Madison County Opinion...

 March 28, 2001

By Frank Gillespie
The Madison County Journal
March 28, 2001

Frankly Speaking

Enemies of Southern culture feel the heat
The enemies of Southern culture are apparently feeling the heat of rejection by the voters. Many of the same people who led the sneak attack on our beautiful state flag have now endorsed a resolution recognizing April as "Confederate History and Heritage Month" in Georgia.
In addition, the resolution calls for "Georgia citizens and institutions" to display the 1956 flag and other historic flags on appropriate occasions during the month.
The resolution further encourages public schools of Georgia to "provide instruction to all grades about the Confederate South and the purposes and goals of the Confederate States of America."
These recommendations can be found in SR 343, passed by the Georgia State Senate during the last days of the 2001 session.
Now, why did the Georgia Senate do this? We the people are strongly expressing our anger over the change in the Georgia flag. Many of those senators who voted for the change are in danger of being kicked out of office during the 2002 elections. The primaries are only 12 months away.
Many of them have already admitted that their vote against Georgia's heritage has damaged their re-election efforts. The senate resolution is an effort to reduce the damage.
I am not so sure that the resolution will have the intended effect. There is far too much anger among traditional Southerners over the flag.
With the next election only a year away, that anger is likely to hold up. Pro-Southern groups will be keeping the issue alive. The new Southern Party, already organized in over 20 Georgia counties, will use the flag issue as a selling point for their candidates. The chances are good that the Democrats will lose control of the Georgia legislature and possibly the governor's office for the first time in 130 years.
Every newspaper survey on the flag fight shows overwhelming support for the 1956 flag. Recently, the Atlanta papers ran a survey asking if the flag vote would affect their vote. Approximately 60 percent of respondents said they would vote against those who supported the new flag.
The demand for the old Georgia flag clearly indicates the mood of Georgia citizens. Flag companies around the South report problems keeping the1956 flag in stock. My supplier informed me last week that he is having Georgia flags flown in to keep up with the demand. Sales of the new flag are virtually non-existent, according to the same suppliers. Most are not receiving enough requests to justify stocking the Barnes-Jackson flag. Clearly, Georgians want their old flag back and are likely to vote for those who promise to reinstate it.
Georgians will celebrate Confederate Heritage and History Month in April.
For many, the month will be devoted to regaining our stolen flag. The anti-flag politicians have good reason to be worried about their future.
Frank Gillispie is founder of The Madison County Journal. His web page can be accessed at His e-mail address is

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By Margie Richards
The Madison County Journal
March 28, 2001

A Moment With Margie

Connecting with the past
You know you're getting older when you hear your kids sitting around reminiscing about "the good old days" and some of their sentences start with "Remember when we...."
Ever since my daughter, Miranda, and my other daughter (in my heart, anyway) Jami Massey, went away to college, I've noticed that a lot of their conversations start like that.
They like to watch old videos of themselves from elementary school and talk about things like the time Miranda swallowed some of Jami's beads in kindergarten.
They may not be sisters by blood, but they share enough memories to make a bond that may stretch but will most likely never break.
One heads north to college, while the other heads south now, and although a lot of miles separate them most of the time, it doesn't seem to have dampened the friendship that was born in Mrs. Doster's kindergarten at Ila Elementary.
I think a lot about my own "remember when" memories, and have decided to make a greater effort to reconnect with relatives and others from my past. Since I was born late to my parents and they both died when I was still young, I've lost a lot of connections with family members over the years.
A couple of weeks ago my cousin Teresa Bowles, our husbands, and her two little girls took a trip to Kannapolis, N.C., to get reacquainted with some of our family members, many of whom I hadn't seen since I was a little girl. Another cousin, Donna Gearing, also made the trip.
My dad's oldest brother, Walter Gordon, who was 11 years older than my dad, moved with his family to North Carolina where jobs were more plentiful in the mills there in the late 1930s. His children, my cousins, now have children, grandchildren and even some great-grandchildren of their own. And a couple of them have passed on, I'm sad to say.
The oldest of my first cousins, Norene, and I actually got re-acquainted through my columns about our Aunt Donnie Mae, who was grandmother to several generations of us.
Norene is very like Aunt Donnie. Sitting with her and listening to her talk about her memories of Donnie, I felt my aunt's spirit more strongly than I have since her death in 1985.
After we left her home, Teresa summed it up aptly by saying Donnie was the glue that held us together. She may be gone now, but she is still a "common denominator" in all our lives - a presence, a thread that runs through every facet of who we are.
And sitting in Norene's living room with her and her two sisters, Syble and Evelyn, we were instantly not strangers - the bond of family, of blood, of life, was a palpable thing between us.
Reconnecting with where we come from, both the good and the bad, helps us to know ourselves better. It's good to see those eyes, that smile and a laugh we would know anywhere.
By the same token, I think knowing our county's history can do much to connect those of us who live here by giving us a sense of community - not just the ones who were born here, but those who have come to call this place home at any phase of their life.
The Journal hopes to help do some of that this summer through features. We touched on some of Madison County's history last year with features on old barns, stores and other stories, and we'd like to do some more of that this year.
Some of our ideas include stories about old country schools, old mills, unique road names (Booger Hill, Nowhere, Jot-em-Down), and others.
But we need your help. If you know about an old school house (still standing or not), an old mill, an interesting road name (and how it may have gotten said name) or anything else that you think might make an interesting historical feature about the county, please contact us.
Drop us a line or call with your ideas about stories we can do about Madison County's past.
Margie Richards is office manager and a reporter for the Madison County Journal.
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