How the Confederate Flags Came Down at the University of Mississippi | Harold Burson
Articles,  Blog

How the Confederate Flags Came Down at the University of Mississippi | Harold Burson

I went to college at Ole Miss, the University
of Mississippi, and I got a telephone call from the chancellor one day and he said, “Harold,
I have got to get the flags—the confederate flags—off the campus.” And I said, “Robert, I think you’re smoking
pot.” And he said, “No I’m not kidding you,”
he said, “we’ve got to do it.” And I said, “Why have we got to do it?” And he said, “You know, I’ve been here
for one year, I expect to be here for nine more, and I want my legacy to be that I made
this a great public university.” And he said, “As long as those flags are
on the ground, on the campus, that will never happen. And I don’t want to be regarded that way.” So I reluctantly said, “I’ll come down
and spend a couple of days with you, and we’ll talk about it and I’ll talk to a variety
of people to see how they feel about this.” And the feeling that I got on the campus was
that “I’m all for getting the flags off the campus, but I am not going to be in the
front row cheering that we have to do it.” And that came from all different levels. And my last interview was with the coach of
the football team, and I said, “Coach, are the flags affecting your football program?” He said, “They’re killing us.” And I said, “Will you go a little slower
and tell me how that works?” And he said, “In the state of Mississippi
the best football players are black,” and he said, “with the flags on the campus we
are not getting our share of the black players that are going to other schools.” Ole Miss was one of the few schools that still
kept the flags on the campus. And I said to coach, I said, “Coach, you’re
the only person who can get the flags off the campus.” And he said, “Why do you say that?” And I said, “Your redneck supporters, as
you describe them, will take your head off if you go in that direction,” I said, “they’d
much rather have a winning football team than to have the flags on the campus.” It was a trade-off. I had a lot of leverage. And he said, “Well, you may be right, but,”
he said, “I’m not going to get involved in politics or this thing right now.” And I said, “I want you to have a press
conference and say, ‘if you want a winning football team you’re going to have to take
the flags off the games, off the grounds, off the campus grounds so that we can put
together a winning football team.’” And after two games there were no more flags
on the campus, and there haven’t been [any] since 1997. So the problem is, in most situations you
don’t have that clean a trade off. I can’t give you exactly what you want or
as much as what you want, but that is, really, I think the key to changing people’s minds
about various issues.


  • Mario mario

    Lol incoming triggered right wing idiots who still think its edgy to ram the confederate flag up their asses like it's great to support a dead flag representing slavery and losing side of an anti American war


    What's funny is that after the war, Robert E. Lee himself was against Confederate monuments/symbols, and wanted everyone to move on and reintegrate with the north. People could do well to follow his example if they look up to him so much.

  • Discount Chicken

    this is politically correct bologna. Look into the true history of where it started, and the truth behind the civil war. People are more ignorant than ever now, and way to fecking sensitive. It's all about attention.

  • Jo Molololo

    Just hope people view this shit the same way those liberals want california to be independent , lmao the same hell will be coming for you dumb liberals or rebels in that case

  • Fee_ Lo

    Are you serious with that thumb nail? Just lost 3 points on the 1 to 10 credibility scale. Your not starting at 10 just in case you're wondering.

  • B-Radical

    I think the dislikes are not from people who disagree with this speaker, but rather the decline in content of big think. More Bill, Neil, Lawrence, Brian, etc. please.

  • Nate River

    All the clear race stuff aside, how can anyone get behind a relic of a violent rebellion that was formed when the revolution wasn't even that far outside of people's minds? When it was the traitors who drew first blood? When confederate soldiers betrayed the country they swore to defend? Why honor their symbols?

    Regular people allowed themselves to be duped by politicians supported by rich land owners and became traitors. The confederate flag and confederate statues belong in museum's. Not around our government sites or other public institutions.

  • Defec Tec

    liberals in this day and age are so retarded. you're all so hypersensitive about everything, including thinking the confederate flag stands for racism

  • SmallFries01

    I'm offended that he would think blacks are better at football. We need white affirmative action for football. Clearly blacks must be the oppressive force in football. Also let's get 50% women in the NFL. Clearly patriarchy is keeping them down. Meritocracy has nothing to do with this. Praise KEK!

  • 5Days

    The civil war was about slavery, but in my opinion the flag is the embodiment of the American spirit. Standing up to a bigger, stronger group that's trying to subjugate you. What the confederate represented was morally wrong, but i can still respect them for their bravery and love of their land.

  • Mac Ton

    I support people's right to have their stupid rebel flag, but as a northerner, I hate the rebel flag, and only inbred retards like that shit. Fuck your flag. It's treasonous, and is a symbol of white supremacist retards. Hey, finally big think got something right!

  • kingMadnus

    For all you people that love this Confederate flag. You're saying it's the rebel flag ? Let me ask you a question ?When did this stop being the reble flag ? 🇺🇸


    I find it disturbing that it wasn't the desire to make the school a better academic institution that got them to remove the flags, but to have a winning football team.

  • David S.

    People, this discussion isn't about the Confederacy or their flag being wrong or right. This is not the video to have that debate. And the thumbnail is not meant to represent Confederates. It is meant to represent the football team's "red neck supporters" (as described by the coach, 2:50). This video is about negotiations. It's about reaching an agreement or making a delicate transition go smoother. How did the University of Mississippi make such a strongly opposed transition acceptable? Harold Burson, a renown public relations expert, explains. Check your nationalism at the door for a minute and listen.

  • MrEvilslashy

    People don't necessarily dislike the viewpoint. They might dislike that Big Think has ceased to educate and has begun making the goal of every video to further one side of a controversial viewpoint. I mean… Just an idea. Can't blame me for.. thinking. That used to be the idea.

  • DarknezzMadnezz

    this man may be a respectable individual in many ways, but saying this was a good trade off is outrageous and ignorant towards the fact of what the flag represents and its history. Its illogical even that football was more important then being decent people and allowing the past ignorance of slavery to die out and be left in museums were they should be displayed, not on public schools or government buildings. Specially as that flag was used by those who openly and willfully committed treason against the USA.

    again… illogical and irrational reasoning for the removal… though, im glad it was removed but, ffs, thats dumb.

  • bonecanoe86

    To heal after the Civil War the former Confederates were brought back into the fold. There was amnesty to those involved in the Confederate rebellion. Confederate soldiers were American soldiers. Confederate dead were venerated as American dead. This pledge of honoring and respecting the Confederate legacy and identity as an inseparable part of the American fabric was and continues to be essential in preserving the unity of the United States. The South is an inseparable and indispensable part of America. They have pulled more then their fair share when it comes to sending men to fight in our wars. Erasing Confederate history is a disgrace and furthermore it is a sinister tool meant to sow division in America and turn us against one another. United we stand, divided we fall. The Union and Confederacy had a family squabble, but we have made up and we both make up the family that is the United States of America. Don't you dare try to change that.

    All the love to the south from a Yank in Pennsylvania. Keep flying the rebel flag high!

  • rickiex

    "liberals are snowflakes! Boo! They won't get over the fact that they lost the election"

    That's why Republicans are still mad they don't have slaves no more and why the keep flying their tratoious flag right?

  • Alexander Raffini's Space Engine Chill and Sounds

    In short. The CSA was at war with USA. Current day confederate flag wavers tell us how Patriotic they are but at the same time yell that South will rise again. Are you A confederate backer or a US backer? Cant have it both ways. Looking at it closely the Republican party as a whole backs the confederacy. Deeper in, it means the Republicans are anti US. Trump backs the confederacy and he is a US president. The ultimate coup. It worked and now the conferacy backs Putin. Looks like the enemy is within.

  • Burgess Forge

    Equating this to erasing confederate history is like saying having no Nazi flags is erasing Nazi history. (Note I'm not saying confederates are nazis I'm simply stating that just because you don't have a flag flying over a school doesn't mean anyone is trying to snuff out history)

  • Michael O

    Dodge the facts all you want but the confederate battle flag represents slavery at worst and treason at best. More over the Confederacy lost the war and were never recognized internationally. You can be proud of the south and love living in the south all without raising a symbol of what is quite frankly weakness and ignorance in this day and age. I say this as a white, born and raised southerner.

  • daveblandston6

    Wasn't this channel devoted to science and education at one time? Perhaps I'm thinking of another channel, or is this just another example of education degenerating into politically correct/leftist/Marxist indoctrination?

  • Mark W

    Some of us Southerners are educated liberals. Thinking we are idiots & void of cultural worth makes Big Think no better than bigots they seek to criticize.

  • piperpipe201

    BIg Think is much better when it brings up ideas that split the population. There are to many people who have a sense of superiority in their beliefs, progressive and old. Superiority complex blinds you from understanding other spectrums of thought. Understanding in the sense of seeing the validity of a perspective.

  • Mike Conroy

    While I realize the Confederate flag arguably stood for rebellion, there is only one thing my friends, family, and likely the majority of Americans think of when they see that flag: slavery. Even if that flag stood for rebellion, I think it would be rediculous to argue that there are no racist connotations either purposefully or accidentally implied. I strongly believe it should not be flown on government property. I also think the thumbnail in this video could be considered offensive, and the content of the video is poor. So why am I giving random people on the internet my opinion? I have not the slightest fucking clue.

  • Eric Cartman

    To all the people who say its "just a flag" and you use it to "trigger the liberals"

    Why not just fly a nazi flag, and put that on the back of your truck?

  • Cameron Wilson

    The thing that I find sad about this (if you watch the video) is that he explains how the flags came down when it became advantageous for them to do so (in this case, in an attempt to get a better football team for the school, which brings in tons of money). Why can't people just do the right thing because it's the right thing?

  • 1p6t1gms

    Would BT talk about interbreeding within a closed population in the United States in its early development, perhaps the effects it has on a populations future or if it really ever happened. I’m aware that it has happened in human history on worldwide scale, particular the wealthy in history.

  • Glacial Self

    You don't get to decide what symbols mean to other people. I've never seen someone argue against the confederate flag without using a strawman argument. Most people who want the flag taken down are just going with the popular opinion because it makes them feel "modern" and they don't have to actually think about it.

  • GingerBrah

    Here's a thought: We should all stop following past traditions and hear people out when they say stuff that doesn't agree with your thoughts. Humanity has increased its knowledge base considerably since the mid 20th century, yet we still have people gawking at the past thinking we can make the country better by employing old tactics and castigating those new ideas.

    Those who are employing modern tactics (EU) are making great progress to making the world a friendlier and safer place; it's time for the US to learn from its mistakes, take back the reigns and lead the world's future through science and logic as opposed to dogmatic religions and divisive practices.

  • Navy Prepper

    The ultimate Free Speech, The  Almighty Dollar! 1A is there to protect ALL Speech! Confederate Flag, African Flag, Mexican Flag! A flag is there to remind us of the good and bad in our history. Taking the flag down stifles that conversation. The old adage, "out of sight out of mind doesn't work," when you can't have a healthy debate. Colleges have become one big WAAA Party and you must conform to our thinking or be deemed a FASCIST! Which, by the way is the definition of FASCISM. The idea of America is individualism, not collectivism!

  • Drew McTygue

    They blurred the flag in the thumbnail. It shouldn't be socially unacceptable to show a picture of it for the sake of discussion, otherwise we might forget what it looks like

  • David Kolb

    It’s called heritage, just like them keep the damn flag! Even though I’m a northerner, I truly belive in the right to maintain a states heritage, no matter what.

  • DeoMachina

    Imagine flying the flag of an army that tried to destroy the country you live in, proudly. And imagine you think you're a patriot for doing so.
    Just imagine what it must be like to be that much of a fucking moron.

  • hasatum

    Didn't watch the video. Even when the state makes positive changes it has to endure thumbnails like this. I expect better from BigThink.

  • Tyler Zutell

    That thumbnail says everything that's wrong about the people who pretend to be open minded until it's politically inconvenient.


    The stars and bars battle flag was invented in 1811, WAYYY before the civil war. It had nothing to do with the Confederacy.

    They are looking for excuses to destroy your southern culture piece by piece, don't let them.

  • Southern Gentleman

    Why don't people know the Confederacy was very diverse? Native Americans, Africans Americans, Hispanics, Irish, Latinos, Scottish, Jews, French Algerians, And Cubans fought for the Confederacy.

    Like Stand Watie, Loretta Valesquez, Santos Benevadis, Moses Ezekiel, Marlboro Jones, and W.S Lewis

  • Karen Haynes

    It is a LIBERAL play to make people feel guilty. "WHITE HATE" is their desire! Look around – how many of those pushing that view are WHITE?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *