Don’t Tread On Me

Posted in GSU photo archive, History, Politics, Race by chamblee54 on August 7, 2016










Sometimes these stories write themselves. This one began with a tweet. @NotShaunKing “SJWs are now more offended by the Gadsen and Confederate flag, than the ISIS flag. Nice job, people!” The “Gadsen Flag” is the Revolutionary War banner. A coiled rattlesnake rests above the phrase “Don’t Tread on me.” It is a staple of American history.

Supposedly, someone is making a federal case out of wearing DTOM in the workplace. The google search shows stories by Fox News, and The Blaze. The slightly more reputable Washington Post has an article, Wearing ‘Don’t Tread on Me’ insignia could be punishable racial harassment.

“Here’s an excerpt from Shelton D. [pseudonym] v. Brennan, 2016 WL 3361228, decided by the EEOC two months ago: On January 8, 2014, Complainant filed a formal complaint in which he alleged that the Agency subjected him to discrimination on the basis of race (African American) and in reprisal for prior EEO activity when, starting in the fall of 2013, a coworker (C1) repeatedly wore a cap to work with an insignia of the Gadsden Flag, which depicts a coiled rattlesnake and the phrase “Don’t Tread on Me.” Complainant stated that he found the cap to be racially offensive to African Americans because the flag was designed by Christopher Gadsden, a “slave trader & owner of slaves.”

PG read that, and began to think. This is never a good omen. If Christopher Gadsen was a slave owner, then what about Betsy Ross?

Elizabeth Griscom Ross is, according to legend, the seamstress who created the stars and stripes. The story is disputed. For this sake of this blog post, lets assume that the legend is real. Betsy Ross created the American Flag, albeit with thirteen stars. Did she own slaves?

One internet forum raises the question, Did Betsy Ross have a slave? “no, Betsy ross did not have a slave. RE: Her husband had slaves though ” Could women own property in 18th century America? Who knows? Bear in mind, this is an undocumented internet forum. As is the next story.

“Have you ever heard Betsy Ross had children by her African slaves and was shunned by the Quakers because of it? Betsy Ross was widowed three times, and I have heard that since she knew how white men were having children by African women to increase their slave population, she decided to do the same. … Betsy Ross had children by her male slaves to increase her slave popuplation (and in essence, her property value).”

FWIW, Betsy, (January 1, 1752 – January 30, 1836,) was indeed married three times. The lucky men were John Ross (m. 1773–1776,) Joseph Ashburn (m. 1777–1782,) and John Claypoole (m. 1783–1817.) In both cases, she was remarried the next year. If she did take a slave baby daddy, she was very efficient. Maybe the husbands were understanding.

Pictures today are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”. The Atlanta Crackers played ball until 1965.










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