Readers Speak Out On Hopkins' Rejection Of Confederacy Groups

November 22, 2008

I was dismayed to read that, after 20 years of hosting the groups, the Johns Hopkins University is refusing to allow Confederate Civil War re-enactment groups to rent space for their yearly ceremony ("Hopkins balks at Confederate banner," Nov. 20).

As the wife of a Civil War history enthusiast, I know that the Civil War was about more than just slavery and that those who seek to celebrate Confederate ancestors are not also seeking to celebrate discrimination and bigotry.

By including in its article on the controversy quotes from the NAACP condemning the Confederate flag as a symbol of hatred, the newspapers boxes re-enactors and historical enthusiasts in with white supremacists and others who twist history to suit their political needs. Having met my share of Confederate re-enactors, including representatives of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, I know this is not what they are about.

I'm most saddened by the idea suggested in the article that now that we've elected an African-American president, (or, rather, a mixed-race president) that this country must be at its most politically correct.

Political correctness is not tolerance. It is damage control.

True tolerance will come when people can look at Confederate re-enactors and see history buffs who want to share their passion with future generations, not merely a "'despicable' symbol that stood then and now for segregation."

Karen Mitchell Carothers, Halethorpe

Kudos to the Johns Hopkins University for its patriotism in denying use of official university space to Confederate sympathizers. I can think of nothing more un-American than celebrating those who rebelled and fought against our country.

While I'm sure JHU shares my willingness to let people express themselves no matter how disagreeable we may find their opinions, to allow use of university space would be to publicly condone such views.

The United Daughters of the Confederacy and the Sons of Confederate Veterans will claim they are merely celebrating their heritage and a fight for states' rights.

But let us never forget that their heritage is one of violent treason against America and that the "rights" they were defending consisted primarily of the desire to enslave other human beings.

Mark Brock-Cancellieri, Baltimore

I applaud the Johns Hopkins University for denying space to descendants of the Confederacy.

While I certainly understand the immense sense of pride the Confederate flag represents for some people, the plain fact is that it has, does and will always offend some Americans.

If the descendants of the Confederates were truly sensitive to the gamut of emotions the rebel flag stirs up in some people, they would bring down the flag once and for all.

How else can we move on as a society?

Patrick R. Lynch, Baltimore

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