Washington and Lee University to remove Confederate flags following protests

Washington and Lee University expressed regret Tuesday for the school’s past ownership of slaves and promised to remove Confederate flags from the main chamber of its Lee Chapel after a group of black students protested that the historic Virginia school was unwelcoming to minorities.

President Kenneth P. Ruscio’s announcement was a surprising move for the small, private liberal arts college in Lexington, which has long celebrated its Southern heritage. Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee served as the university’s president after the Civil War, his crypt is beneath the chapel, and the school has gingerly addressed its ties to the Confederacy and its having profited from the possession and sale of slaves.

The Confederate banners — battle flags that Lee’s army flew as it fought Union forces — have adorned the campus chapel that bears Lee’s name since 1930, and university officials said they were a nod to history and not a message intended to offend anyone. Others, however, see the flags as hate symbols representative of slavery, racism and grievous times in the nation’s history.

Washington and Lee joins other U.S. colleges in examining its historical ties to slavery. In 2009, the College of William and Mary acknowledged the past ownership of slaves in its early years, and in 2006, Brown University, in Rhode Island, issued a comprehensive report on its ties to the slave trade.


One might wonder when the activists will require that they disinterr Lee’s body and bury it in some nondescript place somewhere.

While I see the flag’s ties to slavery as something that could understandably offend African Americans, I don’t feel that is the sole reason to oppose its display. I think any true patriot should be able to get behind the idea of opposing it. It represents treason. I’m still confused why we have US military bases named after generals who committed acts of treason. I just don’t see how anyone can claim to be a patriot while flying the stars and bars.

Maybe we need to fly that flag to remind ourselves the Yankee government had no legal right to commit homicide on so many Americans who were defending their homes from Yankee imperialism.

Might want to read up on the First Battle of Fort Sumter. Southern states started succeeding before the war started and the south fired the first shots.

There still is nothing in the constitution prohibiting sucession, all you have to do is beat off the federal armies. As far as firing the first shoot, that was Lincoln fault for trying to resupply a federal fort in an independent South Carolina’s port. Funny how that works, had the South Carolinians not provided the excuse the federals needed to start the killing of other Americans some other manufactured excuse would have been necessary.

[FONT=Georgia]But riddle me this, if it were treason and or illegal to quite the union why wasn’t a case ever made or a confederate leader ever brought to trial?

Secede. Sorry, pet peeve.

Secession. Sorry, pet peeve.

You make a good point. I can understand the naming of the college after Lee (he donated to the college and he was president of the college.) He fought honorably as far as anyone in that day and age fought. He was probably the best general, strategically, the US had at the time. But the cause he fought for was one of the worse causes ever fought for by man.

I agree with the removal of the battle flags.

The whole chapel is a bit creepy to me though. That statue of Lee in the front of the chapel really is way too prominent. Not a Catholic chapel though…


It sure took them long enough but at least they finally did it.

Well, strategically Lee did a fine job up until Gettysburg where he made the greatest blunder of the entire Civil War.

War 101 says you don’t take your forces uphill with no cover facing a well fortified opponent.

His pride got in the way.

It was a good thing for the country but a really dimwitted military decision.

The chapel is creepy? What about the fact that they have entombed Traveller, gen Lee’s horse? I am from Virginia, and I have visited the Chapel on many occasions. I’ve also been to many other historic sites around the commonwealth, but that’s the only place I’ve seen a monument to a man’s horse. lol.

You say “treason”, they say “states’ rights”. It is not a simple answer.

Because the only way to achieve a cease-fire was to guarantee immunity for the Confederate leadership. Another reason was that Congress was hoping to speed a recovery and reunification, and that would be much more difficult if the “heros” of the south were tried. Cosequently, that’s also one of the reasons why they named military bases after Confederate generals.

You mean tried for treason I suppose (since more than 1,000 confederates were tried for war crimes or other violations of the laws of war.)

The battlefield surrender documents allowed confederate officers to return home without prosecution (unless they committed violations of the laws of war.)

Davis was indicted for treason in 1866 but the next year was released on a bond of $100,000 signed by the newspaper publisher Horace Greeley and other influential Northerners. In 1868 the federal government dropped the case against him.

Bottom line though is that Lincoln and Johnson both felt that prosecuting the confederate leaders in court would cause more division in the country that it would be worth. The focus at the time was to unite the nation again, not punish the vanquished.

Sure it is… For a member of the military to turn coat and fight directly against the Government he was sworn to fight for kind of meets the definition of treason.

I understand the Confederate flag symbolizes tradition and the Southern culture, but as an Asian-American, the Confederate flag also symbolizes racism and oppression of minorities. People need to understand that.

The flag symbolizes a dark part of Southern history and culture… even that’s not a defensible logic for flying it. How many Germans are running around proudly flying a swastica?

And if they secede from that government? What about our Founding Fathers? Are people only treasonists if they don’t win the war?

Walk around downtown Kansas City and you see the swastika everywhere. Why? It was built before the Nazis took it as their own symbol. But you don’t see them ripping up the streets.

Do you actually know the origins of the flag known as the Confederate Flag? What it represents? It is a shame that some people use it as a symbol of oppression, but it means much more than that.

Are you implying that he fought for the cause of slavery? And it is bad, but if it truly were one of the worst causes ever, shouldn’t we dismiss the opinions of our founding fathers who all held slaves, writing the legal possession of slaves into the Constitution?

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