More Virginia Flagger Racism On Display

On Saturday, July 18, 2015 the Virginia Flaggers showed some more of their racism.

In the video attached to this report, at about the 1:20 point, you can see some members of the flaggers led by Susan Hathaway in singing the former state song of Virginia, “Carry Me Back to Old Virginny.” What’s racist about that?

Composed by James Bland in 1878, the song was adopted as the Virginia State Song in 1940, during the Jim Crow period.

Here are the lyrics:

Carry Me Back to Old Virginny

words and music by James Bland

    Carry me back to old Virginny,
    There's where the cotton and the corn and tatoes grow,
    There's where the birds warble sweet in the springtime,
    There's where the old darkey's heart am long'd to go,
    There's where I labor'd so hard for old massa,
    Day after day in the field of yellow corn,
    No place on earth do I love more sincerely
    Than old Virginny, the state where I was born.

   CHORUS:
    Carry me back to old Virginny,
    There's where the cotton and the corn and tatoes grow,
    There's where the birds warble sweet in the springtime,
    There's where this old darkey's heart am long'd to go.

    Carry me back to old Virginny,
    There let me live 'till I wither and decay,
    Long by the old Dismal Swamp have I wander'd,
    There's where this old darkey's life will pass away.
    Massa and missis have long gone before me,
    Soon we will meet on that bright and golden shore,
    There we'll be happy and free from all sorrow,
    There's where we'll meet and we'll never part no more.

L. Douglas Wilder, while Governor of Virginia, led the way to jettison the song due to its lyrics that include a racist term for African-Americans and its evoking images of slavery. In 1997 it was removed as Virginia’s State Song, being designated as the “State Song Emeritus.”

There are lyrics that replace the racist language, which were adopted by the Virginia Legislature in 1994:

Carry me back to old Virginia, 
    There's where the cotton and corn and 'tatoes grow, 
    There's where the birds warble sweet in the springtime, 
    There's where this old darkey's dreamer's heart am long'd to go. 
    There's where I labor'd so hard for old Massa my loved ones, 
    Day after day in the field of yellow corn, 
    No place on earth do I love more sincerely, 
    Than old Virginia, the State where I was born. 

    CHORUS 
    Carry me back to old Virginia, 
    There's where the cotton and corn and 'tatoes grow, 
    There's where the birds warble sweet in the springtime, 
    There's where this old darkey's dreamer's heart am long'd to go.

    Carry me back to old Virginia, 
    There let me live 'till I wither and decay, 
    Long by the old Dismal Swamp have I wander'd, 
    There's where this old darkey's dreamer's life will pass away, 
    Massa Mama and Missis Papa have long gone before me, 
    Soon will we meet on that bright and golden shore, 
    There we'll be happy and free from all sorrow, 
    There's where we'll meet and we'll never part no more. 

The Official Virginia State Song is now “Our Great Virginia.”

When given a choice of which song to sing, the flaggers chose “Carry Me Back to Old Virginny.” When given a choice between the racist lyrics and the nonracist lyrics approved by the state legislature, guess which one they picked?

Yep.

Britni McDonald of NBC 12 reported on her Facebook page:

CarryBack CarryBack2

And did you notice the caravan of cars with the racist rag displayed?

Kind of reminds you of this, doesn’t it?

September 1963, Birmingham, Alabama, USA --- Teenagers wave signs and confederate flags from their car during the fight over desegregating Birmingham's public schools. --- Image by © Flip Schulke/CORBIS

September 1963, Birmingham, Alabama, USA — Teenagers wave signs and confederate flags from their car during the fight over desegregating Birmingham’s public schools. — Image by © Flip Schulke/CORBIS

Some things don’t change.

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5 comments

  1. I love coming to Al’s work here.

    It is refreshing and enlightening.

    In addition I learn so much from people who leave facts in context and are objective to wherever these facts take them.

    I am no expert like most of you on the subject of the Civil War.
    However I am in my mid 60s now and have lived long enough to observe some interesting things connected to the flag debate.

    In sharing I do so not as at expert in history but from my own experiences and discoveries on my journey.

    I read an article about the Confederate flag being displayed on a fire truck during a 4th of July parade in Minnesota.

    The man who placed it there, Mr. Nielsen, had the typical response from folks who think what they believe somehow magically overrides and erases historical facts.

    Mr. Nielsen’s response was, “My view is that PC is going too far taking things out of history,” Nielsen said. “It has nothing to do with slavery. I don’t see color, black or white. We’re all equal.”

    Naturally the ignorance and intellectual dishonesty of this statement is mind-boggling.

    To deny this flag is not connected to slavery, Jim Crow, segregation, and the mountain of evidence to the contrary is the classic example of “cognitive dissonance.”

    All of you know the pages of documentation from the President and Vice President of the Confederacy to all the secession documents by the Southern states that tie their reason for secession to wanting to maintain slavery.

    Then concerning the creation of the various flags the Confederate states stood under the designer of many of these flags were very plain in what they saw that flag pertaining too.

    William T.Thompson was the designer of the “stainless banner.” He was also the co-founder of the “Savannah Morning News.”
    Yes his words are left to us right from his own newspaper. His own printed words right from his mind to his paper are left to all of to read.

    Again these are the words of Mr. Thompson telling us why they were fighting the Civil War and what the flag he created represents.
    Let’s go over his words offered to us from others who have studied this topic with great detail.

    “As a people, we are fighting to maintain the Heaven-ordained supremacy of the white man over the inferior or colored race; a white flag would thus be emblematical of our cause.…”

    “Such a flag…would soon take rank among the proudest ensigns of the nations, and be hailed by the civilized world as the white mans flag .…”

    “As a national emblem, it is significant of our higher cause, the cause of a superior race, and a higher civilization contending against ignorance, infidelity, and barbarism.”

    “Another merit in the new flag is, that it bears no resemblance to the now infamous banner of the Yankee vandals.”

    One can read plainly it all drips with “white supremacy” and the prevalent view of that time.

    However when we fast-forward to 1948 as President Truman is integrating the US Military we find this flag again coming out in droves.

    Once again the “solid South” broke away. This time it broke with its own political party and President Truman in his efforts to integrate the military and his stance against lynching’s.

    The Dixiecrates were formed and the Confederate flags came out in droves and they nominated Strom Thurmond as their presidential candidate.
    Yes the same Strom Thurmond who said this,
    “There’s not enough troops in the Army to force the Southern people to break down segregation and admit the “n…. race” into our theaters, into our swimming pools, into our homes, and into our churches.”

    This was not some “fringe” group hijacking the flag.
    Thurmond carried four of the Southern states during the re-election of President Truman.

    Then as Earl Warren pushed for the integration of public schools in the south those same flags are out in droves again.

    George Wallace was supported by that same flag and put it on the state house as Robert Kennedy went to Alabama to discuss the refusal of Wallace to integrate the schools.
    Again this wasn’t the fringe.
    I remember the Wallace speech on segregation as a child.

    “From this Cradle of the Confederacy, this very Heart of the Great Anglo-Saxon Southland,” Wallace declared, “I say segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.”

    You can literally find hundreds if not thousands of pictures of protestors waving this flag with the most vile, racist terms used.
    Race mixing was communism, race mixing and integration was the anti-Christ along with much worse.
    Who can forget the picture of a little girl Ruby Bridges walking with Federal Marshalls as people wave this flag in protest?

    No one hijacked this flag. It was born out of the ideology of white supremacy as stated by the voices who designed it.
    The leaders of the Confederate states who told us why they were seceding tied their destiny to the institution of slavery along with that flag.

    This flag was always used to support white supremacy, segregation and the laws of Jim Crow. It was used to thumb its nose in defiance to President Trumans effort to integrate the US Military.
    It was waved in mass at political rallies to support the segregationist Strom Thurmond and his effort to not allow African Americans into “white” churches let alone other public places.

    It was on was folded and laid on top the Bible as George Wallace uttered “segregation forever.”

    It was waved in the face of Martin Luther King as he was called “King Koon” in his effort to bring civil rights to all Americans.

    Ask Ruby Bridges what that flag represents to her or the millions of other people who were sent to the back door of restaurants under the ideology that flag represents.

    Just because someone or their family was never touched by segregation, slavery or the denial of basic civil rights by people who waved that flag does not change the pain it caused.

    Like the fireman who thinks just saying that flag doesn’t represent all those things does not erase the pain and history of that flag.

    In closing I am always amazed at the people who say this flag is not about racism and then suddenly go off on racist rants trying to defend or deny the historical facts and connections the flag has. They prove exactly what the flag represents by how they express their views.

    1. Thanks for taking the time to provide such a thoughtful and fact-filled comment, Rob. I agree with what you say here.

      And look at what George Wallace has on the lectern with him.

  2. Bob Nelson · · Reply

    The “West End” sign on the car refers to West End High School, one of three Birmingham schools ordered desegregated in August 1963. Most likely it was shot on September 9, 1863 during protests held near the school. Here’s another photo taken on that day. Same sign on a different car. http://blog.al.com/birmingham-news-stories/2013/09/wallace_donated_to_west_end_pr.html George Wallace refused to obey the Federal order and JFK ordered the Alabama National Guard federalized to enforce it. On September 15, a KKK member named Robert Chambliss placed a bomb under the steps of the 16th Street Baptist Church, which exploded around 10:30 a.m., killed four girls, wounded twenty-five others and largely destroyed the church.

  3. Wow. When they showed the video is cut right to the “old darkey’s heart” part.

  4. […] reporter shared the lyrics (which Hathaway thoughtfully provided) to her readers. Blogger Al Mackey noted the media account, complete with […]

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