Student Wins Right to Hang Confederate Flag in Dorm Room

Don Logana, WTOC, December 1, 2011

{snip} Last month, the Confederate battle flag whipped up controversy on the campus of University of South Carolina at Beaufort.

One student fought for the right to hang the Confederate flag in his dorm room window.

Not a white student. A black student fought for what he says he believes in.

18 year-old Byron Thomas, a North Augusta, SC native and freshman at USCB, is African American. He wants the right to hang the flag in his dorm room window.

After multiple complaints, Thomas was told the flag must come out of the window.

“To me it is a heritage thing and a pride thing. It is not a racist thing whatsoever,” Thomas told WTOC.

{snip}

Thomas decided to do something he couldn’t do at home. “No sir, because my parents have strong feelings about it,” he said.

He hung the Confederate flag in his dorm room window for the rest of his peers, with a courtyard view, to see.

“There would have been a serious problem if I had done it in my house,” Thomas said. “I’m 18 now. I should have my own right to believe how I want to believe about things.”

{snip}

By November, the housing staff at USCB told Thomas the flag must come down.

“They never told me people were complaining. They said I was violating a racism code,” he said.

“We received about 20 to 24 complaints,” Doug Oblander, Vice-Chancellor of Student Development at University of South Carolina at Beaufort, told WTOC. “When they open their windows to let the sun in, they look directly into this flag.”

{snip}

After an appeal by Thomas, along with national attention and a review by university lawyers, Thomas was told Thursday morning it had been recommended by counsel that he be allowed to put the flag back up.

“It probably is an infringement of his First Amendment rights,” Oblander said.

{snip}

As of Thursday night, the flag is back.

“That flag means to me southern heritage. I love the south. I’ve always lived in the south. Everything about the south, to me, is great,” Thomas said.

{snip}

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  • Tim in Indiana

    Oh, since he’s black, he was allowed to re-hang the flag. I see.

    And then at the end, notice that the swastika was mentioned in the same context as the Confederate flag.

    Typical leftist media.

  • idareya

    Are we supposed to applaud this? It only reaffirms the fact that white Americans are second-class citizens in the eyes of the establishment because a white student could never have won such a case.

  • Question Diversity

    http://goo.gl/0D4vv

    Drink some hard core caffeine drink before you watch. He’s black and 19, so these aren’t exactly eloquent and riveting apologetics on par with Alexander Stephens.

    Of all the things that college students do to themselves and each other in the “privacy” of dorm rooms, especially black students, (use your imagination), they’re having a big damned cow over a Confederate Battle Flag?

    The Blaze version of this story has this:

    A class project made him come to the realization that the flag’s real meaning has been hijacked, he told the Associated Press in an interview. He said he wants people to carefully consider issues of race and not just have knee-jerk reactions to symbols.

    It’s somewhat encouraging that there’s at least one Professor in one class at the University of South Carolina system that isn’t preaching hatred against Things Southern, and whoever teaches it is so good at it that s/he is getting blacks on his or her side. I hope that Prof has tenure.

  • paul rim

    As an Englishman I found the South uniquely pleasant, black & white. I put it down to the presence of Bible based Christianity & conservative politics throughout the Confederate states. The South is a beacon to the world so fly that Stars & Bars with pride. It represents what is wholesome, no wonder the liberal left hate it so much.

  • Ross

    With so many black people condemning the Confederate flag as a symbol of slavery and racism, I would be greatly interested to hear the viewpoint of those black people, like Byron Thomas, who proudly and gladly fly the Confederate flag.

  • Moderator

    Please don’t use the occasion of this story to re-fight the War Between the States. The last time we ran a Confederate-themed story, the Mason vs Dixon acrimony jumped the shark. Thank you for your consideration and understanding.

  • WR the elder

    I do not know of a single conservative southerner who supports slavery. They fly their Confederate flags as a symbol of southern pride and independence. Of course it helps that the flag upsets liberal northerners so. At least one southern black man agrees.

  • Mike Harrigan

    “It probably is an infringement of his First Amendment rights,” Oblander said.

    No #$&% Captain Obvious. My questions are, would he see it as an infringement of a White student’s rights if the White were told to remove a Confederate Flag hanging in his dorm room and would the White be “allowed” to keep his flag hanging??

  • Anonymous

    Doesn’t ‘jump the shark’ mean ‘reach the point where decline begins’? The reference is to an old episode of Happy Days wherein Fonzie waterski-jumped a shark. This was later seen as the point where the show had just passed the point of peak creative invention (having to resort to cheap spectacle) and began its decline.

  • Rhialto

    #1 & #2 make good points, but I think that the matter goes a bit farther. Blacks are socially perceptive. Thomas is probably displaying the Confederate Flag to show that he can do something that white men cannot do. Thus he is asserting his social superiority.

  • Robert Binion

    Have we found the next GOP frontrunner?

  • Howard W. Campbell

    Years ago, there was a black motorcycle gang who wore the Stars and Bars with pride.

  • olewhitelady

    This may have merely been a way for this student to gain national attention, or it could have been a gesture from the heart. Either way, such actions are advantageous for black people. As a group, they can’t hope to achieve the respect of other ethnicities if they continue to carp and whine about race-based concerns.

    White liberals are probably the folks responsible for making the Confederate flag a symbol of slavery and racism. Blacks would do themselves a huge favor by ignoring it, as Jews would by ignoring the flying of a Nazi flag. People don’t just look at either banner and become hate-filled zombies!

    When someone in the U.S. flies a British flag, does anyone start wailing about colonialism and claim that the flier wants the nation to rejoin Britain?

  • Anonymous

    What I mean is, the kid makes a good point, but, he’s not exactly an AmRen reader. But there are blacks who agree with this site, and imagine the damage they could do.

  • Anonymous

    Poster #2 idareya wrote

    “because a white student could never have won such a case

    No sir. A white student would never have FOUGHT the case to the end. He who fights wins. The black guy fought and won as they have been winning every fight in the US.

  • Question Diversity

    I doubt this applies to Byron Thomas, but someone very involved in the Southern Heritage fight once told me that there is a small percentage of blacks who display CBFs as a pure statement of “screw you world” and rebellion against whatever pebble is in their shoes.

    This is why I’m opposed to politicizing symbols of Southern heritage and nationhood, or reducing them to base human emotions such as “rebellion.” The Confederate Battle Flag, and all the other Dixieron flags, are symbols of a particular group of ethnically related people in a particular place.

  • Jim

    Displaying a Confederate Flag shouldn’t be something you have to “win the right” to do.

  • Anonymous

    “I do not know of a single conservative southerner who supports slavery. They fly their Confederate flags as a symbol of southern pride and independence. Of course it helps that the flag upsets liberal northerners so.”

    I grew up in the North in a middle class, upper middle class environment. Most of the people I was surrounded with had no problem with the Confederate Flag. Many of them liked the flag. I saw it in many dens, bedrooms and dorm rooms. Not all Northerners are the same person. There are annoying white liberals in both the North and the South. Most whites in this country do not have civil war ancestry. The old rivalry shouldn’t even be an issue.

  • Southern Hoosier

    I’m glad he won. The barn door is open and the horse is out. It will make it harder for university to tell white students no. So what happens if someone flies an American flag and some immigrant is offended? Or the Christian flag and a Muslim is offended? Again harder to say no.

  • Jim

    A white student would not have won, and everyone knows it.

  • Josse

    My wife and I are English but we live in France. we have spent time visiting my sister in Arkansas, the people we met there were very friendly and welcoming as well as being extremely polite. Don’t let the PC brigade stop you from flying the Confederate flag it’s part of your heritage, our doctor who is French and speaks perfect English spends much of his holidays with his southern friends in Virginia and is very knowledgeable about southern history. In his surgery here in France he has a large Confederate Flag pinned to the wall. In England we have the same problem with our flag the cross of St George, a red cross on a white back ground which is according to the PC brigade a racist flag and might offend ethnic minorities who are rapidly becoming the majority through unlimited third world immigration and out breeding whites by five to one. Many faint hearted English people wont fly their eight hundred year old national flag on St George’s day April 23 for fear of being branded a racist.

  • Anonymous

    It is a shame that you have to fight boards of attorneys for even the most fundamental human rights of liberty anymore in the U.S.A..

  • Paul

    ‘We received about 20 to 24 complaints’

    Read ‘I’ve no idea, maybe one or two’

  • Lonestar Rebel

    The idea of the Stars and Bars being a symbol of white supremacy

    can be instantly demolished by the fact that it is known that blacks did serve in the Confederate Army, mainly as cooks and teamsters, and occasionally took up arms against the Yankee invaders. Lochlain Seabrook in his book A Rebel Born asserts that Nathan Bedford Forrest recruited blacks into his unit, a year or more before the CS congress approved the enlistment of blacks, and that they served along side whites. In the late 1800s and early 1900s there were blacks who were members of the United Confederate Veterans.

    There are also stories of slaves remaining on plantations during Sherman’s depredations and helping white families protect family treasures and heirlooms. These relationships sometimes lasted for generations after the end of the war with families maintaining relationships with descendants of the family slaves.

    Of course those good feelings were destroyed during the course of

    reconstruction,and latter, the Civil Rights movement and the implementation of the welfare state.

    It is estimated that fifty percent of all native born southerners can claim Confederate ancestry which is why heritage organizations like the SCV and UDC are still active today.

    There have been efforts by SCV leadership to recruit black members and promote the history of black Confederates, but I have been opposed to those moves because of the continued assaults on Confederate heritage and the inequality that exists when it comes to issues like the flag.

  • white is right, black is whack

    Unless this is a white man standing strong against political correctness, I’m not going to feel like we’re advancing. It takes women (like Emma White) or minorities to say and do what white men are to because the average white man today is a politically correct neutered whimp. Sorry to be so harsh, but that’s the truth.

  • Anonymous

    It is at least tangentially relevant to note that during the

    Great Rebellion (1861-65)/ War for Southern Independence /

    thousands of Blacks were in front line duty during the waning

    months of the conflict–if not fully armed (were there some such?), in support duties as teamsters, wagonmasters, cooks, medics, etc. It is not unreasonable to assume that abler Blacks

    understood the conflict to have in reality little to do with race and even less to do with authentic Black liberation. In a sense, a Black youth flying the Battle Flag is perhaps appealing to the need for an authentic contemporary history of that War.??

  • Anonymous

    Post #24

    Your comment and information fascinates me. My own filmy notion

    of this is that a great deal of what was done to allow Blacks

    to serve in the military during the waning phase of the War, was

    done in “ears only” communication , as the issue

    of use of Blacks in the Confederate forces was hugely controversial. I have wondered if historians at, or in an adivsory capacity to, West Point, or within DoD, for that matter, have located whatever primary source material may exist (diaries, personal histories, contents of personal letters, etc. )? Your information is the first indication I have had that some Blacks were actually armed and in full combat roles. If

    I remember correctly, the offical “green light” in the Confederate Congress was given to Black recruitment only weeks before the surrender in April 1965? Too little, too late?

  • Lonestar Rebel

    Forrest was an independent man. His command operated outside of the usual Confederate chain of command. He was often refereed to as a raider. According to the source the majority of blacks under his command were his former slaves. Their service as soldiers was not recognized until 1865. In other words they served voluntarily since blacks could not be conscripted. Never the less some blacks who could prove service were allowed to receive pensions and as I said before a few were members of veterans organizations. If my memory serves me correctly Forrest’s pre PC biographers Wyeth, Mathes, Jordan and Pryor, Morton, Lytle and Robert Self Henry all corroborate to some extent the fact that blacks did serve under the General in a variety of roles that were not usual for blacks at the time.

    I think one thing that should be kept in mind is that southern whites unlike their northern counterparts lived in close proximity with blacks and apparently relationships were congenial. This is not to say that had the South won the war blacks would have been granted full civil rights, but that they would be much better off. Clyde N Wilson the retired Distinguished Professor of history from the University of South Carolina and Faculty member of the Stephen D Lee Institute sums it up like this:

    ‘My consensus is this, the American Negro has been ruined by a political system that replaced the institution of slavery with a system of political spoils and exploitation.’

    Regardless of what we dredge from the dust bin of history nothing can ever be the same again.

  • Bobby

    I went to a high school in Southern California, that didn’t have a one single black student. It was strange for me since, until I was 10 I grew up in Los Angeles. This was many moons ago. One of my friends was a real interesting guy. He wore a jacket with a large Confederate flag on the back. No one ever said a single thing nor did anyone care. There wasn’t much political corretness at the time. An America of another time.

  • Edward

    Back in the 70’s and early 80’s it was common to see blacks from the South with Confederate front auto plates, some were fans of the Dukes of Hazard also.