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Story below from the Georgia Heritage Council website May 5, 2007

The opinion expressed below is that of the author and is not necessarily that of the SCV or all of its members.

Rebuttal to Hyatt's Hokum on the 1956 Georgia Flag – Commentary by Steve Scroggins

Richard Hyatt recently (5/02/2007) opined in the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, that the 1956 Georgia flag adoption was motivated by 'racial malice,' and a desire to maintain segregation. Here we go again.

The BIG LIE is trotted out by yet another writer as if it were Gospel and given fact. Once again, I'll give you the Truth to compare with Hyatt's Hokum (text posted below). Hyatt mentions preparations for the centennial observance of the War for Southern Independence, but then suggests that the 1956 Georgia legislature was obsessed with the subject of segregation and felt pressured to issue a response. What a load of manure.

"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." --George Orwell

"There is not a truth existing which I fear... or would wish unknown to the whole world." --Thomas Jefferson

George Orwell, in the quote above, could very well be talking about today's Politically Correct history, where inconvenient facts are brushed aside or suppressed to protect the sensibilities and self-esteem of designated protected classes OR to uphold previous lies told for the good of the politicians OR to protect certain corporate special interests. The whole concept of "political correctness" is based on deception and euphemisms to disguise the truth, or sometimes to advance bold faced lies. A janitor becomes a "custodial engineer." A clerk becomes an "associate." A school full of children accidentally bombed becomes "collateral damage." The looting and pillaging and murder of civilians is called a "March to the Sea" or "total war" or the "battle cry of freedom." Tsk, tsk. War is Hell. You get the idea. Those of us who speak the Truth are dismissed as racists, nuts or revolutionaries. I'll wear those labels proudly if "mainstream" is defined as parroting PC lies like Hyatt, Miller, Barnes and others.

Hyatt uses a number of quotes from the writings of former Governors Roy Barnes and Zell Miller, one of which I address in more detail below, but let's hit these two myths one more time here.

Author Thomas DiLorenzo has blasted many Lincoln myths (see the DiLorenzo section in the King Lincoln Archives), but one which Miller (and Hyatt by repetition) repeat here is: "War was necessary to end slavery." Bullfeathers! DiLorenzo writes:

Myth #6: War was necessary to end slavery. During the 19th century, dozens of countries, including the British and Spanish empires, ended slavery peacefully through compensated emancipation. Among such countries were Argentina, Colombia, Chile, all of Central America, Mexico, Bolivia, Uruguay, the French and Danish colonies, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela. (Lincoln did propose compensated emancipation for the border states, but coupled his proposal with deportation of any freed slaves. He failed to see it through, however). Only in America was war associated with emancipation.
{Bold emphasis mine}

Aside from the "necessary war" myth, the primary Big Lie targeted for rebuttal is that Georgia's 1956 flag was adopted primarily to show defiance against federal court desegregation orders (based on 1954's Brown v. Board of Education) and racial malice toward the state's black population. Much of the narrative in my letter is borrowed from court depositions, my own previous commentaries and from the news and legislative research of Mr. Greg Pearson.

I would be remiss if I didn't rebut the quote attributed to one-term Gov. Roy Barnes in which he suggests that the Cause for which our Confederate ancestors fought was "wrong." He doesn't elaborate on WHY he thinks it was wrong.

Was it "wrong" because the South lost the war? Because Might makes Right? Was it because Barnes is a pacifist who believes that self-defense is wrong? Is he suggesting that the South should not have fought back when the cruel invaders began burning the homes and farms of civilians? Probably not.

I imagine that Barnes was referring to the oldest and most common Lincoln war myth, that "the South fought only to preserve slavery and that the North fought only to free the slaves." Any cursory examination of the historic record makes that myth as hard to believe as, say, that Sonny Perdue didn't know anything about the $100,000 tax break he signed into law three days before filing his tax return.

Then, of course, Barnes had the brass to go to Boston and accept a "Profiles in Courage" award from the Chappaquiddick Kennedy family. If it weren't so pathetic, it would be funny. "I did something arrogant and stupid and got my fanny booted for it...thanks for the cheesy consolation prize." According to Hyatt, Barnes' acceptance speech blended quotes from MLK, JFK, RFK and Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. These last two were men of honor who would have politely kept their distance from a buffoon like Barnes.

The word "Hokum" is defined in my dictionary as follows:
1. a device used (as by showmen) to evoke a desired audience response.
2. pretentious nonsense: BUNKUM
It was probably derived from a combination of phrases, hocus-pocus + bunkum. Since the primary sources for Hyatt's article are propaganda and myth, combined with the words of "Zig Zag" Zell Miller and Roy Barnes, well....enough said.

Rebuttal to Hyatt's Hokum
by Steve Scroggins

Mr. Hyatt,
This letter is in response to your "Battle over a Symbol" commentary published May 2nd.

While some of your commentary had merit----the Barnes flag was unquestionably UGLY and Sonny did LIE--- I wanted to point out some glaring omissions and fallacies in your narrative thrust to "prove" that the 1956 flag change was motivated by "racial malice" or defiance.

For many years now, a number of writers looked into the atmosphere of the time, the controversy surrounding desegregation and federal court orders (Brown v. Board of Education - 1954), and then leaped to the conclusion that the 1956 flag change was sending a signal to Washington, D.C., and all of Georgia's citizens. It's just too much of a coincidence...right?

Think about it. In the 1950s, almost all of Georgia's politicians were open and avowed segregationists. If they wanted to be elected, they said they supported segregation. That's how it was. And they made NO SECRET of it....there was no need for coded messages, no need for cover stories.

IF....again, IF there were some who wanted to make the 1956 flag change a "message" about segregation, don't you think they would have shouted it at the first reporter to come along? Don't you think there would be dozens of quotes and public statements pronouncing that "this flag change sends a message" yada yada yada ???

I challenge you, sir, to find one...just ONE. Go ahead, look. I can tell you that the staff of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has already looked in the early 1970s and again in the early 1990s when Miller raised the question again. They didn't find any linkage between the flag change and racial malice or desire to maintain segregation.

Dang! That's inconvenient, isn't it? But it doesn't stop writers like you and many dozens of others from repeating the Big Lie as if it were the Gospel. Now, let's add some historical CONTEXT, shall we?

The change to the 1956 flag was first proposed by Judge John Sammons Bell. As a boy, he attended Confederate Veterans reunions with his grandfather. He advocated the 1956 change to honor Georgia's Confederate veterans, because the St. Andrews Cross was more recognizable as a Confederate symbol. Bell emphatically denied any motivation other than a desire to honor and memorialize veterans. Judge Bell is quoted as saying, "Anybody who says anything to the contrary is wrong or perpetuating a willful lie."

You, sir, are perpetuating a willful lie with your article published May 2nd.

Was Judge Bell a segregationist? Yes, but you know what? So were the overwhelming majority of the people in Georgia; no, make that America, in 1956. The vaunted ladies of the UDC who opposed the flag change? Segregationist. The 32 assemblymen who voted against changing to the 1956 flag? All segregationists of one type or another. The editorialist of The Macon Telegraph who advised against the 1956 flag change in their 6-Feb-1956 issue? Also, segregationist.

There were varying degrees of segregationist thought from the supremacist White Citizens Council to the more mainstream "separate but equal" and other variations of it. Describing this range of views is really another story. This is not an attempt to justify them or argue that the majority was right.

The point is that the people pushing BOTH SIDES of the flag issue in 1956 all favored maintaining segregation in one form or another. Segregation was the status quo and very few Americans or Georgians favored ending it in the mid-fifties. They would NOT have used "code words" such as "culture" and "heritage" as so many writers suggest because there was no need for such "codes." If you were an elected official and you wanted to get more votes you would have shouted the fact that you supported segregation (and many did), and if you wanted a special bill to pass with broad public support you would have somehow linked it with support for segregation!

In no instance did any supporter of the Georgia Flag change of 1956 ever associate that change with segregation or link it with defiance to the federal government (another popular election point). Every newspaper article from 1955-1957 from Georgia newspapers kept at the federal archives in Athens, Georgia, has been searched and none ever associate the 1956 State Flag with these issues. Go ahead, look yourself.

Gov. S. Marvin Griffin (1955-1959)----who was a champion of segregation and would support it in any way possible--- never even lifted a finger to help assure that the flag change would be enacted. If the flag was changed for segregation reasons he would have pushed the change with all his might just to show defiance to Washington.

The very fact that no politician of any ilk ever associated the 1956 flag change one way or another to one of the most visible political/social issues of the day that had broad voter support (namely segregation) lends credence to the fact that the State Flag was changed for memorial purposes only.

One did not carry on a "whisper campaign" for segregation in 1956! To argue otherwise is illogical.

A whole lot of hay was made over Denmark Groover's AMBIGUOUS public statements in 2001, when he was called from his deathbed to repay some old political debts and make a statement regarding Gov. Barnes' proposed flag change. As noted, the AJC had been looking for this "smoking gun" for decades...and now they had it. Ha!

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC) carried a story on Jan.25, 2001 which quoted Groover at length. Groover said that in 1956, the new flag was passed by the Senate 43-1. By the time the bill reached the floor of the House, opposition had developed, primarily from the United Daughters of the Confederacy. The UDC preferred to retain the pre-1956 flag because of its resemblance to the 1st National flag of the Confederacy. As traditionalists, the UDC didn't want the battle flag involved in any official modern government or to be perceived in any way as a symbol in any modern politics.

Groover is then quoted as saying about the 1956 flag change,

“I presented the matter to the House, and because of the opposition, I probably used some rhetoric indicating that the new flag was to symbolize our defiance of the action of the federal judiciary on matters of race.”

Emphasis on the word “probably” is mine. Probably.

That's it? That's all you have? A Probably?

These 2001 remarks above pale in comparison to the volume of remarks Groover made over his long career from 1956 to 1994. Groover was quoted extensively thoughout his career on this flag issue. Numerous quotes from the AJC and The Macon Telegraph from 1956, 1972, 1987 and 1993 were unequivocal.

On March 9, 1993, Groover took to the floor of the Georgia House to challenge then Gov. Miller’s proposal to change the 1956 flag. He admitted the obvious that segregation was a heated topic in 1956 and added,

“But those who now say that the legislature was obsessed with the matter of segregation to the exclusion of all other matters know not of what they speak…”

[Groover's March 9, 1993 remarks to the GA House are attached as Exhibiit A to his 1994 deposition quoted below.]

Groover listed numerous appropriations made to fund historical markers and the Stone Mountain memorial in preparation for the tourism expected to accompany the 1961 Centennial Observances for the War Between the States. Groover went on to say,

“To now conclude that the flag was adopted primarily as a symbol of segregation is justified only in the minds of those who, for their own purposes, would teach one segment of our population to hate another because of the faults of their ancestors. How was the flag bill passed? And why? It was designed by John Sammons Bell who was then the Chairman of the state Democratic Party and who now says that the issue of segregation was not in his mind...."

Groover pointed out that some of the most outspoken segregationists in the state at that time voted against the 1956 flag change.

Here’s what Groover said under oath in his deposition in a 1994 federal court case (James Andrew Coleman vs. The State of Georgia and Governor Zell Miller) :

“I have no personal knowledge which would dispute the purely historical motives which were expressed then and since by the sponsors and others involved with the legislation when it was introduced in the Senate. While I cannot say that the Supreme Court's rulings regarding desegregation played absolutely no role in my decision to support the bill in the House, I can say that segregationist sentiment was not the overriding or even a significant factor in my vote concerning the new flag, or, based on personal observation and knowledge, in its ultimate adoption by the House....”

Shouldn’t we believe Groover's decades of public comments that are consistent with his sworn testimony? Shouldn’t we believe Judge Bell, Governor Vandiver and many others who have emphatically stated their motives for the 1956 flag change were honorable? Of course we should.

Want more?

More context is provided by the record of the General Assembly.

Here's a list of appropriations, bills and resolutions on historical markers and related activities to prepare for the centennial observance of the War Between the States.

[NOTE: All references found in the Georgia House Journal.]

  • 1952 -- HR 250-9286 (pp 1250,1331,1689,1815,1828) To Propose and urge the creation of a Condederate Memorial Park at Stone Mountain. Adopted 11Feb.1952
  • 1953 -- HB 160 (pp 12,131,134,171,374,381) To provide pensions for widows of Confederate Veterans Adopted 4 FEB. 1953
  • 1953 -- SR 65 (pp 1251,1260,1481,1491,1689) The Confederate Veterans' Home property was given to the Georgia military department Adopted 1Dec.1953
  • 1955 -- HR 35 (pp114,134,759) A resolution urging the Governor to purchase Stone Mountain because, "the incomplete and unsightly condition of the Stone Mountain Memorial has long weighed upon the pride and civic concience of all Georgians." and the acquisition of Stone Mountain by the State would insure, "a lasting Memorial." Adopted 18Jan.1955
  • 1955 -- HR 48 (pp155,200) Recommended the placing of a bust of General "Stonewall" Jackson in the Hall of Fame in New York City. Project was begun by the UDC and had the, "whole hearted endorsement," by the State. Adopted 20Jan.1955
  • 1955 -- HR 145 (pp513,680,690,759) A resolution designating December 9th of each year as "Uncle Remus Day" Adopted 15Feb.1955
  • 1955 -- HR 195 (p800) A resolution honouring 'Miss Anne Collins as, "Miss Deep South of 1954" Adopted 16Feb. 1955
  • 1955 -- HB 14 (pp32,37,51,81,82) A bill to establish the Georgia State War Veterans' Home Adopted 7June1955
  • 1955 -- HR 22 (p90) "A resolution naming the new bridge across the Wilmington river "Memorial Bridge" in honour of deceased veterans." Adopted 17June1955
  • 1956 -- SR 30 (pp 449,468,1135,1140,1378) a resolution creating the "All-south Centennial Committee of Georgia" Adopted 17Feb.1956
  • 1956 -- SR 48 (pp1068,1174) A resolution to preserve the Confederate Flags at the Capitol. Adopted 15Feb1956
  • 1956 -- HB 188 (pp 236,306,309,431) A bill to abolish the State Division of Confederate Pensions and Records. It was amended to put all records with reference to, "the glorious men of the Confederacy," under control of the Department of Archival History. Adopted 26Jan.1956
  • 1956 -- HB 241 (pp 297,581,587) A bill to dispose of the Confederate Soldiers' Home and to provide for the care of widows now living there. Adopted 2Feb.1956
  • 1956 -- SB 98 (pp 598,602,710,719,856) This is the bill that created the wonderful 1956 State Flag. Adopted9Feb.1956
  • 1957 -- HR 217 (p1027) A resolution to commend the Confederate Veterans' Sons (SCV) for their efforts to preserve our glorious heritage. Adopted 20Feb.1957
  • 1957 -- HB 610 (pp 876,1036) A bill to increase the amount of pension given to widows of Confederate Veterans Adopted 19Feb.1957
  • 1957 -- HR 234 (pp1100,1179) A resolution to commend the formation of the Stone Mountain Confederate Memorial Association and encourage them (it) to finish the monument. Adopted 22Feb.1957

Numerous State funded Historical Markers were placed around Georgia in the following years: 1953-40, 1954-249, 1955-380, 1956-125, 1957-341, 1958-285, 1959-238, 1960-42, 1961-14, 1962-33, 1963-22, 1964-18, 1965-7 . That's a total of 1,794 markers placed between 1953 and 1965. Of those, 1,373 were placed between 1953 and 1959. You might reasonably conclude that history and memorials were "on our minds" during those years.

The upcoming centennial of the war was on the minds of many Americans. In 1957, the U.S. Congress issued a joint resolution creating the Civil War Centennial Commission to "coordinate the nationwide observances." Georgia officials expected a lot of war-related tourism during the observances, so the vast majority of the above historical markers are related to the War for Southern Independence. These markers, the Stone Mountain memorial and the 1956 flag were all efforts to memorialize Georgia's veterans, Georgia's people and to present southern pride to all visitors.

Do you see a picture emerging here? The centennial was a "big deal" across the country and Georgia was preparing for it in many ways. The 1956 state flag was just one of them. Georgians still had a lot of pride in and reverence for their Confederate veterans and the Cause for which they fought.

Now, let's go back to the "Date Argument" for a moment.

In 1956, an effort was also made to change the State tree from the live oak to the pine tree (7Sept.56). The change failed to pass. Does anyone suspect that this attempted change was motivated by racial malice and/or defiance of the federal government? Why not? It happened in the same year as the state flag change!

Following the same twisted logic of the Date Argument, it follows that the state tree change was OBVIOUSLY motivated by racial malice and defiance. Why are the folks who claim to be offended by the 1956 Georgia flag not also claiming to be offended by pine trees? Don't you see the obvious link??? The lack of proof or documented linkage is irrelevant! The timing proves everything; it cannot be a coincidence. Right?

Your numerous quotes of Gov. Miller are questionable since Miller obviously needs some history lessons himself. His statement that abolition depended on the Confederacy's defeat is ridiculous. Your repetition of it makes you an accomplice in ignorance.

By the 1850s, chattel slavery was doomed in western Christian civilization ---thank goodness!--- and WAR was NOT necessary to end it. All the countries of Europe and their colonies ended slavery WITHOUT a war. Brazil, a colony of Portugal, ended it finally in 1888. Of course, we can only speculate on when, I believe that slavery would have been gradually abolished (with compensation but without war) before 1900, probably before 1890, if the Confederate states had been left unmolested. Think about it. The ONLY country in the whole world ----and we are talking about a world-wide practice--- the only to require a war to end slavery was the U.S.A. ??

By the way, we're not yet going to war over the slavery that exists today in African countries, are we? Muslim nations have never been squeamish about slavery like those "evil whites of the Southern United States." 35 million tax-slaves in the U.S. have more than they can pay for now with all our military adventures in the middle east. Our great-grandchildren will be paying for debts we're making now. An honest look at our situation makes it easy to say, "the South was Right." The Party of Lincoln (and the corporations that own it) has us neck deep in a war that may last a generation or more. The insultingly titled Patriot Act stands as a monument to illustrate liberties forfeited for the illusion of security.

In an 1866 letter to Lord Acton, General Robert E. Lee wrote these prophetic words:
"The consolidation of the states into one vast republic, sure to be aggressive abroad and despotic at home, will be the certain precursor of that ruin which has overwhelmed all those that have preceded it."

The War for Southern Independence was NOT about slavery. Lincoln, in his 1861 inaugural address, stated emphatically that he had no intention nor any inclination nor any authority to end slavery. He did state---in typical cryptic style--- that he would do ANYTHING (including invasion, looting, pillaging, and total war) to preserve federal revenues. The Southern states were paying 75%-80% of all tax revenues via import and export tariffs. There was no income tax until 1913. The Southern states were tax serfs serving their Northern brethren and they decided to end that, just as the original colonies seceded from the British Empire in 1776--1783. Just like Britain, Lincoln wouldn't let the cash-cow walk away without a fight. In the process, states rights and the federal Republic defined in the Constitution were crushed and ALL Americans are the losers on that score.

As late as August 1862, Lincoln in his letters to abolitionist editorialist Horace Greeley was denying that ending slavery was the purpose of the war. This is a year and half into the war. Now, "Honest Abe's" tendency to lie and deceive are well-documented, so I suppose you could argue that he was just pandering to racists when he repeatedly said that his illegal invasion and occupation of the Southern states was not about slavery.

I could go on rebutting your words ( and Miller's), but I'm sure I have exhausted your attention span for this subject and I recognize that most folks need their Truth in little sips. I'll now turn off the fire hose.

--Steve Scroggins
Macon, GA

Battle over a symbol
Confederate flag still source of political fights

by Richard Hyatt
Staff Writer

Marvin Griffin could play the fool, but he could also play politics.

"There will be no mixing of the races in Georgia anywhere, anytime as long as I'm governor," he proclaimed to legislators in 1956. "All attempts to mix the races, whether they're in the classrooms, on the playgrounds, in public conveyances or in any other area of close public contact... peril the mores of the South."

Into this world was born a new Georgia flag.

And what a world it was.

Two months before the all-white Legislature convened, Griffin threatened to keep Georgia Tech home from the Sugar Bowl. He couldn't have them playing the University of Pittsburgh and its black fullback.

"The South stands at Armageddon," Griffin said. "The battle is joined. One break in the dike and the relentless seas will rush in and destroy us."

The Yellow Jackets played. So did Pitt's Bob Grier. And Armageddon didn't come.

But it was close.

In 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court called for an end to segregated schools. In 1955, a Baptist preacher nobody knew led a boycott of city buses in Montgomery. All over the South, blacks pushed officials to let them play on public golf courses or swim in public pools.

Politicians felt the clock was ticking in the fourth quarter, and they didn't know what play to call.

So they made themselves a flag.

People today cling to that 1956 flag as if Robert E. Lee himself stitched it. It stirs souls like a chorus of "Dixie."

It scared a governor who wanted to take it down, defeated a governor who did and elected a governor who didn't restore it.

Its story is worth remembering.

A new flag

Few headlines were written.

Senators voted 41-3. The House voted 107-32. Sixty-six members sat it out.

Georgia had a new state flag, replacing an 1878 banner created by a senator who fought in the Civil War.

Denmark Groover of Macon was a member of the House in 1956. He said the flag was introduced in advance of the Civil War centennial in 1960 and that its design came from John Sammons Bell, chairman of the state Democratic Party.

"Of course I can't say that there were absolutely no feelings against what was going on at the time, that Brown v. the Board of Education didn't influence John Bell's decision to do what he did. I never discussed it with him," Groover related in a biography of former Gov. Zell Miller.

He also remembered people feeling they were being trampled on, and being reverent to the generation that came out of the War Between the States.

"What was going on in the 1950s seemed to be an attempt at a destruction of those in the 1860s," Groover said, "and an assumption that the War Between the States was fought wholly and entirely in order to preserve slavery -- which was not true."

The memory of Rep. James Mackay of DeKalb County was harsher.

"It was like the gun rack in the back of a pickup truck," Mackay said. "It telegraphed a message."

Zell's stand

In 1993, at his peak of power, Zell Miller set out to eliminate a flag that had come to stand for slavery and defiance.

Georgia's business establishment cheered. The Super Bowl was coming in 1994 and the Olympics in 1996. They did not want that flag flying.

It was too much like the Confederate flag, long ago usurped by the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and other white supremacy groups. The old banner sent contemporary messages.

Miller couldn't predict the reaction. Good ole boys didn't want anybody tampering with their Rebel heritage or their history.


They couldn't.

Or wouldn't.

Miller wanted a flag for a new generation of Georgians.

"Of all the arguments that have been made for keeping this flag, the most infuriating to me is the contention that if we don't we will somehow forget the sacrifices made by those who fought for the Confederacy," he told the legislature. "We will not forget. We cannot forget. Our graveyards, our literature and many of our own family histories will forever keep alive the memory of those who died for the Confederacy -- and the memory of those whose freedom from slavery depended on the Confederacy's defeat."

He recalled 1956.

"They were prepared to eliminate our public schools and even prohibit our college football teams from competing in bowl games -- in order to maintain segregated schools, segregated public transportation, segregated drinking fountains and segregated recreational facilities. We have long since repudiated every element of those shameful 1956 days of defiance -- except the flag they created."

Miller asked legislators to help him "give bigotry no sanction, and persecution no assistance."

The No. 1 issue

Zell Miller was eloquent. Pete Robinson was scared.

The senator from Columbus sponsored Miller's bill to change the flag in 1994. He and Wayne Garner of Carrolton caught the brunt of the outcry. Receiving threats on their families, they asked the State Patrol to escort their children to school.

People said Robinson didn't understand how much that banner meant to Georgia. Only he did. His great-uncle served in the Senate of 1956 that changed it. His great-great-grandfather served in the House of 1878 that created the original flag.

"So don't tell me I don't understand," Robinson said.

His pleas attracted 12 votes.

Groover addressed the House. As the only member who was there in 1956, he had something to say.

"I went to the Legislature when segregation was the No. 1 political issue in this state," he said. "I was born and raised in a country town in South Georgia and anybody, any white, in my generation who told you he didn't have prejudice was a liar. However, one of the benefits of my being here and living through those changing times is not political advance but the opportunity to move away from some of that prejudice. I didn't like Martin Luther King Jr. He made people like myself look at ourselves and to some extent we didn't like what we saw."

And the flag still flew.

Cheap placemat

Roy Barnes' flag was ugly.

But its demise didn't come because it looked like a cheap placemat.

Barnes, a former member of the House and Senate, succeeded Miller. He kept his ideas about the flag under wraps. Only key legislators were privy to the plan. Others found out what was up in 2001, when Rep. Calvin Smyre of Columbus, chairman of the Rules Committee, added the flag bill to that day's calendar.

Businessman Cecil Alexander designed Barnes' flag. Its blue background included small replicas of flags that had flown over the state. In the Legislature, the words "In God We Trust" were added.

No one noticed at the time, but Sen. Sonny Perdue of tiny Bonaire voted against Barnes' design, just as he had Miller's.

"Boot Barnes" became the battle cry of flag lovers, commonly referred to as flaggers. They set out to make Barnes a one-term governor. They wanted him run out and the old flag run up.

The 2002 election was between Barnes and Perdue, a onetime walk-on quarterback at the University of Georgia. In that campaign, flaggers hounded Barnes at every stop. Perdue, promising a vote on the '56 flag, was their boy.

Barnes went down with his flag.

Choice of two flags

Flaggers had a new slogan: "Sonny Lied."

At Perdue's victory celebration, the '56 flag was waving. Asked about the flaggers' presence, the governor-elect denied he had invited them.

Gov. Perdue gave Georgians a chance to vote. But nowhere on the ballot was there a chance to vote for that beloved 1956 flag.

The choice: "Roy's flag" or "Sonny's flag."

For the third time in 29 months, Georgia flew a new flag: "Sonny's flag."

Flaggers called his maneuvering "devious, dishonest manipulation of a political issue." He became their target.

Barnes was honored with the 2003 Profile in Courage Award, given by Ted and Caroline Kennedy. In his acceptance, he invoked the names of Robert E. Lee, Martin Luther King Jr., Stonewall Jackson, John Lewis, John F. Kennedy and Robert Kennedy.

He also shared a story about his wife, Marie, and her red convertible, the one with a fading "Barnes for Governor" sticker.

She was at a traffic light when a pickup truck stopped beside her. The driver glanced at her bumper sticker and said: "I'm sorry you were for Barnes. You know he's a traitor to his race."

Barnes acknowledged that "race is just below the surface of our society and on what it means to be from the South."

"The discussion is whether the Confederate Battle Flag, the St. Andrews Cross, is the only acceptable symbol to honor an era when our ancestors fought with valor... even though they fought for a cause that was wrong."

"Surrender means that the history of this heroic struggle will be written by the enemy; that our youth will be trained by Northern school teachers; will learn from Northern school books their version of the War; will be impressed by all the influences of history and to regard our gallant dead as traitors, and our maimed veterans as fit subjects for derision." --Gen. Pat Cleburne, CSA"

"The sword is mighty, but principles laugh at swords. Overwhelming force may crush truth to earth but, crushed or not the truth is still the truth." --John S. Tilley, The Coming of the Glory (author of War for What? and The Coming of the Glory)

"All that was, or is now, desired is that error and injustice be excluded from the text books of the schools and from the literature brought into our homes; that the truth be told, without exaggeration and without omission, truth for its own sake and for the sake of honest history, and that the generations to come after us not be left to bear the burden of shame and dishonor unrighteously laid upon the name of their noble sires.” Rev. James P. Smith, Staff of General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson, C.S.A

"People separated from their history are easily persuaded." --Karl Marx

"No nation can long survive without pride in its tradition." --Sir Winston Churchill

" A nation which does not remember what it was yesterday does not know where it is today...The reputation of an individual is of minor importance to the opinion posterity may form of the motives which governed the South in their late struggle for the maintenance of the principles of the Constitution. I hope therefore, a true history will be written, and justice will be done them." --Gen. Robert E. Lee."

"I saw in States Rights the only availing check upon the absolutism of the sovereign will, and secession filled me with hope, not as the destruction but as the redemption of Democracy. . . . I deemed that you were fighting the battles of our liberty, our progress, and our civilization; and I mourn for the stake which was lost at Richmond more deeply than I rejoice over that which was saved at Waterloo." ---Lord Acton in a letter to Robert E. Lee, November 14, 1866 (Lee's response is quoted above.)

Related Links
Lincoln Hypocrisy - Steve Scroggins

Slavery, Apologies & Duty - Steve Scroggins

Lies & Myth Spewed at UGA - Steve Scroggins

Rebuttal of McNoughton's Nonsense - Billy Bearden

Rebuttal to Nevin's Nonsense on Southern Flag - Steve Scroggins

Tribute to a Friend, Adversary and Friend Again, Ernest Vandiver - J.A. Davis

Slavery in Perspective - Joseph Sobran

King Lincoln Archive -

Suggested Reading List

Union Army Code of Conduct - Commentary by Lew Regenstein

The Truth About the Confederate Battle Flag - Pastor John Weaver

Story posted online at

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