“The Confederacy’s rejection of the Stars and Bars as its national flag and embrace of the battle flag as the central emblem of its “confirmed independence” continues to have great significance today. With the adoption of the “Stainless Banner” in 1863, the battle flag became more than a soldier’s flag; it became a political flag, associated with the Confederate government, nation and cause.
Echoes and ironies abound. Consider the modern history of the Georgia state flag. In 2004, after decades of debate, Georgians ratified a new state flag that was clearly modeled after the Confederate Stars and Bars. The most vocal protest came (and still comes) from Confederate heritage activists, who steadfastly hold on to the 1956 state flag, which bears the Southern Cross battle flag. African-American leaders, though fully aware that the new state flag is based on the first Confederate national flag, said they did not find it troubling; the real Stars and Bars does not carry the baggage that the battle flag (the one the headline writers so often mistakenly dub the “Stars and Bars”) did, and does.
In other words, the real Stars and Bars, the original Confederate flag, is acceptable to them for the same reason that it was not acceptable to Confederates in 1863, and to Confederate heritage activists today: it’s not Confederate enough.”