I am writing in response to Maxi Wardcantori’s article about the school’s new logo, and also in response to the letter to the editor published recently which remarked on that article. I believe that Wardcantori’s argument is exactly correct: The logo includes confederate symbology, which is completely inappropriate. The letter to the editor attempts to argue that the red-and-white cross design is not a confederate symbol, yet admits that “use of the cross bottony design by Confederate soldiers cannot be denied,” and that it was adopted as a “symbol of postwar reconciliation.” Does the author of this letter have any conception of what “postwar reconciliation” entailed, in 1904? As recounted in many histories, most recently Henry Louis Gates’ “Stony the Road: Reconstruction, White Supremacy, and the Rise of Jim Crow,” around 1865 the civil war initially seemed likely to end with full citizenship for Black Americans. However, white state governments in the south embarked on a plan to revoke that citizenship in piecemeal fashion, and in 1877 the federal government pulled its troops from the South. Jim Crow laws, permanently embedded by the Plessy v. Ferguson supreme court decision, disenfranchised Black citizens. What came next was a massive campaign to defend white supremacy and reshape the popular conception of the war as “about” states’ rights, instead of slavery; a viewpoint that was widely accepted, across political lines, until quite recently. This campaign of white-supremacist viewpoints disguised as “reconciliation” is what the cross bottony symbolizes: A reconciliation between white northerners and white southerners, united by their prejudice. To showcase this pattern on a state flag may be excused as historical, but to embed it in a newly-created logo is distasteful in the extreme.
In addition, UMBC’s address is 1000 Hilltop Circle, Baltimore, Maryland. While we are located outside the beltway, our address is in Baltimore, Maryland. This is what “technically” means.
Sam Saper, Media and Communications Studies Major, Class of 2019