Originally posted on TIME:
If you’re going to honor a flag, you should know what it represents.
The flag currently flying on the South Carolina statehouse grounds is not, as many believe, the flag of the Confederate States of America. At various times there were three different flags of the Confederate states, but the one in front of South Carolina’s State Capitol was never one of them. It’s actually the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia. Not many, if any, South Carolinians fought under that flag. Those Virginians who did obeyed General Robert E. Lee’s request to furl the flag when the war ended. The Commonwealth of Virginia does not fly it today.
An elongated version of that flag, the Confederate Navy Jack—also known as the “Tennessee flag”—became the rallying symbol of Nathan Bedford Forrest, a founder and first grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. After relative obscurity, it was…
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