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Gettysburg history professor leads protest against Confederate Flag rally at historic battlefield

Scott Hancock, a history and Africana studies associate professor at Gettysburg College, recently helped galvanize opposition to an inaugural Confederate flag rally at the historic Gettysburg battlefield near the school.

Hancock emailed various students and college clubs about a week before the rally alerting the campus community about the demonstration and asking people to join him in opposition.

“The more the better” Hancock had urged in his email, a copy of which was obtained by The College Fix. “It would be great to have a large group of people speaking truth to the narrow, sanitized and distorted history often presented by supporters of the confederate flag.”

The March 5 event was organized by the Sons of the Confederate Veterans, and it aimed to commemorate confederate soldiers who lost their lives in the Civil War.

“The Confederate flag to us, the descendants of the Confederate soldiers – we see it as a piece of history, of heritage, of family simply because of our background and our family tree,” the commander of the Sons of the Confederate Veterans, Gary Casteel, told Fox 43 news.

Families and young children attended. Mrs. Dee Duke, a supporter at the ceremony, reported to The College Fix that the event on the historic battlefield began with “a dedication, an opening prayer and a pledge of allegiance to the U.S. flag.” Numerous displays of the confederate flag peppered the scene. Many participants were dressed in Civil War garb.

But nearby picketers voiced opposition to the demonstration in a protest that was described by local news reports as a rowdy affair. It included protesters calling demonstrators racists, “bad people,” and other names.

Among the crowd of roughly 100 protesters were a few students and two faculty members from nearby Gettysburg College. Other protesters at the event dressed up similar to ISIS.

Signs at the counter-protest declared “Heritage of hate” and “American swastika.”

Protesters chanted comments such as “You’re bad people. Really bad people” and “just because you’re not wearing hoods doesn’t mean we can’t recognize you,” PennLive reports.

RELATED: Students get vulgar, aggressive in protest of Confederate heritage rally at UNC

“Other than trading insults and invective, there were few interactions between the opposing groups, which were separated by a few hundred feet and two portable fences,” the Associated Press reported.

The College Fix contacted Hancock to ask about the event but he is out of town and unavailable for extensive comment this week. He told PennLive prior to the protest that the Confederate Flag tribute was offensive.

“I would argue their form of education is a narrow, sanitized and revisionist form of history,” Hancock said. “I’d like to provide a more complete history of what the Confederate flag is connected to and symbolized…”

“As a historian, I find most of the supporters of the Confederate flag present a history that’s just bad history. It leaves things out, it’s a selective history. I think it’s important to educate the public.”

Hancock currently teaches courses in the history and Africana studies department.

His history course, titled “Race On Trial,” focuses on “how law and race have intersected in U.S. history.” The students discuss “legal concepts” and “critical race theory,” according to an online description.

As for his Africana Studies courses, one is an introductory course in which the class examines “the enslavement of Africans, rise and fall of slavocracy, Civil Rights and Black Power struggles, and the emergence of African-centered scholarship and praxis.”

Another, “Africana Intellectual History,” is on the “efforts toward political, economic, and social change in the African Diaspora…through the lenses of various ideologies and historical contexts, such as black emancipation and nationalist movements, black and African feminism, and global expansion of hip hop culture.”

RELATED: Southern author — Banishing Confederate relics ‘a danger to the preservation and study of history’

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About the Author
Alissa López -- Gettysburg College 

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