On MSNBC, Ken Burns says Confederate flag is mired in racism, not heritage

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With a remastered 25th anniversary version of his watershed The Civil War re-airing on PBS in September, it was only a matter of time before someone asked Ken Burns for his opinion on the national debate over the Confederate battle flag.

Burns appeared on MSNBC’s Morning Joe Thursday to discuss the flag, whose legacy has become a topic of debate since nine people were killed inside the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) church in Charleston, S.C., June 18. The man charged with the murders, Dylann Roof, had posted on a website multiple pictures of himself posing with the flag once flown by the Confederate States of America.

Burns said that the flag symbolizes not heritage but opposition to civil rights. As a post on Vox quoted, Burns said that South Carolina, the first state to secede from the Union, had a specific reason for seceding — and it wasn’t states’ rights.

“I think what happens is that we build up over time the sense of an excuse about why it came,” Burns said. “If you read . . . South Carolina’s articles of secession in November — after [Abraham] Lincoln’s election of 1860 — they don’t mention states’ rights, they don’t mention nullification. They mention slavery over and over again.”

He later added, “Those [Confederate] flags came in after Brown v. Board of Education. This is not about heritage. This is about resistance to civil rights.”

  • Gordon Sroufe

    If Burns believes that, he should reedit the Civil War to remove all pictures and mentions of the South and the Confederate flag. Otherwise, he’s just another hypocrite.

    • Adam Rice

      This remark doesn’t really make any sense.

    • it’s amazing to me how stupid people can be. this comment is moronic. just god damn. how can people have so little reasoning ability?

  • Cornbread_Noah

    Brown vs Board of Education – 1954…90 years after the end of the civil war.

    Ken seems to be having a bit of cognitive dissonance. HE also seems to have forgotten the quotes from Robert E Lee in his own production of The Civil War.

    Liberals, you just can’t make them happy.