[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/04/14/t1.confederate.flag.jpg caption="Confederate symbols have denoted opposition to equal rights, Grace Hale says." width=300 height=169]
Grace Elizabeth Hale
Special to CNN
It has been eight years since people in my state of Virginia got a chance to debate the meaning of the Civil War in front of the nation, and the comments posted on CNN and other news Web sites suggest our passion over the topic has not dimmed.
If Governor Bob McDonnell wants his fellow Virginians to think deeply about "how our history has led to our present," then his declaration of April as Confederate History Month has accomplished this goal, if not exactly in the manner he intended.
The problem with the celebration of Confederate History Month, however, goes far beyond McDonnell's "mistake" in not discussing the centrality of slavery in the Civil War in his original proclamation.
Confederate "history" means more than the four years during which Virginia and other states fought a war to form a separate country called the Confederate States of America. It refers to the many uses of Confederate symbols and evocations of Confederate history in the almost century-and-a-half since Appomattox as well.
Filed under: 360° Radar
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
Questions or comments? Send an email
Want to know more? Go behind the scenes with