1948: From Campus Into the Political Arena

The Confederate flag became a political symbol again in 1948 in service to the States Rights Party (also known as the Dixiecrats), which organized in opposition to the Democratic Party’s embrace of civil rights. At the “Dixiecrat” convention, college students, serving as delegates, brought the flag with them from the campus to the convention hall. In the 1860s, the flag was the symbol of forces resisting the Federal government’s interference with the South’s “way of life” (slavery). Beginning in 1948, the flag was a symbol of people resisting Federal interference with the South’s post-Civil War “way of life” (Jim Crow segregation).

Debut at the Dixiecrat convention, 1948 A line of delegates paraded on the convention floor waving Confederate flags and holding aloft a portrait of Robert E. Lee.Kenan Research Center of the Atlanta History Center