Driving Dixie Down: Removing the Confederate Flag from Southern State Capitals: An Excerpt

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Driving Dixie Down: Removing the Confederate Flag from Southern State Capitals: An Excerpt

by James Forman Jr.
Southern Cultures, Vol. 2, No. 2: Winter 1996

"For relief, I take my eyes off the flag and glance down again at the groundskeeper, who is still pulling the cords to raise the trio of flags."

It is the spring of 1984 in Atlanta, and the groundskeeper at Franklin Delano Roosevelt High School is starting his morning routine. In my twelfth grade homeroom we have finished the morning business—attendance has been taken, the announcements have been made. We are simply waiting for the bell to signal the start of the first class period. As I wait, my eyes return to the groundskeeper, who is carefully unfurling and raising a series of flags. First is the American flag, last is the Atlanta Public Schools flag, and sandwiched between the two is the Georgia State flag. I am drawn to this flag, particularly to its wholesale incorporation of Dixie. I observe the same scene almost every morning, and almost every morning I hate the fact that I watch. I want so desperately to ignore the flag, ignore Dixie, and ignore the history for which it stands.

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