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July 9, 2014

This displacement of Western culture took an another step backward this week when officials at Washington and Lee University agreed to remove Confederate flags honoring Gen. Robert E. Lee.

The flags are prominent in Lee's Chapel at the Lexington, Virginia college.

Black bigots -- forever seeking some vestige of white racism to exploit -- had complained.

Multiculturalism tends to discriminate against certain cultures. The movement holds a particular grudge against Southern culture, stereotyping it as white racism.

A few short years ago the Confederate battle flag was considered nothing more than a benign symbol of Southern culture. Hate groups that oppose Southern culture effective changed the flag into a symbol of white racism.

We suggest that, rather than removing the flags, the school offer a class in real black history. The class, were my suggestion taken seriously, would remind students that the first legal slave owner in American history -- a Virginia tobacco farmer name Anthony Johnson -- was a black man. They would also learn that the first black military commanders in American history served for the Confederacy. The facts that thousands of free blacks owned slaves in the antebellum South and that thousands of blacks served in the Confederate army would also be revealed.

From our source we read:

Washington and Lee University expressed regret Tuesday for the school’s past ownership of slaves and promised to remove Confederate flags from the main chamber of its Lee Chapel after a group of black students protested that the historic Virginia school was unwelcoming to minorities.

President Kenneth P. Ruscio’s announcement was a surprising move for the small, private liberal arts college in Lexington, which has long celebrated its Southern heritage. Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee served as the university’s president after the Civil War, his crypt is beneath the chapel, and the school has gingerly addressed its ties to the Confederacy and its having profited from the possession and sale of slaves.

The Confederate banners — battle flags that Lee’s army flew as it fought Union forces — have adorned the campus chapel that bears Lee’s name since 1930, and university officials said they were a nod to history and not a message intended to offend anyone. Others, however, see the flags as hate symbols representative of slavery, racism and grievous times in the nation’s history.

Washington and Lee joins other U.S. colleges in examining its historical ties to slavery. In 2009, the College of William and Mary acknowledged the past ownership of slaves in its early years, and in 2006, Brown University, in Rhode Island, issued a comprehensive report on its ties to the slave trade.

Founded in 1749, the school that became Washington and Lee was endowed in 1796 with a $20,000 gift from George Washington, the nation’s first president. The school was subsequently named Washington College in his honor. After Lee died in 1870, it became Washington and Lee University. The chapel was also renamed to honor Lee.

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