Confederate Battle Flag in the Capitol: A ‘Jarring’ First in U.S. History

A Muslim American faculty pupil stated he had fought again tears when he noticed the picture of a Trump supporter carrying the Accomplice battle flag by means of the halls of the Capitol on Wednesday.

A Black Senate aide who for years has walked confidently by means of the halls of Congress stated his emotions of security had crumbled when he noticed the photograph.

And a Black historian stated she had instantly considered James Byrd, the Black Texas man who was dragged to death by white supremacists in a pickup truck in 1998.

The historian, Mary Frances Berry, a professor of historical past on the College of Pennsylvania, stated she had felt “disgust” and recalled “desirous to scream.”

“To see it flaunted proper in entrance of your face, in america Capitol, the center of the federal government, was merely outrageous,” she stated.

Amid the pictures and movies that emerged from Wednesday’s rampage, the sight of a person casually carrying the Accomplice battle flag exterior the Senate ground was a piercing reminder of the persistence of white supremacism greater than 150 years after the top of the Civil Struggle.

Months after statues of Accomplice leaders and racist figures were removed or torn down around the world, an unidentified man in bluejeans and a black sweatshirt carried the symbol of racism by means of the Ohio Clock hall, previous a portrait of Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts, an abolitionist.

The logo has appeared within the Capitol earlier than.

The Mississippi flag, which as soon as featured the Accomplice image prominently, hung in the Capitol until June 2020, when it was changed after a vote by the State Legislature to take away the symbol.

However Wednesday was the primary time that somebody had managed to carry the flag into the constructing as an act of rebellion, in keeping with historians.

The person carrying the flag confronted much less stringent safety than that encountered by the Accomplice troopers who didn’t penetrate Union forts guarding the Capitol through the Battle of Fort Stevens on July 11 and 12, 1864, stated William Blair, professor emeritus of historical past at Penn State and the previous director of the George and Ann Richards Civil Struggle Period Middle on the college.

“The Accomplice flag made it deeper into Washington on Jan. 6, 2021, than it did through the Civil Struggle,” he stated.

The sight, Professor Blair stated, was “jarring and disheartening.”

“There’s a lot confusion about individuals who fly that flag,” he stated. “However even when they attempt to divorce slavery from it — which you’ll’t — how do you justify waving the flag of a confederacy that attempted to tear the nation aside, then name your self a patriot?”

Representative Colin Allred, a Black Democrat from Texas, stated his spouse had been texting him whereas he was on the Home ground to see if he was protected and had despatched him a picture of the person with the flag.

The photograph was affirmation, he stated, that those that had stormed the Capitol have been “tied deeply” to white supremacism.

“That’s one thing that may stick with me,” Mr. Allred stated. “They arrange a noose and scaffolding on the Capitol Hill. This occasion must be a wake-up name.”

Josh Delaney, a deputy legislative director for Senator Elizabeth Warren, stated he had been at dwelling, watching the riot unfold on tv, when the photograph appeared on the display.

“It was like time stopped,” he stated. “My abdomen dropped. I don’t know if I finished respiratory, however it was shock. I can solely think about that’s what it should be prefer to be actually in shock.”

Mr. Delaney, who wrote in The Boston Globe about seeing the flag, is Black and grew up in Georgia, the place the flag was a painful however commonplace reminder of the place he was not welcome.

He stated he had by no means anticipated to see the flag within the Capitol, the place he has labored for greater than six years.

“I’ve at all times felt like that is the most secure place I might ever be if something ever occurs,” Mr. Delaney, 31, stated. “To have that phantasm shattered, I don’t know that I’ll ever have that very same feeling once more.”

Raheel Tauyyab, a junior on the College of Virginia, stated he had realized concerning the flag from a professor who was monitoring the information concerning the riot on his pc throughout a digital class Wednesday afternoon.

Mr. Tauyyab, 20, a Muslim American who stated his aim was to sooner or later work on the Capitol, stated he couldn’t overlook the traumatized look on his professor’s face.

“I gained’t lie: I did shed a tear,” he stated. “It was actually stabbing to the center to see one thing like that occur.”

The Rev. Robert W. Lee IV, a great-great-great-great-nephew of Gen. Robert E. Lee who has supported broad removal of statues of his ancestor, stated he had been scuffling with what he was planning to inform congregants on Sunday at his nondenominational church, the Unifour Church in Newton, N.C.

He stated he couldn’t get the sight of the flag “desecrating” the Capitol out of his thoughts.

“It shook me to my core in a method that different photos haven’t over the previous 4 years,” he stated. Since Wednesday, he stated, he has sat at his pc and struggled to give you the appropriate phrases.

“It struck me as one thing that, on this second, as somebody who is meant to know what to say as a clergy individual, I’ve nothing,” he stated. “I’ve obtained nothing on this.”

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