Contrary to what Vincent Sheheen and others say, the Confederate flag is no more a symbol of slavery and racism than the British Union Jack or the American Stars and Stripes between 1707 and 1914.
Under the British empire of the 17th and 18thcenturies, the trans-Atlantic slave trade flourished and spread to the English colonies in North America and the Caribbean. Under the American flag, slavery prospered and expanded with the willing participation of New England merchants and Northern allies. At the same time, by Manifest Destiny, the native Americans in the West were conquered and resettled by the Republican Party of Abraham Lincoln, beginning in 1862.
Neither emancipation in 1833 or in 1863-1865 was about black equality. Despite the abolition of slavery, under the British and American flags, economic and racial imperialism as colonialism was promoted in Asia (India) and the Pacific under the guise of the “White Man’s Burden.”
Reconstruction (less about black equality than votes for Republican exploitative economic policies) came to an end in 1896 with Plessy v. Ferguson and segregation as the official law of the American nation.