By: Kipper Jones / @unclekipper
I remember when I first moved to Atlanta in 2006 my mom told me, "Now remember, everything outside of Atlanta is Georgia!"
I wasn't naive to what that meant. But I had a vocal student who lived in Conyers, (where many of my friends live and which many consider to be part of the Atlanta metropolitan area). On my way to his home I would pass by this dilapidated residence that sat off the street, and waving proudly off the porch awning was a tattered confederate flag. It shook me the first time I saw it. For surely a neighbor would be offended enough to ask for it to be removed. Because after all the Civil War is over, the slaves were freed, and the descendants of those slaves are now the neighbors of this residence. But sadly, no. If I were to to drive out there right now, that tattered flag would be posted proudly on this glorious Georgia morning.
The narrative of the "heritage" and "honor" of that flag is still allowed to sound through the halls around these parts. The heritage and honor of those who fought so bravely to defend their right to own slaves and not operate under the jurisdiction of the Federal government, (the United States). For truly the very term "confederate" means 'against the federate', or against the Untied States. Or even more bluntly, TRAITORS!
Pure and simple, the flag and all it's connotations are about slavery. The institution which allowed for the ownership, raping, lynching, and outright murder of untold millions (yes "millions"), of African peoples.
So as they rally to be proud of this "heritage", I contend that those of us who are descendants of those slaves should stand in our pride, as well. By 1. Calling them out on their treason, and 2. Removing every semblance of the representation of said treason in every State or Federal institution in this nation!
After seeing the action taken in South Carolina and watching them place the rebel flag in the relic room where it belongs, and viewing The Young Turks' Cenk Uygur's brilliant breakdown of the Confederate flag, I decided to do my own research, and here's what I found about the current state flag of Georgia.
The current flag of the State of Georgia was adopted on May 8, 2003.The design principle is based on the first national flag of the Confederacy, which was nicknamed the "Stars and Bars".
It wasn't just the little shack in Conyers waving their symbol of racist pride. The State Capitol right here in downtown Atlanta, Georgia, home of the Civil Rights movement, and dare I say one of the most progressive Black run cities in America is also waving it's tribute to the debauchery and annihilation of Black people in this country right now, over their heads, today, as we speak!
It wasn't enough to have to watch the late Rev. Clementa Pinckney's funeral bier paraded right underneath that symbol which not only represented his death, but the deaths of countless others in his beloved South Carolina.
In 1964 after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, the business elite of Atlanta were not in support of an interracial celebratory dinner in his honor. J. Paul Austin then chairman and CEO of Coca-Cola and then Mayor Ivan Allen summoned key Atlanta business leaders to the Commerce Club's eighteenth floor dining room, where Austin told them flatly, 'It is embarrassing for Coca-Cola to be located in a city that refuses to honor its Nobel Prize winner. We are an international business. The Coca-Cola Co. does not need Atlanta. You all need to decide whether Atlanta needs the Coca-Cola Co.' Within two hours of the end of that meeting, every ticket to the dinner was sold.
It appears we are at such a crossroads again. But his time we have a burgeoning international film and television industry to consider. We have an airport second to none with global outreach and intake like never before. Are we willing to compromise our standing?
Are we as Atlantans going to sit idly by and allow this absolute travesty to continue? Or will we rise up and like Messrs. Austin and Allen claim and dictate our worth? We live, eat, work, and at the end of the day spend our money in a place that will fly a flag of hatred, bigotry, and murder in our faces. It is embarrassing for us to live in a city that honors the murderous, treasonous history of slavery right in the faces of the descendants of those slaves!
Will we stand for this? Or will we TELL THEM TO CHANGE THE STATE FLAG?
If you wanna wear your General Lee pajamas or even your swastika T-shirt, I fully support your right to do so. But not over the State Capitol.