In this video, a descendant of Confederate soldiers roundly denounces the Confederate flag and all that it stands for. Southern Carolinan Bill Starr’s family lines trace back to before the Revolution, and he has a brutally honest outlook on the racist heritage that the flag represents. Story of America interviewed him after he had waited in line for over an hour to pay his respects to the murdered pastor and State Senator, Clementa Pinckney.
“It’s unbearable to think that a hundred and fifty years after the end of the Civil War, fifty years after the end of legal segregation, that people are still being murdered for the crime of having been the victims of the greatest crime in history, which is what slavery was” begins Starr. He recounts his Confederate ancestry but explains that they weren’t slave-owners, just poor people drafted “sent to fight for a bunch of rich slaveowners to defend the most unjust institution in history, and there is no honor in that, there is nothing to be proud of in that. The 300,000 Confederate soldiers soldiers who died in that war were murdered by slavery just as surely as the millions who died on the plantations.”
Starr then goes on to discuss the ways in which the legacy of slavery and the institutionalized racism in the South has kept the region poor and undeveloped, and how the South needs to confront its guilt: “A crime of hate is a crime of guilt, of refusing to acknowledge the great crime that was committed. You don’t have to hold on to that guilty. I think all these memorials need to come down” says Starr.
It’s an incredible moving interview with a Southerner who really gets it. He’s absolutely right about the damage that slavery has done to our nation, and how the desperate campaign to cling to the Confederate heritage of hatred and treason is not only harmful but disrespectful to all those poor souls who were conscripted to fight against their own brothers in the name of slavery.
Watch it here, courtesy of StoryOfAmerica.org:
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.