By Ellie Mangle-Lero
Today it’s time for another Poetry Friday. I chose to do a poem in honor of the Confederate flag coming down in South Carolina. I used the Negro dialect of Uncle Remus (by Joel Chandler Harris) to add a sense of heart-warming poignancy to the poem! The title is of course a simple Latin nonsense thing like would have been uttered by Old Moses, the fictional ex-slave narrator of the poem! I hope you all enjoy it!
Dey done drove down de Stars and Bars
And took dem off de tops of cars!
Dey played de fife, and beat de drum,
A day I thought would nebber come.
Dey dug up all de Rebel Dead,
And dumped dem in de trash instead!
Old Moses, I stood dere and hid,
And watched what all de White Folks did.
And now de task is halfway done
Cuz I sees flying in de sun,
Dat other flag with fifty stars
Dat flew when backs were marked with scars;
Dat flew above de slave ships, too;
De only one dat most slaves knew.
De one dat flew through old Jim Crow,
I wonder when will dat one go?
Note: Penelope Dreadful has asked us to start putting explanations of the pictures on our posts. I don’t know where she finds this stuff, but the picture above is an image of what is called The Bellamy Salute, which was the proper way to say the Pledge of Allegiance until 1942. I never knew that! It is about the same as the Nazi “Heil Hitler” salute. Wiki has an entry on it. Here is an excerpt:
The inventor of the gesture was James B. Upham, junior partner and editor of The Youth’s Companion. Bellamy recalled Upham, upon reading the pledge, came into the posture of the salute, snapped his heels together, and said “Now up there is the flag; I come to salute; as I say ‘I pledge allegiance to my flag,’ I stretch out my right hand and keep it raised while I say the stirring words that follow.”
The Bellamy salute was first demonstrated on October 12, 1892 according to Bellamy’s published instructions for the “National School Celebration of Columbus Day.
In his Pulitzer prize winning biography Lindbergh, author A. Scott Berg explains that interventionist propagandists would photograph Lindbergh and other isolationists using this salute from an angle that left out the American flag, so it would be indistinguishable from the Hitler salute to observers.
In order to prevent further confusion or controversy, the United States Congress instituted the hand-over-the-heart gesture as the salute to be rendered by civilians during the Pledge of Allegiance in the United States, instead of the Bellamy salute. This was done when Congress amended the Flag Code on December 22, 1942.
There was initially some resistance to dropping the Bellamy salute, for example from the Daughters of the American Revolution, but this opposition died down quickly following Nazi Germany’s declaration of war against the United States on December 11, 1941.