I collect old photos of Phoenix, and I especially like looking at old postcards on ebay. The one above, of Patriot's Square Park in downtown Phoenix in the 1970s, I posted because I really like seeing old photos of Valley Center, where I used to work in the 90s, when it was Bank One Center (it's now Chase Tower). And besides, there are a lot of other interesting buildings in this photo, so I cleaned it up a bit in Photoshop and posted it on my Google+ page about Phoenix.
To my surprise, someone immediately commented with, "is that a Confederate flag?!" And, yes it is, third from the left. And so I started doing some research on Arizona's connection to the confederacy.
If you're a serious Arizona history fan, you know that the territory of Arizona was Confederate during the civil war. And from what I understand, when the war broke out, in 1861, people in Arizona were left without military protection. And that's when the Confederacy stepped in. And it seems like a lot of people remembered that, right up through the 20th Century.
My research took me to Wesley Bolin Plaza, just east of the State Capitol building. You know, the place with the military monuments, like the anchor from the U.S.S. Arizona. And I found a Confederate monument, which had been placed in 1965. It's still there, but of course Phoenix hasn't flown the Confederate flag for decades. For modern eyes, the Confederate flag is distasteful, with its connection with slavery, and war. But when the war ended, Abraham Lincoln extended charity to all, and malice towards none, to help bring the country back together.
Speaking for myself, I would prefer not to see Confederate flags, the same way that I would prefer not to see Swastikas. But as a part of history, I believe it's important to know about.
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