August 19, 2022

Civil War historian schools Nikki Haley after she argues Confederate flag stood for “service and heritage”

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Former South Carolina Governor and ex-UN Ambassador Nikki Haley has been working overtime to shore up her MAGA credentials and make sure that the Republican Party knows she’s fully on board with the president’s white nationalist agenda.


That much was made clear on Friday when Haley sparked outrage by arguing that the Confederate flag represented “service and sacrifice and heritage” before it was “hijacked” by the white supremacist who committed the massacre at the Emanuel Zion AME church in Charleston, South Carolina.

There are few symbols in America, save perhaps that of the noose, that so obviously represent the hatred, discrimination, and violence that the white majority has inflicted upon the black minority it once held in bondage.

The “heritage not hate” argument is a deliberate and ahistorical effort by the right-wing to whitewash the Confederate flag’s status as the banner of American white supremacy, and Civil War historians were quick to take Haley to task for her appalling dog-whistle to Trump’s rabid fanbase.

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Historian and teacher Kevin M. Levin challenged Haley’s false assertions with a lengthy and painful thread of images showing how the Confederate flag is intimately connected to racial violence and the murder of black Americans by racist white supremacists:

It is no coincidence that the “Unite the Right” hate rally that led to the murder of anti-racist activist Heather Heyer by a white supremacist occurred in response to the planned removal of a Confederate statue; nor is it a coincidence that Dylan Roof posed with a Confederate flag before he murdered nine praying black Americans. We cannot allow the right-wing to get away with this disgusting attempt to rewrite history — nor mistake Haley’s racist dogwhistle for what it is.

Colin Taylor

Managing Editor

Colin Taylor is the managing editor of the Washington Press. 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, equality, and universal health care in America.

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