Confederate flag symbolizes resistance to racial...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

February 04, 2000

Confederate flag symbolizes resistance to racial integration

For those who revere Confederate battle flag as a symbol of their cultural heritage, it is unfortunate that it represents racism, oppression, and genocide to African-Americans, as the swastika does to Jews and other Holocaust victims.

But the issue is whether a flag that has been as the banner of subjugation and violence can be institutionalized as a symbol of state government.

Adopted by the Ku Klux Klan in 1866 as its banner, the Confederate flag was used to rally former Confederate soldiers unwilling to accept the defeat of the southern cause.

At its peak in the 1920s and 1930s, the Klan had 4 to 5 million members and the lynching of African-Americans in the South was a common practice.

Later, the Confederate flag became the emblem for southerners unwilling to accept school desegregation. Several southern state capitals, including South Carolina's, flew the Confederate flag to signal their defiance of the Supreme Court's decisions.

Although some people argue that there was no relationship between the obstruction of desegregation (which required the intervention of federal troops) and the Confederate flag-waving, court cases and news reports from the time attest to an unmistakable connection.

Henry B. Ford

Baltimore

The writer is executive director of the Maryland Commission on Human Relations.

Confederate ideals of liberty included only the few

In his recent letter Alan Sutherland wrote: "The Confederacy did not stand for slavery. The Confederate nation valued individual rights, liberty, state sovereignty, and self-determination" ("Opponents of flag misrepresent nature of the Confederacy," Jan. 27).

Did this include the rights, liberty and self-determination of slaves, too?

If the Confederacy didn't stand for slavery, who did?

John Soos

Arbutus

Alan Sutherland, a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, wrote in his recent letter that the South fought for individual rights and liberty.

I agree. But it was liberty for white males to run the South as they pleased.

Zachariah Blott

Abingdon

York Road needs revived square, not `big box' stores

Many people, besides the 100 or so residents of the Belvedere Square Action Group, would like to see "a pedestrian friendly environment of small shops" in the area of York Road and Belvedere Avenue as well as other areas of the city and county ("Community criticizes Belvedere Center plan," Jan. 27).

The so-called "big box" stores are not what customers want; they are what businesses want.

They provide neither a pedestrian-friendly nor an environmentally friendly situation.

When Belvedere Square was in its heyday, it was a delightful place to shop.

With fresh meats, seafood, produce, flowers, a delicatessen, Italian grocer, a bakery, candy and even a loose potato chip stand available, it was almost a miniature Lexington Market. That was really "one-stop-shopping."

Why did it fail? Rumor has it the owner kept raising the rent. Some say crime chased the businesses away.

In either case, it would seem that owner James Ward could remedy the problem. If he cannot, maybe Mr. Ward should sell the property to someone who would bring Belvedere Square back to the way it was.

Or perhaps the new mayor of Baltimore would like to get involved. This could be an example of resurrecting business instead of tearing it down.

Shirley Carl

Towson

We may be doing well, but we could do better

Jack Germond and Jules Witcover's recent column, "Defining moments defy rebuttals," (Opinion Commentary, Jan. 26) recounted some of the more memorable lines from presidential candidates in the last 40 years.

Included in their list was a query allegedly posed by Ronald Reagan in 1980, "Are you better off today than you were eight years ago?"

As I recall, Jimmy Carter's presidency was only one term and Mr. Reagan's question was whether we were "better off today than [we] were four years ago?"

More relevant, however, is that this misstatement reflects (unconsciously, of course) a query that Al Gore has already begun to use against Texas Gov. George W. Bush.

A good response by Mr. Bush might be that while the economy is performing fine, American workers are still working harder and paying more in taxes than we ever have before in peacetime history.

We could be doing ever better if taxes were cut and we were allowed to keep more of what we earn.

Robert A. Gaumont

Baltimore

As globalization advances, we should embrace the meter

I applaud The Sun's recent column supporting U.S. metrication ("Just inching along," Opinion Commentary, Jan. 23).

Considering how far the country has come in industrial and commercial metrication, it's a pity how far behind Maryland is. When the Federal Highway Administration attempted to provide leadership and consistency in highway design metrication, Maryland failed even to start.

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