This past week, we witnessed history happen as the Confederate Flag was lowered and removed from the South Carolina government property and carried to a museum, where it will be displayed so future citizens will never forget the evidence and what the flag stood for.
In America, White American terrorists to instill fear and intimidation toward their victims while displaying their hatred and bigotry for those they considered “less than” used negative symbols as part of their propaganda. These symbols: the Confederate flag, lynching noose, and burning crosses must never be forgotten as part of our history.
This fall, Texas’ public school students will see new textbooks addressing racial segregation minimally while failing to mention the Ku Klux Klan or the Jim Crow laws put in place. These slanted textbooks were voted for in 2010 and take effect when students return to school this year. It will take at least ten years before new books can be written to correct this mistake.
But in America’s history, the Confederate flag is not the only symbol used by American terrorists to intimidate and terrorize Blacks, Jews, Hispanics, and Asians.
For me, the Confederate flag brings back memories of the Ku Klux Klan billboards that use to decorate the landscape on Highway 70 in North Carolina near the towns of Smithfield and Princeton back in the early seventies. I almost frightened my family to death when I told them I was going to stop and take a picture of it. The billboard showed a rider dressed in his white robe and pointed hood covering his face on horseback with these words: “This is Ku Klux Klan Country”. This billboard was to intimidate Blacks who lived in the area and for those who passed by on their journey to other destinations. Today, my family is happy that I documented this history because years later, the sign was removed.
The KKK has a history in California and locally in the counties of San Bernardino and Riverside. In the late 1998-99, the KKK placed leaflets on the newsstands of the Black Voice News during the coverage of the Tyisha Miller shooting. We covered the Klan marching in Fontana during the seventies and eighties. We also wrote stories of KKK activities in schools and other incidents in Riverside.
Another symbol used by the Klan, cross burning, was to intimidate its selected victims. If you get the opportunity to talk with KKK believers, they will profess to be Christians while burning the cross that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ was crucified on. I met with George Pepper when he was the Grand Dragon of the California Chapter and who also lived in Fontana. It was an eye opening experience for me because I had been served food in that same resturant by waitresses who were married to Klan members.
We got rid of the marches in KKK robes but not the people who harbor hate within their hearts for people who do not look like them.
Another symbol used by terrorists in America to intimate is the lynching noose.
We must continue to remove these symbols from our society and place them in museums so we do not forget what happened.
When I was teaching Bible classes I was always surprised how often God told the people of Israel to create a monument or something to remind them not to forget what happened.
We have museums to display these symbols of hate, so it can educate our children and their children as we move forward to form a more perfect union in which we all can live life and enjoy the fruits of our labor.