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Thanks for Oliver Hill Profile

Just a note to commend Style and especially Diane Tennant for her wonderful article on Oliver Hill ("Oliver Hill Was Born a Nobody," Cover Story, March 19). It captures the strength and humility of one of Richmond's most distinguished citizens. We are so fortunate to have one of the persons who has contributed so much to our society and our history still among us. While I cannot claim a friendship with Mr. Hill, I feel fortunate to have met him on several occasions. Your article is one I'll keep as a reminder of just why I felt so honored.

Georgia R. ShortThank you for your uplifting article about Oliver W. Hill Sr. I recently read a book, written about 10 years ago, in which Mr. Hill was mentioned as one of the "unsung heroes" of the civil rights movement. I am happy that in the past 10 years Mr. Hill has finally received the recognition he deserves for opening doors of equal opportunity here in Richmond and throughout the nation. His life's work is an inspiration for those who believe, along with him, that the human race is one people created by God, who must have intended that our diversity would in the end be understood as a great gift to the world.

Mike Sarahan "Southern Cross" Recalls Rebellion

While the men who protest in favor of the Confederate flag outside the DuPont plant may say they do so for "heritage, not hate" ("The Flag Bearers," Cover Story, March 26), they have an extraordinarily myopic view of Southern "heritage" and history.

The Confederate "Southern Cross" makes as much sense as a symbol of Southern heritage as would the swastika for German heritage or a picture of Gary Condit for California's heritage. Hardly a long-standing symbol of Southern culture, the Southern Cross represents but a few years in Southern history — a short-lived and hugely unsuccessful effort (and an ignoble one, at that) instigated by a group of eventual losers in the 1860s. The Southern Cross meant nothing in the development of Southern culture from Jamestown in 1607, through Virginia's prominent role in establishing the United States, until the sad year of 1861.

Following its use as a battle flag by Southern states that foolishly sought to withdraw from the United States, the Southern Cross was laid down, both literally and figuratively, at Appomattox in 1865, arguably the most humiliating time in Southern history. Following 1865, it naturally and appropriately disappeared from Southern culture for decades, and played no role in the remarkable flowering of Southern literature and thought, until it was revived by groups of racists and others in the mid-20th century.

If the South really needs to have a flag for regional identity (Why? No other region expresses such a need), let's pick something else — perhaps a Superman- style "S" on a sunny background? — that could symbolize "heritage" without recalling a brief and failed rebellion of the 1860s.

Paul Boudreaux

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