I'd like to piggyback on Malcolm's recent post about the Confederate flag and in a way, hopefully, that doesn't steal any of his thunder (smile).
The first time I was moved to write about this subject was way back in 1989. My essay appeared as a guest column in The Memphis Commercial Appeal and was penned in response to a previous guest column by an individual, who, among other things, described the Confederate battle flag as a "symbol of a proud and honorable people."
While I acknowledged the writer's right to interpret the Confederate flag in a positive light, I shared my own reasons for not being able to do so. The following is a somewhat revised excerpt from my original essay, which also holds the honor of being my first published newspaper piece.
As an African American, I recoil at Mr. ____'s attempt to equate the battles of the Confederacy with those of the civil rights movement. The former was a struggle to protect the ill-gotten rights of a privileged few. The latter sought to guarantee the inalienable rights of all who choose to live in America and believe in its Constitution.