it only as a symbol for racism. (qtd in Jefferson 22) As a response to Governor Beasley, Republican Senator Glenn McConnel went on statewide television to oppose Beasley’s views. “Do not ask us to turn our backs on our ancestors. For us to surrender at the dome is to eventually surrender across South Carolina, where we will not be free to exhibit our heritage for the fear of condemnation.” Aside from South Carolina’s government, the Pastors and citizens are also being divided as they debate about the flag.
~~The case of Brown vs. Board of Education’s ruling ordered the nation to desegregate schools, transportation, and all public places. Every morning, Linda Brown had to walk a long way to arrive at her all-black school in need of several reparations. On her way, she would pass a very nice school for only white children. Her father, Oliver, who was an asset to the community, tried to get her into the all-white school but Linda was kicked out. The superintendent and the school board were for segregation and persistent about keeping the blacks and whites separated. The case was filed but dismissed quickly by reason of an earlier case. In 1952, the case was reexamined after Delaware, Washington D.C., Virginia, and South Carolina all complained of segregation. A decision was reached in 1954: “separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.” The judge said “to separate them [black children] from others of similar age and qualifications solely because of their races generates a feeling of inferiority, as to their status in their community that may affect their hearts and minds in a way unlikely ever to be undone.” An order went out to prevent segregation but the process was slow. Riots broke out all over the country in the 50’s and 60’s with crisis’s as well. This was when the Confederate flag was raised.
~~Many believe the case of Brown vs Board of Education’s decision to dismiss segregation caused the erection of the Confederate flag. Historians say “rallying around the flag” has proven common for whites to do when they feel threatened by outside forces. In the 1890’s, Mississippi added the confederate flag to their state flag at about the same time they took votes away from the blacks in the area and started to construct monuments of confederacy and civil war in courthouses.
~~Although the Confederate flag promotes an appreciation of the South’s painful and overcoming history, the ire caused by it still remains. Many have become offended and tormented by this offense, a dangerous combination of feelings far more overpowering and overwhelming than any general feeling of Southern pride. America has obtained a reputation to be an accepting and open minded country, welcoming all of any race, couture and religion. The Preamble states clearly that America will establish justice and insure domestic tranquility for all. Neither of these entities are accomplished in America as long as the Confederate flag remains raised. Our nation is furthermore divided by racism through a flag that is possibly being used as a degradation tool. This battle with racism has become far too large for American citizens and anything that is viewed as racist in such a manner as the Confederate flag is, should be censored from society, in only a helpful practice. A state flag should be capable of uniting its citizens, instead of dividing them. The Confederate flag should be lowered immediately.